New York City’s Fifth Avenue opens for business today. But the high status of Fifth Avenue wasn’t confirmed until 1862 when Caroline Schermerhorn Astor settled on the southwest corner of 34th Street.
Historians say that the beginning of the end of its reign as a residential street was symbolized by the erection, in 1893, of the Astoria Hotel on the site of her house. It is later linked to its neighbor as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (now the site of the Empire State Building).
Fifth Avenue is also the central scene in Edith Wharton’s 1920 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Age of Innocence, which describes New York’s social elite in the 1870s and provides historical context to Fifth Avenue and New York’s aristocratic families.
Read more on the originally published article here