A thoroughfare that traverses the length of Manhattan. Broadway was originally an Indian trail, called the Wickquasgeck Road, that followed the ridge of the hilly island of Manahatta. One of several other names it was known by was the Broad Wagon Way, which presumably was the origin of its present appellation. Broadway gained its name as the axis of an important theatre district in the mid-19th century, attracting impresarios with its central location and fashionable reputation. The number, size, and magnificence of the Broadway theatres grew with New York City's prosperity, and in the 1890s the brilliantly lighted street became known as “the Great White Way”. Impelled by growing wealth and cultural aspirations, the theatres on Broadway increased from about 20 in 1900 to an all-time high of 80 in 1925. The record season of 1927–28 saw 280 new productions open there. Broadway's fortunes subsequently shifted with those of the nation, and by 1980 only 40 of its theatres remained (few of which were located on Broadway itself). Since the 1980s major new stages have drawn theatregoers to Times Square, nearby venues on 42nd Street, and elsewhere along the boulevard.
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