Broadway That Is Different!
Obviously the natural diversity is gone these days, yet diversity remains in the people who walk the streets of New York. Broadway, as the name implies, is a wide avenue in New York City, which runs the full length of Manhattan and continues into the Bronx. It is the oldest north–south main thoroughfare in the city, dating to the first New Amsterdam settlement. The name Broadway is the English literal translation of the Dutch name, Breede weg. The Dutch explorer and entrepreneur David de Vries gives the first mention of it in his journal for the year 1642.
In 1866, "The Black Crook" was the first staged Broadway musical. The show ran for over an astounding five hours and for 474 performers. For decades, audiences made up of all nationalities, races and backgrounds have enjoyed coming to see a Broadway show filled with dance, song, laughter and tears. Some of the longest-running Broadway shows include "Cats," "The Phantom of the Opera" and "The Fantasticks" with each having over 7,000 productions. Broadway musical theater history is rich in shows that range from dramas to comedies to witches to lions, all which are unique and special to each of their fans.
In the 1920's Broadway blossomed and began showing the true colors of what it would come to be in the later half of the 20th century. Broadway was the hangout for most of the famous people in the 1920s-the gangsters, like Owney Madden, rubbed shoulders with celebrities like Charlie Chaplin. If the 1920's are known for being modern society's answer to the prudery and uptight nature of the Victorian age, Broadway is the antithesis of polite society. Yet people fell in love with the beautiful girls and beautiful shows. Fashion was taken for granted, Broadway was full of beautifully dressed dolls and dapper sultans. Getting dressed for a Broadway Show meant a great looking dress for the woman, and a well fitted men's suit. As anyone who has ever gone to a Broadway show knows, the real history of Broadway New York lies in the characters who graced the streets as well as the stage. America fell in love with the black and white morality of the law of the Broadway. Most American cities started to have a "Broadway" of their own.
In San Francisco, Broadway is an east-west street that runs from The Embarcadero to the Cow Hollow district. The neon-lined stretch of Broadway through North Beach is the city's home to strip clubs and other adult businesses, as well as many nightclubs and bars, and has been featured in several films and television shows. The Broadway Street is a thriving street that is referred to as the "red light district" of San Francisco. The street is bustling with people after dusk when several hardcore clubbers come together to spend a night of excitement, drinks and dance. It has some of the City's best gentlemen's clubs. The Broadway showgirls cabaret sets the standard for the quintessential evening out-- a limo service, a five star restaurant with a chef that takes requests, wine and champagne to tempt every palate, plush atmospheres, VIP lounges and even a shoe shine service. A major Broadway feature is the dramatic 12th century Spanish palace, the Orpheum Theatre. Built in 1926 as a showcase for theatre magnate Alexander Pantages, the Orpheum has featured vaudeville, silent films, motion pictures, musical comedy and other theatrical entertainment. The Orpheum has since been named a San Francisco Historical Landmark. All year round, the Broadway Street plays host to several local events like the New Years' Eve, Halloween parties and block parties among others.
Twenty miles away, Millbrae downtown Broadway is the dream-street of culinary arts, especially of the Chinese cousin. No matter what your tastes are harking for, you will find something to satisfy that craving at the best of eateries – American, Asian, Bar & Grill, Barbecue, Bistros, Breakfast & Brunch, Burger, Cafes, Chinese, French, Italian, Mexican, Pizza, Seafood, Steak and Vegetarian. Broadway is amongst the distinguished downtowns where Starbucks competes with Peets, Safeway with Trader Jo's, Baskin and Robbins with Yubi, Kohls with Dress Barn, and where you have 24 hours Walgreen and Fitness. It makes Millbrae so opposite of the neighboring Hillsborough where “zoning law” forbids any kind of commercial activity, including banks and postal services. Even with all these businesses to boast of, Broadway is all the time having major makeovers going on with installation of numerous streets-cape improvements, including street trees, street plantings, banners, decorative paving, street lighting, street furniture, holiday decorations, and installation of community benches. A farmer's market on Broadway? That's right. This is held on Saturdays in the early morning till about 1 p.m. or so. The peaches are delicious in the summertime, and the grapes, navel oranges and all the rest are just as scrumptious. There are also a good amount of flower stands and veggie stands. The veggie stands bring their vegetables fresh from Fresno and sell them for super cheap, cheaper than even the Dean's Produce, the most popular destination for daily purchase of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Every year, the last unofficial weekend of summer brings large crowds to Millbrae for one of the Bay Area’s biggest Labor Day weekend events, transforming its delightful Broadway street into a resplendent sea of people and colorful tents. They stroll, browse, relax and enjoy a friendly and vibrant street fair with two days of stellar live music, gorgeous handcrafted work by 250 talented artists, fabulous food and wine, and the best family entertainment value around. Millbrae retains its "small town" feel, while undergoing a major revitalization, especially on its Broadway that is different.