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The high status of Fifth Avenue was confirmed in 1862, when Caroline Schermerhorn Astor settled on the southwest corner of 34th Street, and 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, later linked to its neighbor as the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel (now the site of the Empire State Building).Fifth Avenue is the central scene in Edith Wharton's 1920 Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Age of Innocence.While Fifth Avenue's numbering runs northward, traffic currently runs the opposite direction - southward, or "downtown." The section of Fifth Avenue that crosses Midtown Manhattan, especially that between 49th Street and 60th Street, is lined with prestigious shops and is consistently ranked among the most expensive shopping streets in the world.
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission is the New York City agency that is responsible for identifying and designating the City's landmarks and the buildings in the City's historic districts.
The novel describes New York's social elite in the 1870s and provides historical context to Fifth Avenue and New York's aristocratic families.