Midtown Manhattan

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Refers to a large district in the middle of Manhattan from 59th Street at Central Park all the way down to 34th Street.

Contents

Midtown Neighborhoods

Midtown

Location: 34th to 59th St

Midtown encompasses several neighborhoods and smaller districts. As New York's largest central business district, Midtown Manhattan is indisputably the busiest single commercial district in the United States, and among the most intensely and diversely used pieces of real estate in the world. The great majority of New York City's skyscrapers, including its tallest hotels and apartment towers, lie within Midtown. More than 700,000 commuters work in its offices, hotels, and retail establishments; the area also hosts many tourists, visiting residents, and students. Some areas, especially Times Square and Fifth Avenue, have massive clusters of retail establishments. Sixth Avenue in Midtown holds the headquarters of three of the four major television networks, and is one of a few global centers of news and entertainment. It is also a growing center of finance, second in importance within the United States only to Downtown Manhattan's Financial District. Times Square is also the epicenter of American theater.

Midtown is very typical of New York City (as if there were anything typical about New York). It is the very heart of the city. Here in the endless sea of lights, billboards, people, traffic, concrete and steel is where one can find famous city landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Times Square, Grand Central Station, and Broadway. Midtown is a predominantly wealthy area with isolated pockets of dubious alleys and streets tucked away between the more high profile avenues. No matter where you are in Midtown there are always surprises around the next hidden narrow corner.

Chat Rooms: Columbus Circle, Jeckyll & Hyde, Grand Central, New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, Lava Lounge

Sutton Place

Location: E53-59 and Sutton Pl

Straddling the Upper East Side and Midtown is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Manhattan. In the strictest sense, Sutton Place is the wide (north/south) avenue that runs only two blocks, from 57th Street to 59th Street, along the East River and south of the Queensboro Bridge. The stretch that continues below 57th Street down to 53rd Street is called Sutton Place South. North of 59th Street, the road continues as York Avenue. The greater "Sutton Place area" is bounded on the east by the East River and on the west by Second Avenue, and is coextensive with Sutton Place and Sutton Place South (i.e., 53rd Street to 59th Street). Sutton Square is the cul-de-sac at the end of East 58th Street, just east of Sutton Place; and Riverview Terrace is a row of townhouses on a short private driveway that runs north from Sutton Square. The neighborhood is characterized by gorgeous townhomes with spectacular views of the East River and Roosevelt Island. The neighborhood is host to the official residence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations is a five-story townhouse that was built in 1921 for Anne Morgan, daughter of financier J.P. Morgan, and donated as a gift to the United Nations in 1972. The neighborhood has been home to a long list of notable personalities including: Lillian Gish, Aristotle Onassis, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, Bill Blass, Bobby Short, Irene Hayes, Elsie de Wolfe, Joan Crawford, Raj Rajaratnam, Richard Jenrette, Marilyn Monroe, Mario Cuomo, Kenneth Cole, Sigourney Weaver.

Chat Rooms: The Red Room

Diamond District

Location: W47 and 5th to 6th

Is a commercial district within Midtown three blocks south of Radio City. Wholesale jewelers and jewelry smiths line the districts retail spaces while many brokers of precious stones and metals occupy the commercial office space above. There are some buildings zoned for residential use sandwiched between and above all this activity. The district grew during WWII as artisans relocated from downtown offices. Many are Orthodox Jews who escaped Europe during the war and settled their trade in New York City. Today the area is a favored location for retail and wholesale shoppers alike as the quality and craftsmanship to be found in the Diamond District is quite stunning.

Chat Rooms: Gotham Book Mart

Theater District

Location: W42-53 and 6th to 8th

Nestled within the vibrancy of Times Square and 42nd Street is the most important location in the world to theater - Broadway. Long before film, Broadway was a bustling center of the performing arts. In the past decades, it has carried on the tradition with such smash hits as Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Cats, Cabaret, Chicago, etc.

Any writer, actor, director, etc. for the stage strives for a hit show on Broadway. To do so is to see your name in lights and to have a one way ticket up. Because of this, the world of Broadway is extremely competitive and only those resolute in their ambitions that are prepared to do whatever it takes make it to the top.

Theatre Row, an area on 42nd Street from Ninth Avenue to Eleventh Avenue, which contains many Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theatres, may be considered to be an extension of the Theatre District, although it is not officially a part of it.

Chat Rooms: Times Square, 42nd Street Tenderloin

Turtle Bay

Location: E42-53 and the river to Lex

This Midtown neighborhood is an eclectic mix of pre-war row houses on quiet tree-lined residential streets, grand thoroughfares with majestic Art Deco towers, and modern testaments to post-war diplomacy. Turtle Bay is home to the United Nations and many of the diplomats have missions and residences in this relatively quiet neighborhood. It’s an exclusive area which has plenty of park space and features grand views of the UN and the East River.

Chat Rooms: United Nations Headquarters

Tudor City

Location: E40-43 and 1st to 2nd

Is a collection of neo-Gothic residential towers that have been dubbed the first “residential skyscrapers in the world”. The complex offers a stunning view of the United Nations and it’s distinguishable in the Midtown cityscape by its vintage rooftop sign. It was built over old slaughter houses, slums, and tenements in the 1920s as an enclave for the middle class to keep them from leaving the city for the suburbs. The natural topography of the area features a granite cliff. Nearby East-west streets slope downward from Second Avenue to First Avenue. East 41st and 43d Streets, however, slope upward to the cliff-top and end at Tudor City Place. East 42nd Street slopes under Tudor City Place and down to First Avenue through a late 19th-century cut through the cliff, which was expanded in the mid-20th century to provide better access to the new United Nations Headquarters. With the cliff separating Tudor City from First Avenue below, it is accessible to vehicular traffic only via Second Avenue. A service entrance to 5 Tudor City Place is available from the "D" level, which is four floors below the lobby level. The service entrance exits at 40th and 1st Avenue allowing residents and building service staff to enter from 1st Avenue. A viaduct connects the two halves of Tudor City bisected by East 42nd Street, with staircases providing pedestrian access between 42nd Street and the complex. A separate staircase known as the Sharansky Steps connects Tudor City with Ralph Bunche Park and First Avenue.

Directly across First Avenue is the United Nations Headquarters. Only a few apartments face the United Nations because when the area was completed in 1928 there were slaughterhouses to the east; most apartments were built facing the opposite direction because of the stench and filth that emanated. In the 1940s, the slaughterhouses were demolished and the United Nations Headquarters was built in their place. As of the early 21st century, only a handful of apartments have high-priced views of the UN Headquarters and the East River. The majority of apartments face inland parks and the Midtown skyline. Many apartments have good views of the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building.

Tudor City's buildings are home to over 5000 residents. The complex includes restaurants, a hotel, grocery, a gourmet deli, and convenience stores, a hair salon, laundry and dry cleaners. Three garden parks and a children's playground are there.

Midtown1 NYC.jpg

Hell’s Kitchen

Location: W34-57 (59) and 8th to the river

Right beside Midtown and encompassing the area west of 8th Avenue, from 39th to 55th Streets to the Hudson River, Hell's Kitchen has had the reputation for the meanest streets in New York City. No one is for certain where the name came from. Some say it was because of a popular bar in the area that was rough, crowded, and hotter than Hell's Kitchen inside.

Before gentrification began in the mid-1990s, the neighborhood was made up of Italian, Irish, and Hispanic communities, and ruled by vicious gangs worst of whom are the remnants of the Irish mob in New York City – the Westies. Gentrification began as poor actors seeking cheap housing close to the Theater District, braved the mean streets and moved into its run-down tenements and apartment buildings. This trend got the attention of real estate investors and even the Irish mob who understood that a golden opportunity was theirs for the picking. After 9/11, zoning restrictions for high-rises away from Downtown relaxed and so grand projects which included state-of-the-art commercial and residential towers were conceived. It was then that gentrification picked up the pace and even the Westies were getting a piece of the action. Gone are the porn shops and hookers, and now ethnic bistros, tattoo parlors, and eclectic shops line the streets. Now Hell’s Kitchen is a mix of struggling actors, young professionals, and citizens from the “old days”. It’s got a neighborhood feeling to it as the novel history and mystique of the place oddly enough inspires a sense of community. This is the kind of neighborhood where the bartenders and waiters remember your favorite drinks and dishes, the grocers know you by name and still have tabs for their regulars, and the local newsstand clerk has always got a wise-ass comment to make.

Chat Rooms: Hudson Yards, Jack's Billiards

Garment District

Location: W34-42 and 5th to 9th

The Garment District has been known since the early 20th century as the center for fashion manufacturing and fashion design in the United States, and even the world. The dense concentration of fashion-related uses give the neighborhood, which is generally considered to span between Fifth Avenue and Ninth Avenue, from 34th to 42nd Street, its moniker.

Less than one square mile in area, the neighborhood is home to the majority of New York’s showrooms and to numerous major fashion labels, and caters to all aspects of the fashion process–from design and production to wholesale selling. No other city has a comparable concentration of fashion businesses and talent in a single district.

However, since the advent of globalization and due to the rising costs of rents and domestic production, the fate of the Garment District is uncertain. Many of manufacturing facilities have not been able to remain open and so their large buildings have been converted into office space for a number of unrelated industries like: law, medicine, and high tech. Still there are community and industry efforts underway to save the district and preserve New York’s place among the top fashion producers in the world along-side Paris and Milan. These efforts show signs of serious support as the industry’s key events, Fashion Week in September and February, yield millions of dollars in revenue to the city and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity.

Chat Rooms: Downtime

Herald Square

Location: W34 and 6th

Herald Square is formed by the intersection of Broadway, Sixth Avenue (officially named Avenue of the Americas) and 34th Street and is a typical bow-tie shaped square consisting of two named sections: Herald Square (north) and Greely Square (south). It sits at a hub of retail and residential activity. Huge department stores have historically made this section of Midtown their home. Residents can find such retailers as: Macy's, Inc., E.J. Korvette, Stern's, and Abraham & Straus, and J.C. Penney located in the neighborhood. It is the terminus for the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and serves as a pleasant park in which to rest after a hard day of shopping. The squares are both loaded with free public programs which include chess tables, dance lessons, and exercise classes. With the recent efforts to close portions of Broadway to cars, community groups which support the park have taken the opportunity to dot the area with plenty of tables and chairs under large shady umbrellas around food kiosks that serve tasty soups, salads and sandwiches.

Chat Rooms: Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Penn Station

Koreatown

Location: W31-36 and 5th to 6th

Koreatown is primarily a Korean business district, as few people actually live in the area. Manhattan's Koreatown was once focused on fulfilling the needs of the burgeoning Korean-American community in the New York City metropolitan area, an estimated 201,393 individuals, according to the 2009 American Community Survey, and the second largest ethnic Korean population outside of Korea. However, in recent years, the district has seen an increase in non-Korean traffic as well. Given the low rents and the high foot traffic stemming from proximity to the Empire State Building, Garment District, among many others, it was an ideal place to which Korean immigrants could move. Initiated by a bookstore and a handful of restaurants, Koreatown sprang into being. With their success, more and more Korean-owned businesses took root in the neighborhood, coinciding with increased immigration from Korea.

The heart of Koreatown is the segment of 32nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, also known as "Korea Way." Though only one city block long, Korea Way features stores and restaurants on multiple stories, with small, independently-run establishments reaching up to the third or fourth floors. The New York City Korean Chamber of Commerce estimates there are more than 100 small businesses on Korea Way.

The street features numerous restaurants that serve both traditional and/or regional Korean cuisine and fusion fare, several bakeries, grocery stores, a supermarket, bookstores, tchotchke and stationery shops, hair and nail salons, Karaoke bars, nightclubs, internet cafes, doctor's offices, banks, and hotels.

Murray Hill

Location: E29-42 and 2nd to 5th

Until recently this Midtown neighborhood had been a mixture of sleepy streets with row houses and brownstones and corporate mega towers. Residents were primarily older and wealthy. A collection of foreign diplomatic missions to the UN and consulates served to further cement the rather formal atmosphere of Murray Hill. However, that all changed with a few high-rise condo developments and an influx of young professionals who were seeking cheaper rents rather than a more fashionable neighborhood to call home. Now several bars and nightclubs liven up the area to the chagrin of the older established residents. The motto among the young college graduates who flock to the watering holes is “work hard, play hard”.

Related Pages

Chat Room Index, Manhattan Neighborhoods Map

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