Midtown East is the core retail and commercial neighborhood of Manhattan, containing the highest concentration of business and money this side of, well, the planet. The Empire State Building, the most iconic building (even if no longer the tallest) in the city is here. Shady Bryant Park abuts the imposing New York Public Library main branch at 42nd Street, while to the east is the magnificent Beaux Arts Grand Central Terminal. Le Corbusier's landmark UN Headquarters is located on the East River. The masterpiece art deco towers of Rockefeller Center and adjoining Radio City sit opposite 5th Avenue from St. Patrick's Cathedral, the seat of the city's archdiocese. Fifth Avenue below 59th remains the toniest and most exclusive retail neighborhood in New York City, home to names like Saks, Tiffany and Bendel (and Apple!). Murray Hill north of 34th Street is home to some of the city's nicest brownstones. Much of the real estate in this neighborhood is likewise quite expensive, and the restaurants, bars and other facilities notably cater to a higher-paying clientele.
Midtown, also called Midtown East to distinguish it from the Theater District to the west, is the area between around 34th St and 59th St (beyond which is Central Park), and from the East River through First, Second, Third, Lexington, Park, Madison, and Fifth Avenues, with Sixth Avenue as the western boundary of the district.
There is a small but vibrant Koreatown neighborhood, which is focused on 32nd St. between Broadway and 5th Av. and extends a bit north, south and east. It has a Midtown character and has been included in this article.
There is plenty of subway service to this area. The 4, 5, and 6 lines travel under Park Avenue (south of Grand Central Station) and Lexington Avenue (north of Grand Central), stopping at 42nd St. (Grand Central Station) and 59th St., with the 6 also stopping at 51st St. and 33rd St. Running under 6th Avenue are the B, D, F, and M lines, which stop at 34th St. (close to the Empire State Building), 42nd St. (at Bryant Park, near the library) and 47-50 St. station (near Rockefeller Center). The F line continues up 6th Avenue, stopping at 57th St., while the E and M lines head under 53rd Street, stopping at 5th Av. and Lexington Av. (a passageway offers a free transfer to the 6 line). The 7 and S (Grand Central Shuttle) lines run under 42nd St. Both of them stop at Grand Central Station, with the 7 also stopping at 5th Av. (free transfer to the B, D, and F lines). Also serving the neighborhood are the N, Q, R, and W lines, which stop at 34th St. and 6th Av., close to the Empire State Building.
By MTA bus
Regular MTA buses run along every avenue except for short avenues like Vanderbilt, and there are also many crosstown routes. These include the M34 and M34A SBS (34th St), M42 (42nd St), M50 (49th/50th Sts), and M31 and M57 (57th St). Local buses charge $2.75 and enable free transfers to other local routes and the subway. In addition, express buses stop along these avenues, providing service to other boroughs. Express buses charge a $6.75 fare, with free transfers available to other routes.
By Metro-North commuter rail
Metro-North commuter trains originate and terminate at Grand Central Terminal on E. 42 St at Park Av. See the By train section on the main New York City page for more info. Note that the train terminal (but not the subway stop serving it) closes from 2 am to 5:30 am daily.
Parks and recreation
- 1 Greenacre Park, 51st St (between 2nd and 3rd Aves). One of New York's many "pocket parks," Greenacre is a small plot of green space and an excellent place to relax, with a nice waterfall in the back, plenty of seats and tables, and lots of shade, plus a small tea shop.
- 2 Paley Park, 53rd St (between Madison and 5th Aves). Another pocket park which is celebrated among landscape architects and urban designers, Paley is a great place to relax, with plenty of chairs below a canopy of trees and a waterfall spanning the entire back wall of the park.
- 3 Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Ave (at 42nd St). One of the most recognizable and favored structures of New York, the Chrysler was the world's tallest building when completed in 1930, but lost that title to the nearby Empire State Building less than a year later. But what it lost in fame it makes up for in beauty, with its gorgeous, instantly recognizable Art Deco crown.
- 4 Citigroup Center, 153 E 53rd St (between Lexington and 3rd Aves). With its distinctive slanted roof and long, slender base columns, this building is another great skyscraper with a grand atrium.
- 5 Daily News Building, 220 E 42nd St (between 2nd and 3rd Aves). This Art Deco design classic, completed in 1930 to a design by Raymond Hood, was made famous by the Superman films; to be admired are the extreme verticality of the design, the understated setbacks and functional design. The newspaper no longer holds offices here, but the foyer is well worth a visit if passing, if only to see the newspaper's giant globe sculpture and wall weather stations.
- 6 MetLife Building, 200 Park Ave (between 44th and 45th Sts, next to Grand Central Station). Since it was built it has been probably the most hated building in New York, mostly because it rises up over Grand Central Station, completely blocking the view up Park Avenue, but it is a good example of modern architecture.
- 7 One Vanderbilt Avenue, 1 Vanderbilt Avenue (Between 42nd St and 43rd St between Vanderbilt Ave and Madison Ave). Parts of this 67-story skyscraper are still under construction as of May 2021, but its unique, funky upper reaches and spire, with its dull gray light at night, are already a strong presence in the Midtown skyline, visible for miles.
- 8 United Nations Headquarters, 1st Ave at 46th St (No parking available; take public transport to Grand Central Station then walk, or take the M15 bus up 1st Ave or down 2nd Ave or the M42 [42nd St.] or M50 [50th St.] crosstown buses). M-F 9AM-4:30PM, Sa Su 10AM-4:30PM (no guided tours on Sa and Su). The UN HQ sits on an 18-acre site between 42nd and 48th Streets, and between First Avenue and the East River. It is noted for its gardens and outdoor sculpture. There is a charge for the tours of the General Assembly and Secretariat but you can visit the Visitor's Lobby for free (although you do have to pass through a security checkpoint). There are two levels to the lobby area which includes a gallery, a gift shop, and a bookshop. If you're just visiting the lobby, don't join any queues - just find your way around. There is little in the way of signs to tell you where you can go - this is the UN, well-meaning but not well organized. Free; guided tours $18 adults, $11 seniors and students, $9 children (6-12; younger children not allowed on tours).
- 9 Grand Central Terminal, 42nd St and Park Ave (Subway: to 42nd St). 5:30AM-1:30AM. Walk in and see the main concourse, a cavernous room often filled with people and elegantly detailed, with arched windows, a lovely clock, and an astronomical ceiling. Free.
- 10 St. Patrick's Cathedral, 460 Madison Ave (between 50th and 51st Sts; Subway: to 5th Av/53rd St), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. A big, grand neo-Gothic Catholic church, presided over by the Archbishop of New York; a years-long renovation was completed in time for a Sep 2015 visit by Pope Francis.
- 11 Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Ave (between 49th and 50th Sts; Subway: to Lexington Av/53rd St/51st St), ☏ . A famous luxury hotel.
- 12 The Morgan Library, 225 Madison Ave (at 36th St; Subway: trains to 34th St or train to 33rd St), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Tu–Th 10:30AM–5PM, F 10:30AM–9PM, Sa 10AM–6PM, Su 11AM–6PM. Once J. Pierpont Morgan's private library, this building houses his art collection, a Gutenberg Bible, and a first printing of The Star Spangled Banner. The bookshelves lining the walls include books by Dante, Dickens, Einstein, Twain, and several First and Second Folios. $22 adults, $14 seniors, $13 students, free for children 12 and under, free on Fridays after 7PM.
- Walk on 5th Av. Around Christmas, it is usually mobbed, but off-season, it can be downright pleasant, and you can get to see just how pretty some of the department stores and high-end shops are. You may even be able to walk around Rockefeller Center at a strolling pace and see a view of the entire plaza.
For great views:
- Walk or bike across the Edward I. Koch Queensboro Bridge.
- Take the Roosevelt Island Tram.
More about Roosevelt Island below:
Roosevelt Island is an elongated island in the East River between Manhattan Island and Queens. Originally a cattle farm, over the years it has had various names and uses, including as an asylum and a quarantine hospital. Today called Roosevelt Island, it is the home to several thousand New Yorkers who like its calm ambiance and connection to Manhattan. The island offers excellent views of the Manhattan skyline, particularly at the 1 Meditation Steps, just north of the Tramway stop, and 2 Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, a public space at the southern tip of the island, accessible by one of the riverside promenades. The island also affords one of the best views of the city's 4th of July Fireworks displays when they take place in the East River (some years, they are too far away); in such cases, get to the island very early, or you'll find that the seats are sold out.
There are two ways to access the island from Manhattan. The most popular way for tourists (and certainly the most scenic) is to take the 3 Roosevelt Island Tramway, an aerial tram which crosses over the stretch of the East River between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island next to the Queensboro Bridge, offering splendid views of the skyline along the way. You can board the tram on Second Avenue at 60th Street; the one-way fare is $2.75; subway MetroCards accepted. The second option is to take the subway: the F train makes a single stop on the island at Roosevelt Island station, connecting it to Midtown Manhattan to the west and Queens to the east. Additionally, a road bridge connects the island to the intersection of 36th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard in Queens, allowing you to drive, walk, bike, or take the Q102 bus to the island from Queens. Private cars are forbidden on the roads of the island.
Fifth Ave is a shoppers' paradise from 42nd to 60th Streets, boasting numerous flagships stores of national chains. Perpetually mobbed with shoppers and tourists, Fifth Avenue is a virtual standstill during the Christmas shopping season, when Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier, Tiffany's, and Lord and Taylor put out their holiday displays. Other popular stores include Niketown, NBA Store, Versace, Gucci, Armani Exchange.
47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues is a large wholesale and retail Jewelry District. It is said that nearly every diamond sold in the US passes first through this street. On this street a dealer's reputation among the community of jewelry dealers is all-important, and million-dollar contracts are agreed to with just a handshake because of the reputation of each dealer.
- 1 Apple Store, 767 5th Ave, ☏ . Located beneath a giant glass cube, this flagship Apple Store is open 24/7 and is crowded with shoppers all day long. Come here on the day the company releases a new gadget and you'll see lines that wrap around the block.
- 2 Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 5th Ave, ☏ .
- 3 Tiffany & Co., 727 5th Ave (at 57th St), ☏ . M-F 10AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM, closed Memorial Day. The famous jewellers, scene of Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's
- 4 FAO Schwarz, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, ☏ . W–Su 11AM–7PM. Toy store.
- 1 Dos Caminos, 825 Third Avenue (at 50th Street), ☏ . Su-Tu 11:30AM-10:30PM, W 11:30AM-11PM, Th 11:30AM-11:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM-midnight. One of four up-market Mexican restaurants in Manhattan by the same name and under the same ownership (the others are in Gramercy, Chelsea, SoHo) Sticky, saucy ribs and guacamole. $12 - 36.
- 2 Ess-a-Bagel, 831 3rd Avenue (at 51st Street), ☏ . M-F 6AM-9PM, Sa Su 6AM-5PM. This legendary place serves up doughy, chewy bagels the size of hubcaps that some New Yorkers consider 'the best bagels in NYC - which means everywhere'. Bagel-eaters will also find a wide variety of mixed cream cheeses, tofu spreads, and smoked fish. Bagels are cheap, but prices depend on whether you eat in or take out! Expect to pay $3 for two bagels and a small tub of your favorite cream-cheese spread. Lines can be long at lunchtime.
- 3 Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, 89 E 42nd St (At Grand Central Terminal, lower level. Subway: to 42nd St), ☏ . M-Sa 11:30AM-9:30PM, closed Su. An institution, opened in 1913 along with the station itself.
- 4 Tao, 42 E 58th St (between Park and Madison Aves), ☏ . Trendy Asian cuisine; reservations required. Beautiful decor.
- 5 VietHaven, 155 W 51st St, ☏ , [email protected]. Very nice Vietnamese restaurant with full bar. Nice food and decent prices. Try seafood combo. $12 - 20.
- 6 Delegates Dining Room, 1 United Nations Plaza (Follow the procedures to enter the United Nations complex.), ☏ . 11:30AM-2:30PM. Located on the 4th floor of the UN General Assembly, this high-class dining hall lets you eat alongside delegates, ambassadors, and celebrities at the heart of international politics. The menu changes every day, providing a unique international buffet every day as you sit with a gorgeous view of the East River. Reservations should be made at least 24 hours in advance. Do note that with security concerns, you'll be escorted to and from the dining room. Dress attire is business casual. Buffet $34.99.
- 1 Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard and Airmen's Club, 283 Lexington Ave (at 37th St), ☏ , toll-free: . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10:30AM. A service member friendly hotel. The hotel is closed to non-military personnel unless accompanied by a service member, veteran, or military retiree. Rates are based on rank; $25+.
- 2 Vanderbilt YMCA, 224 E 47th St (Subway: trains to 42nd St-Grand Central). Walking distance from Grand Central Terminal and near the United Nations. Twin private room: $35.
- 3 Roosevelt Hotel, 45 E 45th St (at Madison Ave), ☏ . A Pakistani-owned hotel named after the 20th President Theodore Roosevelt and opened in 1924. The hotel has 1,015 rooms including 52 suites. This hotel has been seen in several major motion pictures.
- 4 Hyatt Place New York/Midtown-South, 52 W 36th St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $126-400.
- 5 70 Park Avenue Hotel, 70 Park Ave (at 38th St), ☏ , fax: . Nice boutique hotel with good bar, Silverleaf Tavern, which serves a good G&T. Lovely rooms including LCD TV's etc. Some rooms have a view of the Empire State Building.
- 6 Dylan Hotel, 52 E 41st St (between Madison and Park Aves), ☏ .
- 7 Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel, 687 Lexington Ave, ☏ . Irish boutique hotel with a popular on-site Irish restaurant.
- 8 Four Seasons Hotel, 57 E 57th St (between Madison and Park Aves), ☏ .
- 9 Grand Hyatt New York, 109 E 42nd St (Park Ave at Grand Central Terminal), ☏ , fax: . Attached to Grand Central Station.
- 10 Hotel Elysee, 60 E 54th St, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. This country French hotel offers guests free high speed Wi-fi and complimentary refreshments in the Club room 24 hours a day including breakfast in the mornings and wine and cheese receptions on weeknights.
- 11 Hotel 48LEX, 517 Lexington Ave (at 48th Street), ☏ , [email protected]. A fresh blend of highly personalized concierge service with high-end contemporary art and design.
- 12 Kimberly Hotel, 145 E 50th St, ☏ .
- 13 Kitano, 66 Park Ave, ☏ . A luxury, four-diamond, Japanese-style hotel.
- 14 Library Hotel, 299 Madison Ave (at 41st St), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Free high speed Wi-fi and complimentary refreshments in the Reading Room 24 hours a day including breakfast in the mornings and wine and cheese receptions in the evenings except for Sunday nights.
- 15 Lotte New York Palace, 455 Madison Ave (at 50th St), ☏ , [email protected]. Luxury accommodations, good views, spacious rooms, spa & fitness center, fine dining at the Gilt Restaurant & Bar, meeting and event rooms.
- 16 Omni Berkshire Place, 21 E 52nd St (at Madison Ave), ☏ .
- 17 Roger Smith Hotel, 501 Lexington Ave (at 47th St), ☏ .
- 18 San Carlos Hotel, 150 E 50th St, ☏ .
- 19 Waldorf Astoria New York, 301 Park Ave (between 49th and 50th Sts.), ☏ , fax: . Another famous luxury hotel that is among the more notable in New York, with a long history in a lavish Art Deco building that has housed many a celebrity. Perhaps one of the most famous guests was President Franklin Roosevelt, and a secret platform that is believed to have been used by Roosevelt to travel directly from the train to his hotel room so he could hide his paralysis from the public survives under the hotel. The traincar that Roosevelt is believed to have used is parked on the platform. Sadly, neither the secret platform nor the traincar are open to public.
- 20 Westgate New York City (formerly Hilton New York Grand Central), 304 East 42nd St, ☏ , toll-free: , [email protected]. The former Hilton, an iconic landmark, neo-gothic hotel, only a few blocks from Times Square and Grand Central Station.
|Routes through Midtown East|
|Bronx ← Upper East Side ←||N S||→ Gramercy Flatiron → Financial District|
|Theater District ←||W E||→ Long Island City, Queens → Flushing|
|Upper West Side ← Theater District ←||N S||→ Greenwich Village → Downtown Brooklyn|
|Long Island City, Queens ← Upper East Side (F) ←||N S||→ Gramercy Flatiron → Downtown Brooklyn|
|Financial District ← Theater District ←||W E||→ Long Island City, Queens → Jamaica|
|Long Island City, Queens ← Theater District ←||N S||→ Gramercy Flatiron → Downtown Brooklyn|