Living in Murray Hill: Things to Do and See in Murray Hill, New York
Murray Hill—Midtown’s Quieter Neighborhood
Murray Hill’s history dates back more than two and a half centuries. The area was named after Robert Murray, an 18th-century merchant whose 25-acre colonial homestead, Belmont, stood at Park Avenue and 37th Street. In 1847, Murray’s descendants subdivided the land into parcels and drew up the Murray Hill Restriction, a covenant preventing commercial encroachment on the neighborhood. Soon after, Manhattan’s most affluent moved in, building their grand brownstone mansions and carriage houses in this genteel enclave of Midtown. Further restrictions and neighborhood associations in the mid-20th century preserved the area’s original residential character along with its historic buildings and landmarks.
Today, Murray Hill is a vibrant neighborhood, as many of its denizens are young professionals working in Midtown offices within walking distance of their homes or students at CUNY Graduate Center, the Stern College for Women, and Yeshiva University. Other residents include diplomats who work in the area’s many consulates and permanent missions or at the United Nations Headquarters nearby. For commuters, the proximity to Grand Central Terminal, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, FDR Drive, and 34th Street heliport is a special draw and highly convenient.
Where is Murray Hill Located in NYC?
- East to West Boundaries: East River to Madison Avenue
- North to South Boundaries: 42nd Street to 34th Street
- Subway: 4, 5, 6, 7, Q, S
- Ticket Out of the City: FDR Drive, Queens-Midtown Tunnel, Metro-North Railroad at Grand Central Terminal, TSS Heliport
What to Do in Murray Hill?
Murray Hill is a welcoming neighborhood with a late-night energy, and as such it has long been favored by newcomers as the place to live in New York City. By day, the area is a busy corridor, where financiers, lawyers, and creatives head west to the offices of Midtown. After dark, the avenues are transformed into a spirited bar scene, but its side streets, with their elegant bistros and cocktail lounges, offer a more sedate atmosphere.
Murray Hill has some of the finest architecture in New York City. Grand Central Terminal stands as a magnificent Beaux Arts monument to America's Railway Age. Other historic landmarks include the Art Deco masterpiece the Chrysler Building; the Union League Club, a private social club founded by 1863, and the National Review. Because the neighborhood is so near the United Nations building, more than 20 permanent diplomatic missions and consulates are in Murray Hill’s elegant 19th-century mansions.
Within the neighborhood, you’ll find the Morgan Library & Museum, with its enormous collection of rare books, and the modernist Scandinavia House, which offers art exhibitions, concerts, cinema, and lectures on Nordic culture. In 1905, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt lived in a townhouse in Murray Hill. The Roosevelt House has been part of Hunter College since 1943 and was converted in 2010 into a public library and exhibition space that hosts lectures, book readings, and panels on politics and international relations. Famous residents in Murray Hill have included Katherine Hepburn, Cole Porter, Tennessee Williams, Ethel Barrymore, Ayn Rand, Alfred G. Vanderbilt I, Enrico Caruso, and J.P. Morgan.
What to See in Murray Hill?
Formerly one of the best-kept secrets in New York City, Murray Hill’s popularity has grown in recent years. The high-end real estate inventory includes grand postwar condominiums with white-glove doorman and concierge services, and contemporary high-rises with resort-grade amenities. On the side streets west of Third Avenue, buyers have a choice of unique architectural offerings, such as converted 19th-century stables and carriage houses, Federal-style row houses, Victorian brownstones, and Beaux-Arts mansions marked with Old New York charm and a Gilded Age sensibility.
The majority of Murray Hill’s contemporary luxury buildings are located on the avenues between Third Avenue and the East River, and include mid- and high-rises that offer stunning skyline views and attract young professionals and families. Some buildings are LEED-certified, and offer sky bridges, and the latest luxury amenities, such as indoor pools, wellness centers, gyms, and roof decks.
Murray Hill has a Historic District between 35th and 38th Streets, and many buildings in the neighborhood are designated as National Historic Landmarks. A large portion of the area has been recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Among them is Sniffen Court, a small mews comprising 10 historically preserved carriage houses off 36th St., between Lexington and Third Avenue, as well as Tudor City, a beautiful neo-Gothic residential complex built in 1932 atop a hilly area overlooking the East River.
Where to Eat in Murray Hill?
Murray Hill is known for its lively dusk-to-dawn restaurant and bar scene, especially on Third Avenue, catering to its college-age residents and young professionals. But it is also home to many excellent upscale Indian, Korean, South Asian, and Szechuan restaurants, including the romantic Water Club, overlooking the East River, which serves seafood in a formal setting. You will also find favorite eateries like Wolfgang’s Steakhouse; the upscale Sushi Sen-nin, which is famous for its Asian culinary novelties; or the charming, minimalist café/restaurant SMÖRGÅS in the Scandinavia House, which offers New Nordic Cuisine. Other acclaimed establishments include the famous circa-1913 Oyster Bar, in Grand Central Terminal, and the Michelin-starred Tempura Matsui and Kajitsu.
What Schools are in Murray Hill?
Murray Hill has several private schools and public schools serving grades K-18. The Goddard School offers an excellent early childhood education. The neighborhood’s higher institutes for learning include CUNY Graduate Center, Yeshiva University, and the Stern College for Women.
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