Living in Midtown East: Things to Do and See in Midtown East, New York
Midtown East—The Commercial Core of the Big Apple
Midtown is the heart of New York City. And Midtown East, which stretches from the East River to its main thoroughfare, Fifth Avenue, forms its elegant commercial core. Here iconic skyscrapers and historic landmarks, global and cultural institutions, centers of commerce, high-end department stores and boutiques, and luxury residences seamlessly converge. From the neo-Gothic St. Patrick’s Cathedral to the Beaux Arts New York Public Library and Grand Central Terminal, the Art Deco Chrysler Building to the Postmodern United Nations Headquarters, and the contemporary skyscrapers inching ever skyward, the neighborhood is a living monument to the American Dream.
Where is Midtown East Located in NYC?
Midtown East is in Midtown Manhattan, between 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.
- East to West: The East River to Fifth Avenue
- North to South: 59th Street to 42nd Street
- Subway: 4, 5, 6, 7, S, N, Q, R, E, M
- Ticket Out of the City: Metro North, Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, and Queens Midtown Tunnel
What to Do in Midtown East?
The affluent enclaves along the East River offer a range of luxurious accommodations, including white-glove apartment buildings and sleek high-rises with dazzling skyline views. For an Old World New York experience, Victorian brownstones and Neoclassical mansions line many of the side streets. Some are home to UN international missions and consulates, due to their proximity to the United Nations Headquarters. United Nations Plaza is one of the city’s most exclusive addresses. There are several residential skyscrapers which offer a five-star hotel experience. Among them are 50 UN Plaza, designed by Foster + Partners, and 860/870 UN Plaza, which was home to Truman Capote, Walter Cronkite and Johnny Carson. Other coveted addresses include Park Avenue, with its beautiful Beaux-Arts condominiums, and the riverfront enclaves of Tudor City, a beautiful neo-Gothic residential complex built in 1932; Sutton Place; and Beekman Place, whose famous past residents include Edgar Allan Poe and Irving Berlin.
Art galleries can be found throughout Midtown East. Fifty-Seventh Street was New York City’s first gallery district, until art dealers migrated south to Chelsea, SoHo, and the East Village. Mary Boone, James Goodman, Pace, and Anton Kern are among the Influential art dealers with gallery space in the area. For more niche artworks, Pace Primitive (part of the Pace Gallery) specializes in African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and Native American tribal arts, while the Japan Society offers regular exhibits of Japanese art.
What to See in Midtown East?
Midtown East is a tale of two neighborhoods. By day, the avenues are busy commercial corridors, with briefcases and business suits the norm. After hours and at the weekends, the neighborhood’s upscale cocktail lounges and restaurants, and exclusive private members’ clubs offer elegant entertaining options for a sophisticated clientele. Accessibility is a great attraction of Midtown East: The Theater District is just across town, Museum Mile on the Upper East Side is just a short cab-ride away, Central Park is just across its north border at 59th Street, the Village is a straight ride downtown, and the Metro-North commuter rail at Grand Central will transport you to the leafy suburbs of Westchester and Connecticut.
Where to Eat in Midtown East?
The side streets of Midtown East are filled with hidden gems: upscale bistros blend with casual restaurants, coffee houses, and bars, including one of New York’s largest concentration of Irish pubs. Grand Central Terminal has an array of dining options from the food court to the famous circa-1913 Oyster Bar. After exploring the magnificent Art Deco station’s history and diverse range of shops, such as Jacques Torres Chocolate, Vineyard Vines, and the Apple Store, order a 1930s-inspired aperitif at the Campbell Apartment bar before moving on to Cipriani Dolci, La Grenouille, or one of Midtown Manhattan’s famous steakhouses. The neighborhood’s Michelin-starred restaurants include the Scandinavian cuisine of Aquavit and the Japanese fare of Sushi Amane.
What Schools are in Midtown East?
Midtown East has many high-performing public schools. Of particular note is the elementary school P.S. 59 Beekman Hill International and the pre-K to 8th grade P.S. 225-Ella Baker School. For alternative education, there are two excellent Montessori schools, the Montessori School of New York International, which has a popular performing arts program, and the Montessori Family School. Cathedral High School offers a college preparatory program for women. The High School of Art and Design, whose motto is Henri Matisse’s “Creativity takes Courage,” is one of the most sought-after high schools in the city for creative teenagers.
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