central business district in New York City, USA

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 skyline

Understand edit

Orientation edit

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.

Get in edit

Map of Manhattan/Midtown East

By subway edit

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 edit

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 edit

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.

See edit

Parks and recreation edit

  • 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.    

Skyscrapers edit

  • 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 Empire State Building, 350 5th Ave (at 34th St; Subway:  B  D  F  M  N  Q  R  W  to 34th St), +1 212-736-3100. Daily 8AM-2AM. A legend from the moment it was finished in 1931, the Empire State Building was easily the tallest building not just in New York, but the entire world for many years before being overtaken by another New York landmark - the twin towers of the World Trade Center. With the destruction of those two buildings, the Empire State Building was once again the tallest building in the city, but that lasted less than eleven years. But even though it's no longer the tallest, it remains iconic and one of the city's biggest tourist attractions. Expect long lines, and a lot of them - you'll have to wait in line to pass through a security checkpoint, wait in line to get tickets, wait in line for the elevators, and then make your way through the crowd on the outdoor observation deck on the 86th floor. One way to deal with the lines is to buy an express line ticket, which will bring you to the front of any line, but it will more than double the cost of your ticket. Another option is to visit very early in the day or late in the evening, when the lines will be considerably shorter. Despite the long lines and inevitable tourist kitsch, the views are excellent and the experience of being outdoors on top of New York City is a great one. Hawkers outside the building may try to tell you there is a very long line inside and that they can get you tickets to cut the line for some exorbitant price; before believing them, go inside and check the actual wait time which is clearly written on the electronic boards. $32 adults, $29 seniors (62+), $26 children (6-12), free for military in full uniform/children under 6 (tickets to 102nd floor observatory are $20 extra; express line tickets also sold).    
  • 7 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.    
  • 8 One Vanderbilt Avenue, 1 Vanderbilt Avenue (Between 42nd St and 43rd St between Vanderbilt Ave and Madison Ave). This building's unique, funky upper reaches and spire, with its dull gray light at night, are a strong presence in the Midtown skyline, visible for miles. As of 2023, it is the fourth tallest building in New York City.    
  • 9 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. Outside the building is a display of national flags which represent the 193 sovereign states that are members of the UN. Highlights include the 116-kg Japanese Peace Bell, where the bell is traditionally rung twice a year in honor of world peace. Free; guided tours $26 adults, $18 seniors and students, $15 children (5-12; younger children not allowed on tours).    

Historic buildings edit

The Atlas in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral at 460 Madison Ave.
  • 10 Grand Central Terminal, 42nd St and Park Ave (Subway:  4  5  6  7  S  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.    
  • 11 St. Patrick's Cathedral, 460 Madison Ave (between 50th and 51st Sts; Subway:  E  M  to 5th Av/53rd St), +1 212-753-2261, fax: +1 212-755-4128, . 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.    
  • 12 Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Ave (between 49th and 50th Sts; Subway:  E  M  6  to Lexington Av/53rd St/51st St), +1 212-355-3100. A famous luxury hotel.    

Museums edit

  • 13 The Morgan Library, 225 Madison Ave (at 36th St; Subway:  B  D  F  M  N  Q  R  W  trains to 34th St or  6  train to 33rd St), +1 212-685-0008, fax: +1 212-481-3484, . 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.    

Do edit

Roosevelt Island Tram, with the Queensboro Bridge behind it
  • 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 edit

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 nearby 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, but as of early 2023 the contactless OMNY system is not. Make sure you have a MetroCard before you arrive, as there are always long lines to buy them. 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.

Buy edit

Bergdorf Goodman department store with the Crown Building (lit up) on the left

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, +1 212-336-1440. 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, +1 212-753-4000.
  • 3 Tiffany & Co., 727 5th Ave (at 57th St), +1 212-755-8000. 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, +1-800-326-8638. W–Su 11AM–7PM. Toy store.  

Eat edit

Empire State Building viewed from below
  • 1 Dos Caminos, 825 Third Avenue (at 50th Street), +1 212-336-5400. 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), +1 212-980-1010. 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:  4   5   6   7   S  to 42nd St), +1 212-490-6650. 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), +1 212-888-2288. Trendy Asian cuisine; reservations required. Beautiful decor.
  • 5 VietHaven, 155 W 51st St, +1 212-342-21-78, . 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.), +1 917-367-3314. 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.
  • 7 Franchia Vegan Café, 12 Park Ave. noon–9PM Su–Th, noon–9:30PM F Sa. Asian fusion. Try the fruit teas and the fried cauliflower.

Drink edit

Sleep edit

The doors of the Chrysler Building, widely considered the finest of many Art Deco skyscrapers in Midtown Manhattan because of decorations that can be seen from nearby as well as its elegant shape when seen from afar

Budget edit

  • 1 Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard and Airmen's Club, 283 Lexington Ave (at 37th St), +1 212-683-4353, toll-free: +1-800-678-8443. 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:  4  5  6  7  trains to 42nd St-Grand Central). Walking distance from Grand Central Terminal and near the United Nations. Twin private room: $35.

Mid-range edit

  • 3 Roosevelt Hotel, 45 E 45th St (at Madison Ave), +1 212-661-4475. 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, +1 212-239-9100. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $126-400.

Splurge edit

  • 5 70 Park Avenue Hotel, 70 Park Ave (at 38th St), +1 212-973-2400, fax: +1 212-973-2401. 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.
The Park Avenue entrance to the Waldorf-Astoria

Connect edit

Go next edit

Routes through Midtown East
BronxUpper East Side  N     S  Gramercy FlatironFinancial District
Theater District  W   E  Long Island City, QueensFlushing
Upper West SideTheater District  N    S  Greenwich VillageDowntown Brooklyn
Long Island City, QueensUpper East Side (F) ←  N    S  Gramercy FlatironDowntown Brooklyn
Financial DistrictTheater District  W   E  Long Island City, QueensJamaica
Long Island City, QueensTheater District  N      S  Gramercy FlatironDowntown Brooklyn

This district travel guide to Midtown East is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.