Midtown West and Midtown East have a lot in common. They’re bustling, iconic, and full of people. But just like siblings, their personalities can be vastly different. Midtown East is a bit more sophisticated and doesn’t quite have the vivacity and unruliness that its westerly counterpart exudes.
Midtown East is bordered by 42nd to the south, 59th Street to the north, 5th Avenue to the west, and 3rd Avenue to the east.
The neighborhood is famous for its high-end stores, tourist attractions, posh hotels (budget ones too), and iconic architecture. Midtown East is also one of the largest financial and business hubs in Manhattan. During normal business hours the sidewalks are full of commuters and people moving from point A to point B. In the early evening, when the masses have left for the day, things suddenly get a little quieter and the sidewalks have a lot less foot traffic.
Although largely a commercial neighborhood, residential areas of Midtown East do exist on the eastern section of the neighborhood.
Grand Central Station is located in Midtown East and like Midtown West, it’s an extremely commutable neighborhood. The 4, 5, 6, 7 and S trains whisk people in and out of the neighborhood 24 hours a day. Grand Central Station also serves as a hub for New York State and Connecticut commuter rails. These trains can take you anywhere along the Hudson River or up into Connecticut. It’s perfect for day tripping.
Get a pen and paper! There is an infinite amount of things to see and do in Midtown East. Make a list and chart your course because there is almost too much to do. Whatever you’re in the mood for you’ll find it here.
If you’ve visiting Midtown East for the first time there are several iconic buildings that you have to see. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Grand Central Station, The Plaza Hotel, The Chrysler Building and the Helmsley Building are just a few. You’ll marvel at the Neo-Gothic, Art Deco, and Beaux-Arts style of architecture. Even if you’re a long-time resident of Manhattan, fawning over architecture is a great way to reconnect with the city.
Shop to you drop! From Bloomingdales, H & M, and Zara to higher end shops like Tiffany, Cartier, Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel, you can get some serious retail therapy in Midtown East.
Grand Central Market – If you’re tired from all that walking and looking for some nourishment then you’ve come to the right place. It offers a European-style gourmet experience. Over 13 vendors offering fresh food, ingredients and meals to go.
Eden Gallery is a great little spot for contemporary art. Especially when the Museum of Modern Art is closed, sold out, or overcrowded. It’s a small space but it’s filled with vibrant colors and brilliant works of contemporary art.
What You Might See
It’s the center of everything, so you’ll see people walking, running and cycling. You’ll see food delivery people, messengers and couriers on bikes and on foot. You’ll spot hot dog and pretzel vendors on just about every corner. You will also see hundreds of yellow cabs and an occasional horse drawn carriage.
What You Don’t Know
There are actual pieces of the Berlin Wall in Midtown East. Since it fell in 1989, five large segments of the wall have made their way to New York over the years and are on display in various places throughout the city. Midtown East has a 33,000-pound segment of the wall that used to be displayed at Paley Park (53rd Street between Park and Madison). It later moved to 520 Madison Avenue where it sits today.
Sam Shaw’s iconic photograph of Marilyn Monroe’s flying skirt was taken on the southwest corner of Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street while she was filming the movie, “The Seven Year Itch.” The famous subway grate is still there today.