Compared to other New York City neighborhoods Tudor City is a bit different. For starters, it's not very big. And technically it's not a neighborhood, it's more along the lines of a residential enclave of Tudor style buildings and parks. Even with the large neon sign boldly exclaiming the enclave's name, Tudor CIty is still a little tricky to find.
Located on the southern edge of Turtle Bay, Tudor City borders Murray Hill and lies on a low cliff which is just east of Second Avenue between 40th and 43rd Street. It overlooks the grounds of the United Nations along First Avenue and the East River beyond.
Tudor City is considered one of the world’s first skyscraper apartment complexes. This was considered a remarkable feat in 1929. Early marketing material, aimed at the middle class, described the development as well-planned, well-built, and well-priced housing. Developer Fred F. Finch designed Tudor City to keep middle class residents in Manhattan as many were fleeing the city for the suburbs.
For some, a quick spin around the entirety of Tudor City is the purpose of a visit.
There is a small deli, a wine shop, Tudor City Steakhouse, a nail salon, and a few other businesses, but that’s about it. Nightlife, theatres, and other destinations are in Turtle Bay and Murray Hill. If you’re looking for excitement you may have to go elsewhere.
A lot of people come for the architecture and Tudor City Greens, aka, The Greens. The two landmarked parks are located on Tudor City Place on either side of East 42nd Street, east of Second Avenue. It’s a favorite among locals and families. Small community events and garden planting days are a common occurrence.
What You Might See
Manicured gardens, and fantastic Tudor style architecture.
What You Might Not Know
When Tudor City was sold to the Helmsley-Spear Company in 1972, real estate tycoon Harry Helmsley wanted to bulldoze the two parks to build more buildings. Local residents weren't having it. They protested by blocking the bulldozer. Some of them even camped out in front of the park for several days. Eventually, the tenants got a restraining order against Helmsley and took the matter to court. It took a few years but the residents won their legal battle and the parks were eventually granted landmarked status.
You’ll notice the lack of windows or smaller windows on many of the lower floors of the buildings facing First Avenue. The lack of windows was intentional because at that time, factories, slaughter houses, and other unsightly views were in plain sight. The developer gave the taller, more majestic buildings views of gardens, Grand Central Station, the skyline to the west, and later the Chrysler and Empire State Building.
What We Love
The landmarked facades and casement windows are quite handsome and it's worth taking a special trip to walk the grounds and observe the aesthetic. We love the isolation of it all. It feels like you're standing in a small city within a city. We love the quiet and relatively traffic free area of Tudor City. It's brilliant engineering because there are no through streets and traffic is diverted underground for several blocks. It has a charming community atmosphere that you don’t see all that often in the big city.