Midtown Manhattan is the core retail and commercial neighborhood of New York City, 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. Bryant Park, with its abundant shade, abuts the imposing New York Public Library main branch at 42nd St, 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 Fifth Ave from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the seat of the city’s archdiocese. Fifth Ave below 59th remains the toniest and most exclusive retail neighborhood in New York City, home to names like Saks, Tiffany, FAO Schwarz and Bendel. Murray Hill north of 34th St 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, 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 Aves, with Sixth Ave as the western boundary of the district.
There is plenty of subway service to this area. The 4, 5, and 6 lines travel under Park Ave (south of Grand Central Station) and Lexington Ave (north of Grand Central), stopping at 42nd St (Grand Central Station) and 59th St, with the 6 also stopping at 51st St. Running under 6th Ave are the B, D, F, and M lines, which stop at 34th St (close to the Empire State Bldg), 42nd St (at Bryant Park, near the library) and 47-50 Sts station (near Rockefeller Center). The F line continues up 6th Ave, stopping at 57th St, while the E and M lines head under 53rd St, stopping at 5th Ave and Lexington Ave (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 Ave (free transfer to the B, D, and F lines). Also serving the neighborhood are the N, Q, and R lines, which stop at 34th St and 6th Ave, close to the Empire State Building.
Regular MTA buses run along every avenue except for short avenues like Vanderbilt, and there are also crosstown buses on 34th, 42nd, 49th/50th, and 57th Sts. In addition, express buses stop along these avenues, including the X25 to Lower Manhattan. Express buses charge a $6 fare, with free transfers available to other routes, and local buses charge $2.50 and enable free transfers to other local routes and the subway, with some exceptions.
Metro North commuter trains originate and terminate at Grand Central Terminal on E 42 St between Vanderbilt and Lexington Aves. 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 approximately 1AM to 5AM daily.
Fifth Ave is a shoppers’ paradise from 42nd to 60th Sts, boasting numerous flagships stores of national chains. Perpetually mobbed with shoppers and tourists, Fifth Ave 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 btwn 5th and 6th Aves is a large wholesale and retail Jewelry District. It is said that nearly every diamond sold in the U.S. 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.
Shoppers are advised to verify details before and after completing a purchase. It is also recommended that all sales policies and guarantees are put in writing.