East Midtown - Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists

Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists (2016)

Map 13. East Midtown



Neighborhood Overview


Map 13

No matter how angry, late, or tired we are from dealing with the overwhelming crowds in this part of town, one glance up at Grand Central Terminal with the Chrysler Building looming in the background never fails to give us a burst of energy and a shot of civic pride. Welcome to East Midtown, which has a major personality disorder—in a good way. It’s got the tranquility of elegant Sutton Place and Tudor City, the rowdy nightlife along Second Avenue, the commuter bustle of Grand Central, the international crowd around the UN, and legendary architecture bursting from every corner of this neighborhood.

The hub of this neighborhood—and arguably the city—is Grand Central Terminal. One of the busiest train stations in the world, this gorgeous building also houses many hidden surprises under its vaunted ceiling. Start in the main concourse where you’ll see a magnificent clock above the information booth. This spot is what New Yorkers mean when they say, “Meet me at the clock.” Some of these meet ups turn into dates at the deluxe and hard-to-find cocktail lounge Campbell Apartment. Others wisely opt for a trip into the world of old-school New York dining at the highly recommended Oyster Bar. Ask to sit in the Saloon for a real treat. Shopping options abound here with lots of cool shops (books, MTA souvenirs, etc.) and the best food shopping in Midtown at Grand Central Market.

You may have heard of a little organization called the United Nations. It’s housed in an iconic glass building perched on the edge of the East River. We highly recommend the public tour where you get to see the General Assembly, an amazing art collection, and international diplomats scurrying about. Currently the UN headquarters is undergoing a massive $3 billion renovation. The project is estimated to be completed around the same time the UN finally ends world poverty. We can still dream, right?

Architecture nerds rave and worship at Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building, argue over the value of Phillip Johnson’s Lipstick Building, and contemplate the public art underneath The Lever House. One of the city’s most unique places of worship is the Central Synagogue with vivid Moorish details. Stroll by at night for an otherworldly experience. St. Bart’s on Park Avenue is gorgeous in a more traditional way, while the Chrysler Building, Chanin Building, and General Electric Building (570 Lexington) are worshiped for their Art Deco brilliance.

If you want a break from all the tall buildings, check out the Seven Year Itch subway grate where Marilyn Monroe’s dress blows up for all the world to see. Head way east to walk down Sutton Place to see where lots of exclusive New Yorkers take up residence. Or stroll around Tudor City and marvel at the handsome Neo-Gothic apartments that diplomats and divas call home. It’s a nice way to unwind and enjoy this unique urban enclave without having to drop $2.7 gazillion on a condo.

Not many budget drinking options around here (except Blarney Stone), so go highbrow at The Brasserie inside The Seagram Building, Campbell Apartment inside Grand Central, World Bar inside the Trump Tower, or Sir Harry’s inside the Waldorf. If you like to drink with the suits after work, PJ Clarke’s is your spot.

East Midtown


Map 13

image Landmarks

✵ Chanin Building ✵

122 E 42nd St [Lexington Ave]

Not the Chrysler, but still a way-cool Art Deco masterpiece.

✵ Chrysler Building ✵

405 Lexington Ave [E 42nd St]


The stuff of Art Deco dreams. Wish the Cloud Club was still there.

✵ Citicorp Center ✵

153 E 53rd St [Lexington Ave]

How does it stand up?

✵ Daily News Building ✵

220 E 42nd St [2nd Ave]

Great Caesar’s ghost! An Art Deco gem.

✵ General Electric Building ✵

570 Lexington Ave [51st St]

Ornate 50-story Art Deco-Gothic tower.

✵ Grand Central Terminal ✵

89 E 42nd St [Park Ave]


Another Beaux-Arts masterpiece. Ceiling, staircases, tiles, clock, Oyster Bar, all great.

✵ The Lever House ✵ 390 Park Ave [E 54th St]

Great example of modernism, but even better, it’s so fresh and so clean!

✵ Lipstick Building ✵ 885 3rd Ave [E 53rd St]

Philip Johnson does New York, deliriously (well).

✵ Seagram Building ✵ 375 Park Ave [E 53rd St]

Or, “how to be a modernist in 3 easy steps!”

✵ The Seven Year Itch ✵

E 52nd St & Lexington Ave

Marilyn Monroe’s lucky subway grate.

✵ St. Bartholomew’s Church ✵

325 Park Ave [E 51st St]


Brilliant Byzantine-style church with great dome, performances, etc.

✵ Sutton Place ✵ Sutton Pl b/n E 57th & E 59th St

Quiet, exclusive little lane for the rich and sometimes famous.

✵ Tudor City ✵ Tudor City Place [E 42nd St]

3000 apartments in “American” Tudor style. Hmmmm.

✵ United Nations ✵ 405 E 42nd St [1st Ave]


NYC is the capital of the planet. Just sayin’.

✵ Waldorf Astoria ✵ 301 Park Ave [E 49th St]


Great hotel, although the public spaces aren’t up to the Plaza’s.

image Coffee

✵ Aroma Espresso Bar ✵ 205 E 42nd St [3rd Ave]


The Israeli version of Starbucks comes stateside.

✵ Capital One 360 Café ✵ 968 3rd Ave [E 58th St]


Good coffee, inexpensive, clean and uncrowded.

✵ Cosi ✵ 60 E 56th St [Madison Ave]


✵ Ground Central ✵ 155 E 52nd St [3rd Ave]


Hip coffee shop in Midtown? How times have changed.

✵ Ground Central ✵ 800 2nd Ave [E 43rd St]


Pour-overs and boxes to go; open weekends, too.

✵ Joe The Art of Coffee ✵

44 Grand Central Terminal [Park Ave]


Located in the Graybar passage off Lexington Ave.

✵ Macchiato Espresso Bar ✵

141 E 44th St [Lexington Ave]


Nice coffee shop for this part of town.

image Farmers Markets

✵ Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Greenmarket ✵

E 47th St & 2nd Ave

Wed 8 am-4 pm, Year Round

The Oyster Bar should be on any New Yorker’s list of must eats. Aquavit’s Scandinavian Sunday buffet brunch is as amazing as it is expensive. Sakagura is a great option for Japanese and sake, while Sushi Yasada has the best raw fish in the city. For a classic NYC burger, PJ Clarke’s is a good bet.

image Nightlife

✵ Blarney Stone ✵ 710 3rd Ave [E 45th St]


The only bar in purgatory.

✵ The Campbell Apartment ✵

15 Vanderbilt Ave [E 42nd St]


Awesome space, awesomely snooty!

✵ Le Bateau Ivre ✵ 230 E 51st St [2nd Ave]


Open ‘til 4 am. French wine bar.

✵ Lips ✵ 227 E 56th St [3rd Ave]


Drag shows, bitchy bingo, fierce lip syncing, good campy fun.

✵ Midtown 1015 Sutton Place ✵

1015 2nd Ave [E 54th St]


Fabulous roofdeck makes it worth the climb.

✵ P.J. Clarke’s ✵ 915 3rd Ave [E 55th St]


Old-timey midtown pub with burgers, beers, and bankers.

✵ Sir Harry’s ✵ 301 Park Ave [E 49th St]


Nice little Art-Deco bar inside the Waldorf-Astoria. Bring $$$.

✵ Sofia Wine Bar & Cafe ✵

242 E 50th St [2nd Ave]


Italian wine bar, plus food goodies…

✵ The World Bar ✵

845 United Nations Plaza [E 46th St]


Expensive, classy hideaway for diplomats and Derek Jeter.

image Restaurants

✵ 99 Cents Fresh Pizza ✵ 151 E 43rd St [3rd Ave]

212-922-0257 $

Fresh slice of pizza for 99 cents. Deal of the century.

✵ Amma ✵ 246 E 51st St [3rd Ave]

212-644-8330 $$$$

Posh Indian worth the $$$. In Midtown, no less.

✵ Aquavit ✵ 65 E 55th St [Park Ave]

212-307-7311 $$$$$

Stellar dining experience: top-drawer Scandinavian.

✵ BLT Steak ✵ 106 E 57th St [Park Ave]

212-752-7470 $$$$$

Pricey and good, not great.

✵ Bottle & Bine ✵ 1085 2nd Ave [E 57th St]

212-888-7405 $$$$

Schmancy gastropub with great cocktails and beer selection.

✵ Chola ✵ 232 E 58th St [3rd Ave]

212-688-4619 $$$$

Pricey south Indian cuisine.

✵ Cipriani Dolci ✵ 87 E 42nd St [Park Ave]

212-973-0999 $$$

Eat with people richer than you on the West Balcony of Grand Central.

✵ Cipriani Le Specialità ✵

110 E 42nd St [Park Ave]

212-499-0599 $$$

Fancy, ya know.

✵ Comfort Diner ✵ 214 E 45th St [3rd Ave]

212-867-4555 $$

A hearty breakfast is served.

✵ Cosi ✵ 60 E 56th St [Madison Ave]

212-588-1225 $

Sandwiches for the masses.

✵ Dawat ✵ 210 E 58th St [3rd Ave]

212-355-7555 $$$$

Top-end Indian.

✵ Docks Oyster Bar ✵ 633 3rd Ave [E 40th St]

212-986-8080 $$$$

Great seafood, good atmosphere.

✵ Ess-A-Bagel ✵ 831 3rd Ave [E 51st St]

212-980-1010 $

Bagels with attitude.

✵ Felidia ✵ 243 E 58th St [3rd Ave]

212-758-1479 $$$$

Top Northern Italian.

✵ The Four Seasons ✵ 99 E 52nd St [Park Ave]

212-754-9494 $$$$$

Designer everything. Even the cotton candy.

✵ Grand Central Oyster Bar ✵

89 E 42nd St [Park Ave]

212-490-6650 $$$

Classic New York seafood joint. Go for the Saloon.

✵ Gulluoglu Baklava & Cafe ✵

982 2nd Ave [E 52nd St]

212-813-0500 $

Baklava airlifted from Istanbul.

✵ Hide-Chan Ramen ✵ 248 E 52nd St [2nd Ave]

212-813-1800 $$

This broth is porktastic.

✵ La Chine ✵ 540 Lexington Ave [E 49th St]

212-872-4913 $$$$

Four-star fancy Chinese at the Waldorf Astoria.

✵ La Fonda Del Sol ✵ E 44th St & Vanderbilt Ave

212-867-6767 $$$$

Excellent tapas in a semi-corporate setting.

✵ Le Bateau Ivre ✵ 230 E 51st St [2nd Ave]

212-583-0579 $$$

French, open ‘till 4 am.

✵ Le Relais De Venise L’Entrecote ✵

590 Lexington Ave [E 52nd St]

212-758-3989 $$$

Good steak frites and salad via Paris.

✵ Lexington Brass ✵

517 Lexington Ave [E 48th St]

212-392-5976 $$$

Gastropub grub and a stellar brunch, not bad for Midtown.

✵ Little Collins ✵ 667 Lexington Ave [E 56th St]

212-308-1969 $$

Excellent coffee shop with Aussie accents.

✵ Monkey Bar ✵ 60 E 54th St [Madison Ave]

212-288-1010 $$$$

Graydon Carter does Midtown with old-New York menu.

✵ New York Luncheonette ✵

135 E 50th St [Lexington Ave]

212-838-0165 $$

Diner where Obama lunched with Bloomy.

✵ Num Pang ✵ 140 E 41st St [Lexington Ave]

212-867-8889 $$

Not your average Cambodian midtown office sandwich.

✵ Opia ✵ 130 E 57th St [Lexington Ave]

212-688-3939 $$$$

Midtown spot for moules frites and steak au poivre.

✵ P.J. Clarke’s ✵ 915 3rd Ave [E 55th St]

212-317-1616 $$$

Pub grub. A fine burger.

✵ Palm One ✵ 837 2nd Ave [E 45th St]

212-687-2953 $$$$$

Steaks and chops. Go to Luger’s.

✵ Patroon ✵ 160 E 46th St [3rd Ave]

212-883-7373 $$$$$

An oasis of civility.

✵ Pershing Square ✵ 90 E 42nd St [Park Ave]

212-286-9600 $$$$

Excellent food and awesome space.

✵ Rosa Mexicano ✵ 1063 1st Ave [E 58th St]

212-753-7407 $$$$

Inventive Mexican. Great guac.

✵ Sakagura ✵ 211 E 43rd St [3rd Ave]

212-953-7253 $$$

Midtowners are very happy to have this excellent izakaya.

✵ Salvation Burger ✵ 230 E 51st St [2nd Ave]

646-277-2900 $$$

April Bloomfield “fast food”; inspired, brilliant, over the top.

✵ Shun Lee Palace ✵

155 E 55th St [Lexington Ave]

212-371-8844 $$$$$

Top-end Chinese.

✵ Sidecar at PJ Clarke’s ✵ 205 E 55th St [3rd Ave]

212-317-2044 $$$$$

P. J. Clarke’s quieter, more refined restaurant sibling.

✵ Smith & Wollensky ✵ 797 3rd Ave [E 49th St]

212-753-1530 $$$$$

Don’t order the fish.

✵ Soba Totto ✵ 211 E 43rd St [3rd Ave]

212-557-8200 $$$

Dig into noodles next to Japanese office workers. Top lunch deals.

✵ Sparks Steak House ✵ 210 E 46th St [3rd Ave]

212-687-4855 $$$$$

If you can’t go to Luger’s.

✵ Sushi Yasuda ✵ 204 E 43rd St [3rd Ave]

212-972-1001 $$$$

Best sushi in NYC. Let the debate begin…

✵ Taksim ✵ 1030 2nd Ave [E 54th St]

212-421-3004 $$$

All manner of Turkish delights.

✵ Yuva ✵ 230 E 58th St [3rd Ave]

212-339-0090 $$$$

Inventive new addition to upscale Indian row.

The Food Emporium under bridge is actually kind of cool and the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store has fun gift ideas. Sherry Lehmann has a ridiculous selection of fancy booze you can’t afford. And there’s a Home Depot in a basement on 59th Street? That’s just plain weird.

image Shopping

✵ Amish Market ✵ 240 E 45th St [3rd Ave]


Lots prepared foods. Do they deliver by horse and buggy?

✵ Apple Store (Grand Central) ✵

89 E 42nd St [Park Ave]


Because Grand Central needs more people.

✵ Architects & Designers Building ✵

150 E 58th St [Lexington Ave]


Over 200,000 sq. ft. of commercial and residential furnishings. Wow.

✵ Buttercup Bake Shop ✵

973 2nd Ave [E 52nd St]


Move over Magnolia. Buttercup’s all grown up.

✵ Cohen & Taliaferro ✵

59 E 54th St [Madison Ave]


Antique maps and rare travel books. Cool!

✵ Conrad’s Bike Shop ✵

25 Tudor City Pl [E 42nd St]


Good Euro bikes. Sweet logo.

✵ Crush Wine & Spirits ✵

153 E 57th St [Lexington Ave]


Stock up on booze to survive the walk through Midtown.

✵ Food Emporium ✵ 401 E 59th St [1st Ave]


Unique market design underneath the Queensboro Bridge.

✵ Grand Central Market ✵

87 E 42nd St [Park Ave]


Pick up fixings for a gourmet dinner before jumping on the train.

✵ Home Depot ✵ 980 3rd Ave [E 59th St]


Mega home improvement chain comes to the city.

✵ Ideal Cheese ✵ 942 1st Ave [E 52nd St]


All cheese is ideal.

✵ Innovative Audio Video ✵

150 E 58th St [Lexington Ave]


Quality music systems and home theaters.

✵ New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex & Store ✵ Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse [E 42nd St]


Specialty—NYC/transit books.

✵ Nicola’s Specialty Emporium ✵

997 1st Ave [E 55th St]


Italian brothers with top Italian goods.

✵ Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits ✵

505 Park Ave [E 59th St]


Wines and spirits for the connaisseur.

✵ Sports Authority ✵ 845 3rd Ave [E 51st St]


Sporting goods for the masses.

✵ United Nations Bookshop ✵

1st Ave & E 42nd St


The UN’s college bookstore: official reports, tchotchkes and T-shirts.

✵ Urbanspace Vanderbilt ✵

230 Park Ave [45th St]


The ultimate foodie court.

✵ Whole Foods ✵ 226 E 57th St [3rd Ave]


”Whole Paycheck” but great, fresh food.

✵ Yankees Clubhouse Shop ✵

110 E 59th St [Park Ave]


Any Yankee fan’s paradise.