Midtown East is the stuff of New York stereotypes — soaring skyscrapers, taxi-clogged streets and lots of people in suits rushing along the sidewalks. Located between 42nd and 59th Streets, east of Fifth Avenue, Midtown East contains architectural landmarks, residential enclaves and plenty of retail therapy. But it’s business that keeps these blocks buzzing: Finance and real estate companies, advertising agencies and publishing houses occupy its office towers. Historic hotels and storied watering holes (many of them high-end) paired with the central Manhattan location, make Midtown East a convenient base for visitors, too.
Grand Central Terminal, completed in 1913, spans Park Avenue between 42nd and 44th Streets. After extensive restorations, the constellations on its celestial ceiling and central brass clock gleam again. Its marble staircases lead to a grab-and-go food court as well as sit-down restaurants, including the classic Oyster Bar. Tracks for the Metro-North Railroad and the 4, 5, 6, 7 and S subway lines converge here. The Art Deco Chrysler Building is one block east. Keep walking down 42nd Street towards the East River and you’ll reach the United Nations headquarters. Notable neighborhood churches include St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Madison Avenue (opened in 1879) and St. Bartholomew’s on Park Avenue (opened in 1835).
Tudor City, near the United Nations complex, was one of the world’s first residential skyscraper complexes. Public green spaces flank its nine high-rise apartment buildings, which were opened in 1932 and designated as a historic district in 1988. Further north, the early 20th-century apartment houses and regal 1920s townhouses of Sutton Place have attracted prominent residents over the years, including Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller, Mario Cuomo, I.M. Pei, Aristotle Onassis and Sigourney Weaver.
Midtown East is also home to several historic hotels — some reborn, others in need of some loving restoration. Big names include the Waldorf Astoria, the St. Regis and the Four Seasons New York. This is also where you’ll find Saks Fifth Avenue, the original Palm Restaurant, the Four Seasons restaurant (a classic power-lunch spot, which is not at the hotel of the same name) and P.J. Clarke’s saloon, which has been serving potent cocktails since 1884.