With the glittering neon signs of Times Square and throngs of tourists on the sidewalks, there’s no better example of ‘bright lights, big city’ than Midtown south of Central Park.
New York City’s grand hotels – the Plaza, the Ritz Carlton, the Pierre – sit just above 5th Avenue’s stretch of major retail flagship stores. The lights of Broadway theaters flash alongside those of comedy clubs. Transit hubs like the Port Authority and Pennsylvania Station unload thousands of commuters and tourists onto the busy streets. Madison Square Garden hosts nightly sold-out sporting and music events.
Truly the center of everything, this is the New York that newcomers and longtime residents alike have read about and seen on screen for years. What surprises many is just how liveable this area has become. Catering to those who not only work but live in the neighborhood, full-service buildings have been cropping up, and the congested streets are notably quieter the closer one gets to Central Park.
Close to everything Manhattan is best known for, the Theater District is not just for tourists anymore.
It’s well worth it to brave the crowds of tourists and marvel at the neon lights of this definitive New York City landmark. Once you escape onto the side streets, you’ll find Broadway’s historic theaters keeping the art of performance alive every evening, legendary musicals side by side with plays starring Hollywood celebrities eager to prove their thespian mettle.Times Square Alliance
Away from the chain restaurants of Times Square, even Midtown has its share of ‘only in New York’ gems. This authentically Russian establishment - co-owned by legendary ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov - hosts merry crowds of locals, tourists, expats, and a post-show clientele of not only audiences but actors, who will often pop in from a nearby theater for a post-performance nightcap (the Samovar makes dozens of house-infused vodkas, from the traditional cranberry to more adventurous flavors like horseradish).Russian Samovar
Tucked unassumingly into a quiet, office-lined block is one of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants. Chef Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin - one of only a handful of restaurants in the United States to hold three Michelin stars - offers refined service and an impeccable, seafood-focused menu for a profoundly elegant dining experience.Le Bernardin
Across from the Southwest corner of Central Park, this treasure chest of a store is really more gallery than shop; the opulent selection of antique jewelry and decorative objects has a Russian focus, with a notable collection of Faberge eggs.A La Vieille Russie