NYC Neighborhood Guide
Manhattan has been called the island at the center of the world. Midtown is the center of that center. We define Midtown as between Eighth and Lexington Avenues from 42 to 59 Streets. This bustling business and sightseeing zone includes Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, and Grand Central.
Office space for millions, Midtown is a tourist base for tens of millions more. Yet it’s also home to a select few. Midtown living rewards those with ultimate convenience, but won’t appeal to everyone. What it lacks in peace and quiet can be found nearby in a 843-acre backyard called Central Park.
🎯 Heart of the city
👔 Walk to work
🚇 Many subway lines
🌤 High-rise living
🌳 Walk to Central Park
👯♀️ Theater District
💎 Diamond District
Midtown Real Estate and Trends
It’s no surprise that a neighborhood known for skyscrapers is home to some of the tallest apartment buildings in the city. Most units in Midtown are in high rises with doormen and splendid amenities like gyms, pools, and rooftop gardens. Buildings tend to be pet friendly. You should have no trouble finding a welcoming place for your four-legged family members.
Midtown has some of the most expensive real estate in the world. One57 kicked off a trend of supertall condos rising like glass pencils 1,000 feet above the grid. The term Billionaires’ Row reflects the clientele for these ultra-luxury addresses on W 57 St.
Even in more modest buildings, expect to pay north of $2 million for two bedrooms. Rent is also sky high: That same space will cost $5,000+ a month. Surprisingly, the vacancy rate is also high with over a third of Midtown housing units sitting empty.
1 BD $921,000
Avg. sales price based on past transactions. Last updated: 2/18/21
Sidewalks are teeming with office workers and tourists. Those seeking a tighter-knit community should consider adjacent neighborhoods like Hell’s Kitchen and Midtown East.
—Robin, Localize real estate advisor
Transportation in Midtown
Subway – Just about every line passes through Midtown, spoiling you for choice. Commute downtown in under 15 minutes. East siders rely on express 4/5 trains on Lexington Av at 42 St (Grand Central) and 59 St. West siders hop on express A trains along 8 Av at 42 St and 59 St. In the center of the neighborhood, B/D/F/M trains stop at 42 St-Bryant Park and 47-50 Sts-Rockefeller Center.
Ten lines converge at 42 St-Times Square station, including the overlooked S train, a shuttle pinging between Times Square and Grand Central. The 7 train also stops laterally along 42 St on its way between Queens and Hudson Yards.
Bus – Dedicated lanes have made buses faster, but the subway is still more efficient. Every avenue except Broadway and Park has service; most avenues have multiple lines. The M42, M50, and M57 provide crosstown service along those streets.
Rail – Grand Central Terminal is like a cathedral for commuters. Metro-North trains serve the Bronx, Westchester, and upstate counties in New York, as well as Fairfield and New Haven Counties in Connecticut. North end access at 47 and 48 Sts is convenient especially in poor weather. (Insider tip: Only tourists and rookies call it Grand Central Station, which was demolished in 1910 and replaced with the current structure in 1913.)
Bike – Biking in traffic-clogged Midtown sounds like a trip to the ER, but low vehicle speed and bike lane improvements make cycling a safe way to zip across town. However, Manhattan’s core doesn’t have bike lanes on faster moving avenues. Unless you’re a death-defying bicycle courier, use protected lanes on 8 Av and Broadway on the west side and 1 Av and 2 Av on the east side. Citi Bike stations are plentiful, but their blue bikes may not be before 8 a.m., after 5 p.m., and on weekends.
Best Schools in Midtown
There are no schools in Midtown proper besides the small public Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts and the private St. Thomas Choir School. Success Academy Hell’s Kitchen (PK-4) is a public charter school on the West Side while Midtown East has PS 59 Beekman Hill International (PK-5). Both notch perfect scores on GreatSchools.org. Lack of nearby public schools may be less of an issue given how enrollment is changing.
Your Perfect Day: Things to Do in Midtown
Don’t let tourists have all the fun. Midtown residents enjoy home field advantage for world-class activities any time of year.
🖼 Feast your eyes on masters of modern art at MoMA—Dali, Kahlo, Picasso, Pollock, Van Gogh, Warhol—or gaze at the sculpture garden over a Michelin-starred meal at The Modern
🍴 Eat up Central Park views at Robert, a contemporary restaurant atop the Museum of Arts and Design overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park West
🧸 Shop like a kid (or for a kid) at legendary FAO Schwarz in Rockefeller Center; pairs magically with a skate ’round the rink under the famed Christmas tree
⛲️ Escape urban cacophony at Paley Park, a pocket-size oasis with outdoor seating and a soothing waterfall
💅🏻 Pamper yourself in the penthouse of the former Goodman family residence on Fifth Avenue, now a salon at Bergdorf Goodman, and enjoy afternoon tea at BG Restaurant
🎻 Make a date for Carnegie Hall, revered for its acoustics and the talented musicians who perform inside this red brick landmark
🎭 Score same-day discounts at TKTS and see a show on Broadway, although only four Broadway theaters (defined as having 500+ seats) have an address on the Great White Way
🌇 Behold the city’s glowing transformation from day to night at Top of the Rock, which savvy photographers know has the best 360-degree skyline views
🌃 Snap a selfie with the crown of the Chrysler Building over drinks Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel, a year-round rooftop cocktail lounge
Want to live in Midtown?