Midtown South Central – New York, NY

Midtown South Central is a neighborhood designation that encapsulates pieces of Manhattan neighborhoods also known as the Flatiron District, Koreatown, Kips Bay, Gramercy and Union Square. Basically, Midtown South Central refers to the neighborhood located between 6th and 3rd Avenues and between 34th and 14th Streets. Right in the heart of Manhattan, Midtown South Central allows easy access to every part of New York City while providing a vibrant lifestyle to those fortunate enough to take advantage of the neighborhood's amenities. Because the neighborhood blends commercial enterprises and office buildings with residences, many locals are able to walk to work. Popular parks and entertainment options keep the area humming on nights and weekends, and great shopping close at hand makes life in Midtown South Central convenient and enjoyable.

Schools in Midtown South Central

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Restaurants & Nightlife

With Chelsea to the west and Midtown and the Theater District to the north, the Midtown South Central area of Manhattan finds itself surrounded by the heart of NYC's culinary action. Neighborhood boundaries are fluid in this part of town, so you may end up wandering into other communities to find just the right restaurant, or you may want to stick close to home to try one of these gems. Trendy but with a bit of vintage flair, ABC Kitchen serves as the perfect destination for date night, but be prepared for a bit of a wait due to the restaurant's popularity. Once seated, choose from yummy appetizers such as the crab toast or roast carrot and avocado salad, then follow it up with a Brussels sprouts and jalapeño pizza, lobster or crispy pork confit with bacon marmelade. The salted caramel ice cream wins raves from locals for dessert, and don't forget to stop by for a relaxing Sunday brunch. When on the go, try one of Midtown South Central's many food trucks on your street. From flavorful noodle dishes to scrumptious lamb gyros, these little carts scattered all over the sidewalks of the neighborhood and city in general serve up tasty and portable fare. For special occasions, make a reservation at Gramercy Tavern on 20th Street. The room feels fresh and stylish, missing the pretension of other high-end Manhattan restaurants. Locals rave about the perfect preparation of the fish and lamb as well as the smoked trout appetizer. If you can't decide and want a bite of everything, try the tasting menu with wine pairings. For dessert, order the blueberry corn ice cream sundae served with toffee popcorn or take advantage of your birthday to get a free slice of baked Alaskan birthday cake. For a place to have a few drinks with some friends, many options exist throughout the area. Butterfield 8 stands as a popular bar and restaurant with great drink specials. Celebrate your birthday here, and enjoy a complimentary open bar.

History & Culture

Midtown South Central blossomed as a commercial district known for toys and photography during the early 20th century. The first high-rise apartments in the neighborhood were built in the 1960s. The neighborhood continues to be commercially active, filled with publishing companies, advertising agencies and high-tech companies. In addition, Midtown South Central houses the NYU medical and dental schools, the Bellevue teaching hospital and the Manhattan VA. While most of Manhattan's great museums are a bit north, Midtown South Central features the free graphic design gallery hosted by AIGA. Also check out the free lectures at the Museum of Mathematics. Head to the Peoples Improv Theater for a fun Friday night, or prepare to be mesmerized by Fuerza Bruta, a combination of dance, circus and a rave that puts you in the center of the action. In July, head to 23rd Street to enjoy the Big Apple BBQ Block Party.

Transportation

NYC's excellent public transportation makes getting anywhere a breeze starting in Midtown South Central. The 4, 5, 6, B, D, F, L, M, N, Q and R subway lines run under the streets to take you to Brooklyn, the Bronx, the Financial District, Harlem, Queens and everywhere in between. Because crosstown and avenue buses tend to be slow in this area, many locals prefer to walk to their destination. As with all of Manhattan, you can find abundant taxis plying the major thoroughfares of Midtown South Central, while Uber and private car services are only a phone call away. Most locals don't bother to keep a car in the city because of the extreme expense of parking, with little public parking available, not to mention the difficulty of driving on many Manhattan streets. Keep your bike handy for recreational use, but only the best cyclists ride through Manhattan streets as part of their commute because of the congestion and, in winter, the weather.

Cost

With a cost of living that runs 16 percent above the average for NYC, not everyone can afford to live in the heart of the city in Midtown South Central. The average one-bedroom apartment runs $4,125 per month. While you can get around town using public transportation for an inexpensive $2.50 per ride or less if you use a MetroCard, you're going to have to pay 11 percent more than the national average for gasoline if you choose to keep a car in town. A beer on tap runs around $7 to $10, but if you aim for happy hour, you might be able to find a $5 bargain.

Shopping

If you're in the mood for high-end shopping, head straight up Fifth Avenue to the palatial department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue or Bergdorf Goodman. When you feel like sticking closer to home, Midtown South Central can oblige you. While you can find plenty of chain stores such as Macy's, and Lord & Taylor, be sure to also check out some of the shops that are unique to this neighborhood. Head to J.J. Hat Center on 5th Avenue for a vast array of vintage-style hats ranging from felt fedoras to tweed newsboys. With a knowledgeable staff offering custom fittings, this longstanding gem is worth visiting both for the selection and the high quality of service. At first glance, Fishs Eddy on Broadway looks like it wants to sell you New York tourist goodies. However, just step inside to find silverware, glassware, ceramics and table linens in every style, whether you're searching for a classic look or something a little more whimsical. During the holiday season, head south to the Union Square Holiday Market to discover a vast array of stalls and vendors featuring home decor, jewelry, clothing, artwork and accessories. Cross the names off your gift list while you sip some hot chocolate. If you come on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, you can also take advantage of the Union Square Greenmarket for all your fresh-produce needs. On a non-farmers-market day, locals in Midtown South Central shop at the Whole Foods on 7th Avenue, or they head to Avenue of the Americas near Madison Square Park to buy groceries at Fairway or Trader Joe's. The neighborhood is also home to several specialty grocers, like Sunrise Mart on E 41st Street, where you can find authentic Japanese prepared foods and ingredients.

Parks

While most New Yorkers head to Central Park to enjoy its vast spaces and many amenities, the Midtown South Central neighborhood provides its residents with several different free parks. Madison Square Park provides residents with an urban oasis and a sense of community. The dog runs let dog-owners gather together, and the many annual events, including the Big Apple BBQ and Madison Square Eats, bring out all the neighbors. The park features playgrounds for the kids, and on a sunny afternoon, you can join nannies pushing prams and students studying in the sunshine in line for a frozen custard or concrete at the world's first Shake Shack. In Union Square Park, you can find heated chess tournaments going on right next to Hare Krishna dancing, and it all just adds to the urban ambiance. Stop here when you need to run to Whole Foods to do some other shopping, or come here to walk your dog.
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