Midtown Manhattan contains the most popular tourist destinations in New York City and is the single busiest commercial district in the United States. This section of New York City includes the area between 14th Street and 59th Street from the East River to the Hudson River; the “heart” of Midtown is from 31st Street to 59th Street between Third and Ninth Avenues.
Manhattan was originally settled by the Lenape. In 1624, a permanent European presence settled on the island; one of the Dutch East India Company’s explorers, Henry Hudson, was the first to successfully map the region. The land was named Fort Amsterdam and the natives sold it for $24; 1625 is now recognized as the birth date of New York City. The British conquered the settlement in 1664 and renamed it “New York” after the English Duke of York. From January 11, 1785 to the Fall of 1788, New York City was one of the capitals of the country under the Articles of Confederation; New York was America’s fist capital city under our Declaration of Independence.
The nineteenth century population explosion made Midtown Manhattan the center of commerce for the entire area. During the Great Depression and between the World Wars, Midtown saw a lot of art deco buildings erected, in particular, the Empire State Building, which was the tallest building in the world at that time. Today, it is the tallest building in New York after the demise of the World Trade Centers, and the second tallest building in the country.
Today’s Midtown includes a variety of vibrant, eclectic neighborhoods: Gramercy, a relatively quiet area; Hell’s Kitchen, which figured prominently in New York City’s organized crime; Chelsea, a very gay-friendly area and a center of art and night life; Murray Hill, formerly a stiff and professional area, recently becoming a nightlife haven; Turtle Bay, where the UN Headquarters is located; Rockefeller Center, site of the famous Christmas tree, the Theatre District, famous for the many Broadway theatres in the area; the Meatpacking District, once an undesirable location is now one of the hottest nightclub spots in Manhattan; Koreatown, affectionately called “K-Town” by the locals; Times Square is one of the busiest tourist destinations in the entire world; the Garment District, the center for fashion design and manufacturing; and Herald Square, a hub for retail shopping.
Most of the famous New York City tourist attractions are located in Midtown Manhattan: The Museum of Modern Art, or the MoMA, is one of the foremost museums of modern art in the world. The largest gothic-style Catholic Church in the United States is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located on Madison Avenue. Nearby is high-end retailer Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store. Legendary concerts and sporting events happen nightly at Madison Square Garden. The New York Public Library, one of the world’s best research institutions, has various locations throughout Midtown. Midtown Manhattan is absolutely packed with restaurants, bars, and just about anything for individuals of all ages.
Midtown Manhattan is a bustling metropolis for both tourists and locals. It’s easy to navigate and you’re never far from a museum, world-class shopping and dining, or family attractions. Midtown offers a colorful, vibrant slice of New York life that you can’t afford to miss.