In the shadow of the skyscrapers of Midtown sit some of Manhattan's most colorful and vibrant neighborhoods. Busy Flatiron is one of the borough's most active shopping and entertainment districts, situated between Union Square and Madison Square Park, two of the most popular meeting places for Manhattanites. Just to the east is quiet Gramercy, a residential neighborhood centered around the park of the same name and holding some of the most pleasant streets in Manhattan. North of Madison Square Park, the bustle of Midtown spills over into this historic neighborhood, filled with shops and grand old buildings.
This area derives its name from two New York landmarks - the Gramercy Park and the Flatiron Building. The loosely-defined "Flatiron District" extends east from 6th Avenue and north of Union Square, centering on the famed Flatiron Building on 23rd Street. Tranquil, exclusive Gramercy Park is open only to immediate area residents, though the old brownstones surrounding the park and on Irving Place are some of Manhattan's most attractive streetscapes. Union Square was completely revitalized in the 1990s and is now one of the city's premier shopping, dining and entertainment districts. Toward the north is Kips Bay, an affluent residential neighborhood. There's also a sub-neighborhood comprising approximately 26th-29th Sts. on and around Lexington Av., which is nicknamed "Curry Hill," due to the agglomeration of Indian stores and restaurants there.
You can get in via many different subway lines. The 6 line runs under Park Avenue, stopping at 28th St., 23rd St., and 14th St./Union Square, with the 4 and 5 stopping at Union Square as well. The R and W lines run under Broadway, stopping at 28th St., 23rd St., and 14th St./Union Square, with the N and Q also stopping at Union Square. The F and M lines run under 6th Avenue, stopping at 14th St. and 23rd St. The L train runs under 14th St., stopping at 1st Av., 3rd Av., Union Square, and 6th Av. Additionally, PATH trains to Hoboken and Jersey City, New Jersey stop at 14th and 23rd Sts. on 6th Avenue. There are plenty of local buses, but they can be slow, especially on crosstown routes and on Park Av. South. Time allowing, walking is highly recommended.
- 1 Empire State Building, 350 5th Ave (at 34th St; Subway: to 34th St), ☏ . Daily 8AM-2AM. A legend from the moment it was finished in 1931, the Empire State Building was easily the tallest building not just in New York, but the entire world for many years before being overtaken by another New York landmark - the twin towers of the World Trade Center. With the destruction of those two buildings, the Empire State Building was once again the tallest building in the city, but that lasted less than eleven years. But even though it's no longer the tallest, it remains iconic and one of the city's biggest tourist attractions. Expect long lines, and a lot of them - you'll have to wait in line to pass through a security checkpoint, wait in line to get tickets, wait in line for the elevators, and then make your way through the crowd on the outdoor observation deck on the 86th floor. One way to deal with the lines is to buy an express line ticket, which will bring you to the front of any line, but it will more than double the cost of your ticket. Another option is to visit very early in the day or late in the evening, when the lines will be considerably shorter. Despite the long lines and inevitable tourist kitsch, the views are excellent and the experience of being outdoors on top of New York City is a great one. Hawkers outside the building may try to tell you there is a very long line inside and that they can get you tickets to cut the line for some exorbitant price; before believing them, go inside and check the actual wait time which is clearly written on the electronic boards. $32 adults, $29 seniors (62+), $26 children (6-12), free for military in full uniform/children under 6 (tickets to 102nd floor observatory are $20 extra; express line tickets also sold).
- 2 New York Public Library, 455 5th Ave (between 40th and 42nd Sts), ☏ . M Th-Sa 10AM-6PM, Tu W 10AM-7:30PM, closed Su. The main branch of the New York Public Library (the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building), this is the grand structure flanked by lions on both sides of the entrance. Inside you'll see impressive architecture, long hallways, and beautifully designed reading rooms. Free.
The Flatiron District contains three great examples of classic New York skyscrapers, all within a few blocks of one another:
- 3 Flatiron Building, 23rd St (Broadway and 5th Ave; Subway: to 23rd St). An iconic building, considered the oldest remaining skyscraper in Manhattan, the Flatiron was completed in 1902. 285 ft (87 m) tall.
- 4 Clock Tower Building (formerly Metropolitan Life Home Office building), 24th St and Madison Ave. A lovely building with a tall clock tower just across Madison Ave from Madison Square Park. The first 11 stories were completed in 1893, with the clock tower being added in 1909.
- 5 200 Fifth Avenue, 200 5th Ave (between 23rd and 24th Sts). This building, formerly part of the Toy Center, used to be connected to the formerly matching one that was between 24th and 25th Streets by a pedestrian bridge, by that building was torn down and substituted for with a new building in the 2010s. However, the remaining landmark building between 23rd and 24th Streets and 5th Avenue was built in 1909 and as of 2021 is occupied most prominently by Eataly, a large purveyor of foodstuffs that concentrates particularly on Italian foods that are imported or made on site.
Museums and galleries
- 6 Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, 28 East 20th St, ☏ . Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, closed Federal holidays. A designated National Historic Site, Roosevelt lived at this site from his birth in 1858 until the age of 14 years. The building is not the original - that was demolished in 1916 - but a reconstruction erected by admirers three years later in 1919 after Roosevelt's death, and subsequently furnished with many of the original fittings and memorabilia of the 26th U.S. President by Roosevelt's wife and sisters. $3 adults, children under 16 free, guided tours available.
- 7 Museum of Sex, 233 Fifth Ave (at 27th Street), ☏ . Su-F 11AM-6:30PM, Sa 11AM-8PM. $14.50.
- 8 National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), 11 East 26th St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10AM-5PM. $19 adults; $16 children 12 and under, students, seniors; infants under 2 free.
- 9 Union Square (Subway: to 14th St-Union Sq). An important and historic intersection in New York City, situated where Broadway and the Bowery came together in the early 19th century. Union Square Park (3.5 acres) is known for its impressive equestrian statue of George Washington, erected to Henry Kirke Brown's design in 1856. In April 1861, soon after the fall of Fort Sumter, Union Square was the site of a patriotic rally that is thought to have been the largest public gathering in North America up to that time. A newer addition, added in 1986, is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the southwest corner of the park. Union Square is also known for its Greenmarket and for its history as a focus for political demonstrations, including protests at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Union Square became a primary public gathering point for mourners and those seeking information about missing loved ones. People created spontaneous memorials in Union Square, and the square was the setting for vigils held to honor the victims of the attacks.
- 10 Madison Square Park (between 5th and Madison Avs. from 23rd to 26th Sts; Subway: to 23rd St). A lovely small park which offers beautiful views of the Flatiron, Clock Tower, 500 Fifth Avenue, and Empire State Buildings. There is also a popular Shake Shack kiosk that serves burgers and shakes in the southern end of the park.
- 11 Gramercy Park. A private park open only to immediate area residents and guests at hotels on the perimeter who have access to keys to the gate. However, anyone can walk around the park, look in through the fence and look at the beautiful old buildings across the street from it on every side.
- 12 Bryant Park, Main Library, 42nd St and 6th Ave (Subway: to 42nd St, to 5th Av), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Located behind the Main Library, this shady park is an excellent spot to relax and get some good views of the surrounding skyscrapers. The park has free wireless internet, a children's carousel, several food and drink kiosks, and seasonal shows such as Fashion Week.
- 1 People’s Improv Theater, 123 E 24th St, ☏ . Dedicated to the instruction, performance and development of original comedy. Wednesdays are free.
- 2 Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Pl (between 15th and 16th St), ☏ . A popular concert venue that regularly hosts rock and hip-hop concerts as well as the occasional comedy show.
- 3 Gramercy Theatre, 127 East 23rd Street (at Lexington Ave), ☏ . An old theater that now serves as a small rock concert venue.
- 1 ABC Carpet & Home, 888 Broadway (at 19th St). A sprawling NYC department store occupying two landmark buildings, it is considered by many to be an iconic institution in the Flatiron district of Manhattan. Its offerings include furniture, rugs, lighting and accessories.
- 2 Eataly, 200 5th Ave (corner of 23 St.). This is a branch of an Italian shopping center, which styles itself as a place to "savor high quality traditional Italian food products and beverages along with local produce and artisanal products." Many different products are for sale, including not only produce but cheese, wine, olive oil, and sweets, and there are also several places to eat hot food. Anyone who enjoys shopping or window-shopping for food-related products is likely to enjoy walking through.
- 3 Kalustyan's, 123 Lexington Av., ☏ , fax: . M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su holiday 11AM-7PM. Probably the most complete source for Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian foodstuffs in Manhattan, though some of the spices and such cost more than you'd pay at the smaller Dual in the East Village. While you're there, make sure to go upstairs and get some mujadara. Some of the other prepared products are just OK, but the mujadara is great. Eat in or take out.
- 4 Paragon Sports, 867 Broadway (at 18th St.), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 10AM - 8:30PM; Sa 10AM - 8PM; Su 11AM - 7PM. This is generally considered one of the better sporting goods stores in Manhattan. It's pretty large and has a lot of equipment you might want for your next trip. It pays to check whether anything is on sale. For example, there are often some good sales on hiking boots. The sales staff is generally helpful and will work with you to help you find what you want. They often recommend items they themselves use, and not the most expensive items.
In the low 30s near Herald Square is Koreatown, an emerging Little Korea of BBQ restaurants and Asian markets centered on 32nd St. between Madison Avenue and Broadway.
- 1 Ai Fiori, on the 2nd floor of the Langham Place Hotel, 400 5th Av. between 36th and 37th Sts. (By subway: to 34th St/Herald Sq), ☏ . Breakfast daily 7-10:30AM (limited menu in bar/lounge only Sa Su); lunch daily 11:45AM-2:30PM (limited menu in bar/lounge only Sa Su); dinner Su-Th 5:30-9:30PM, F Sa 5-10:30PM; bar menu Su-Th 5:30-11:30PM, F Sa 5PM-midnight. This Ligurian restaurant has delicious cocktails (the fiori d'arancia, made with Old Forester bourbon, is absolutely delightful) and equally fine food, made with the freshest, highest-quality ingredients and with some kind of pleasant surprise in every dish. And unlike most other New York restaurants, it has plenty of space between tables. It is expensive but worth the money. The room is large, so while reservations are recommended, this is one upscale restaurant where it's usually possible to reserve at short notice. Around $125/person for dinner, including drinks, tax, and tip.
- 2 Bryant Park Grill, 25 West 40th St (in Bryant Park), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 11:30AM-11PM daily. New American food in elegant dining room behind the public library, with a view over the park. $30 for mains.
- 3 Celsius, Bryant Park, ☏ . Indoor and outdoor seating in the winter overlooking the skating rink. Good food and service, a little pricey but reasonably for the location (open seasonally).
- 4 Cho Dang Gol, 55 W 35th St (between 5th and 6th Aves), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A slightly upscale Korean restaurant that specializes in dishes made with artisanal tofu, several varieties of which are made on premises. Lunch is cheaper (~$20) and more informal. Expect to pay about $30 for dinner.
- 5 Don's Bogam, 17 East 32nd St (between 5th and Madison Avs.), ☏ . noon-midnight every day. Pleasant restaurant with real decor and ambiance, specializing in Korean barbecue - especially meat marinated in hot sauce - among other things. Don's Bogam and Madangsui (see listing below) are widely considered to be the best Korean BBQ specialists in Manhattan. BBQ $26-30/portion; comes with generous and excellent banchan (complimentary side dishes).
- 6 Han Bat, 53 W 35th St (between 5th and 6th Aves), ☏ . Han Bat has the feel of a Korean diner, though with some surprisingly nice decor. Their forte is Hyaemul Dolsot Bibimbap (rice cooked in a stone pot with mixed seafood, herbs, Korean hot sauce, etc.). Some of their other dishes are very salty. Expect to pay around $20 for a hearty meal including 6 banchan (side dishes provided to diners for no additional charge).
- 7 Havana NY, 27 W 38th St (between 5th and 6th Aves), ☏ . Well-priced Cuban casual restaurant & bar for lunch and dinner. They serve a variety of daily specials, including Plantain Soup and Suckling Roast Pork.
- 8 Keens Steakhouse, 72 W 36th St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 11:45AM-10:30PM, Sa 5-10:30PM, Su 5-9PM. A New York chophouse with excellent steaks and great bar for pre & post dinner drinks or just drinks. Fine dining in comfortable surroundings. Founded in 1885, the restaurant has an interesting ceiling covered in 90,000 clay pipes which the customers used to smoke after dinner. Pipes were left at establishments, as they were too brittle to transport!
- 9 Madangsui, 35 W 35th St (between 5th and 6th Aves), ☏ . Serves Korean barbecue accompanied by a generous (8 dishes) and delectable banchan (complimentary side dishes), plus a bowl of dwenjang jigae (soupy stew made with fermented bean paste). According to some reports, it is no longer anything special.
- 10 2nd Ave Deli, 162 E 33rd St. (between Lexington and 3rd Avs.), ☏ . This famous kosher delicatessen, which used to be on 2nd Av. and 10th St., reopened at its new location a few years ago. The place is a real throwback, which really feels like an old-school Jewish deli. The menu is more extensive than old-school delis were, however, and includes what used to be considered "appetizing" (i.e., pareve - neither meat nor milk) foods. Try their tongue, corned beef, pastrami, and kasha varnishkes, and enjoy their freebies of artisanal cole slaw, pickles, and gribenes (chicken fat cracklings). The food may be bad for the heart, but it's good for the soul.
- 11 11 Madison Park, 11 Madison Av. (at 24 St.), ☏ . Has one of the most beautiful rooms of any restaurant in New York. Long well-liked for its upscale American cuisine and helpful service, it has in the last few years been graced with a new chef who has been getting rave reviews from many quarters. Call ahead for reservations.
- 12 Casa Mono, 52 Irving Pl, ☏ . A delightful Spanish wine bar and restaurant by Mario Batali. The food is smashing.
- 13 Dos Caminos, 373 Park Avenue South (between 26th and 27th Streets), ☏ . Su-Tu 11:30AM-10PM, W Th 11:30AM-11PM, F Sa 11:30AM-midnight. One of four up-market Mexican restaurants in Manhattan by the same name and under the same ownership (the other's are in SoHo, Chelsea, Midtown East) Sticky, saucy ribs and guacamole to die for.
- 14 Gramercy Tavern, 42 E. 20 St. (between Broadway and Park Av.), ☏ . Thought of as Danny Meyer's flagship restaurant, serves upscale American food at higher prices than 11 Madison Park. Expect to pay over $100/person for dinner in the main dining room. The tavern is more informal and more moderately priced. Gramercy Tavern is known as one of the more difficult reservations to obtain in Manhattan.
- 15 Penelope, 159 Lexington Ave (at East 30th Street), ☏ . Cafe/restaurant/bakery with a cozy, inviting atmosphere. Homestyle food and casual but friendly service. Inexpensive. Wine and beer served. Long lines for weekend brunch.
- 16 Saravanaas Bhavan, 81 Lexington Ave, ☏ . Excellent South Indian food at good prices. This is a vegetarian kosher restaurant and a branch of one in Chennai (Madras), India. Expect to wait a half hour or so on weekends.
- 17 Shake Shack, Madison Square Park (Subway: ), ☏ . Awesome roadside food stand in Madison Square Park serving hot dogs, burgers, frozen custard, beer, and wine. Though reputed for their burgers, they also serve what is widely regarded as the best Chicago-style hot dog in New York.
- 18 Union Square Café, 101 E 19th St, ☏ . Lunch M-Sa noon-2:15PM; dinner Su-Th 6-10:15PM, F Sa 6-11:15PM. One of New York's best-loved restaurants, serving great American and Italian cuisine with flair and crisp style. Osso buco, tuna burgers, roast vegetables and corn pudding are fine examples of the dishes created using the best local and seasonal produce from the café's neighbor, the Union Square Farmers' Market. Mains in excess of $30 average. Reservations recommended.
- 19 Vatan, 409 Third Ave (at 29th Street), ☏ . A prix-fixe vegetarian Indian restaurant with wonderful food. The decor is a little hokey, but the food makes it worthwhile.
- 1 Ginger Man, 11 E 36th St, ☏ , fax: . Sister bar to the Volcano (below). Larger bar with a broad selection of drinks that also serves bar food and snacks. Also an after-work crowd, this bar is also popular with your average Joes. Good place for groups.
- 1 Hotel 17, 225 E 17th St (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues), ☏ . Slightly north of East Village, a long stay hotel. Minimum stay 30 nights. $60–80 for shared bath rooms, $90–100 for private bath rooms..
- 2 Wolcott Hotel, 4 West 31st St, ☏ .
- 3 Americana Inn, 69 W 38th St (at 6th Ave), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Single, double, and triple-bed accommodations. From $70.
- 4 Hotel Deauville, 103 East 29th St, ☏ . Check-out: noon. Good price for the location. Family-run business, with friendly staff. Around $140.
- 5 Hotel 31, 120 East 31st St. 24-hour concierge, daily maid service, cable TV, telephone and helpful multilingual staff.
- 6 The MAve Hotel, 62 Madison Avenue (at 27th Street), ☏ . Comfortable, stylish place. This space was built in 1902 but still feels modern with vibrant murals on the walls and sleek bamboo floors. Offers a complimentary breakfast. Occasionally, Groupon has deals for this hotel. $170 and up depending on the season.
- 7 Hotel 373 Fifth Avenue, 373 5th Ave (at 35th St), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 8 Hotel Giraffe, 365 Park Avenue South, ☏ . Free high speed Wi-fi and complimentary refreshments in the Grande Lobby 24 hours a day including breakfast in the mornings and wine and cheese receptions in the evenings except for Sunday nights.
- 9 Hotel Chandler, 12 East 31st St, ☏ . Deluxe rooms on the edge of Koreatown. In-room high-speed internet. Health club, sauna and day spa. $250–500, though ask for deals.
- 10 Inn at Irving Place, 56 Irving Pl, ☏ . Near Gramercy Park, the inn, built in 1834, consists of two landmark townhouses.
- 11 Avalon Hotel, 16 E 32nd St, ☏ . Boutique hotel with roomy suites, close to the Empire State Building. $200-350.
- 12 Hotel Metro, 45 W 35th St. Complimentary continental breakfast or afternoon snack in the Metro Grill restaurant.
- 13 Hampton Inn Manhattan 35th Street/Empire State Building, 59 West 35th St, ☏ , fax: . A business-style hotel with modern and clean rooms. $200-350.
- 14 Bryant Park Hotel, W 40th St (between 5th and 6th Aves, on Bryant Park). Distinctive black brick and gold trim building. Amenities include deep soaking tubs, cashmere blankets, Pipino toiletries, Tibetan rugs in rooms. From $245.
|Routes through Gramercy Flatiron|
|Bronx ← Midtown ←||N S||→ East Village → Financial District|
|Long Island City, Queens ← Midtown ←||N S||→ Greenwich Village → Downtown Brooklyn|
|Theater District ← Midtown ←||N S||→ Greenwich Village → Downtown Brooklyn|
|END ← Chelsea/Greenwich Village ←||W E||→ Williamsburg, Brooklyn → East Brooklyn|