It's hard to come to New York without stepping foot in Midtown, especially if you're a business traveler. Many of the city's big hotels are located here, and it's home to the transportation hubs of Penn Station and Grand Central. Even if you're not staying in Midtown (and you may not want to), it's still worth a visit, as some of the city's top attractions can also be found here. (There are also some great restaurants--including Per Se and Aquavit, to name just two--especially if you've got an expense account.) Just watch where you're going, or proceed at your own risk--of being mowed down by taxi drivers and fast-walking businessmen on cell phones. Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers can be as nice as any other city-dwellers--just not when you get in their way!
From the United Nations to the east, to Broadway and Times Square in the west, Midtown Manhattan is home to a wide array of interesting destinations. Aside from the tourist magnets (the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral) and the shopping meccas (Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle), Midtown also has its more residential sub-neighborhoods, all of which have their own distinctive personalities. Murray Hill, on the east side from 42nd Street to 34th Street, is chock-full of young New Yorkers and the loud, lively bars and restaurants they frequent. The neighborhood is also home to an enclave of Indian restaurants, earning it the name "Curry Hill". Further north are the quieter Turtle Bay and Tudor City, near the United Nations headquarters, which house numerous international embassies and diplomatic types.
There's a completely different feel to Midtown West, especially Hell's Kitchen (34th to 59th Street, from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River) which is home to an array of great restaurants and bars and well worth a pre- or post-theater detour (especially when compared with the overpriced, underwhelming options available in the immediate Times Square/Theater District area). Go all the way (and it's a looong way) west and take a walk along the West Side Promenade. Then head down to Chelsea's newest destination, the High Line, or north to Central Park, where you can congratulate yourself on making it out of Midtown...
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