Midtown

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You've passed through Grand Central on your way to Westchester, and Times Square is a necessary evil that you grin and bear, but midtown—that sprawling, unsavory, tourist-ridden abyss—actually has its own appeal. Indulge in old New York glamour like the Waldrof-Astoria, find an off-the-beaten-path trattoria or bump into a member of Green Day on Broadway! And if you ever thought there was more to drab midtown office buildings than meets the eye, find proof at places like the Lever House, with sculptures by Jeff Koons sitting outside.

You've passed through Grand Central on your way to Westchester, and Times Square is a necessary evil that you grin and bear, but midtown—that sprawling, unsavory, tourist-ridden abyss—actually has its own appeal. Indulge in old New York glamour like the Waldrof-Astoria, find an off-the-beaten-path trattoria or bump into a member of Green Day on Broadway! And if you ever thought there was more to drab midtown office buildings than meets the eye, find proof at places like the Lever House, with sculptures by Jeff Koons sitting outside.

 

Michael Romei, chef concierge, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Waldorf Towers


"One of the little gems of the neighborhood is Greenacre Park, a tiny oasis with trickling waterfalls and beautifully landscaped shrubbery and flowers. It's connected to one of the Rockefeller wives, and it's such a peaceful corner."
Greenacre Park, 217 E 51st St between Second and Third Aves (212-838-0528)

"There's just nothing like midtown. Go to Rockefeller Center, look at the Channel Gardens—they change them often throughout the year—ride the elevator to the Top of the Rock, see the view from the 70th floor. Everything is right there in one spot; you really feel as though you're at the core of the city."
Rockefeller Center, 48th to 51st Sts between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212 332 6868, rockefellercenter.com) * Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, W 50th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-698-2000, topoftherocknyc.com)

"When I have guests whose children want to go to a playground, I direct them to the Katharine Hepburn Garden, which lies inside Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. It's an open garden with a snack bar, and in 1997 was dedicated to Katharine Hepburn, who lived nearby."
Katharine Hepburn Garden, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, E 47th St between First and Second Aves (nycgovparks.org)

"There's a great little Italian place called Aperitivo that I recommend to our celebrity guests when they want something low-profile. The pizza is wonderful, they have great wines, and they make a special dessert pizza with Nutella and powdered sugar."
Aperitivo, 780 Third Ave between 48th and 49th Sts (212-758-9402, orderaperitivo.com)

"One of my favorite spots is a dessert place called Dessert Delivery. It's owned by a husband and wife, and the desserts are luscious, delicious, simple and American. If you call, they bring it to you in 30 minutes. My favorite is the mini strawberry shortcake."
Dessert Delivery, 360 E 55th St between First and Second Aves (212-838-5411, dessertdeliveryny.com). Individual portion $5.50, small cake $28.

 

Laura Siroka, waitress, Sardi's


"My first day on the job at Sardi's, we're having a private party for a new show on Broadway, and Liza Minnelli walks through the door. In the past five years, I've gotten to see Whoopi Goldberg, George Clooney and Harry Potter—he did that show Equus a few blocks away."
, 234 W 44th St between Broadway and Eighth Ave (212-221-8440, sardis.com)

"My friends and I will head to Heartland Brewery, which has a really great after-work crowd. We like The Mean Fiddler, because all the bartenders and bouncers know us by name."
, 127 W 43rd St between Broadway and Sixth Ave (646-366-0235, heartlandbrewery.com) * The Mean Fiddler, 266 W 47th St between Broadway and Eighth Ave (212-354-2950, themeanfiddlernyc.com)

"Even though I'm not an actress, and don't work in theater, I love being surrounded by theater people all the time—especially the industry people who hang out in the bar."

"I passed Billie Joe from Green Day on Broadway once. He was very nice when the band would come in."

"It's so fun working in midtown. I've never woken up and not wanted to come to work. In June we had a private awards ceremony on the fourth floor. I look up, and Catherine Zeta-Jones is stepping out of the elevator. Then I see Denzel Washington coming up the stairs, and later on I waitressed for Lucy Liu."

 

Ian Dowding, sacristan, St. Patrick's Cathedral


"When I was looking for an apartment, I just walked up and down 57th Street, because I liked the way it looked. I passed a building and inquired with the doorman. He said there was something available on the eighth floor, and I took it."

"Once I find a place, I just keep going there for months. Right now my favorite is this little Italian place called Raffaele Ristorante. Raffaele knows me by name and always greets me when I go in. Order anything off the menu and it's great."
Raffaele Ristorante, 1055 First Ave between 57th and 58th Sts (212-750-3232)

"Most days I go out for lunch with friends, at places like Bistro Vendme and La Mangeoire. I make them come to my neighborhood. They always say, 'Are we ever going to leave your zip code?' "
Bistro Vendme, 405 E 58th St between First Ave and Sutton Pl (212-935-9100, bistrovendomenyc.com) * La Mangeoire 1008 Second Ave between 53rd and 54th Sts (212-759-7086, lamangeoire.com)

"I have two black cats, Cane and Mabel. I got them at the local Humane Society, which I always recommend to my friends who have pets. Go there if you want a pet, go there if your pets have health issues. After my neighbor spent $700 taking her cat to a regular animal hospital, I told my friend at the Humane Society about it and he said they only would have charged her $150."
Humane Society, 306 E 59th St at Second Ave (212-752-4840, humanesocietyny.org)

"There is this little strip on Sutton Place between East 53rd and East 54th that's a really nice spot. I go there to sit in the park and read my Kindle. I like it because no one bothers me. In general, New Yorkers are good about not talking to strangers on the street."

 

Matthew Semler, artistic director, the Roger Smith Hotel


"I love just sitting here on the northeast corner outside the gallery on 47th and Lexington and watching people walk by. You can learn so much. You're watching the whole world go by. Once, I sat out in the cold in February with a mechanical counter and counted 17,000 people passing through, which I think is a low number."

"Up here, we're in art-world Siberia! But there is an interest in reaching out to people who are looking at art with fresh eyes. Right around the corner is Japan Society, and they do great stuff. We're both aware of each other, and hoping to partner with them at some point."
Japan Society, 333 E 47th St between First and Second Aves (212-832-1155, japansociety.org)

"If you walk up Park Avenue, on the east side, there is a building called the Lever House. The lobby is a big glass box, and [outside there are] sculptures by Jeff Koons and Keith Haring. I don't know how they do it, or who pays for it, but it's awesome."
Lever House, 390 Park Ave at 53rd St (leverhouseartcollection.com)

"There's a [building] on Third Avenue with some cool, funky bench areas outside. Inside, the elevators are cased in Plexiglas, so you can see the wiring and inner workings of them. Then, walk through the revolving door on the left, and as you pass through, look to the right. Between the two revolving doors you'll find a box, and when you glimpse through a window in the box, you can see a tiny bronze nude."
747 Third Ave at 47th St

"Beekman Tower is the shit. There's usually a lounge piano player at the bar, and it's kind of seedy. But there are open terraces on the north and south ends of the 26th-floor bar—go out there with five or six friends and it's all yours. No one's going to bother you."
Beekman Tower, 3 Mitchell Pl between First Ave and Beekman Pl (212-355-7300, thebeekmanhotel.com)

"Once my friends and I were having drinks on the terrace at Beekman Tower, and we were watching a guy through his bedroom window in the next building, 300 yards away. We watched him kneel down beside his bed and start to pray. He couldn't see us, and had no idea we were watching him. When he finished, he turned the lights off and got into bed. But my friend started waving at him in bed, so he turned the lights on and waved back at us with a big smile on his face."

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Joan Brothers
Joan Brothers

The Sutton Area, is a lovely neighborhood with great restaurants and shopping. A great property highlight would be the Leslie House on 220 East 54th Street - Lovely 24 hour doorman, full service coop building in the East 50's - right in the heart of midtown next to all major transportation or a quick walk to work. You have the best of both worlds of being close to work or the subway (E,M, 6) and also the fantastic residential neighoborhood the building is located in. New. beautifully furnished Roofdeck, renovated lobby and hallways, Laundry in the basement, bike and storage room and garage in the basement. Building is kept immaculate. This is a coop - so board approval is required but is reasonable and the building does have a sublet policy. Pied a terres and parental assistance are allowed on an individual basis. No pets. Come see why everyone enjoys living at The Leslie House!