Map of Gramercy and Flatiron and travel information
The combined Gramercy and Flatiron neighborhoods lie east of Chelsea, running north from E 14th St to E 30th St between Fifth Ave and the East River (minus the chunk from 23rd St to 30th St between Lexington Ave and the river, known as Kips Bay). However, as with many NYC neighborhoods, the borders are disputed and evolving—NoMad is slowly catching on as the new name for the blocks north of Madison Square Park.
The area is served by the nexus of subway lines (L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6) that converge at 14th St–Union Sq station, offering a direct link to lower Manhattan, the Upper East Side, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx; there are further stops for the N, R and 6 at 23rd St and 28th St.
Restaurants in Gramercy and Flatiron
After briefly shuttering its doors and opening a pop-up in East Hampton, the world’s best restaurant (which closed immediately after winning the top spot) has returned. In addition to the pricey 8- to 10-course tasting menu in the dining room, you can now order a more affordable tasting menu at the bar, which also offers snacks and cocktails (or choose from its 20,000 bottles of 4,000 wines). The seasonal menu is packed with hyperminimalist treats, including two foie gras dishes and a smoked sturgeon cheesecake with caviar. Regulars of the previous iteration will be happy to know that its signature savory black-and-white cookies are back in town.
Enrique Olvera, the megawatt Mexico City talent behind Pujol (regularly ranked one of the 20 best restaurants in the world) made his stateside debut with Cosme, a bare-concrete Flatiron dining room slinging elegant, high-gear small plates. Pristine, pricey and as market-fresh as anything coming out of Thomas Keller’s kitchen, Olvera’s menu is a masterpiece. Tacos make a solitary appearance, in an atypically generous portion of duck carnitas, cooked to the sinful midpoint of unctuous fat and seared flesh. But his single-corn tortillas pop up frequently, from a complimentary starter of crackly blue-corn tortillas with chile-kicked pumpkin-seed butter to dense, crispy tostadas dabbed with bone-marrow salsa and creamy tongues of uni. Those soft corn rounds accompany the cobia al pastor, a beautifully toned-down take on the original, with slips of delicate white fish whispered with pasilla, guajillo and tart pineapple sauce. And they’re there to cradle supple, roasted hunks of lobster pipil, nestled in a heady pool of black-bean–chorizo puree. But it’s that face-melting, savory-sweet, Instagrammed-to-death husk meringue, with its fine, ash-dusted hull giving way to a velvety, supercharged corn mousse, that cements Olvera’s status as not only one of the country’s premier haute-Mex ambassadors but also the corn whisperer of New York dining. And what damn fine dining it is.
Chef Daniel Humm and William Guidara, the celebrated team behind Eleven Madison Park, turn the music up for their sophomore venture in the NoMad Hotel. Ditching EMP's tasting-menu-only format, Humm takes a more democratic approach with an à la carte menu of seasonal, French-inflected fare. The venue comprises five distinct spaces, all designed by Parisian architect Jacques Garcia: a dark-oak-clad dining room with heavy fabrics and an open hearth; a sunlit atrium with a pyramidal glass roof; a cozy fireplace room; a library for afternoon tea and evening nightcaps; and a cocktail lounge featuring a stately mahogany bar.
California cuisine has always been a curious thing. It’s local but globally inflected, lean but filling, as driven by its ingredients as by the chef seasoning them. The vague concept is more an aura than anything else—for a homegrown likeness, see the farm-to-table Brooklyn-eatery stereotype—a Golden State glow that radiates throughout Upland, a glossy tribute to chef Justin Smillie’s hometown nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. The big, buzzing room, where even food-world brass like Bobby Flay recently had to wait for a table, is damn near sunny on a drab stretch of Park Avenue South, a testament to designers Roman and Williams who, between this and the similarly luminous Lafayette, prove to have a gaffer’s eye for great lighting. That good-looking gleam extends to the copper shelves stocked with uplit wine bottles and jars of preserved Moroccan lemons, the green-leather banquettes that carve out the space, the lacquered ceilings and the illustrious diners sitting beneath them, suit jackets tossed behind their chairs as they tuck into pear-and-arugula pizza ($18) and crispy, yuzukosho-smacked duck wings ($17). Smillie’s cooking is fittingly vibrant, bridging those West Coast roots and the hearty Italian he dazzled New Yorkers with at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria. Torpedo beets with white chocolate ($13) and chili-zapped brussels sprouts ($11) tout to the former, but it’s the pizza and pastas here that act as ample reminders of Smillie’s italiano finesse.
Attractions in Gramercy and Flatiron
RECOMMENDED: 50 best New York attractions This 21-story Beaux Arts edifice once dominated midtown. Although it’s now dwarfed by other structures, when it debuted in 1902, the triangle-shaped monolith represented the threat and the thrill of modernity: Naysayers claimed it would never withstand the high winds plaguing 23rd Street, while revered photographer Alfred Stieglitz—who captured it in an iconic shot in 1903—wrote that it was “a picture of a new America still in the making.” Today, it’s possibly the least tourist-friendly New York landmark. The space above the ground-floor shops, occupied by publishing house Macmillan, is inaccessible to the public, but during office hours you can admire black-and-white photos and read a few panels on the history of the tower in its lobby. If you want to see the “point” offices (just over six feet wide at their narrowest), we suggest getting to work on the Great American Novel.
This public space was a highly desirable address when it opened in 1847, and is now a verdant oasis. It hosts a series of summer concerts, including the incredibly popular Mad. Sq. Kids series, which features some of the hottest bands in kids' music. The destination is also home to Shake Shack, a summer favorite (as evidenced by the shockingly long lines) for burgers, fries and, of course, shakes.
RECOMMENDED: Museum of Sex (MoSex) Situated in the former Tenderloin district, which bumped-and-grinded with dance halls and brothels in the 1800s, MoSex explores the subject within a cultural context—but that doesn’t mean some content won’t shock the more buttoned-up visitor. On the ground floor, “Action!,” which screens around 220 clips from more than 150 years of sex on film, includes explicit scenes from such (literally) seminal porn flicks as Deep Throat. Upstairs, highlights of the permanent collection range from the tastefully erotic to the outlandish. Cop a feel of one of the silicone Real Doll torsos. An 1890s anti-onanism device could be confused with the S&M gear, which includes a nine-foot steel-framed love pen donated by a local dominatrix. Also of note are the Depression-era Tijuana Bibles—raunchy comic strips showing well-known characters like Donald Duck as you’ve never seen them before—and sex machines created by keen DIYers, such as the “Monkey Rocker,” constructed from a dildo and excercise equipment (it inspired the device in the Coen brothers’ Burn After Reading). The spacious gift shop is stocked with books and arty sex toys, and aphrodisiac elixers are served in a new café.
RECOMMENDED: 50 best New York attractions This park is named after neither the Union of the Civil War nor the labor rallies that once took place here, but simply for the union of Broadway and Bowery Lane (now Fourth Avenue). Even so, it does have its radical roots: From the 1920s until the early ’60s, it was a favorite spot for tub-thumping political oratory. Following 9/11, the park became a focal point for the city’s outpouring of grief. These days you'll find the lively Greenmarket in warmer months, holiday shops in the winter and a summer concert series for kids.
Bars in Flatiron
There is no bar to belly up to at this louche lounge. Drinks are prepared in a beautiful but half-hidden back room surrounded by gleaming examples of every tool and gizmo a barkeep could wish for. From this gorgeous tableau comes an austere cocktail list, which includes classics like the Manhattan and Negroni, and variations thereof. The 10 Gallon Hat (mescal, ancho chile, lime and pineapple) smacks of a margarita with something fiery to celebrate. And the Pinoeer Spirit, a twist on the Old Fashioned (rye, apple brandy, orgeat), is so strong it could serve itself. Who needs a barstool anyway?
For the white-collared wayfarers wandering the streets north of Madison Square Park, NoMad is a depressingly apt name. Sure, the neighborhood has seen a much-welcome rise in upstanding restaurants, but finding an any-day gastropub that doesn’t reek of postgrad brewskies is harder to come by. Who better to fill the void than Daniel Humm, Will Guidara and Leo Robitschek, the James Beard Award–winning trio behind neighborhood stunners Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad, who expanded the latter to include this elegant saloon inside the NoMad hotel, teeming with lofty pub grub, digs worthy of 007… oh, and $198 cocktails.
Red leather booths, mahogany tables and globe-shaped lamps amp up the vintage vibe at this Art Deco space. Co-owner Julie Reiner’s notable mixology skills have made the bar a destination, and her Beijing Pitch (jasmine-infused vodka and white peach puree) is not to be missed. The 30-foot bar, built in 1927, stays packed well into the wee hours.
Amid the swank food sanctums sprouting around Park Avenue South, this classic tavern remains a shrine to unchanging values. Most old-time Old-Towners go for the much-praised burger, which we found in need of a little salt. For lightweights, there’s a smattering of salads and other sandwiches. Some things, however, do change. Bloomberg’s antismoking legislation has made the once befogged booths and long mahogany bar strangely haze-free.
Shops in Gramercy and Flatiron
This massive food and drink complex, from Joe and Lidia Bastianich is the largest Italian market in the world. The New York flagship takes inspiration from Oscar Farinetti's Eataly Torino Italy, which opened back in 2007, with a sprawling 48,000-square-feet maze of awe-inspiring stands filled with hard-to-find, high-quality produce, cafés and restaurants. It's a chance for New Yorkers to educate their tastebuds on the nuances of Italy's 20 regions.
Cooped up near the Cathedral of St. Sava, what was once The Antiques Garage, showcases 135 vendors selling mostly historic collectibles. If you love eclectic costume jewelry ($200–$2,000) and vintage press photos from the 1940s ($5–$800), you’ll spend hours combing for treasure here. FYI: There is a $1 entry fee.
Walking into this Flatiron spot feels as if you’ve just stumbled upon the best stall at the flea market. Worn-wood shelves support stack upon stack of assorted rainbow-colored dishes ($1–$17), mismatched vintage china ($5–$23), toile teapots ($15–$39) and other kitschy kitchenwares. The amazingly cheap price tags make it worth battling the often-pressing crowds to stock up on assorted flatware ($1–$6 each) and glassware, including oversize stemless martini glasses ($6), elegant champagne flutes ($8) and Italian-style painted wineglasses ($5). If you’re in need of a serious discount, plunder the sale section in the back for never-before-used castoffs from restaurant and hotel suppliers. But there are plenty of affordable, freshly minted kitchen goods too. Local-specific buys include platters printed with the Brooklyn skyline ($17–$25) and Floor Plan dinnerware (from $8 for a five-square-inch “studio” to $33 for a 12-by-16-inch “penthouse”).
Since 1997, this upscale secondhand store has been a socially-minded bargain hunter’s haven: Proceeds from the gently used designer samples and vintage treasures benefit the Lower East Side Service Center, a non-profit that assists individuals suffering from chemical dependencies, HIV/AIDS and mental illness. Angel Street receives new merchandise several times a day through donations from individuals and corporations, meaning you’ll stumble upon one-offs like a pair of never-before-worn J. Crew gingham capri pants ($15) as well as an entire rack of Anna Sui logo tees ($6 each) direct from the supplier. If you’re redecorating your apartment, make this your first stop: The furniture selection is especially strong, and can turn up a full-size foosball table ($300), ergonomic office chairs ($40), a sturdy wood table ($80) or a Rosenthal crystal centerpiece bowl ($100). Unless you’re a masochist, don’t bother peeking in the windows before entering: Prime finds like Knoll chairs and Lambertson Truex handbags are displayed behind glass for up to two weeks before going on sale, at which point shoppers queue in the early morning to snatch them up quicker than you spotted them.