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Flatiron Building
Flatiron Building

Gramercy and Flatiron guide: The best of the neighborhood

Find the best restaurants, events, bars, shops, attractions and things to do in Gramercy and Flatiron in Manhattan

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Taking its name from the distinctive wedge-shaped Flatiron Building, the Flatiron District extends from 14th to 30th Streets, between Sixth and Park Avenues. Initially, it was predominantly commercial, home to numerous toy manufacturers and photography studios. In the 19th century, the neighborhood went by the moniker of Ladies’ Mile, thanks to the ritzy department stores that lined Broadway and Sixth Avenue. These retail palaces attracted the “carriage trade,” wealthy women who bought the latest imported fashions and household goods. By 1914, most of the department stores had moved north, leaving their proud cast-iron buildings behind. By the turn of the millennium, many Internet start-ups had moved to the area, earning it the nickname “Silicon Alley.”

RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of things to do in Manhattan

The Gramercy neighborhood surrounds Gramercy Park—the tranquil, gated square at the bottom of Lexington Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets. A key to the secluded green space, which was developed in the 1830s to resemble a London square, is one of the most sought-after treasures in all the five boroughs. For the most part, only residents of the beautiful surrounding townhouses and apartment buildings have access to the park. But members of two private clubs—the Players Club and the National Arts Club—and guests of the exclusive Gramercy Park Hotel can also gain entry.

To find out more about things to do, see, eat and drink in Manhattan, and discover other neighborhoods in the area, visit our Manhattan borough guide.

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

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Flatiron

The beloved Bourke Street Bakery Sydney caf茅 that聽opened in 2004聽by聽Paul Allam and聽David McGuinness, debuts in NoMad with its first-ever New York expansion (the聽New York space is run by Allam and聽wife, Jessica Grynberg). Pastries and cakes include lemon curd tarts, carrot cake, ginger cr猫me br没l茅e, as well as New York-only treats like a PB & J roll. But their savory sausage rolls鈥攍amb and harissa, pork and fennel, as well as a vegetarian-friendly version made with eggplant, chickpea, feta and mint鈥攁re what they've come to be known for. Bourke Street Bakery offers daily bread specials made in-house such as a turmeric and black pepper sourdough. An all-day savory menu includes "Wilbur's Sandwich" (broccoli, fennel, and slow-roasted pork), "Muffaleta Sandwich" (salami, ham, mortadella, mozzarella, provolone and olive salad on ciabatta) and "The Grandma Sandwich" (roasted chicken, celeriac, walnuts and tarragon remoulade on sourdough) as well as a smashed avocado toast, toasts with spreads, a smoked salmon offering, among many, many others. A selection of biodynamic wines are also available for a sit-down drink.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Flatiron

Stefano Secchi knows Italy鈥檚 Emilia-Romagna region like few NYC chefs: He cooked at Osteria Francescana, rated the world鈥檚 top restaurant last year. At Rezd么ra, he offers up an impressive array of pastas, using quality cheeses and seasonal ingredients from farmers鈥 markets.

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  • Restaurants
  • Gramercy
  • price 3 of 4

Located on the ground floor of W New York 鈥 Union Square, Irvington offers a Mediterranean-influenced menu of New American classics highlighting fresh, locally-sourced ingredients from the neighboring Union Square Greenmarket. Irvington's seasonally-driven menu emphasizes locally-sourced ingredients and simple and straightforward presentations, featuring a variety of large format rotisserie-roasted meats and comforting dishes. Irvington features a rotating selection of cocktails, global wine offerings, small-batch spirits, and regionally brewed craft beers. Signature sips include refined twists on classic cocktails, in addition to bottled craft cocktails. Irvington also serves fresh cold-pressed juices and handcrafted coffee from local purveyors Liquiteria and Irving Farm Coffee Roasters.

  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Flatiron
  • price 3 of 4

Want to save 50% on your food bill here? Check out Time Out 'Table for Two':聽The Favorites Box Modern Greeks use the word meraki to describe something done with soul, creativity and love. Located in the Flatiron District, Merakia does just that with its stylish tribute to rustic Greek cooking in a space that looks like it was plucked right out of the Mediterranean. All the meats are cooked on the grill or spit-roasted to perfection, including marinated lamb, bone-in rib eye and porterhouse for two.

Attractions in Gramercy and Flatiron

Flatiron Building
  • Attractions
  • Monuments and memorials
  • Flatiron

RECOMMENDED: 50 best New York attractions This 21-story Beaux Arts edifice once dominated midtown. Although it鈥檚 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鈥攚ho captured it in an iconic shot in 1903鈥攚rote that it was 鈥渁 picture of a new America still in the making.鈥 Today, it鈥檚 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 鈥減oint鈥 offices (just over six feet wide at their narrowest), we suggest getting to work on the Great American Novel.

Madison Square Park
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Flatiron

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.

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Museum of Sex (MoSex)
  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • Flatiron
  • price 2 of 4

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鈥攂ut that doesn鈥檛 mean some content won鈥檛 shock the more buttoned-up visitor. On the ground floor, 鈥淎ction!,鈥 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鈥攔aunchy comic strips showing well-known characters like Donald Duck as you鈥檝e never seen them before鈥攁nd sex machines created by keen DIYers, such as the 鈥淢onkey Rocker,鈥 constructed from a dildo and excercise equipment (it inspired the device in the Coen brothers鈥 Burn After Reading). The spacious gift shop is stocked with books and arty sex toys, and aphrodisiac elixers are served in a new caf茅.

Union Square
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Union Square

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 鈥60s, it was a favorite spot for tub-thumping political oratory. Following 9/11, the park became a focal point for the city鈥檚 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

  • Restaurants
  • Gramercy

At this gorgeous new photography museum, head through an unmarked door in the lobby to find the adjoining cocktail bar. Once a cathedral, the lounge has the same Gilded-Age opulence as Stephen Starr's Ver艒nika restaurant. Unusually, you can grab drinks and bring them with you throughout the museum.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Flatiron
  • price 4 of 4

The T-shaped speakeasy beneath the Korean steakhouse Cote is dimly lit and all black but for the walls, which are adorned with vertical gardens, some set behind glass. It feels very reptile-house chic—you half expect to see a mounted placard delineating the origins of the poison dart frog. 

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Gramercy
  • price 2 of 4

It’s a scene straight out of Midnight in Paris: all golden-age yearning and space-time shuffling. This dapper Gramercy lounge, from Raines Law Room operators Alberto Benenati and Yves Jadot, is a railroad space divided into period-piece quarters, including a tufted Victorian parlor and an ashtray-dotted hooch den worthy of Don Draper. Spend an hour at this luxe oasis and you’ll completely lose track of time—no DeLorean required.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Flatiron
  • price 4 of 4

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?

Shops in Gramercy and Flatiron

  • Shopping
  • Flower shops
  • Flatiron
  • price 2 of 4

This shop makes beautiful gourmet baskets as well as custom sympathy designs. Some of the most popular flowers include the imperial purple orchid plant ($75) and the tall arrangement with bright flowers ($75). If you鈥檙e an orchid aficionado, there鈥檚 a bunch of options at that price, too.

  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Flatiron

The iconic open-air Chelsea flea, brought back from the dead by the team behind聽聽Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea,聽showcases聽40 veteran聽vendors selling mostly historic collectibles. If you love eclectic costume jewelry,聽quirky聽furniture, midcentury art and ceramics, records, antiques and art, and more,聽you鈥檒l spend hours combing for treasure here. Plus, you'll now be able to聽grab a rewarding snack on the way out from various聽Smorgasburg food vendors that will soon be revealed.聽

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  • Shopping
  • Gramercy
  • price 2 of 4

Photographers of all skill levels can geek out at this Gramercy spot. Just like the original West Village locale, NYC鈥檚 second Lomography Gallery Store features snapshot-covered walls and shills all the necessary tools for creating your own artistic pictures. Scour the welcoming space for inexpensive plastic cameras, including the Diana F+ ($95), a reproduction of a model from the 鈥60s; action samplers ($30), which take a series of four shots with each press of a button; and color-splash models ($85) that can tint your photos with vibrant hues. You鈥檒l also find accessories such as canvas shoulder bags with pockets for cameras ($65), T-shirts printed with Lomo graphics ($25) and books such as Don鈥檛 Think Just Shoot ($60), featuring photos taken with cameras sold at the shop. In addition to stocking film ($4鈥$10), the Gallery Store also develops it ($14鈥$30). Not sure what all the nondigital hubbub is all about? Attend one of the store鈥檚 frequent weekend workshops ($10) to learn how to use the funky cameras.

Paper Presentation
  • Shopping
  • Gifts and stationery
  • Flatiron
  • price 1 of 4

Stationers, brides and DIYers all flock to this warehouse-like standby for custom invites and supplies for creating their own. Grab boxed cards ($10鈥$40), individual sheets of paper in a rainbow of shades (from $1), glassine envelopes ($5鈥$16) and tags ($3 and up) from its well-rounded stock.

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