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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
  • 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Flatiron
  • price 3 of 4

Chef Junghyun Park鈥檚 array of modern Korean small plates are meant for sharing but it鈥檚 difficult to do when we want to fight over the last piece of fried chicken or the custardy egg with sea urchin.聽The minimalist dining room and friendly service set the perfect stage to experience Park's Korean-inspired dishes, each seemingly more creative than聽the previous dish.聽

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Flatiron
  • price 4 of 4

For the past nineteen years, there had been only one official chef change at any of Danny Meyer鈥檚 restaurants, and it was a success: The addition of chef Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park. Thus, the Gramercy Tavern handoff a few months ago, from founding chef Tom Colicchio to Michael Anthony (Blue Hill at Stone Barns), carries the rarity of a papal succession. Gramercy, after all, is the restaurant that transformed Meyer from a one-shop restaurateur to a full-blown impresario, made Colicchio a star and launched a citywide proliferation of casual yet upscale American eateries. On a recent visit, the place felt like a parallel-universe version of the old Gramercy: The farmhouse-style setting (a look that鈥檚 getting dated), with its decorative brambles, pinecones and intoxicating smell from the wood-burning oven, are all there. But Colicchio and his hearty, meat-heavy fare are not. In a significant shift, it鈥檚 delicate constructions of vegetables and fish that dominate now. The influence of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a restaurant given to ingredients-worship, is evident as soon as the first course (of the main dining room鈥檚 mandated $76 three-course prix fixe) is rolled out. The broccoli soup was a light broth poured over dried shiitakes, airy sweetbreads and a runny quail egg. Each element appeared to have been prepared with care, but the interplay among them did little to elevate the dish. Meanwhile, a shellfish ragout, with baby turnips and a bitter escarole sauce, was a punge

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Flatiron
  • price 3 of 4

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鈥檚 kitchen, Olvera鈥檚 menu is a masterpiece. Tacos make a solitary appearance, in an atypically generous portion of duck聽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聽uni. Those soft corn rounds accompany the cobia聽al pastor, a beautifully toned-down take on the original, with slips of delicate white fish whispered with聽pasilla, guajillo聽and tart pineapple sauce. And they鈥檙e there to cradle supple, roasted hunks of lobster聽pipil, nestled in a heady pool of black-bean鈥揷horizo puree. But it鈥檚 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鈥檚 status as not only one of the country鈥檚 premier haute-Mex ambassadors but also the corn whisperer of New York dining. And what damn fine dining it is.

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

Eataly
  • Shopping
  • Grocery stores
  • Flatiron
  • price 2 of 4

This massive food and drink complex from聽Oscar Farinetti聽is the largest Italian market in the world. The New York flagship takes inspiration from聽the first Eataly location, which opened in Torino, Italy, in 2007.聽The Eataly NYC Flatiron location聽sprawls 48,000-square-feet and is a maze of awe-inspiring聽aisle after aisle聽filled with hard-to-find, high-quality聽Italian聽produce聽and聽products, fresh counters, caf茅s and restaurants. It's a chance for New Yorkers to educate their tastebuds on the nuances of Italy's 20 regions.

  • 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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Academy Records
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Flatiron
  • price 1 of 4

The long-running New York institution鈥檚 flagship store, Academy Records and CDs鈥攏ext door to the tiny niche where it originated back in 鈥77鈥攂oasts the city鈥檚 best selection of used classical CDs and LPs, plus an impressive array of rock and jazz discs. (The store is connected in name to NYC's other two Academy Record locations, though those spots focus mainly on vinyl). Approachable help and knowledgeable buyers add to the overall experience. Plan to spend time鈥攁nd money鈥攁t both locations. 聽

  • Shopping
  • Thrift stores
  • Flatiron
  • price 1 of 4

Since 1997, this upscale secondhand store has been a socially-minded bargain hunter鈥檚 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鈥檒l 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鈥檙e 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鈥檙e a masochist, don鈥檛 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. 聽

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