Midtown Manhattan, or Midtown, represents the central lengthwise portion of the borough and island of Manhattan in New York City. Midtown is home to some of the city's most iconic buildings, including the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the headquarters of the United Nations, and it contains world-renowned commercial zones such as Rockefeller Center, Broadway, and Times Square. Along Manhattan's north-south long axis, Midtown Manhattan separates Lower Manhattan from Upper Manhattan.
Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the world and ranks among the most expensive and intensely used pieces of real estate in the world, and Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan commands the world's highest retail rents, at US$3,000 per square foot ($32,000/m2) in 2017. While Lower Manhattan is the main financial center, Midtown is the country's largest commercial, entertainment, and media center; Midtown Manhattan is also a growing financial center, second in importance in the United States only to Lower Manhattan's Financial District.
The majority of New York City's skyscrapers, including its tallest hotels and apartment towers, lie within Midtown. The area hosts commuters and residents working in its offices, hotels, and retail establishments; many tourists, visiting residents, and students populate the district. Times Square, iconic as the world's "heart" and its "Crossroads", is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. The Avenue of the Americas holds the headquarters of three of the four major U.S. television networks.
Geographically, the northern border of Midtown Manhattan is commonly defined to be 59th Street on Manhattan Island, and although its southern border is less clear, it is variously taken to be 34th Street, 23rd Street, or even 14th Street. Midtown spans the entire island of Manhattan along an east-west axis, being bounded by the East River on its east and the Hudson River to its west. The Encyclopedia of New York City defines Midtown as being from 34th Street to 59th Street and from 3rd Avenue to 8th Avenue.
In addition to its central business district, Midtown Manhattan encompasses many neighborhoods, including Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea on the West Side, and Murray Hill, Kips Bay, Turtle Bay, and Gramercy Park on the East Side. It is sometimes broken into "Midtown East" and "Midtown West", or north and south as in the New York City Police Department's Midtown North and Midtown South precincts.
Neighborhoods in the Midtown area include:
- Between 59th Street to the north and 42nd Street to the south, from west to east:
- Between 42nd Street north and around 34th Street, from west to east, and north to south:
- Between 34th Street and 23rd Street, from west to east:
- Between 23rd Street and 14th Street, going west to east and north to south:
Midtown is the original district in the United States to bear the name and included historical but now defunct neighborhoods such as the Ladies' Mile, along Fifth Avenue from 14th to 23rd Street; and the Tenderloin, from 23rd to 42nd Street and from Fifth Avenue to Seventh Avenue.
Important streets and thoroughfares:
Differing demarcations of Midtown Manhattan
The border of Midtown Manhattan is nebulous and further confused by the fact that the term "Midtown Manhattan" can be used to refer either to a district or a group of neighborhoods and districts in Manhattan:
- The area between 14th and 86th Streets includes roughly the center of Manhattan; however, the term Midtown Manhattan can also apply to the area between 31st Street and 59th Streets, although there are still office buildings south of 31st Street.
- The "Plaza District", a term used by Manhattan real estate professionals to denote the most expensive area of midtown from a commercial real estate perspective, lies between 42nd Street and 59th Street, from Third Avenue to Seventh Avenue, about a square kilometer or half a square mile.
- "Midtown South" can refer to the part of Midtown between 23rd Street and around 42nd Street (although its northern boundary is defined differently depending on the source).
- "Midtown West" can refer to the area between 34th and 59th Streets, and between 5th and 12th Avenues.
- "Midtown East" can refer to the area between 42nd and 59th Streets, and between 5th Avenue and the East River.
- In 1982, the City of New York identified the "Manhattan Core" as the area that includes some of the City’s most populous neighborhoods, major institutions, parks and transit hubs, and the City’s primary Central Business District (CBD), defined as Manhattan below 60th Street. The "Manhattan Core" includes some areas slightly further north of 86th Street in Manhattan, as well as the area below 14th Street; however, this definition is problematic because it ignores the fact that Manhattan has not one but two zones in which people do business within this area separated by a wide swath of low-rise (by New York City standards) residential development — there is Midtown (which is in Midtown Manhattan), and the Financial District, (also known simply as "Downtown" because of its location in Downtown Manhattan). In other sources these districts are referred to as separate central business districts.
The skyline of Midtown Manhattan
Western Midtown with a rainbow in the sky
Midtown Manhattan, along with Lower Manhattan, is one of the world's leading financial centers.
Midtown Manhattan is the country's largest central business district. It has the headquarters of major companies, including 4Kids Entertainment, Barnes & Noble, Bloomberg L.P., Ernst & Young, Calvin Klein, Cantor Fitzgerald, CBS Corporation, Citigroup, Colgate-Palmolive, Cushman & Wakefield, DC Comics, Deloitte, Duane Reade, Estée Lauder Companies, Foot Locker, Frederator Studios, JPMorgan Chase, Hess Corporation, Kroll Inc., L-3 Communications, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Marvel Entertainment, MetLife, MidOcean Partners, Morgan Stanley, NBC Universal, The New York Times Company, NexCen Brands, Pfizer, Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Incorporated (Saks Fifth Avenue), The Sharper Image, Simon & Schuster, Six Flags, TBWA Worldwide, Thomson Reuters, Time Warner, Time Warner Cable, Univision Communications, and Viacom. The New York Institute of Finance is located in Midtown Manhattan.
Foreign subsidiary operations
Haier operates its United States offices in the Haier Building at 1356 Broadway; the building used to be a building of the Greenwich Savings Bank. Haier held the opening ceremony on March 4, 2002. Sumitomo Corporation operates its New York Office, the headquarters of the corporation's United States operations, at 600 Third Avenue, 10016 in the Murray Hill neighborhood. El Al's North American headquarters are in Midtown. The Air France USA regional headquarters are in 125 West 55th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Hachette Book Group USA has its headquarters in 237 Park Avenue. In 1994 Alitalia considered moving its USA headquarters from Midtown to Lower Manhattan, but decided to keep the offices where they were at the last minute. Global Infrastructure Partners has an office in Midtown Manhattan.
Silicon Alley, the common metonym for the sphere encompassing the New York City metropolitan region's high tech industries, is based in Midtown Manhattan, specifically the Flatiron District. Supported by Manhattan's entrepreneurship ecosystem and venture capital investments, a number of start-ups in new media, telecommunications, digital media, software development, game design, financial technology (fintech), and other fields within information technology are based in Midtown. Prominent Silicon Alley companies in Midtown include AppNexus, Blue Apron, Gilt, Betterment, Oscar, SoFi, Rent the Runway, Warby Parker, and WeWork.
According to The Broadway League, shows on Broadway sold approximately US$1.27 billion worth of tickets in the 2013-2014 season, an increase of 11.4% from US$1.139 billion in the 2012-2013 season; attendance in 2013-2014 stood at 12.21 million, a 5.5% increase from the 2012-2013 season's 11.57 million.
Biotechnology is emerging in Midtown Manhattan, bolstered by the city's strength in academic scientific research and public and commercial financial support. By mid-2014, Accelerator, a biotech investment firm, had raised more than US$30 million from investors, including Eli Lilly and Company, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, for initial funding to create biotechnology startups at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, which encompasses more than 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2) on East 29th Street and promotes collaboration among scientists and entrepreneurs at the center and with nearby academic, medical, and research institutions. The New York City Economic Development Corporation's Early Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative and venture capital partners, including Celgene, General Electric Ventures, and Eli Lilly, committed a minimum of US$100 million to help launch 15 to 20 ventures in life sciences and biotechnology.
Former economic operations
American companies that used to have their headquarters in Midtown Manhattan include American Airlines, American Comics Group, American Overseas Airlines, Central Park Media, Eastern Airlines, GoodTimes Entertainment, LJN, NewKidCo, Pan American World Airways, Philip Morris Companies (now Altria Group), Trans Caribbean Airways, and Trans World Airlines.
Aer Lingus had its United States offices in Midtown. In 1997, Aer Lingus announced that it was moving its North American headquarters to Melville, New York, in Suffolk County (on Long Island).
Two campuses of the City University of New York (CUNY)—the doctorate-granting CUNY Graduate Center and the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College—are located in Midtown, while Baruch College, also of the City University of New York, is located in Midtown South.
New York City Department of Education public schools in Midtown Manhattan include Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School and Norman Thomas High School. Private schools include The Beekman School, Rebecca School, and a number of private language and music centers (e.g. Berlitz, American Language Communication Center, New York Language Center, Swan Music School, and the New York Youth Symphony).
The La Scuola d'Italia Guglielmo Marconi Italian international school will move to West Midtown in 2016.
In addition to its well-known Main Branch research library—now known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building—the New York Public Library operates the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th and Madison, the Mid-Manhattan Library at 455 Fifth Avenue (at 40th Street), the Grand Central Library on East 46th Street, and the 58th Street Branch Library at 127 East 58th Street, between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue.
Pennsylvania Station and Grand Central Terminal are major railroad stations located in Midtown Manhattan. The Port Authority Bus Terminal is also in Midtown.
The New York City Subway and MTA Regional Bus Operations each operate several routes that go through Midtown.
Government and infrastructure
Traffic congestion is common, especially for crosstown traffic. In 2011, a new system of traffic light control, known as "Midtown in Motion" was announced, with the aim of reducing traffic congestion. Approximately 750,000 vehicles enter Midtown Manhattan on a fall business day. According to the 2011 Traffic Data Report for New York State, 777,527 vehicles a day went through select toll facilities into Manhattan.
The United States Postal Service operates the James A. Farley Post Office, New York City's main post office, in Midtown Manhattan. The post office stopped 24-hour service beginning on May 9, 2009 due to decreasing mail traffic. The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, is located in the Rose Hill section of Midtown Manhattan. The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration operates its New York office on the 22nd floor at 135 West 50th Street.
The New York City Fire Department operates 12 firehouses, organized into three battalions in Midtown Manhattan.
Several countries, including Argentina, The Bahamas, People's Republic of China, Costa Rica, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, and Ukraine, have consulates-general in Midtown Manhattan accredited to the United States. In addition, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is in Midtown Manhattan.
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