This is part two of a two part post.
So in my previous post I talked about why I thought that visitors to NYC should limit their time in Times Square and Midtown. There’s a lot going on, but in my opinion, it doesn’t give a neighborhood vibe and doesn’t represent how New Yorkers really live. It’s all business and midtown and not the more laid back neighborhoods you’ll find in the rest of the city. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me tell you some great things that are in the Times Square and Midtown areas.
Location. A large majority of NYC hotels are located in Midtown and often have some of the best pricing. If you stay in a hotel in Midtown, chances are you can either walk or take a short taxi or subway ride to almost all of the major attractions in Midtown like Times Square, Broadway shows, Central Park, Empire State Building, several museums and Rockefeller Center.
Restaurants. One of my all time favorite spots to eat is a good red sauce Italian spot called Carmine’s. Let me tell you, they do not skimp on portions at Carmine’s! This place is perfect for families because the portions are big, the staff is friendly and the location is super convenient to Times Square. If you order a salad, it can easily feed a family of four. I feel sorry for anyone that goes on a date there with just two people. They’ll be taking almost all of it home with them! The place is incredible and I’d give it a big thumbs up.
Other than Carmine’s, there’s not many other great restaurants in the immediate radius of Times Square, however, if you walk just two avenues over, there’s lots of great restaurants and bar options on 9th Avenue between 42nd and 49th streets in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. There’s a ton of variety and that’s where a lot of locals that live in the area will go to eat vs. eating in Times Square.
Some restaurants on the nicer side that I really like are Polo Bar, Monkey Bar and Keen’s Steakhouse. If you want delicious Asian cuisine at amazing prices, be sure to look up X’ian Famous Foods. They have different locations around Manhattan but there’s a location on 45th Street just a short walk from Times Square.
Rooftop bars. Ideally you’d want to hit a lot of NYC’s rooftop bars in the Summer, but a lot of the rooftop bars are open year around and are enclosed to accommodate business no matter the weather. I couldn’t believe when I first moved to NYC in 2004 that there was hardly any rooftop bars to be had. It blew my mind! Well, now there are dozens, most of which are part of a hotel. Some of my favorite rooftop bars in Midtown are Refinery Rooftop, Archer Hotel, Moxy Hotel, The Press Lounge and Dream Hotel. There are lots more, but those are some of my favorites.
Lastly, I’d also recommend you check out Korea Town near the Empire State Building on 32nd street between Broadway and 5th Avenue. With so many great restaurants and bars, this is a fantastic area to have a lot of fun without having to bounce around the entire city. I recently went out there and had dinner, drinks and Karaoke all within 50 feel of each location. Just look for any place that’s busy and you really can’t go wrong. Families definitely partake in Korean BBQ and it’s fun to watch the food cook right in front of you.
So there’s my quick opinion on why Times Square and Midtown isn’t that bad. There’s a lot going on with lots of choices in a small area. Just don’t let Midtown fool you into thinking that Midtown represents the rest of NYC. It doesn’t. There’s so many terrific neighborhoods that you should definitely try to spend time in to get a real feel for what Manhattan is all about. Don’t be afraid to leave the tourist areas. You might discover your new favorite spot!