City Living: There's more in Midtown East than suits and high-rises
A buzzing commercial section, scores of shopping and a plethora of restaurants these images emerge in the minds of many when they hear Midtown East. But tucked in the on-the-go, vibrant hub, are a few smaller, attractive residential neighborhoods.
There is a strong residential community with a good residential feel even though its in the middle of Manhattan, said Sandro Sherrod, the chair of Community Board 6. There is a sense of community.
Its not all suits, office space, hotels and landmarks here.
Residential areas including Tudor city, Turtle Bay and Sutton Place thrive along the East River. They boast quiet side streets that coexist with buzzing main corridors like Second and Third Avenue.
Tudor City, made up of apartment complexes, is known as the first residential skyscraper complex in the world. It runs from 40th to 43rd streets between First and Second avenues and features the hidden gem of a green space, Tudor City Greens.
The Greens are a lush and quiet space ensconced in the looming residential and office towers that dominate the neighborhood. In 1988 it was designated a historic district by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Turtle Bay runs from 43rd to 53rd streets between Lexington Avenue and the East River. This old neighborhood had a bay where the United Nations Headquarters now stands.
According to the Turtle Bay Association, some historians attribute the name to an old turtle-filled creek, while others say it was more of a misuse of the Dutch word deutal, meaning bent blade, which describes the shape of the bay.
Sutton Place, known for its more upscale prices, is situated between 53rd to 59th Streets from Second Avenue to the East River. The Sutton Place Park, running along the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive from East 58th to East 51st streets, provides a mini escape for residents.
Its a very good place to live, Cindy Luzon, a resident who lives in Sutton Place, said of Midtown East. Its easy to get around; I could walk everywhere around here. And theres no shortage of places to eat.
According to Citi Habitats real estate agent Les Meyers, Midtown East offers a range of price points. A two-bedroom in the east 40th streets, he said, go for an average of $1.5 million. However, the same size apartment in a prestigious building in the area could sell for an average of $2.6 million.
Meyers said the main selling points that attract new residents to the area are its location and convenience.
Theres plenty to do here and you can get anywhere in the city in 15 minutes, he said.
Besides the residential portion, Midtown East sees a bulk of office workers and tourists shuffling through its streets by day. But at night, Meyer noted that after the tourists and workers are gone, the streets come alive with locals.
Famous landmarks like Grand Central Terminal, St. Patricks Cathedral, The United Nations, The New York Public Library, The Chrysler Building, and acclaimed regal hotels like the Waldorf Astoria and The New York Palace Hotel are within its boundaries.
A huge chunk of high-end retailers also call Midtown East home, from Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo to Chanel and Christian Dior. Fifth Avenue serves as the high-end retail mecca.
Midtown East is also home to the Decorative Arts District, where interior designers and decor wholesalers and retailers can be found along streets like 59th. Many showcase luxury kitchens, bathrooms and lighting options for the home.
Though attractive for a multitude of reasons, Sherrod cites some challenges to the neighborhood to include congestion and noise. Luzon said its the lack of a Second Avenue subway to ease the overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue 4, 5, 6 line.
We have been working and trying to identify points of congestion both vehicular and train and bike safety with the DOT, and in different cases with the MTA, Sherrod said. We field noise complaints by the folks who live near or along Third Avenue in East 50s where a string of bars and restaurants can be loud at night.
He said the board is working with residents and business owners to make sure everyone can coexist peacefully.
But besides the occasional drawback, Meyers said new developments like The Halcyon, a luxury building at 305 E. 51st St., are bringing in more residents.
Theres certainly a lot of very fine dining and a lot of history, he said of Midtown East. Its becoming an area that more people are choosing to live in.
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