A Day in Midtown East/Turtle Bay

Focusing on Turtle Bay in our story of New York City’s Midtown East, you set off to discover the origins of the neighborhood’s name. In order to do so, you have to go back to the 17th Century. You learn that the Dutch settlers thought the cove near the East River resembled a knife or “deutal” in Dutch – which to many an ear sounded like Turtle. Turtle Bay’s rich history is one of a thriving shipbuilding area during the Civil War era. In the century that followed, the neighborhood was site of the famed New York Draft Riots. Today, the neighborhood is the business center of international importance.

New York Public Library’s Main Branch

A walk through the New York Public Library’s Main Branch is one of those amazing, affordable gems in New York City. The branch is a national landmark and it’s free of charge to visit and make your selections. The building’s rich architectural and interior design is vast, from sitting lion sculptures at the entrances to the library’s Rose Main Reading Room to countless others. You could spend hours exploring the ins and outs of this amazing structure. The library is also engraved into the cultural fabric. Most notably, the building was featured in the opening scenes of Ghostbusters, and in the sci fi flick The Day After Tomorrow.


Bryant Park

One of the biggest perks of living in Turtle Bay is being only footsteps from Bryant Park, one of the city’s most diverse greeneries. Your day instantly becomes that much better as you stroll around this famed landmark. During the summer, the Great Lawn acts as an open-air movie theater for the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, a tradition here since the early 1990’s. The event, sponsored by HBO, screens movies throughout the summer every Monday night. In the winter, the park becomes the Winter Village, completely transforming into a wonderland, replete with vendors and a pop-up restaurant. The Great Lawn becomes an ice skating rink. Regardless of season, take a peek at the many sculptures, like the Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain, and Le Carrousel.


United Nations Headquarters

One of the most important buildings in the entire world is just minutes from your newest apartment in Midtown East. The United Nations Building, located at 1st Avenue and 42nd Street, oversees the welfare of the nations around the world. The area is technically extraterritorial (not governed by the U.S. government). The UN building was erected in 1952 and split into four separate buildings: The Dag Hammarskjold Library, the Secretariat, the Conference Building and General Assembly Building (the last being the most recognizable of the four). The UN holds tours of the complex, which include views of the famed UN General Assembly hall.

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Grand Central Terminal

Quite possibly the grandest city landmark is in this very New York City neighborhood. Grand Central Terminal remains a favorite structure amongst tourists and residents alike. The train station has kept much of its original self since its opening in 1903, and is even considered one of the most majestic buildings of the 20th century. The main concourse and its vast ceilings with gigantic windows make this one of the most famous rooms in the country. But despite architectural beauty, there is so much more to Grand Central. You’ll find an Apple Store here, a shopping center, and an impressive food court. The famed Oyster Bar remains one of the most visited restaurants in the complex. Just outside of the Oyster Bar entrance is one of the terminal’s quirkiest attractions: the whisper hall (or the whispering arch). The ceilings of the hall, created by four archways, are curved in a way that allows for a unique vocal reverb. If you stand at one corner and speak softly upwards, towards the wall, the words will travel to the other corner and come out on the opposite end as though you were speaking in normal volume. Pretty cool sound focusing effect!


Pickler & Company

The morning eats are pretty impressive over at the Pickler & Company. The early morning spot is a high-end deli that focuses on organic and quality meats. You could create your own breakfast sandwiches or select some of the store’s signature mixtures such as avocado toast (avocado, sunflower seeds, red pepper flakes on multigrain) and the breakfast burrito (egg whites, cheddar, turkey bacon, cherry tomatoes on a wheat wrap).


The Smith

Finding the two best lunch spots in Turtle Bay is easy, given how they both happen to be dominant city chains. The Smith on 2nd Avenue has been one of the restaurant group’s most popular locations. The lunch menu at the American eatery features a massive raw bar. If you’re in the mood to share, The Deluxe is the way to go (you get oysters, clams, chilled strip, poached mussels, tuna poke and half lobster). If you are looking for something more hearty, go with the Cavatelli (10-hour braised short rib ragu and mascarpone). Nearby is also the super popular Dos Caminos Mexican eatery.

A Night in Midtown East/Turtle Bay


Smith & Wollensky

Unlike the lunch options, dinner choices get a little bit tricky, given how plentiful they are. There’s a seemingly endless array of quality restaurants to discover in the area – from the new to classic spots. For starters, the neighborhood is home to not one, not two, but three top-of-the-line steak houses. The first is the famed Smith & Wollensky, a no-frills steak house. The restaurant’s name, curiously, was picked at random, its owners going through a phone book and randomly picking names. The next two meat havens are Sparks Steak House and BLT Steak. If you are in the mood for Indian grub, hit up Mint, located in the luxurious San Carlos Hotel.


The Shakespeare

The nightlife is always bustling in Midtown East. The neighborhood is home to number of craft cocktail and beer spots. The first is The Shakespeare @ The William Hotel on 39th Street and Park Avenue. The British gastropub offers a large selection of hard-to-find British beers such as Ruddles County and Shakespeare Pale Ale. If you are in the mood for more European beers, your next stop should be the BXL Cafe. Inside the Belgian beer bar, you will feel like you are overseas – from the European style décor to the beer selection, the place is a true eye-popping and mouth-watering experience.

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PJ Clarke's

Finding the next spot for drinks could become a challenge. The bars around Midtown East are always busy and always great. The good news is that now that you have moved, you will have a chance to sample them each night. There’s the world-famous PJ Clarke's, widely considered the oldest bar/saloon in the city (it opened its doors to the public in 1884.) Then, you have a long line of Irish spots such as McFadden’s Saloon, Jameson’s, The Irish Exit, and The Stag’s Head. The most popular bar in the area is Turtle Bay NYC, a college bar that has a legendary following.

Words by Arte Vincent

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Erik Serras
Erik Serras
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Office: 718.840.2757
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