Midtown is the iconic New York that everybody in the world has seen, even if they haven’t been: the New York of the movies, photos and magazines, home to the Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal and Times Square. It’s electric, sky-piercing and deeply historic. But what about the non-touristy places? The underground lunch counters, tiny jazz clubs, or a view of the entire city before the morning rush? We asked the concierge team at Kimpton Muse Hotel, as well as New York locals, to tell us their favorite neighborhood spots.
Taste the World In A Food Hall
Trust us, visit Grand Central Terminal on an empty stomach. Inside its Vanderbilt Hall, Danish chef Claus Meyer (and co-founder of noma) opened a 5,000-square-foot, Nordic-inspired food hall called Great Northern Food Hall.
- It joins several others throughout Midtown, including Urbanspace Vanderbilt, which has more than 20 popular counter-serve eateries serving up a slew of handheld delights: Roberta’s pizza, Hai Street Kitchen & Co. sushi burritos, and Sigmund’s gourmet pretzels to name a few.
- Over at Columbus Circle, Turnstyle is a 325-foot-long subway passageway (find it between 57th Street and 59th Street along 8th Avenue) filled with more foodie finds (and retail kiosks from local designers)
- The Pennsy – soaring above Penn Station – features high-end eateries from Mario Batali and Pat LaFrieda. Pennsy has indoor and outdoor spaces, and a lively craft cocktail bar.
Views From The Top
The key here is to experience one of those soul-stirring views, sans tourists en masse and long lines. Good thing we have two insider secrets:
- The Empire State Building has a new Sunrise Experience, where you can take in the famous 360-degree view from its 86th floor observatory, approximately 30 minutes before the published sunrise time. No more than 100 tickets are sold, so it’s exclusive.
- Better yet – soar above Manhattan, while drinking a Manhattan. The Press Lounge (on the roof of the Kimpton Ink48 Hotel) and The Skylark (atop a 30-floor Garment District building) both have high altitudes, creative cocktails and stylish crowds.
After Dark Tunes
- Live music in a little-known club is a quintessential New York experience. Catch one of these nightly live performances at Tomi Jazz, which recently received a hat tip from the New Yorker.
- Over at Mimi’s Piano Bar, a 74-year-old master of festivities who goes by Chicken Delicious and has been tickling the ivories for patrons (including Liza Minnelli) since ’96.
- And Bill’s Townhouse is a 1929-opened boxing-themed piano bar where every night except Sunday there’s a pianist turning out a mix of old standards and classic soul.
Where to Stay
When you get back from exploring the whirlwind of culture, art and entertainment that is New York, Kimpton Muse Hotel is an escape from the action right outside. Fresh from a complete renovation, rooms have new furnishings, black and white cityscape photographs and Carrera marble in the bathrooms. Some have glittering skyline views, a reminder that you’re just steps away from some of New York’s most iconic experiences.