Often broken down into many micro-neighborhoods, Midtown Manhattan from its widest boundaries comprises the area between the Hudson and East Rivers, and from Central Park South down to 14th Street. Though constantly buzzing, this area is never more alive than it is during the holiday season. Below, we’ve mapped out just how you can maximize this neighborhood’s many offerings over the course of the next few exciting weeks.
1. Indulge in tradition
There’s a reason Midtown is so heavily populated by tourists; it’s the place to be! While you won’t be able to avoid crowds at some of these seasonal standouts, they’re definitely worth the trip. Ice skate at Rockefeller Center beside the spectacular 75-foot Christmas Tree, witness the historic ball drop on New Year’s Eve at Times Square; and satisfy your showtime fix by seeing a show or two on Broadway!
2. Take a break from holiday baking
Ice skating, listening to show tunes and carrying shopping bags can certainly work up the appetite. Your time in Midtown need not go without a good meal! Some neighborhood favorites include Sushi Ginza Onodera where two Michelin stars meet upscale Japanese cuisine, Ellen’s Stardust Diner where the waitstaff doubles as Broadway stars, Marea where high-end seafood meets housemade pastas, Benares where vegetarian dishes and Indian favorites abound and La Grenouille where French delicacies are presented as art.
Central Park South may only stretch three blocks, but the neighborhood never sees a shortage of activity. Extending from Columbus Circle to Fifth Avenue along the southern border of Central Park, the block is bordered on one side by the park’s plentiful trees and winding paths, and by the glamorous and busy buildings of the city on the other.
Aside from gorgeous views that the park offers with each changing season, the neighborhood is abuzz with renowned restaurants, architecturally ornate buildings and more. Check out some of its world-class destinations below!
For contemporary American fare and an inviting atmosphere, visit Sarabeth’s at one of its most well-known destinations. The neighborhood staple stands just across the street from Central Park; plan your morning, afternoon or evening around this bustling sidewalk café!
The highly-acclaimed Marea serves Chef Michael White’s fresh interpretation of coastal seafood. The menu is modeled off of a map of the sea, offering crudo, oysters, antipasti and the chef’s award-winning hand-made pastas. The restaurant is the recipient of two Michelin stars, the 2010 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant, three stars from The New York Times, and has been recognized by Bon Appetit, Esquire, GQ Magazines and Zagat.
An established staple to the art market since 1993, Galeries Bartoux promotes international contemporary artists and represents a varied collection of their works. The gallery also has locations in France and abroad, and showcases some of the best artwork from the 20th century to today.
No matter the season, Central Park stands as an outdoor oasis for all residents and visitors of the concrete jungle, with its blooming fields in the spring and ice skating rinks in the winter. Take a guided tour of its historic grounds, attend a Summer Stage concert or amble its winding paths at your own leisure!
Situated inside the renowned Plaza Hotel is a collection of some of the city’s finest shops, offering everything from perfume and jewelry to artwork and more. Browse for gifts, souvenirs and simple indulgences inside one of the world’s most famous hotels!
For over 26 years, Danielli Fine Jewelry has dazzled both locals and guests from abroad with its carefully curated selection of upscale exquisite jewelry. Offering a showcase of brilliant diamonds, gold, precious stones and pearls, this magnificent shop inside the JW Marriot Essex House Hotel presents personalized service to both jewelry novices and experienced collectors alike.
Situated on Central Park South, exhale New York stands as a spa sanctuary, yoga studio and workout space all in one. The schedule of classes includes Barre, Cardio, Yoga and HIIT, and the spa wing accommodates facials, massage, waxing, acupuncture, manicures and pedicures.
This private social athletic club was founded in 1866, and today upholds its inherent air of exclusivity, as membership is available by invitation only. Those of you with the lucky ticket can participate in the club’s many sports, including rowing, wrestling, fencing, judo, swimming, basketball, soccer, squash and more!
Ever so slowly but surely, the “Passive House” philosophy has worked its way into the forefront of the sustainability dialogue surrounding New York City real estate. The term stems from passivhaus, a German-born building standard designed to drastically reduce the energy usage of a given structure. Since the first successful retrofit of a Park Slope apartment to adhere to the standard in 2012, New York City has seen an increasing interest in the creation of larger, ground-up Passive House buildings.
What it is To achieve Passive House certification, a building must employ proper airtight insulation, eliminate thermal bridges, utilize Heat Recovery Ventilation systems, and include triple-paned windows. Experts also take into consideration the orientation of the building in order to maximize sunlight or shading potential. The ultimate result is a 90% decrease in heat energy usage and a 75% decrease in overall energy usage.
Ideally, in a temperate climate, a Passive House would eliminate the need for any heating or cooling system whatsoever. In New York however, small radiators and air conditioning units are typically included in the design plan – still yielding an ultimate reduction of overall energy usage by 75%, and a drastic reduction of energy costs as well.
Originally designed by Dr. Feist in Austria in 1991, the Passive House has since come a long way. Developers indicate that the cost of building in adherence to the sustainable standard has largely decreased since the Passivhaus Institut’s projection a few years ago, which was an added 6% of the average building cost. And, those who live in Passive House units overwhelmingly sing its praises: drastically lower energy costs, an impressively fresh air quality, and a consistent indoor temperature despite outdoor conditions. Plus, the ventilation system has proven to reduce allergies and asthmatic symptoms among those residents usually affected.
The Passive House in NYC
The first certified Passive House to come to New York was a retrofit in Brooklyn at 23 Park Place. Design firm Fabrica718 successfully renovated a 110-year-old brownstone to use 90% less heat energy. Dubbed “Tighthouse,” the airtight building’s drastic effect is visible through thermal photography.
The red glow of the neighboring buildings reveal heat leaking out of the windows and facades. Perfectly airtight and expertly insulated, the all-blue building lets nothing out.
In 2014, the first multi-family Passive House opened in Bushwick, designed by Chris Benedict. Standing at 424 Melrose Street, all twenty-four affordable units were designated for senior citizens.
The Future Now gaining more traction in the real estate market, the coming years will see increased Passive House ground-up development. PERCH Harlem, a 7-story, 40-unit building also designed by Chris Benedict, is nearing completion, racing (passively!) against the 6-unit 11 West 126th Street to gain the title of Manhattan’s first certified Passive House.
PERCH Harlem’s exterior will feature a mixture of glass squares and rectangular shapes strategically chosen to maximize the building’s solar gain. Smaller operable windows will allow for fresh air and gorgeous views of the George Washington Bridge and beyond. Inside, Me and General Design will outfit the residences with sustainable materials all around, from the 31% recycled wallpaper, triple pane windows, and individually-controlled energy-recovery ventilators.
Also on deck is a ground-up Passive House in Brooklyn, set to be the first NYC building to achieve both Passive House and Net-Zero capable certifications. The building has even a name sounding like a thing of the future – R-951. It will host three 1,500-square-foot units, each with their own private outdoor space.
On the grandest scale, another exciting development is Cornell University’s new campus tower for its applied sciences school on Roosevelt Island. In development by Hudson Companies, Cornell Tech, and Related Companies and due for completion in 2017, the 26-story, 270,000-square-foot tower will reign as the world’s tallest and largest Passive House. (The title is currently held by the 30-story Raiffeisenhaus Wien 2, a Vienna office tower completed back in 2012.) The Cornell building will house 530 students, faculty, and staff; using up to 70% less energy than typical high-rises. In line with ever-increasing technological advances, the projected extra cost of building the high-rise in adherence with Passive House standards is 2 to 3%.
With the debut of the New Year, Broadway is revving up for a busy season where we’ll be sure to see a lot of the Tony front runners vying for the coveted Best Play/Musical Award. This season, gear up to see powerhouse performers and classic revivals take the stage. Take a look at the top five shows we are most excited for in early 2017.
The Present Opening January 8 | Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett makes her Broadway debut in this adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s first play Platonov. The Present made its world premiere (with Blanchett at the helm) in 2016 at the Sydney Theatre Company to critical acclaim. Fun-fact: this production features actors all making their Broadway debut. The Present is set in post-Perestroika in the 1990s, where the widow, Anna Petrovna (Blanchett) is celebrating her birthday in an old country house. Platonov (AACTA Award winner Richard Ruxburgh) is in attendance with his wife, students and friends. Although everyone looks comfortable, unfinished business and regrets come boiling to the surface.
Sunset Boulevard Opening February 9 | Palace Theatre
The curtain is set to rise on faded silent film actress Norma Desmond once more, and better yet, heavily awarded Glenn Close (three Tony’s, six Oscar’s, and three Emmy’s) is set to reprise her role. With music by the incomparable Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sunset Boulevard is sure to be a masterpiece. Norma Desmond lives in a fantasy world with dreams of the spotlight again. When she meets struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis (Michael Xavier), she persuades him to work on her “masterpiece,” that is set to bring her back in front of the camera. Her delusions have dramatic consequences. You will not want to miss this revival!
The Glass Menagerie Opening March 9 | Belasco Theatre
Although this Tennessee Williams classic has been revived seven times previously (most recently in 2013), we are very excited for this new iteration. Starring the incomparable Sally Field, Broadway veteran Joe Mantello, and newcomers Madison Ferris and Finn Wittrock, this show is set to impress. The Glass Menagerie tells the story of a family crammed into a small apartment from the perspective of Tom, the older brother, as he recalls a night when a gentleman caller visited his sister and changed the Wingfield family forever.
Miss Saigon Opening March 23 | Broadway Theatre
One of the longest running musicals in Broadway history (ten years!) makes its epic return. With music by Les Miserables composer and lyricist (Schonberg & Boubil), the epic score will be performed by a similar cast who got remarkable reviews in London. Miss Saigon is based on the Puccini opera Madame Butterfly about a Vietnamese girl who is abandoned by an American GI during the Vietnam War and the beautifully tragic love-triangle that ensues in a war-torn country.
Amelie Opening April 4 | Walter Kerr Theatre
Tony nominee Phillipa Soo of Hamilton fame returns to Broadway as a shy, young waitress as she ventures through her version of gay Paree. Based on the whimsical French language masterpiece of the same name, we can’t wait to see how visionary director Pam MacKinnon creates this fantastical Paris. Amelie made its world premiere at the Berkeley Repertory in the Fall of 2015 and is currently playing at the Ahmanson in Los Angeles before gracing us with all of its glory.
If holiday indulgences have taken their toll and you are ready for a fresh start in 2017, look no further. Lucky for you, sticking to your New Year’s resolutions doesn’t have to be as painful as you might think. Today’s New York City has a plethora of healthy dining options that will leave you satisfied. Enjoy our five favorite health conscious dining options for 2017 here.
Brodo 200 First Avenue
Bone broth isn’t just a fad. The collagen found in this delicious broth is actually protein that will keep you full and satisfied all the while healing your gut, reducing inflammation, and promoting healthy bones and clear skin. Grab a steaming hot cup of broth from this take-out only spot and enjoy a healthy meal that will also warm your soul. For more information click here
The Little Beet 135 West 50th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
With a self-proclaimed “guilt free” menu and multiple locations around the city, you can count on the Little Beet for a meal that not only tastes good but is also good for you. Using only local, seasonal and natural ingredients, the Little Beet offers a menu that is gluten free, guilt free and readily accessible wherever in NYC you might be For more information and locations click here
Nix 72 University Place between 10th and 11th Streets
One of the newest additions to the health conscious dining scene, Nix is also one of the most impressive: the establishment has already been awarded a Michelin star. This veggie-centric menu is so well done that you’d never even know that you were dining at an entirely vegetarian restaurant. Combine the stellar menu with Nix’s noteworthy cocktail list and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a healthy date night. For more information click here
Divya’s Kitchen 25 First Avenue between First and Second Streets
Located within the Bhakti Center, Divya’s Kitchen serves a gluten-free, vegetarian menu that is based off of Aryuvedic healing principles. Opened with the intention of bringing a peaceful and wellness-oriented restaurant to the Downtown NYC dining scene, Divya’s Kitchen succeeds in doing just that. This spot is perfect for anyone looking for a healthful dining option that will nurture mind, body, and spirit. For more information click here
Rouge Tomate 126 West 18th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
You can count on Rouge Tomate for an elegant meal that is delicious and satisfying without leaving you in a gluttonous food coma. This health conscious establishment recently reopened its doors in a cozier, more rustic, downtown location. With a veggie-centric menu by a Michelin-starred chef, Rouge Tomate is an excellent choice for dining with a lovely atmosphere, great wine list and food specifically crafted to leave you feeling good. For more information click here
New Year’s Eve is a special night full memories of the year gone by and the promise of a fresh start on the horizon. No where in the world rings in the new year like New York, but Times Square isn’t the only place to celebrate.
For a more intimate celebration complete with an incredible meal and a great bottle of wine, book a table for one of these restaurants’ special celebrations. In the City That Never Sleeps, staying up until midnight to say hello to 2017 has never been easier — especially with a fine meal from one of the city’s best restaurants.
Located mere steps from the Times Square ball drop, Aureole is making the most of their location by hosting a Black and Gold New Year’s Eve Gala. Lobster with caviar, black truffle tortellini and a decadent ball-drop themed dessert are on the five-course menu. Reservations are required; book online.
2. The Garden at The Four Seasons
Enjoy a swank Roaring 20s soiree at TY Bar with a table that includes a bottle of Cristal, caviar service and assorted canapes and petits fours. Reserve tickets by phoning (844) 760-6347 or by email.
3. James Beard House
Chef Rob Nelson will cook up a Southern New Year’s Eve feast at the James Beard House. Highlights from the extensive menu include fig champagne cocktails, applewood-smoked GrassRoots pork belly and a midnight Champagne toast. Call (212) 627-2308 for reservations or book online.
A sleek location near the Museum of Art and design makes Robert a fine choice for a romantic New Year’s Eve dinner. The early seating offers a three-course prix fixe menu while the later seating provides four courses. The menu consists of seasonal specialties; the wine list includes no fewer than four types of Champagne. Reserve a table online.
5. Charlie Palmer at The Knick
For views of Times Square on the big night, Charlie Palmer at The Knick can’t be beat. The first seating menu features an appetizer, two courses and dessert; the second seating menu features the same meal with the additional of two more decadent courses. New Year’s reservations are not accepted online; call (212) 204-4983 to book a table.
Every two years, the City of Frankfurt, in conjunction with the German Architecture Museum, awards the International Highrise Award. Winners are chosen based on the structure’s exemplary sustainability, external shape, and internal spatial and social qualities.
What the Award Signifies
This prestigious award recognizes outstanding innovation in design and building technology, integration into the urban landscape, and functionality, sustainability and cost-effectiveness in the construction of tall buildings. It is unique because it acknowledges the collaboration between architects and developers that can result in outstanding modern buildings. It awards projects that are architectural achievements and also enhance the lives of the people in and around them.
2016 Award – VIA 57 West
The International Highrise Award has been bestowed seven times since 2004, and this year, New York’s residential high-rise VIA 57 West was the honored recipient.
This unusual “courtscraper,” envisioned by the architectural firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) and built by The Durst Organization, faced many site challenges.
To the west, the site is separated from the Hudson River by a multilane highway.
To the north, there’s a historical electricity plant.
To the south, a newly built waste-sorting center creates noise and odors.
To the east stands a conventional 130-meter-high residential tower, and its view of the Hudson River could not be obstructed.
The architects responded with a building that rises from three low corners to one high point, transitioning between the low-rise structures in the south and the high-rises in the north. Their solution to preserving the view of the nearby tower was to incorporate a courtyard that also brings afternoon sun deep into the building and extends the greenery of the adjacent Hudson River Park.
When presenting the award, architecture critic and curator Bart Lootsma described the foundational basis of BIG’s design this way: “The quality of the projects by Bjarke Ingels and BIG in large part does not stem from the way they look, but rather from how they are created and what they achieve.” The defining achievement of VIA 57 West is its unparalleled blending of a stunning high-density building with human elements that encourage interaction between residents and passersby.
All the world watches the festivities in Times Square to count down to the start of the new year. It’s one moment where everyone stops to check the time, but why is a lighted ball the designated timekeeper? The history of the New Year’s Eve celebration and the Times Square ball drop is a fascinating one, and the journey begins well before electricity lit up the city that never sleeps.
Timekeeping With a Ball Drop
The idea of dropping a ball as a marker of time actually began as a way to help ship captains set their clocks for their long journeys away from land, clocks and church bells. In England, a Royal Navy captain decided to drop a large red ball from the top of a mast in the harbor, thinking that all nearby ships could set their timepieces by observing it. It worked and became a valuable asset to sailors around the world in the 1830s.
The Times Square Ball Drop
Though New Yorkers began celebrating New Year’s Eve in the newly christened Times Square in 1904, the first ball wasn’t dropped to mark the occasion until 1907. The first illuminated ball, made of iron and wood, was a substitute for fireworks, which the city banned due to fire concerns. Its 100 25-watt lightbulbs were a glittering look at an electrifying future, and a tradition took root.
The New Year’s Eve Ball Through the Years
The original 1907 ball was replaced with a lighter model in 1920. This version eliminated the wood in favor of all wrought iron. The ball shed even more weight in 1955, when the first aluminum ball was dropped. In the 1980s, that aluminum ball was given a stem and red lights to look like the Big Apple. In the 1990s, the ball was given several makeovers with colored lights and rhinestones, but the aluminum ball was finally retired in 1998.
In the year 2000, Waterford Crystal and Phillips Electric paired up to design a crystal-encrusted ball to ring in the new millennium. Since then, the ball has been redesigned to use efficient LED lighting in a range of colors and designs.
Though the size, structure and look of the ball has changed, one thing has not: All eyes are on Times Square each Dec. 31, and New Yorkers show the world how to throw a truly spectacular celebration.
Living in New York City among some of the tallest skyscrapers can make a person feel small. It’s easy to forget that among these man-made canyons lies some of the most creative architecture in the world. Three architects in particular have designed buildings in New York that add a dash of modern flair and organic interest to the cityscape.
1. Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright began his career in Chicago and the Midwest, where he designed homes in the Prairie style, which celebrated indigenous American materials and worked to tie architecture into the landscape rather than to European traditions. As he aged, his work became increasingly experimental.
The capstone building of Wright’s career is the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum right here in Manhattan. Wright died before the completion of this modern wonder, a rising spiral gallery in which guests are treated to a building as beautiful as the artwork it holds. The privately owned Crimson Beech house is the only residence of Wright’s design built in New York City; it’s interior is not open to the public, but it can be viewed from the street on Staten Island.
2. Frank Gehry
Born in Toronto in 1929, Los Angeles-based architect Frank Gehry is perhaps the most famous living designer. He dropped out Harvard and moved to Southern California, where he designed homes in an increasingly radical Deconstructivist style. His buildings are known for demolishing architectural norms, such as right angles and straight lines, preferring instead to challenge the notion that form must follow function.
Gehry’s highly imaginative style can be seen all over Manhattan, most notably in the Issey Miyake flagship store, where the interior features Gehry’s signature shiny, undulating metallic panels. Gehry’s first skyscraper also resides in NYC at 8 Spruce St., where its wavering lines rise up from the street like smoke along its 76 stories.
3. David Childs
It’s hard to find an architect who’s more of a real New Yorker than David Childs. Though he was born in Princeton, N.J., in 1941, he spent most of his formative years in Bedford Village, N.Y. Today, he lives on the Upper West Side. As the chairman emeritus of the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, he has overseen many prominent buildings in New York, including the arrivals terminal at JFK and several buildings in Times Square.
It’s impossible to miss his biggest stamp on New York City, though: the Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center. This shining beacon — complete with a spire that rises to a symbolic 1,776 feet — is one of the most recognizable buildings in New York.
While many will argue Fall is when New York is at its best, November offers an exciting transition to Winter and the Holiday season. November events begin with a running start – The New York City Marathon will bring approximately 50,000 runners to the NYC Streets and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade never fails to deliver some of the most amazing floats and entertainment. We have picked our top five November events to enjoy this month.
1. NYC Marathon
With a route encompassing all five boroughs, the New York City Marathon has the distinction of being the largest on earth, and approximately 50,000 runners take on the 26.2-mile course annually. This year, the NYC Marathon will be on Sunday, November 6th. Runners will set off from the starting point approaching the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Staten Island between 9 and 11 a.m. As many as 2 million spectators line the route, so arrive early to get a good spot, and consider hanging out at the finish line in Central Park to see the runners finish.
2. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Besides turkey carving and football watching, there’s no Thanksgiving activity more traditional than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s been happening annually since 1924, and the best way to see it is live in Manhattan. The parade route starts at Central Park West and ends at Macy’s on Herald Square. Arrive before the start time of 9 a.m. on November 24th to get a good spot, and get ready to be mesmerized by the massive balloons and multicolored floats.
3. Radio City Christmas Spectacular
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a musical stage show featuring performances from the world-famous Radio City Rockettes. This family-friendly show was written by Doug Wright and Mark Waldrop, and it’s been going strong since 1933. As always, the Rockettes will be strutting their stuff at the Radio City Music Hall on Sixth Avenue. This year, shows are happening November 11th through January 2nd, so there are ample opportunities to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
4. Union Square Holiday Market
The Union Square Holiday Market is one of the world’s largest holiday markets, and it’s open November 17th through December 24th in 2016, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day. The market is located on the southern side of Union Square Park, and it’s the perfect place to pick up quirky souvenirs, artisanal gifts or a bite to eat. There are more than 100 booths to visit, so come by anytime between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays.
5. Ice Skating in Rockefeller Center
Featured in blockbuster movies and prime-time TV shows such as “Elf” and “30 Rock,” ice skating at Rockefeller Center is the quintessential holiday activity in NYC. The rink opened on October 8th to celebrate its 80th anniversary. No winter in New York is complete without visiting, so grab some skates and glide across the rink while enjoying amazing views of the city and world-famous Rockefeller Christmas tree.