Whenever I tell people that I live in Midtown Manhattan, their first reaction is a prolonged moment of silence in which they think they’ve misheard. Then they incredulously repeat and I confirm, yes, Midtown, so that I can be confronted with that familiar, judgmental face. Okay, so Midtown’s not a hipster haven (and after four years at Brown, a break is refreshing), but it’s not as ridiculous as people make it out to be – especially given the size of our apartment for the price. And we’ve got the best access to public transportation you could want.
Thus, I’ve been eager to write about the bright side to living in Midtown, because it’s more than hordes of tourists. And my mother coming to visit last week served as the perfect itinerary to Midtown living (especially since she was paying #brokepostgrad).
First off, we’re literally four blocks directly south of Central Park. Need I say more?
The MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is a casual five minute jaunt away, perfect for a spontaneous Friday night visit to check out the new Picasso sculpture exhibit…or a jam-packed weekend morning vying to snap a mother-daughter selfie in front of The Starry Night. There’s also MAD (Museum of Arts of Design), which is maybe not the spot one’s conservative-leaning mother would most enjoy, but definitely adds the slightest hipster credibility to Midtown. Plus, The Met, my favorite museum to ever museum. From Impressionist masterpieces to an extensive and wonderful Egyptology wing, there’s nothing more splendid in town. And while The Met isn’t technically Midtown, it’s the perfect distance for a solid walk to enjoy this fall weather during the next approximate week and a half because Winter Is Coming.
As a violinist and classical music groupie, living two blocks from Carnegie Hall is pretty much a dream come true – although I can admit that this probably means a lot, lot less to others in my generation. So, there’s also Times Square. Yes, Times Square itself is the worst place. But, it’s where to go for the biggest, baddest Broadway shows (let the one month Hamilton countdown begin). And buying discount tickets the day-of is a lot easier when it’s a ten-minute walk away.
Alright, there’s a lot of crappy places to eat in Midtown. You know the kind, that look nice on the outside to attract tourists and then are horrible dens of culinary sin on the inside since they don’t expect their clientele to ever return? However, there are a few keepers, although they tend to be on the pricier side.
First off, High Tea. This happens to be a mother-daughter tradition in my family, so what better luck than to live blocks from The Plaza Hotel and their fabulous, luxurious afternoon tea? It’s ridiculously expensive, so a definite parents-paying type of activity, but my childhood adoration for Eloise has now been most certainly fulfilled. Pro tip: smuggle the cotton candy home in your bag – not even The Plaza can make eating this messy treat classy.
Tisserie is a great cafe known for their empanadas (which are sold all day, and make for surprisingly delicious breakfast fare). They also happen to like infusing Nutella into pretty much every drink ever, which makes it my cafe soulmate. I’m so excited that I can now drink excessive amounts of Nutella hot chocolate. And when I need to go 100%-glutton, there’s Grom for overpriced but delicious gelato.
Finally, and I know this will receive infinite amounts of ridicule, but I love that Midtown is brimming with Dunkin’ Donuts. As a New Englander who grew up on this goddess and had been scarce to find them in Chicago, I’m overjoyed to have a cheap coffee (and doughnut, because let’s be real) outpost.