Walk in NYC # 7, Midtown from Grand Central to Union Park, is a 3 miles self-guided tour to see some Midtown iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Flatiron, and less known places that will make you a connoisseur of the neighborhood.
Count 2 hours of strolling and taking photos, more if you do all the visits.
Highlights: the Churches of the Savior and the Incarnation, the Scandinavian Institute, the Morgan Library, the Empire State Building, Koreantown, Greeley Park, the Fashion Institute, the Chelsea Hotel, the Ladies Mile, the Flatiron, the Math Museum, the ABC Stores, Madison Park, the Tibet House, the SGI Center, Union Park.
Metro: Grand Central, lines 4, 5, 6, 7 and S (departure) and Union Square, lines 4, 5, 6, and L (arrival).
Bus: use an app like Citymapper to find the best options with bus #, waiting time, list of stops, and where you are in the city once you’ve boarded. Your Metrocard or OMNY account will work and will be valid for transfers to the Metro and other buses. Express buses are more expensive but you can buy your ticket at the stop. The drivers are generally very helpful!
Good to know: you’ll easily find places to eat and sit. Restrooms, as always, are rarer, but there will be some in every building you can visit and in the parks.
A and B: Take Park Ave right in front of Grand Central’s main exit.
The Scandinavian Institute will be on your right after 38th St. You’ll find there food and local items to buy and, on the 2nd floor, a small art gallery dedicated to Scandinavian artists.
Opposite, the Church of the Savior has a beautiful figure of Christ behind the choir, looking like a Russian icon.
C: 37th St on your right will take you to the Morgan Library with its rare books and beautiful interior and exterior architecture. You’ll have to decide if you want to enter to see it and find out more about it, or keep it for another time.
In any case, turn to the 36th St on the left to go and admire the entrance to the Rotunda, then turn around to see in front of you, out of access but attractive, a kind of cloister that is probably part of the Church of the Incarnation.
The entrance of this church is on Madison Ave. Its stained glasses are the work of great masters of the Victorian era and are worth a look.
D: Continue on Madison Ave, then at 34th or 33rd St, turn right.
You did not see it before because it was hidden by the buildings around you, but suddenly it is here, in front of you and not far away, the Empire State Building.
You’ll also have to decide if you want to queue to climb to the top unless you already have your ticket, which would be much quicker.
Otherwise, just admire its art-deco architecture from the outside and in any case, take then 32nd St. on your right.
E: The ads on the facades will tell it right away, you are now in Koreantown with its shops and restaurants.
If you buy food here and continue to 6th Ave, you’ll find Greeley Park with its colorful tables and chairs in the middle of flowers, at least during spring. There will even be some restrooms!
F: Then take the 6th Ave on your left and follow it to 27th St.
You are in a quiet part of Midtown and it is an opportunity to see people of all kinds and stores catering to their needs. The 27th St. that you will take on the right has also surprising clothes shops.
You are far from what you’ll find in the exhibition halls of the Fashion Institute whose buildings you see in front of you, above the street, just after 7th Ave.
Its admission is free and it’s also a good time for a break before resuming your trek on 7th Ave to 23rd St.
G: Once at 23rd St., turn right to admire the façade of the Chelsea Hotel, and dream of the famous artists who resided there.
Then retrace your steps and cross the 7th Ave.
You are now in what was known as the Ladies Mile, a succession of large clothing stores whose only remains are the façades you can see between 7th Ave and 5th Ave.
They are all imposing and different, and announce the jewel of the neighborhood, the Flatiron, at the corner of 5th Ave and Madison Park.
H: If you’re a math lover, the Math Museum is on the 27th, along the park.
If you want to find a store with unique objects and furniture, a sort of Ali-Baba cave for the wealthy decorator, take Broadway and ABC Home will be on your left after the 19th St.
I: Otherwise stay on 5th Ave and take the 15th St. on your right: the Tibet House will be a little further with its free exhibitions to preserve and spread the culture of the country.
In the same street but this time going to Union Park, you’ll find another Buddhist institution, the SGI, where you will be directed to the 4th floor and its prayer hall.
If you have never heard Buddhist songs, this is the opportunity. You may even be lulled by the slow and repetitive pace, calm and soothing.
J: Then continue to Union Park, and the end of this trek, to go and sit on a bench to watch the diverse population passing through the square. Or contemplate the passing of time of the day, the one elapsed and the one remaining, which scrolls on an immense digital clock on your right (or on your left depending where you sit!).
If you now want to continue exploring Midtown, this time quite off the beaten track, take Walk in NYC # 8, Midtown East Side, it starts here.
Finally, there are more photos of New York City on Citywalks.space.
Before you go, don’t forget your guide and see how to thank him at the bottom of the page. Then enjoy the rest of your day!