Life in Our Neck of the Woods
Many tourists to New York will not purposefully venture into our neighborhood. It hasn’t been showcased in a television series or a movie. It doesn’t have a catchy name like Chelsea, The West Village, or Hell’s Kitchen. It’s not one of the well-known acronyms like UES, UWS, LES, FiDi…If you end up here, you will be in the heart of East Side residences, neighborhood restaurants, cafes, and bars, and a major hub of transportation via the East River ferries at 34th St., the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and the Grand Central Terminal at 42nd and Park.
Basics and Bros?
To be honest, I was nervous moving to this part of town. It’s definitely not dangerous or sketchy in the normal sense of those words. But, it is considered to be “basic” and full of a certain breed of newly graduated financial bros who value late night escapades and are not known for showing restraint or hearing the word, “no.” Our friends had warned us…We didn’t listen…
Would we be too old to like it here? Would we be able to put up with the harassment? Would we like any of the dining options if we’re surrounded by jerks?
I can say that I have been pleasantly surprised. I really love it here in my east-side neighborhood in the middle of Manhattan. Do the stereotypes exist for a reason? Maybe….to an extent.
COVID has changed the landscape of Manhattan immensely. Many of the Wall St. bros and basic girls have left town, yelling “New York is SO over!” as they pack their bags and head for the train stations. Good riddance to them.
At first glance, it seems to me, the further south you venture in these neighborhoods, the stronger the stereotype plays out. But, up here past 40th…I really don’t see it at all.
(*Disclaimer – I’m moving here from “Man Jose” and Silicon Valley Bros are quite possibly the worst of the breed. Maybe I just don’t see it as a problem anymore?? This is a possibility…*)
As dead as 5th Avenue, Times Square, and Midtown appear, if you walk just a few blocks east, you’ll see life again. Vibrant, yet careful, life. Restaurant owners have built-out gardens, shops are open, the streets are full, and New York holds onto it’s ever-spicy spirit.
What and Who is in Murray Hill, Tudor City, and Midtown East?
We proudly host the United Nations Headquarters, as well as many consulates. We have the East River Esplanade that provides a biking and walking path down the East River offering views of Queens and Brooklyn. We have Midtown’s Park Ave. We have the gorgeous Grand Central Terminal, which kicks Penn Station’s butt in every way (except with how to get to Jersey).
We are within easy walking distance to the shops on Madison and 5th, Central Park, The New York Public Library, and Bryant Park. We are one ferry stop away from The Upper East Side, Queens, Brooklyn, and Wall Street. We have some of the best Korean restaurants and shops in the city. We are in the middle of everything!
And, with a little bit of a walk, uptown and downtown are both doable within 30 minutes.
This neighborhood is full of upper-middle class New Yorkers. There are quite a few Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers. And, a very eclectic mix of ethnicities. The single ingredient that seems to hold it all together is a similar financial background. You won’t find discounted apartments or deals in this area. But, you also won’t find trust fund families and generational-based apartments overlooking the park. This is a hard-working, high-achieving, and upcoming part of town. And, I’m happy and thankful to be here.
And the FOOD!
Noah and I were thinking back about our first two months in the city this week. One of the questions that came up was about the food scene. Had we been anywhere that we needed to make a point not to go back? Was anything less than excellent? Honestly…no. It’s ALL been SO GOOD! Feast your eyes on some of the offerings, just in our neighborhood. Mexican at Sinigual, German at Bierhaus NYC, Irish at Rosie Dunn’s, Ice Cream and Boba at Surreal Creamery, Asian Fusion at Wagamama, burgers at Bravest, French at Château 49, pizza from Libretto’s, bagels from Ess-a-Bagel. It’s all nearby.
Should I Come to New York in 2020?
If you are living outside the Northeast, the answer is still, sadly, no. For more on this, check out our other posts on “Wandering and Wondering in NYC,” and “New York: Awakening from COVID-19 Slumber.” The quarantine mandates for most US states are getting stricter and stricter. New York seems to be under control (at this point). The government is doing their best to make sure it stays that way. With so many people living in such a close proximity, pandemics are especially lethal here.
Wait this one out…New York will still be here when the dust settles.
As always, don’t forget to Toast The Moon to all of your international travels by visiting our store, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and the ‘gram to catch all of our latest posts and adventures!
Stay in your region this year, stay safe, stay distant, and be like the NYC statues – wear your masks! We’ll see you on the other side.
Noah and Majhon