Midtown is not my favourite part of the city – by far not. It’s too busy, too loud, too expensive, too touristy, too … so many things. But there are several sights I really like (just like the other tourists!) so I always spend at least half a day there.
My first stop is always Grand Central, a train station so beautiful it still takes my breath away whenever I walk into the main hall.
After leaving Grand Central you’re right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Midtown. My next stop is usually the NY Public Library, which – just as Grand Central – is an unbelievably beautiful building. This year I went to see the Rose Reading Room again, which has just reopened after a major renovation in the past 2 years.
After my visit to the NYPL I like to walk over to Bryant Park for a coffee or a snack and some relaxing down time.
Afterwards I took the subway over to the Museum of Natural History stop at 86th street to walk into Central Park from the Upper West Side. If you’re keen on more sightseeing after Bryant Park, walking up 5th Avenue is the best thing to do: it leads you along all the fancy shops and department stores and sights like the Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. At 5th Avenue and 59th street you can walk into Central Park, starting at its south east corner at the Pond.
Coming from the UWS I walked over the Oak Bridge, along the Lake and through the Ramble over to the Shakespeare Gardens and the Belvedere Castle. Then I headed to the Great Lawn for some hours in the sun and some reading. If you wanna explore more: here’s a list of 15 things to do and see in Central Park.
After five pm I walked over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I planned my day in Midtown for a Friday because I wanted to visit the Museum for MetFridays, when there are concerts, DJs, workshops and much more.
I love the whole museum because it has so much to offer but my favourite spot there is the rooftop garden:
This year Adrián Villar Rojas “The Theater of Disappearance” is on view (until late October) which is absolutely breathtaking! It’s a site-specific installation of statues and long all-white dinner tables featuring replicas of about hundred pieces from the museum’s collection. This installation combined with the view over Central Park to the Midtown Manhattan skyline was absolutely mesmerizing, especially after sunset.
The Met stays open until 9 pm on Fridays so you can have a drink on the roof while watching the sunset. The groups of people drinking and chatting all around the artwork’s dinner tables worked so well together. This exhibit has been my favourite so far on the rooftop (I saw Tomas Saraceno’s Cloud City in 2012 and Cornelia Parker’s Psycho Barn in 2016).
Besides that exhibit I also visited the Rei Kawakubo exhibit in the Costume Institute (amazing!) and my favourite halls in the museum such as the European Sculpture Court, the Temple of Dendur and the American Wing.
Part of the fun of going to a museum on a Friday night is the people watching: families, friends, tourists, locals, couples or dates are all there and it’s such a good mix!
Afterwards I stopped by Shake Shack at East 86th street for a much-needed burger and then took the subway home to enjoy a drink on the rooftop garden of my hotel, the Bowery House.
If you still haven’t done enough sightseeing after the Met closes I suggest going over to the Lincoln Center (a 30-minute walk through Central Park) or walking down Fifth Avenue and heading over to Times Square, to see it in all it’s illuminated glory.