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Meet 44th Street

44th Street is rich in history with much of it apparent in the architecture. Walking from East to West was a Herculean task; packed as the street is with the enormous and the magnificent, it was sometimes difficult remembering to peer more closely to discover the hidden gems that I am always seeking. But find some I did…

At the East River, the street begins with the United Nations campus, which exerts its influence over the surrounding neighborhood. The James P. Grant Plaza offers a bit of respite from the bustle, while nearby Italian restaurant Piccolo Fiore and Spanish eatery, Alcala, cater to the international business professionals during the day and the neighborhood enthusiasts in the evenings. The high level of international dining choices are endless across 44th – French, Mediterranean, seafood, Italian, and of course American.

Continuing my walk, I passed more embassies and the Overlook bar that stands firm between major construction of an apartment complex being erected on one side and a hotel going up on the other. Nearby, it was hard to miss the vivid turquoise paint that is part of what makes Macchiato Espresso Bar such a lively, modern environment.  Dead ending at Lexington Avenue, I circumvented and quickly picked up 44th at Vanderbilt Avenue.

And this is where I found myself in the thick of 44th Street. Between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, every building, seemingly, was a city landmark: The Harvard Club, the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, the New York Yacht Club, the Penn Club, and the spectacular New York City Bar Association. Meanwhile, as this is an epicenter of city activity, there are plenty of luxurious hospitality options to entice visitors: The charming Mansfield, the rich Royalton, the historic Algonquin Hotel and the perfectly restored Chatwal were some of the standouts.

Westward ho, and the hits kept coming: I stopped in to reminisce in the theater district pillar Sardi’s, where the Tony Award was invented. Tucked away in an alleyway among a cluster of theaters is Times Square Fish & Chips Takeout, an authentic Scottish kiosk that was opened with the goal of making pre-show dinner a little easier. I found Theatre Circle to not only be a souvenir shop as they also peddle thousands of old Broadway scripts and other collectables from both past and present Broadway shows. The infamous jazz club, Birdland, which has hosted Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and many others who have played a role in the history of jazz music, continues to entertain both the tourist and those of us who live in Manhattan.

As I kept journeying, things started to slow down a bit from the frenetic pace of the more central district, but soon I found myself wandering into several intriguing small businesses. Down a few steps was Couture du Jour, where Christine Fellows regaled me with tales of a New York past (but sadly also mentioned that she has decided to give up her retail business shortly), and the enchanting Domus, a store filled with creative trinkets and gifts for everyone.

How fitting to find the New Dramatists: Dedicated to the Playwright on the same street as the Actor’s Studio. Devoted to playwriters and actors, the two have a rich history that has lasted more than sixty years and has served the theatrical community well. I spent a good amount of time wandering around the gorgeous Chelsea Garden Center,

And, just as I was preparing to launch 44th Street, so was the first commuter ferry operating within Manhattan. Leaving from West 44th Street and traveling down the Hudson River, it drops passengers off at the World Financial Center. ​Running every fifteen minutes during the rush hour commutes, people will be charged $8.00 for a roundtrip fare ($4.50 one way). New York Water Taxi, up until now, had only offered service across the river to New Jersey.

Read more about every place on 44th Street!