A 3 miles trek (2 hours of strolling and taking photos, more if you do all the visits) 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 (details and photos under the map).

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

A and B: Take Park Ave right in front of Grand Central’s main exit, the Scandinavian Institute will be on your right after 36th 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 find out more and admire the library that gives it its name, 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 whose main entrance 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, or if you’ll just admire its art-deco architecture from the outside, but once your long or short visit is over, take 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. 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, 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.

Admission is free and it’s 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 place, 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 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 place, or the time of the day, the one elapsed and the one remaining, which scrolls on an immense digital clock.

 If you want to continue exploring Midtown, this time quite off the beaten track, take the Midtown trek 2, it starts here. From Union Square, you can also start the Greenwich Village trek and, if you follow Broadway toward Astor Plazza, the East Village trek.

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.

Metro: Grand Central (departure) and Union Square (arrival)

Tips for the scout: they are welcome, see suggestions at the bottom of the page. Thanks in advance for your contribution

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