Mad About Midtown: A Data Lover’s Dream
When I was first hired at a hedge fund on 45th between 5th and 6th, my small-town mind reeled at all those Midtown attractions. Times Square! Broadway! The Rockefeller Center! United Nations Headquarters! Empire State Building! MOMA! Heck, I liked the Chrysler Building so much that I may or may not have a tattoo of its sparkling art deco top (I was really excited to move, ok?).
Between my colleagues and me, our team shows up via trains and buses from all five boroughs and beyond. Midtown mornings can be hectic, but I visualize the coffee selection awaiting me as I breeze in from Jersey, taking the PATH at Exchange Place to WTC. By the time I emerge at street level from Manhattan’s serpentine underground, I’m stoked to join my coffee-culture brethren of investment bankers, project managers, and business analysts (not to mention the occasional Times Square Elmo). Groggily united in our caffeine cravings, we get our fix of hot stuff at Zibetto Espresso Bar, Blue Bottle Coffee, Ground Central, Taylor St. Baristas, or Financier (don’t knock their Parisian-caliber macarons for breakfast until you’ve tried one).
It didn’t take long for my relationship with Midtown to intensify for the simple reason that the way to my heart really is through my stomach. In the early days, I’d venture out to staple spots like Le Pain Quotidien, Pret a Manger, Hale & Hearty, Between the Bread, or ramen mecca Ipuddo for lunch. Then, during a particularly wholesome phase, I expanded my repertoire to Dig Inn, Little Beet (their butternut squash soup is everything), and Juice Press. These spots form a veggie-centric trifecta of goodness. It bears noting that when you’re slammed at work, a dash into kosher deli Milk and Honey does the trick for desk-friendly noshing, as well. But once office gossip about the best food trucks reached me, I surrendered to Bryant Park’s enticing wares. Its immersive public market Urbanspace is taking the chill out of lunch-hour strolls through early 2019 with holiday curios and artisanal delicacies. One of these days (years?) I’ll also get around to that quintessential NYC winter experience at the city’s only free admission ice-skating rink, smack dab in the center of the park.
Of course, when the sun goes down, the Midtown set trades in its meetings, powerpoint decks, and process reviews for good times. If you’re not phased by the small hike to Hell’s Kitchen, cocktails in a lavish 20-seat walkaround setting await at Ada’s Place. Alternatively, low-key watering hole Lilly’s features local art and a relaxed ambiance. Midtown nightlife just covers so much ground; a jaunt over to charming wine bars like Caselulla (where $100 will get you and your friends the wine and cheese plate pairing of the century) or Aldo Sohm are bound to please. Some head to Stout, with its sprawling beer list, nibbles and sips, and Jasper’s Taphouse and Kitchen, boasting weekly karaoke and an endlessly rotating menu of beer and pub treats, is always a hit. For a leisurely seafood feast, look no further than Oceana. On a quest for some serious protein? Bobby Van’s Steakhouse is your go-to.
When I have any leisure time to wander Midtown’s nebulous expanse, it’s the little things, like the best shoe shine in town at Gary’s in Rockefeller Center, that keep the magic alive in this big, honking urban gem of a neighborhood. Turns out they don’t hand you a manual when you start working at the largest central business district on the planet, but I can proudly say that I’ve eked out a sweet little workweek of data analysis peppered with daily delights and sky-scraping inspiration.