When most people think of New York City, they envision the bright lights, tall buildings and bustling crowds of Times Square and the Theater District. Midtown West, which spreads from 30th Street to 59th Street on the west side of Fifth Avenue over to the Hudson River, offers these and many more of Manhattan’s most frequented sites, as well as places of business and every kind of enticement from the performing to culinary arts.
Times Square, once New York's horse-trading center marked by manor houses and farmland, known as Long Acre Square, has been the city's main theater district since the turn of the century. Drastic change, including the name, came upon the arrival of the subway and the New York Times which celebrated the opening of its new Times Tower headquarters on West 42nd Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue on December 31, 1904. Today the area also once known as the "Crossroads of the World," the "Great White Way" and "Tenderloin" is probably the most iconic and instantly-recognized neighborhood on earth with its dizzying array of jumbotron ads, skyscrapers, performers, Broadway theaters and thrilling attractions. The 1910s and 20s was when Times Square became a cultural hub for theater, music venues and upscale hotels, not to mention one of the city’s most desirable places to live. Today it’s also the most exciting spot to ring in the New Year. Nestled within Midtown West are other neighborhoods with rich tradition, like Hell’s Kitchen which runs from West 34th to 59th Streets, and from the Hudson River to Eighth Avenue, where it's rumored that two policemen watching a street fight one muggy summer night gave this once violent district its original name. Hell's Kitchen was and remains among the most culturally diverse neighborhoods, and was renamed Clinton by developers in the 1950s. The Garment District, loosely defined as the West 30s between Madison and Eighth Avenues, took shape during the late 19th century when new laws drove clothing manufacturers out of Lower Manhattan tenements and into manufacturing lofts. Originally the garment industry was clustered around Madison Square, but when that became fashionable trade was forced to expand west. The Garment District was for much of the 20th Century the world's most prominent hub for fashion production. The American garment industry eventually shrunk due to cheap imported goods, transportation difficulties and high labor costs.
Midtown West has a wealth of landmarks and architectural gems, including the Empire State Building, an historic Art Deco 102-stories-high masterpiece. Completed in 1931, the Empire State Building is ranked one of the seven wonders of the modern world. At Midtown's core is Rockefeller Center, one of the world's largest building complexes, and home to Radio City Music Hall and the beloved ice-skating rink. Built in 1891, Carnegie Hall is among the most prestigious performance spaces in existence. A designated public park since the late 17th Century, Bryant Park is loved for its Great Lawn and public cultural events. Other notable sites include the stately Post Office, the Plaza, Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, Museum of Modern Art, and the infamous Studio 54. World-class shopping includes Bergdorfs, Barneys and Tiffany's New York flagship store. There are a multitude of ways in and out of Midtown West, including Penn Station to the south (where you also find Madison Square Garden), the Lincoln Tunnel, Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York Waterway ferry and Eighth Avenue subway line.