Murray Hill – East Side Midtown Manhattan
Murray Hill is a historic neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Consisting of just more than two dozen blocks, this district is dominated by residential properties. The Morgan Library & Museum and St. Vartan Park are some notable features in this upscale enclave that overlooks the East River.
Murray Hill Attractions & Activities
Situated in the southwestern corner of Murray Hill, The Morgan Library & Museum is one of the premier cultural attractions in Manhattan. This venue is part of the estate of J.P. Morgan, one of the wealthiest financiers in New York City during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Morgan’s personal collection of literature and artwork is on display in this complex that’s been renovated numerous times.
Having a Classical Revival facade, one of the buildings on the campus was built in 1903 by McKim, Mead & White. Once home to the Morgan family, a brownstone in the Italianate style is also part of the museum. Additionally, the lobby wing of the Morgan Library & Museum was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano in 2006.
Rising more than 900 feet above 42nd Street, the Chrysler Building casts a shadow on the northern part of Murray Hill. Built in 1930, this skyscraper is one of the most prominent Art Deco landmarks in the world. Decorated with marble murals, the grand lobby of the Chrysler Building is open to the public, but observation decks aren’t accessible to visitors.
The northeastern corner of Murray Hill is marked by the United Nations Headquarters. This complex includes the United Nations Visitor Centre, which offers behind-the-scenes tours, history exhibits, and gift and book shops. The grounds of the UN Headquarters include the Non-Violence Sculpture and other interesting installations with political motifs.
Covering just more than 1 acre, the Robert Moses Playground caters to the residents of Murray Hill. Opened in 1941, the playground is named after one of New York City’s greatest master planners. In fact, Moses designed the ventilation tower of the neighboring Queens-Midtown Tunnel.
Occupying several blocks, St. Vartan Park is the largest green space in the neighborhood. This public space opened in the early 1900s as St. Gabriel’s Park. The 2.76 acres of the park include playgrounds, ball fields, and trails through dense trees. This park is named after the neighboring St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral.
Murray Hill has a nearly perfect grid layout that consists of streets and avenues carrying one-way traffic. In fact, Park Avenue is the only thoroughfare in the neighborhood that accommodates traffic in opposite directions. Connecting Midtown Manhattan with Queens, the Queens Midtown Tunnel runs through the heart of Murray Hill. This toll-charging road is officially designated as Interstate 495. Running along the eastern flank of Manhattan, FDR Drive also offers direct access to Murray Hill.
The East 34th Street terminal is served by several NYC Ferry routes that primarily accommodate commuters. Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) buses also stop at some of the avenues in Murray Hill. However, the neighborhood doesn’t have any stations that are part of the New York City Subway network. Nevertheless, Grand Central Terminal literally sits at the border of the district. Housed in a historic Beaux-Arts edifice, this busy transportation hub has dozens of platform tracks for subway and commuter trains.
History of Murray Hill
Murray Hill is named after a Quaker family that settled in the area in the 1700s. During the 19th century, elegant mansions, carriage houses, and rowhouses were built in this fast-growing neighborhood. High-rise condominiums dominated the construction trends of the district in the late 20th century. Today, Murray Hill is considered one of the premier residential enclaves in Manhattan.
Murray Hill Living
East Side midtown rental prices expanded modestly, up 3.6% compared to August 2012. Murray Hill is just one of the sections, located on the East Side of Manhattan. Murray Hill is located between Fifth Avenue and FDR Drive and between 34th Street and 42nd Street. In accordance with The Elliman Report, “ Modest rise in rental, the 1-bedroom market showed the least significant gain rising only by 0.5% to $3,013.00, while the 3-bedroom market posted the largest gain, rising by 14.4% to $7,132.00.”
Now, as it is clear from the Elliman Report, the rental market is still attractive to new rentals, stating, “There were 1,305 new rentals during August 2013, up 38.1% from the same month last year. Studios, increased by 30%; 1-bedrooms increased by 34.4%; 2-bedrooms increased by 68.8% and 3-bedrooms market increased by 17.6%.” Well with this kind of percentage change, many people are attracted to the neighborhood because of excellent transportation, whereas located in the middle of Manhattan.
Many residents enjoy living in Murray Hill because of the beauty and calm of the area’s business district but also combines elegant townhouses, very attractive apartment buildings, great clubs, and two small wonderful museums. Also, The Morgan Library is a grand building, that houses highly valuable collections of drawings, books, and manuscripts. Also The Scandinavia House – The Nordic Center in America, which exhibits modern Scandinavian furniture and work of art.
Let’s be clear about Murray Hill, it is known for many cafes and shops. But it is also known for the New York Public Library, which offers many collections of books as well as concerts and other events. Moreover, within Murray Hill, other cultural institutions like The New York Art Theatre; The Folksbiene Yiddish Theater, and the Jewish Repertory Theater.
Apart from the aforesaid, Murray Hill has wonderful places for dining, like Artisanal, famous for serving french meals, and the water club for great seafood, and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse.