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History of Midtown New York

things to do in Midtown New York, history of midtown new york

In creating our Midtown New York Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we dug into the city’s history so as to properly contextualize our tour. It is important for us. At most of the 38 stops along the tour, we explain the history of a site, monument, or person. This allows us to fully show you their significance.

History of Midtown New York

things to do in Midtown New York, history of midtown new yorkMidtown is the central portion of the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. It is home to many corporate headquarters including Barns & Noble, Bloomberg, Ernst & Young, Calvin Klein, DC Comics, Six Flags, along with several media companies and advertising agencies.

Many landmarks are also located in Midtown. Some of the landmarks not seen in our scavenger hunt include the Empire State Building, United Nations, and Plaza Hotel. As well, you’ll find nearby Madison Square Gardens, Carnegie Hall and Pennsylvania Station.

Midtown is broken down into several neighborhoods including Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Murray Hill, and Gramercy Park. Overlaid on top of these neighborhoods are several districts such as the business, theater, diamond, garment, and Meatpacking districts.

For the first 300 years, Lower Manhattan dominated New York’s economic life. However, that changed in the 1920s with the rebuilding of Grand Central Station into a Terminal, which ignited a capitalist revolution in Midtown. The construction and commercial boom transformed the area into an epicenter of American capitalism.

Scavenger Hunt

Our scavenger hunt is a self-guided walking tour of the see you can do on your smartphone. Over 3 hours, it’ll take you to all the significant sites, teach you some history, and challenge you with puzzles and various questions.

Find out more about our Midtown New York Tourist Scavenger Hunt on the info page.

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History of Lower Manhattan

things to do in Lower Manhattan, history of lower manhattan

In creating our Lower Manhattan Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we dug into the city’s history so as to properly contextualize our tour. It is important for us. At most of the 50 stops along the tour, we explain the history of a site, monument, or person. This allows us to fully show you their significance.

The financial district is also known as Lower Manhattan and Downtown New York. It encompasses the southern tip of Manhattan Island. This is where City Hall and many civic organizations are based. Lower Manhattan’s population is relatively small, at 61,000 in 2018.

Ancient History of Lower Manhattan

things to do in Lower Manhattan, history of lower manhattanThe first nations that inhabited the area we know as New York were the Lenape who spoke Algonquin.

The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle Manhattan. In 1626 they set up a trading post here on the southern tip of the island and called it New Amsterdam. The first fort was built where Battery Park is today, to defend the fledgling colony named Fort Amsterdam. The Dutch imported African slaves as labor to build the fort and other defenses.

New Amsterdam was incorporated as a city on February 2, 1653.

In 1664, the United Kingdom conquered the area and renamed the city to New York, in honor of the Duke of York. The African population already accounted for 20% of New York in those early years. The growth of the city was gradual until 1775 when the American patriots started a revolution against Great Britain.

The Americans gained their independence from the United Kingdom in 1783. The first Congress met in New York, in Federal Hall on Wall Street, to write articles of confederation.

New York became the first capital of the United States between 1789 and 1790. The first Supreme Court sat here. As well, the United States Bill of Rights was written here.

Recent History

During its first 300 years, Lower Manhattan (the financial district) dominated the economic life of New York. However, this changed in the 1920s with the reconstruction of Grand Central Station into a terminal. This triggered a capitalist revolution in Midtown.

In the early 1900s, a construction boom saw the first skyscrapers built here: 40 Wall Street, Woolworth Building, 20 Exchange Place. The first underground train (subway) began in 1904, connecting neighborhoods and municipalities.

Lower Manhattan had a small boom in the 1950s, but it declined over the next decade. The development of the World Trade Center, which opened in 1974, was an important driver for revitalizing this neighborhood. The 917,000 m3 (1.2 million cubic yards) of excavated material served to extend Battery Park south by 210 meters (700 feet).

Since 1995, more than 15 million square feet of office space has been converted into housing and hotels. This has greatly helped in increasing the neighborhood’s population from 14,000 to 60,000 in 20 years.

On September 11, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell after each being struck by a hijacked plane. Their destruction caused enormous damage to the surrounding buildings.

It took 10 years before the neighborhood regained its economic strength and joie de vivre. But in 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the waterfront and Lower Manhattan with flooding.

Scavenger Hunt

Our scavenger hunt is a self-guided walking tour of the see you can do on your smartphone. Over 3 hours, it’ll take you to all the significant sites, teach you some history, and challenge you with puzzles and various questions.

Find out more about our Lower Manhattan Tourist Scavenger Hunt on the info page.

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Things to do in Midtown New York

things to do in Midtown New York, history of midtown new york

Are you looking for things to do in Midtown New York? This Scavenger Hunt takes you on a self-guided walking tour, with challenges through the heart of the city.

See all the sights while having fun and learning some history! You will walk from the New York Public Library to Times Square, to Radio City Music Hall and the Waldorf Astoria hotel. All the while, you’ll take numerous side trips to discover more sites while taking on various challenges. Our Midtown New York Tourist Scavenger Hunt was developed and tested in May 2018.

You will start your adventure in front of Grand Central Terminal. Follow the instructions on your smartphone to solve challenges and get instructions to your next destination. The challenges are varied in difficulty and types to keep you entertained. They’re good for all ages.

You should plan a good 3 hours for this activity, wear comfortable shoes and be certain your phone is fully charged. As well, you’ll need a data plan as WiFi will not be enough. Further, a street map and bottled water could come in handy.

Things to do in Midtown New York? See the sites!

things to do in Midtown New York, history of midtown new yorkOver your 3-hour adventure through the city, you will see:

  • Grand Central Terminal
  • New York Public Library
  • Bryant Park
  • Times Square
  • MetLife Building
  • Madame Tussauds New York
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • Waldorf Astoria
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • And more

Scavenger Hunt

Our scavenger hunt is a self-guided walking tour of the see you can do on your smartphone. Over 3 hours, it’ll take you to all the significant sites, teach you some history, and challenge you with puzzles and various questions. You’ll never walk more than 5 minutes between stops. Take as long, or as little, as you wish as you’re in control of your page on this adventure. Above all, we hope you have fun!

Learn more about the Midtown New York Tourist Scavenger Hunt on our description page.

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Things to do in Lower Manhattan

things to do in Lower Manhattan, history of lower manhattan

Are you looking for things to do in Lower Manhattan? This Scavenger Hunt takes you on a self-guided walking tour, with challenges through the heart of the city.

See all the sights while having fun and learning some history! You will walk from Battery Park to Ground Zero, to City Hall and Federal Hall. All the while, you’ll take numerous side trips to discover more sites while taking on various challenges. Our Lower Manhattan Tourist Scavenger Hunt was developed and tested in May 2019.

You will start your adventure in Bowling Green Park. Follow the instructions on your smartphone to solve challenges and get instructions to your next destination. The challenges are varied in difficulty and types to keep you entertained. They’re good for all ages.

You should plan a good 3 hours for this activity, wear comfortable shoes and be certain your phone is fully charged. As well, you’ll need a data plan as WiFi will not be enough. Further, a street map and bottled water could come in handy.

Things to do in Lower Manhattan? See the sites!

things to do in Lower Manhattan, history of lower manhattanOver your 3-hour adventure through the city, you will see:

  • New York City Hall
  • World Trade Center
  • Trinity Church
  • 9/11 Tribute Museum
  • Battery Park
  • Governors Island
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Ellis Island
  • Castle Clinton
  • Wall Street
  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • And more

Scavenger Hunt

Our scavenger hunt is a self-guided walking tour of the see you can do on your smartphone. Over 3 hours, it’ll take you to all the significant sites, teach you some history, and challenge you with puzzles and various questions. You’ll never walk more than 5 minutes between stops. Take as long, or as little, as you wish as you’re in control of your page on this adventure. Above all, we hope you have fun!

Learn more about the Lower Manhattan Tourist Scavenger Hunt on our description page.

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7+ Restaurants in Midtown Manhattan

7+ restaurants in midtown manhattan

Do you seek out the best restaurants when visiting a city? As you can imagine, there are quite a few great restaurants in Midtown Manhattan.

In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 7+ restaurants to see in New York Midtown.

7+ restaurants in Midtown Manhattan

  1. AureoleAureole
    • Aureole is located on W 42nd, midway between 6th Ave and Broadway. This is one of this Midtown’s best restaurants. It serves New American cuisine emphasizing traditional dishes with unique twists.
  2. Hunt & Fish Club
    • One of Midtown’s best restaurants is east of W 44th, at Broadway, the Hunt & Fish Club. If serves up New American, Steakhouse cuisine in an elegant décor.
  3. Totto Ramen
    • The best place for a bowl of noodles is Totto Ramen which has 2 locations. One is at 248 E 52nd, and the other is at 366 W 52nd. Here you’ll find chicken paitan ramen and tons of variants.
  4. American Cut
    • A great place for a big steak dinner is American Cut at 109 E 56th Another location is found in Tribeca. They serve 30-day dry aged steaks.
  5. La Grenouille
    • This classic French restaurant is found at 3 E 52nd It opened in 1962 and remains to this day a fancy dinner outing.
  6. Becco
    • At 355 W. 46th Street, this Italian restaurant serves authentic pasta dishes the traditional way – all you can eat! The prices are also very reasonable.
  7. Hard Rock CafeHard Rock Cafe Times Square
    • Ok, not necessarily one of the very best in the city, but for a great dinner at a great price, with an awesome atmosphere and music, this is our personal favorite! Try the Local Legendary Burger for a taste of New York.
  8. Restaurant Row
    • On 46th St, to the left of 8th & 9th Ave, is what locals call, Restaurant Row.
    • 20+ restaurants offer French, Brazilian, Japanese, Spanish, and many more types of cuisine. Many offer pre-theater menus at reasonable prices, timed to get you to your show on time.

Tourist Scavenger Hunts

We invite you to try our Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown. It is a 2.5-hour guided walking tour throughout Midtown Manhattan from Grand Central Terminal to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and everything in between. You do it on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your group (1 to 6 people). Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these restaurants and much more while completing challenges and learning about Midtown’s history.

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14 Midtown Theatres not to miss

14 midtown theatres in new york

When you travel, do like to take in a play, some local theatre, maybe a Broadway show? Well, you’re headed to the theatre capital of the world! There are over 50 theatres in Midtown Manhattan!

In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 14 theatres to see in New York Midtown.

14 Midtown Theatres you should see

  1. Winter Garden Theatre
    • Built-in 1896 as a horse exchange, its converted into a theatre occurred in 1911. It is located on Broadway at W 51st It is the only Broadway theatre to have a runway extending from the stage into the audience. It was remodeled in 1922 and again in 1982.
  2. Lyceum Theatre.
    • On W 45th east of Broadway, this 1903 theatre is the oldest operating theatre along with the New Amsterdam. It has a Beaux-Arts façade with 6 Corinthian columns.
  3. New Amsterdam Theatre
    • Located on W 42nd at 7th Ave, this 1903 theatre is the oldest operating theatre along with the Lyceum Theatre. As with many other theatres, the New Amsterdam is rumored to be haunted. Its beaux-arts exterior leads into an art-nouveau interior. Art-nouveau features fruits, flowers, and vines.
    • Disney now owns this theatre.
  4. Belasco Theatre
    • Located on W 44th at Broadway, the Belasco Theater opened in 1907, commissioned by Broadway producer David Belasco. This theater’s mission is to put on living room plays where the audience is as close as possible to the actors.
  5. Helen Hayes Theatre
    • This theatre opened as the Little Theatre in 1912 but changed its name in 1983. In 1983, the Hayes, Morsosco and Bijou theatres disappeared, making way for the Marriott Marquis hotel on W.44th
    • Helen Hayes, known as the first lady of American Theatre, started her career at 5 years old and earning Tony, Oscar, Emmy and Grammy awards. This red brick building has a colonial style interior you’d expect to find in Boston and Philadelphia.
    • This theatre also served as a TV studio in the ‘50s and ‘60s for Dick Clark, Merv Griffin, and David Frost.
  6. Shubert Theatre
    • On W 44th west of 7th Ave, this theatre, designed along with the Booth Theatre as back-to-back theatres, opened in 1913. Both have Venetian-Renaissance façades.
  7. Booth Theatre
    • On W 45th west of Broadway, this theatre, designed along with the Shubert Theatre as back-to-back theatres, opened in 1913. Both have Venetian-Renaissance façades. Its name honors the 19th-century actor Edwin Booth, brother of President Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth.
  8. Palace TheatrePalace Theatre
    • On Broadway between W 46th and W 47th
    • This theatre opened in 1913 and was the most famous vaudeville theater in the United States. Every performer dreamed of playing at the palace. If you landed a gig at the Palace Theatre, you could say you finally “made it.”
    • The ‘Who’s Who’ list of celebrities who have performed on the Palace stage, including Harry Houdini, Ethel Merman, Judy Garland, Jerry Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Bette Midler, Shirley MacLaine and Diana Ross.
    • A DoubleTree hotel above it appeared in the 1980s. Most of the grand theatre hides behind the numerous billboards.
  9. Music Box Theatre
    • On W 45th west of Broadway, built in 1921 specifically to house musical revues by Irving Berlin, in the neo-Georgian style. It resembles a large manor house with a colonnade.
  10. Al Hirschfeld Theatre
    • This theatre built in 1924 by Martin Beck in a Byzantine style with Moorish arches along the façade. It is located on W. 45th
    • Martin Beckis gave Harry Houdini his big break. Originally named for Beck, the renaming in 2003 honors the legendary New York Times caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.
  11. Richard Rodgers Theatre
    • Originally named the 46th Street Theatre, it stands on W 46th St. It has hosted a large number of Tony-winning plays and musicals over the years. It was renamed in 1990 after the legendary composer.
  12. Radio City Music Hall
    • This entertainment venue is part of the Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan. It is nicknamed the Showplace of the Nation. Radio City Music Hall became a New York City Landmark in May 1978. Originally designed by Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey in the Art Deco style, it opened in August 1932.
    • The Rockettes who put on a Christmas Spectacular here every year have been doing so since November 1932!
  13. Minskoff Theatre
    • On W 45th west of Broadway. This theatre opened in 1973.
    • Just outside the entrance to this theater hosting the Lion King, is the site of the failed Times Square bombing attempt. In 2010, 2 street vendors noticed smoke coming from an SUV filled with a crude propane bomb and called the police, who performed a controlled detonation of the bomb.
  14. New VictoryThe New Victory Theatre
    • Located on W 42nd at 7th Ave, this theatre opened in 1900 and has changed names many times over the years: Theatre Republic (1900), Belasco Theatre (1902), Republic Theatre (1910), Minsky’s Burlesque (1931), and The Victory (1942).
    • In 1990, both the New York City and the State of New York took possession of the Victory. It was renamed the New Victory Theatre in 1992.
    • The New Victory Theatre is the first and only full-time performing arts theater for kids and families. Performances are appropriate for kids 1 1/2 years old and up to 12 years old.
    • On W 48th west of Broadway

There are at least 40 other theatres to check out in Midtown, around Broadway.

Tourist Scavenger Hunts

We invite you to try our Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown. It is a 2.5-hour guided walking tour throughout Midtown Manhattan from Grand Central Terminal to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and everything in between. You do it on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your group (1 to 6 people). Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these theatres and much more while completing challenges and learning about Midtown’s history.