Modern-day Midtown West has shaken off its dangerous Hell's Kitchen reputation, even if most locals prefer that early moniker to attempts to rebrand the area "Clinton." Whatever name you choose, the area covering the Westside from 59th Street to 34th Street, between the Hudson River and Eighth Avenue, is an exciting section of the city with storied past and bright future.
Once teeming with Irish immigrant families and Prohibition-era gangsters, Midtown West retains a down-to-earth vibe that's vanished from more gentrified neighborhoods. A special zoning district has kept most building heights capped at six stories in an effort to preserve residential character. As a result, much of the housing here is found in older, walk-up buildings or townhouses, plus a select few luxury towers. Many generations-old small businesses still line the streets, and the area has earned a solid reputation as a great restaurant destination populated by myriad ethnic cuisines.
Surrounded by the theater district, artsy Chelsea and Lincoln Center, Midtown West has long been home to the city's many artists, performers and maverick New Yorkers attracted to its scrappy, laidback style. Aside from the riverfront, parks are limited in Midtown West, and subway service is non-existent west of Eighth Avenue, so be sure to invest in good walking shoes if you've got this up-and-coming neighborhood in your sites.
New York City has a love-hate relationship with its transportation centers, and Port Authority Bus Terminal is the subject of much derision. No matter - if you need to take a bus to Jersey or beyond, you'll need to visit PABT. Luckily, planned renovations should spruce up the space in the near future.
Calling itself the "Marketplace of the World," the massive Javits Center offers 840,000 square feet of convention space along the Midtown West waterfront.
Tour a submarine, a Concorde supersonic plane, an aircraft carrier and the space shuttle Enterprise - all in the same day - at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Midtown West's Pier 86.