NFT New York Flatiron / Lower Midtown

Flatiron / Lower Midtown

The amazing variety of people, places and things that typifies New York cannot be better experienced than in this area. Containing some of the most tourist-heavy areas--the Empire State Building and Macy's at Herald Square--you will also find the hip, expensive, and fabulously exclusive communities of Gramercy (to the east) and Chelsea (to the west). Flatiron is also the home to the lesser-known "Silicon Alley," after the many start-ups in the area. In this incredibly diverse and unassuming neighborhood you will see moms pushing strollers, hipsters in low-slung pants, and wealthy elderly women walking their perfectly groomed poodles.

One of the most obvious draws of the area is the impressive architecture. You certainly can't miss the amazing sight of the towering See more.

>Empire State Building or the aptly-named Flatiron Building. But also not to miss is the less-obvious Chelsea Hotel, a favorite of many musicians and artists from Bob Dylan to Sid Vicious. Early 20th century additions to the area include the MetLife Tower, the New York Life Building, and the New York State Appellate Court, all of which are ranged on the east side of Madison Square Park. Equally impressive are the myriad number of current and former cast-iron department store buildings that make up the historic "Ladies' Mile" area, including the Arnold Constable Dry Goods Store, the Broadway Lord & Taylor, the Croisic Building, the Hugh O'Neill Dry Goods Store, the Stern Brothers' Dry Goods Store, and, our all-time favorite, the Siegel-Cooper Department Store. We can't help but mention that this area was also the scene of one of the greatest crimes against architecture--namely, the destruction of McKim, Mead & White's original Penn Station in 1963.

Venture to the Garment District and you will be surrounded by the shops and people that helped make New York City the fashion leader of the world in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The nearby Flower District was once several blocks filled with lush greenery of every variety. By the 2010s however, high rent and massive competition squeezed most retailers out, and it's now less than a block in size and can easily be missed. Luckily Koreatown is still going strong on 32nd Street (between Fifth and Broadway). Stroll through here on a Friday night to find the restaurants and bars packed to the brim.

Look down as you walk on 28th Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway and you will see a plaque in the sidewalk dedicated to Tin Pan Alley. If you're a music buff you’ll want to take in the historical significance of this area, dated back to 1885 when a group of songwriters and music publishers got together to lobby for copyright laws.

For a piece of Presidential history, visit the Birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt. A recreated version of the brownstone President Roosevelt was born in on October 27th 1858 now serves as a museum dedicated to the 26th President.

Finding a small patch of fresh green grass in Manhattan is almost as challenging as finding a parking spot, but in this area you have not one, but two parks. Madison Square Park is a beautifully manicured park where you can be sure to catch hundreds of sunbathers on any summer Saturday. It is also home to the long lines of the Shake Shack. If you can afford to wait an hour or two, you will be treated to one of the best hamburgers of all-time. Farther south, Union Square is one of the more famous parks in Manhattan, having had several historic rallies and riots as well as being a main subway hub; it is busier than most parks. If you can squeeze yourself into a spot on one of the overflowing park benches, you'll be treated to some entertaining people watching. It's also worth noting for the dog lovers out there, that both of these parks have sizable dog parks.

Whether you prefer celebrity sighting at Raines Law Room, dress-code mandatory joints like 230 Fifth, or classic NYC watering holes like Old Town Bar and Peter McManus, you have options. NFT cabaret experts state unequivocally that the Metropolitan Room is the best cabaret club in the city.

Impress a date with the size of your wallet at Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park and NFT-fave Craft, or impress them with your wit and conversation over tapas at Boqueria. Otherwise, hit City Bakery for their pretzel croissants, Eisenberg's for egg creams, or Kang Suh for all-night Korean BBQ.

Need sporting goods? Paragon is the paragon of sporting goods stores. Food heaven is found at Eataly -- just bring your credit card. 30th Street Guitars and Rogue Music will rock your world. Idlewild is one of New York's finest bookshops, specializing in travel and literature.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
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An Englishwoman in New York

By Georgia Lawson
Having four weeks to explore New York, Londoner Georgia Lawson dives in head first on a mission to live like a local. Can this Englishwoman master the city in such a short time? Read on to find out.

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5 Ways to Taste the Silk Road

By Layne Mosler
Though New York cabbies hail from all over the world, many of them were born along what was once the Silk Road. Guided by taxi drivers from Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, Layne Mosler explores five restaurants where chefs still cook under the influence of spice swaps on the ancient trade route.
Breaking into Non-Profit Arts

By Liz Pink
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Recession Upside: Is NYC More Affordable?

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Living on a Budget in NYC

By Diana Bocco
The living is easy when you have lots of money. And that's why we need Diana Bocco to tell us to shop at the Greenmarket and patronize the free-for-all furniture store of the street. After all, what is living if not suffering; drinking if not free sampling? Nothing. It is nothing if not that.

East Side Kids

By Jessica Feder-Birnbaum
Kids these days. So full of life. Sometimes you gotta put them in their place and sometimes you just gotta take them on the town. And what part? The East Side. From Kosher bakeries to high-falutin' libraries, the East Side has it all. Come. Join us on this kid-friendly journey.

It’s a Dog’s City

By Michele Langer
Dogs: They're more than lovable, overeager bundles of fur. Dogs can be social ice breakers and show-off accessories. Or can they? A dog is many things to many people, some of whom care for their pets with the love of a brother or mother. Dog runs, dog-friendly restaurants and hotels all aim to serve, comfort and further domesticate this sociable animal. It's enough to make them forget they were ever wolves.

Swinging in the City

By B. Ku
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The Chelsea Hotel: A Rest Stop for Rare Individuals

By Annie Karni
I remember YOU well at the Chelsea Hotel: The bright walls, (in)famous residents; storied, bloody history and laundry list of guests and tenants literary, musical, artistic, exploratory. The Chelsea Hotel may be known for its eccentricities and monumental happenings, but did you know: It was built in 1883. It's true!


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Penn Station

Ah, Penn Station. So many plans to rebuild, so few totally unrealistic dreams that come true. It looks like we're stuck with you and your completely insane system of announcing the tracks as thousands of people race to beat each other on board. Maybe it's time to celebrate the good (not just the bad and ugly like we usually do). If you're train is actually on time, then congratulations! If not, take a look around. Along with the classical music, weary travelers, popcorn vendors and plenty of New York characters, you just might come across this relic from the past. It's a real telephone that will supposedly connect you right to Amtrak. Who picked up on the other end? I didn't have time to find out, because they just called my track number, and I want to get a window seat...

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Museum of Sex
If you haven't been to MoSex, I bet I know why: the $17.50 price tag. Well guess what? Any decent sex party charges a premium to keep the lecherous vagrants out, so pony up! Right now they're showing excellent footage from the 1930s onward, from possibly the earliest stag film to subtle innuendo, sexploitation, and the incredible contemporary project "Beautiful Agony," which celebrates the faces of "la petite mort." I also recommend an arresting series of photographs titled "Estranged Sex," on display right next to a Picasso. Most of the museum's accompanying text isn't very informative, but there's an antidote to that in the scientific gallery, at which you're greeted by a replica of two Bonobo chimps banging their lady parts. So there's something for everyone. MoSex has recently recreated their storefront and expanded their gallery space, and they have a nice bar downstairs serving aphrodisiacs, so hit the ATM, get the $3 coupon from their website, and go. And take heart, it's cheaper than a night at Paddles.

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Georgia Lawson

Madison Square Park
I accidentally fell upon this fine little market on a recent search for some food. Running for the second year in a row, Madison Square Market has been up since September 25th and will stay open until October 23rd. It has a wide selection of cuisine, from wood fired pizzas to lamb shawarma, plus it's the perfect place to catch a quick lunch (especially if the sun is shining). The chicken flat sandwich from ilili is pretty good par the massive lump of gristle that greeted me on my first bite, and the pizza from Roberta's was tasty although a little salty. But the highlight (for me) was the beautiful jewelry. There was jewelry for every style or age. Lucid New York, had some beautiful charm necklaces with mini gold pretzels or simple crystals. It's definitely worth a look.

Posted By:  Layne Mosler
Photo:  Layne Mosler

LA Burdick
Single origin chocolates from Ecuador, Madagascar, and the Dominican Republic, canelles (baked custard with lavender and citrus) made the Bordeaux way, and hand-made bonbons like almond chamomile (with roasted almond, chamomile tea and dark chocolate) and salted caramel with cardamom are evidence that the chocolatiers at Burdick are all about the artisanal approach. Their obsessiveness extends to their hot chocolate. Every month, the New Hampshire-based chocolate-maker/cafe/pâtisserie features a single-origin hot chocolate so rich, so dense, so silky, it's impossible to scrape it all from the sides of the cup. A demi cup (espresso-sized, $2.50) is plenty, but if you're hell-bent on a seratonin high, order a small ($3.75) and prepare to fly. Looking to explore the fundamentals of fine chocolate? They offer a four-day workshop teaching the basics of chocolate making at their headquarters in Walpole, NH.

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Idlewild Books
For those of us who yearn to travel, there's no better source for information than Idlewild Books, a small but formidable bookstore that embraces planet-wide exploration. Their selection of travel guides should be enough to get you there (you can pick up a number of NFT products), but they also have a highly intriguing set of travel memoirs and essays. Pick up any one of them and read the synopsis, and there's an excellent chance you'll be hooked. On top of that, they have some of the most attractive globes I've ever seen, and I don't even think about globes with any great frequency. Idlewild has something to please every type of traveler, from urban backpackers to adventure seekers to luxury tourists, and offers a few seats to sit back and compare books.

Posted By:  doug kim
Photo:  doug kim

Luthier Music
For classical and flamenco guitars, Luthier Music Corp. in Hell's Kitchen has few rivals in this country. With a selection covering some of the most prestigious names in luthiery, walking into this retail space is a dream for any nylon string guitar player, from students to the well-heeled collector. Several showrooms and a couple of "ask permission first" back rooms display a museum of guitars to be had with a smattering of incredible vintage models. Where else can you run into a five figure seventies Reyes? From sheet music, cases, DVDs, CDs, ukuleles, and of course, Luthier strings, your needs will be covered. A visit might also mean seeing a visiting concert artist chatting with the owner. Not satisfied? You'll have to fly your ass to Spain to beat the selection.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Peter McManus
Here's the situation: You're at another fantastic gallery opening on a Tuesday night over near Tenth Avenue. The free beer is starting to run thin and the vibrant art is starting to hurt your eyes. But you're not ready to go home just yet. Solution: Walk a few avenues over to Peter McManus, one of the last classic old bars left in Chelsea. They keep it simple here with beer on tap like Bass and Bud along with a well stocked full bar. Staffed by friendly long-time bartenders, Peter McManus makes a nice spot to grab a couple of drinks and decompress from the art world. And if you need some fried goodness to soak in the booze, the bar menu is just what the hangover specialist ordered. Just beware of the cheese fries. Unless you like the plastic sensation of microwaved Kraft American singles hitting the back of your throat, we recommend sticking with the regular steak fries. Oh, and don't forget to check out the amazing old-school phone booths. They're worth the trip on their own.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Jazz Gallery
As we were walking down Dominick Street at 10:30 on a Monday night and turning the corner onto Hudson Street, my wife said to me "where is this gig again?" Then we saw four hepcats standing outside a narrow 6-story structure on an otherwise completely deserted Hudson Street. Bingo! The Jazz Gallery, a not-for-profit performance space that's been around since 1995. About thirty seats and an informal setting for such cats at Taylor Ho Bynum (one of our favorite NY trumpet players), the Roy Hargrove Big Band, and, the night we were there, for Myron Walden's trio Apex. Catching Myron, and especially his cohorts Dwayne Burno on bass and Eric McPherson on drums, at 11 pm on a sleepy Monday night in New York made me smile...only here, little pilgrims, only here...

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Paragon Sporting Goods
Everyone who's really into one sport isn't particularly impressed with Paragon Sporting Goods on Broadway. I've heard complaints from runners, hikers, tennis players, golfers, etc. But it's the standard by which ALL OTHER places are compared; so when someone tells you, "oh, this tennis store is better than Paragon," what they're really saying is: "Paragon is by far the best general sporting goods store in NYC." If you're an absolute tennis nut, you'll like this other place better, but if not, then Paragon is where you should go." And, as it's one of the few places that sells the hard-to-obtain NYC tennis pass, it gets even more of my dollars each year. Paragon: the gold standard in sporting goods.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

The Spanish know how to eat. Nibble on some tapas, sip some fantastic wine, and gorge on some homemade paella. It's hard to do this in New York, because the Spanish places are usually too old-school or too hip and popular. But Socarrat Paella Bar falls somewhere in the middle. Unlike the 1 Euro glasses of wine and 2 Euro tapas plates in Spain, Socarrat charges real NYC money. But that's fine. It may be a little high on an NFT budget, but it's still cheaper than a plane ticket to Madrid. Order some special tapas like Pimiento de Padron and whole grilled sardines. You can't really go wrong with any of the paella, but try the Arroz Negro since it's unlike anything else you'll find in the city. Near the end, they'll start scraping the "socarrat" from the bottom of your pan onto to your plate. This must be the sound of heaven.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Ariston Flowers
Want to give flowers to someone you actually give a shit about? Ariston is the answer. Yes, of course you'll use 1-800-FLOWERS for all your knee-jerk flower-sending--Aunt Mable in Buttfuck, TX died? Call 1-800-FLOWERS. Someone's grandmother at the cubicle next to yours died? Call 1-800-FLOWERS. For everything else--i.e. giving flowers to someone whose relationship to yourself you actually value--get off your ass and go up to Ariston. Great staff, conveniently located in Flatiron/Chelsea, they've got flowers and orchids, and they know what they're doing. They're probably more expensive than 1-800-FLOWERS, but remember--you actually VALUE this person, right? So I say: it's about time you showed it!

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Take a very nice thin baguette. Shove it on a pointed steel rod that sticks up from your commercial-grade grill (enter David Cronenberg) to warm it up. Pour some liquified truffle gruyere cheese in the hole the steel rod has made in the bagette (after it's warmed up), then shove in a beef, chicken, turkey, pork or (duh) lamb sausage. Wrap in aluminum foil. Serve to hungry Union Square daytime workers. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Posted By:  Ilona Virostek
Photo:  Ilona Virostek

Mandoo Bar
Mandoo are Korean dumplings. These mouthful-sized morsels are much like ravioli on the outside, and burst with Korean goodness on the inside. If you look in the window of Mandoo Bar on 32nd Street in K-Town, you can see the best mandoo in the city being made right before your eyes. Mandoo Bar’s combo platter ($12 for 12 pieces) will allow you to sample mandoo in three flavors: seafood, mixed vegetable, and pork. Dip your dumpling in soy sauce, and prepare to crave more mandoo during the week immediately following your first bite. The seating area of Mandoo Bar is clean and contemporary, but low on ambiance, and the dumplings are sometimes so fresh in-house that they arrive at the table a little too hot and watery. There are two excellent fixes for these probs: 1) take your mandoo across the street to the low-key La Quinta Hotel rooftop bar, and enjoy your food al fresco with a beer, or 2) have your mandoo delivered. The extra minutes allow your dumplings to cool slightly and congeal perfectly, and mandoo actually taste best when eaten in comfy clothes, in a dimly-lit apartment, directly before a Netflix.

Posted By:  Ilona Virostek
Photo:  Ilona Virostek

Embroidery, chinoiserie, bluebirds and bell jars, well-tended gardens and well-traveled suitcases. This is the symbology of Anthropologie, masterful marketer of girlish dreams. Prices are moderate at this chain, whose best NYC location is in Union Square. Still, in lean times, it's hard to justify spending $30 on goose-shaped measuring cups, however adorable. That's where the SALE comes in. There's always a sale at Anthropologie. While the clothing tends to look washed-out and cheap by the time it hits the sale racks, home decor merchandise loses none of its charms when tossed willy-nilly into piles and bins on the store's lower level. Perhaps that's because most of it’s meant to look as if it were found at a rummage sale anyways. You'll find deep discounts on anything more than a month or so old ($15 for the geese!), but no item is more shockingly and reliably discounted than the "magic pillow." That's my name for the one pillow that can almost always be found here for $19.99, marked down from $80-$200. In a year, I have bought nine magic pillows, the most recent marked down from $148. I'll sleep well tonight on my bargain piece of never-never land.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Kellari's Parea
Having spent 4+ years as a resident of Astoria, I never go very long without eating Greek food. The Greeks do a fabulous job of grilling fish, for instance. They generally know how to cook lamb, which is one of God's Great Meat Gifts. They have a fried cheese dish called Saganaki that blows the mozzarella stick out of the water. They compete quite well with the Turks for the best taramosalata (caviar spread). The Greek Salad is almost always a safe bet. They overcook vegetables, but of course, so does every culture west of the Ural Mountains. All this as intro to Kellari's Parea (literal translation: Cellar's Gathering of Friends; don't ask), an excellent example of Greek cuisine in the Flatiron District. Recommended: the octopus (always a great way to tell if a Greek place knows their stuff), the grilled pompano (a fabulous fish from Florida), and, for the more adventuresome, "Yesterday's Lamb," a big mess of baby lamb that's been cooked in garlic overnight. Yum.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Aaron Schielke

Idlewild Books
Attention lovers of cartography and map nerds everywhere. Not For Tourists is proud of the beautiful wall maps that they've sold on their website for years, and now we're happy to announce that Idlewild Books will be selling these works of art at their gorgeous shop on 19th Street. In celebration of this new partnership, Idlewild is hosting a fabulous party from 4-6 pm on Saturday March 7th. Come on down to one of the coolest bookstores in the city to see the NFT Wall Maps up close and personal. The first twenty people to buy an NFT Guidebook will get a Free Manhattan or Brooklyn Wall Map! All NFT Wall Maps will be 25% off and we'll be handing out lots of other free NFT swag. Plus, thanks to Bazaar de la Paz we'll be serving up organic, fair trade wine from the fine folks at Etica. Their motto: Drink like you give a damn!

RSVP to:

Posted By:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch
Photo:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch

A very tasty, 24-hour smorgasbord of Korean thingamabobs (exotic!). I recommend the Gobdol Bibimbob but I MORESO recommend the GoongJoongDdukBoki. You decide. The accompanying banchan is served banchan-style: in multiples, containing kimchi and having the quality of tastiness. I'm not so into spiciness but I am an exception. Nonetheless, those requisite complimentary side dishes are way enticing in the taste bud department and when they beckon, I cannot refuse. What else? I'm not so into K-Town, but I like Kunjip a whole lot. Always busy, always (maniacally) efficient, always Korean. Kunjip: Reach for the stars, land on the fish cakes (the only place I want to land besides my bed... and my grave).

Posted By:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch
Photo:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch

Triple Crown Restaurant & Ale House
Not to be confused with the one in W-Burg, The Triple Crown is a dull, expensive West Side, sporty, crispy calamari, TV-watching wasteland masquerading as a bar. But The Triple Crown has its high points. For example, it effectively caters to expansive groups. And its employees are immaculately neat and disciplined. On the other hand, it gives you nothing for free. It does not, as far as I can see, offer any 2-for-1 drink specials though well-dressed, drunken middle-aged men in three-piece suits on boiling hot days have been known to buy rounds of drinks for gaggles of unsuspecting innocents. I do not heartily enjoy this place, nor do I find it worthwhile enough to hate. I get the nauseous feeling a lot of ho-hum Midtown/"Fashion District" businesspeople find a bland place like this comforting. The Triple Crown is situated on a block of 7th Avenue close to 12 million other vaguely Irish sporty he-man bars like Mustang Harry's and Bikini Bar that all blend together and do nothing interesting.

Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

Penn Station
Wall Street is crashing, the ice caps are melting, oil prices are on the rise again, and mayoral term limits are optional. Time to get out of New York for the weekend. So pack your crap and get to Penn Station! Nearly a half-century after the original structure was demolished, the claustrophobic corridors thick with the scent of Auntie Ann's continue to disappoint millions of passengers each year. The Amtrak-owned station services the Northeast Corridor and beyond, and there's no more picturesque time of year to experience life beyond Metropolis. Despite an economic/ecologic-inspired increase in passenger traffic, fares are still relatively cheap and rarely sell out. Less cramped than the bus, guilt-invoking than a rental car, or aggravating than flying, Amtrak has plenty of reason for resurgence. The train warms the hearts of the eco-conscious and the false-nostalgic alike. Too bad after your weekend away you end up back in Penn Station.

Posted By:  Alex Steed
Photo:  Alex Steed

Coffee Shop
Unless you show up at The Coffee Shop at 12:30 on a Saturday afternoon, your experience has the potential of being pleasant. Otherwise, early-afternoon-on-the-weekend patrons should brace themselves. Brunch is a force of biblical proportions more intense than a plague of locusts—two million hung-over hipsters and villagers demanding ham and eggs—get ready for a side of self-flagellation along with your pancakes. The food is good once you get at it, though the efficiency of this process is contingent on your ability to get in with the hostess. If you're on her bad side, you'd be smart to order a bloody and a side of bacon while you watch every party that arrived after yours be seated first. And to answer the question you'll passive-aggressively ask yourself and your friends a thousand times before asking the hostess: that empty table for six in the corner is being held for the owner, who will never actually sit there in the three hours you spend in purgatory. Otherwise, the servers are solidly OK and the food is fine, though nothing to write home about. Come back later in the evening (or hell, why wait?) and grab a gin and tonic. They're heavy on the gin and help take the edge off a hellish brunch experience.

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