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Andrew McCarthy's 42nd Street

Travel + Leisure Guide, New York City

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 2.7 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview :  From the U.N. to the Hudson, 42nd Street is both New York’s central artery and its pulsating heart. T+L strolls from river to river... more »

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Points of Interest

Forty-Second crawls up out of the East River from an FDR Drive on-ramp and struggles toward First Avenue, flanked on one side by a ventilation building for the Midtown Tunnel and on the other, more glamorously, by the southern end of the United Nations campus. Today, for reasons no one will explain, members of the Hercules unit of the NYPD are on ... More

Beyond the Tudor City overpass, 42nd Street begins to drag itself toward the throb of midtown. Just beyond Second Avenue, the granite mural of the old Daily News Building stands watch. Soon the Chrysler Building—the 77-story masterpiece of Art Deco architecture and detail—draws me inside. I suggest to Patel, a native of India who works the... More

The blocks along this section of 42nd Street are thrumming. Perhaps it’s because the avenues are so close together. Or maybe it’s Grand Central Terminal, smack in the middle of Park Avenue, with a 58-story office tower built right on top. Three quarters of a million people pass through the station’s marble halls each day. I’ve visited the main... More

The park is an oasis in the heart of midtown, but it wasn’t always. Michele Sherman, granddaughter of Nat Sherman—who opened his “Tobacconist to the World” shop in the neighborhood in 1930—reminds me that Bryant Park was once more commonly known as Needle Park (in honor of the heroin sold and shot here). Huge swaths of 42nd Street were, as Isaiah,... More

The Beaux-Arts New York Public Library building, praised by the New York Herald as a “splendid temple of the mind” when it opened in 1911, anchors the southwest corner of 42nd and Fifth. I grab a sandwich at Pret A Manger and the Nigerian-born employee I speak with tells me the shop has sold nearly 3,500 sandwiches today. “We ran out of bread.... More

Housed inside a revitalized building constructed by Oscar Hammerstein in 1900, the New Victory Theater is New York City’s premier theater for young people and their families. The theater strives to maintain affordable prices, making its productions accessible to a wide audience. Since its opening in 1995, the New Victory Theater has hosted... More

It’s kitschy. It’s fun. And it’s probably the only way you’re ever going to get your photograph taken with Morgan Freeman or Justin Bieber. A Times Square staple for years, Madame Tussauds is home to hundreds of impressively lifelike wax figurines of famous people, from actors to political figures and even your favorite comic book characters. Don’... More

Beyond Ninth Avenue, the blocks become longer and the sky opens up again. This far reach of 42nd Street—“the wild west,” as a real estate broker friend calls it—I find to be the most inspiring part of my walk. If the east side of 42nd Street is venerable and solidified, out here it feels forward-looking and alive. The blocks beyond 10th Avenue are... More