Located to the east of Chelsea, the neighborhoods of Gramercy and Flatiron in New York have some of the most recognizable architecture in this enormous city. The most significant one of them is the triangular Flatiron Building, which gave the Flatiron District its name. There are a lot of things to do in Flatiron and Gramercy. Here in this guide, we will give you our recommendations on what to do in these two neighborhoods.
Getting to Flatiron and Gramercy
Getting to these two neighborhoods is pretty easy. There are a bunch of trains in the area which makes it accessible to commuters. Here, you’ll find the subways WR at 23rd Street and 5th Ave. On 23rd Street and 6th Ave, you can access the F, M and the Path Train. If you want to go directly to Union Square, which is just to the west of Gramercy take the 456RWNQ or L and get off at, you guessed it, 14th Street-Union Square Station.
Walking Through Flatiron and Gramercy
These two neighborhoods are relatively small compared to areas such as Midtown or the Upper East Side. But, there are a lot of things to do in Flatiron and Gramercy. When you walk through these neighborhoods, make sure to check out The Flatiron Building first. It’s arguably the most recognizable building in all of Manhattan.
Top 5 Things To Do in Flatiron and Gramercy
- Flatiron Building – It’s arguably the most recognizable building in the city. You can’t miss it because of its triangular shape. The building was meant to attract artists and was built in 1902. (Address: 175 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010, SubwayRW 23rd Street Station)
- Madison Square Park– Not to be confused with Madison Square Garden, the park is located right next to the Flatiron Building. It’s a nice little sanctuary and even has a Shake Shack in the park. (Address: 11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010, SubwayRW 23rd Street Station)
- Union Square – Technically, Union Square is considered a neighborhood, but it’s so small that you wouldn’t need an entire day here. Union Square is right next to Flatiron and Gramercy and has a lot of shops, restaurants and even a park. (Subway456RWNQ or L 14th Street-Union Square Station)
- Eataly – Located right next to the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park, Eataly has become pretty popular. Eataly is an Italian hotspot that has provided New Yorkers with cafe’s, restaurants and even cooking classes. (Address: 200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010, Subway RW 23rd Street Station)
- National Museum of Mathematics – The museum is relatively new. It opened in 2012 in response to a closing of a mathematics museum in Long Island. For more information, please visit their site here. (Address: 11 E 26th St, New York, NY 10010, SubwayRW 23rd Street Station)
Other Things To Do in Flatiron and Gramercy
If you have more time to spare, here are some additional things to do in the area.
Food and Drinks in Flatiron and Gramercy
The Flatiron District especially is well known for its nightlife with tons of great bars, rooftop bars and clubs. Here are some of our recommendations in terms of restaurants, clubs and bars in Flatiron and Gramercy Park.
One of our favorites is the 230 Fifth Avenue Rooftop Bar with amazing views of the Empire State Building. Right next to it, you can find the famous 4040 Club. Jay-Z himself owns this club which is a great place to dance, watch sports and have a drink.
Check Out The Union Square Holiday Market
Union Square Park turns into a holiday market which is very similar to the Bryant Park holiday market during the winter. Here you can buy food, small gifts and souvenirs. It’s a great place to do some holiday shopping and just to have good times with friends and family.
The Metronome: One of the Strangest Clocks in NYC
As a symbol of passing time, an art installation by Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel was placed in 1999 on the southern edge of Union Square. It definitely creates complete perplexity and confusion. So how do you exactly read this clock? To our understanding, it consists of two parts. A digital clock with an initially incomprehensible sequence of numbers and a sculpture reminiscent of a magic wand.
The orange 15 digits can be divided into two groups. The 7 left digits indicate the current time (hour, minute, second, tenth of a second). The 8 right digits must be read from right to left to see how much time remains until midnight.
Gramercy Park in New York
It’s one of the most elegant parks in the city and known as Gramercy Park. The beautiful Victorian townhouses in the surrounding area date back to the first half of the 19th century and have had many famous residents, such as Mark Twain and Julia Roberts.
Today, Karl Lagerfeld, David Garrett, Uma Thurman and Rufus Wainwright reside at Gramercy Park. The residents of the exclusive park have, in addition to the excellent residential location, another advantage: only they are allowed to enter the private park of the same name. The area was once a swamp until lawyer and politician Samuel Ruggles bought it in the 1830s. Shortly thereafter, the park was fenced in 1844 closed off and only made accessible to residents.
A Key as a Status Symbol
If you’re allowed to unlock one of the four heavily guarded gates of this exclusive park that means you own one of the park’s 400 keys. You’ll have the envious glances from New Yorkers and tourists. In fact, there’s even a $350 annual fee in order to visit the only real private park in the metropolis.
The keys aren’t cheap to replace either. If you lose it the first time, the fee is $1000 and after that it’s $2000. Residents can bring up to five guests. Additional security is taken and all of the keys and locks are changed every year to avoid fraud. If someone does not pay their key fee, the right of access is withdrawn.
One of the things to do in Flatiron and Gramercy is just literally taking a stroll and admiring the architecture. Gramercy Park is known for its unique, ancient brownstone houses. In addition to the amazing buildings, there’s one thing that’s even more remarkable. On 28 E 20th Street is the birthplace of former United States President Theodore Roosevelt. He was born in this house in 1858 and lived there until he was fourteen years old.
The historically valuable building is now a museum and offers guided tours to the public. Get a thrilling behind the scenes look of a real New York Brownstone home that dates back to Roosevelt’s childhood, including original furniture and personal belongings from the former US president.
Shopping in Flatiron and Gramercy
In these neighborhoods you’ll find a bunch of stores. On 5th Ave, you’ll find stores like H&M, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Nike and a women’s fitness store called Bandier. There’s also a lot of cafe’s and restaurants that are lined up here as well. If you walk south towards Union Square, you’ll find a Whole Foods and even a Nordstrom Rack. Since it’s in the city and pretty close to Midtown, a lot of mainstream stores have built there stores here.
The Art and Museum Scene in Flatiron and Gramercy
Certainly one of the best things to do in Flatiron and Gramercy is to check out the museums. Each neighborhood usually has a few museums for the public to come check out and this area is no different.
The Museum of Sex
The Museum of Sex is for people over the age of 18 and deals with sexuality in the cultural context as well as learning the sex life of animals. 15,000 exhibits and an affiliated shop make the Museum of Sex a popular destination and one of the best things to do in Flatiron and Gramercy. If you have the New York Pass, entry into the museum is even included. You can find all information about the pass here (Address: 233 Fifth Avenue, corner 27th Street).
National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)
New York has certainly built a museum for every area and every topic, so there’s a good chance there’s a museum for whatever interest you might have. The Museum of Mathematics (MoMAth) deals with mathematics (obviously) and shows its visitors that math is very much all around us.
Living in Flatiron and Gramercy
The neighborhood owes its name to the famous Flatiron Building and the area covers 14th to 29th Street (between Sixth and Lexington Avenues). One of the city’s most photographed buildings is the district’s trademark and one of the city’s oldest skyscrapers. Flatiron District in New York was once the home of toy factories and countless photo studios. It is now a popular residential and entertainment district. The name changed in 1980 from “Photo District”, or “Toy District” to its current name. As the commercial character had subsided, the area now needed a name that sold well in the real estate industry. Also, two large public parks are part of the exciting district. Madison Square Park and Union Square with its attached park.
Hotels in Flatiron and Gramercy
Hotels in this area can get pretty pricey since you’re in one of the top locations in NYC. Here are our recommendations.
- The New York EDITION (Address: 5 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010)
- Flatiron Hotel (Address: 9 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010)
- Gramercy Park Hotel (Address: 2 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010)
- The New Yorker, A Wyndham Hotel (Address: 481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001)
- Heritage Hotel New York City (Address: 18 W 25th St, New York, NY 10010)
Neighborhoods Near Flatiron and Gramercy
There are a lot of neighborhoods in Manhattan worth visiting. If you liked Flatiron and Gramercy, make sure to check out the surrounding neighborhoods as well. We highly recommend Midtown, Lower Manhattan and SoHo. There’s a lot of things to do in New York City and those surrounding areas have a similar vibe to Flatiron and Gramercy.
Being a photographer and creative in general, New York City, I think is the perfect place to be. I moved to NYC from Boston in 2013 and never looked back. Loving New York has given me the opportunity to do what I love and share those images with you all.