To most New Yorkers, the word 'Midtown' is synonymous with 'Work.' And, in fact, a lot of people do commute here for business during the day. But Midtown, and especially Midtown West, is packed full with more universally-known buildings then any other district in Manhattan.
Snuggled tightly in the bosom of Midtown West is the Theater District. Over 30 theaters make their home here, and the fare varies from long-running musicals to the latest highly-touted drama, A mere block north of 42nd Street, where Seventh Avenue and Broadway intersect, is Times Square. This is where Manhattan is at its showiest. All around these blocks are massive billboards surrounded with tubes of neon in every imaginable color. It is here where hundreds of thousands of people gather every New Year's Eve to watch the ball drop.
Face east while in Bryant Park and you'll see the rear of the magnificent New York Public Library. If you think the back is impressive, then you should walk around to Fifth Avenue and see the front. You'll find two large stone lions guarding the wide steps that lead up to the great bronze doors. Inside, the books are spread out over 85 miles of shelves-many of them housed underneath Bryant Park itself.
On the west side of Fifth Avenue, between 48th and 51st Streets, are the buildings that comprise Rockefeller Plaza. Nineteen buildings make up the Plaza, almost all of which are connected by a series of underground passages. Also in the Plaza (at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 51st Street) is Radio City Music Hall, the world's largest indoor theater.
Stroll west from Fifth down the lovely promenade known as Channel Gardens to the Plaza's centerpiece, the gold-leaf statue of Prometheus that overlooks the Lower Plaza area. The Lower Plaza is given over to cafes during the summer, but come the winter months it is transformed into an ice skating rink. Every year around the holidays a gigantic live Christmas tree is stationed between Prometheus and the looming GE Building behind it.
Bustling with business people during the day, thriving with tourists and theatergoers at night, Midtown West is one area of Manhattan that barely pauses to rest. If you have an apartment in Midtown Manhattan's West Side, it is hard not to take in the lights and sounds here without feeling yourself infused with its energy.