Midtown is the epitome of what one might expect to find in a city. The major transportation stations are here, as well as most of the city's hotel rooms, the most famous department stores, and thousands of offices and businesses. Midtown is the home to many nationwide corporations, as well as the garment district, and in the years since 9/11, much of the financial activity has moved to the area as well. It has many bars and restaurants in order to feed and entertain its thousands of residents as well as the multitudes of theater goers, who need food before or after their Broadway show.  Some notable office buildings in Midtown include the Empire State Building, the MetLife Building, the Chrysler Building, and the United Nations. 

Times Square

Until the late 1880's the area that is now known as Times Square was known as Hell's Kitchen (a nearby neighborhood that still exists today). It was a collection of factories and tenements, that was known to be dangerous. However, in 1883, things began to change drastically, with the opening of the Metropolitan Opera House. This attracted many of the city's nouveaux riches and soon, many theaters were opening in the area, that is, around 42nd street and Broadway. Eventually, the city decided to open up a subway station on 42nd street. Adolph Ochs, the publisher of the New York Times at that time, saw this as a way to pull ahead of his competitors. He built a a tower on top of the station and had it officially named Times Square in 1904. 

Today, this is a world famous neighborhood, because of its many theaters, each showing a widely advertised and high production cost Broadway show. It is also the site of a huge New Years Celebration, every year. Most of its buildings are covered in screens and at most times of day, the streets are packed and walking is slow. 

Times Square today
Times Square, photo taken from
New York Times Building

Union Square

Before the Civil War, this area was known to be a fashionable part of town, centered around the park, much like Gramercy Park is today. In the 20th Century the area became a meeting place for the politically liberal; in August 1927, protestors of the Sacco and Vanzetti case awaited a verdict. On May Day, a million people showed up to show their support for Socialism. In addition, the The Daily Worker, and other radical periodicals were based here. 

In the 30's, this was the location for all protestors and agitators to make speeches and start debates, especially concerning the wrongs inflicted by the police, who often repressed unemployment rallies during the Depression. 

In the 60's and 70's, the area was home to drug traffickers until a late 80's renovation, when the goings- on within the park became more visible to those outside. 

Today, the area is very populated at all hours of the day, and is still the site of many rallies and protests. It also has two contemporarily- designed playgrounds, a Whole Foods, and a Greenmarket. 

Andy Warhol's Factories
The second and third locations of Andy Warhol's famous factories were in Union Square. The second, at 33 Union Square West, was conveniently located near Max's Kansas City, a restaurant and club where Warhol and his superstars spent much time, and the Velvet Underground often performed. The third location was 860 Broadway, outside of which, a statue called The Andy Monument stands today. 

Max's Kansas City
A restaurant and club, this was a gathering place for artists and musicians, including Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Clement Greenberg, the Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, The New York Dolls, and the Magic Tramps. It was also most commonly frequented by Andy Warhol and his entourage. Today it is a different restaurant, with much less renown.