Card No. 24 - photos
This walk takes you from the noisy heart of midtown to one of its quietest, most genteel corners.
Begin at East 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue (M104 or M42 bus to 42nd Street and Park Avenue, or 4, 5, 6, or 7 train to Grand Central Station).
By common agreement, the tallest building in the world in 1930 was also New York's most beautiful. In 1931 the Empire State Building eclipsed it in height, but there was never any doubt as to the Chrysler Building's superior charms. The Chrysler Building is easily picked out from a distance - its fanciful golden spire can be spotted as you drive in from Kennedy Airport - but don't miss the chance to explore it up close, especially its marble and inlaid-wood lobby at ground level. Cross to the south side of East 42nd Street for another noteworthy art deco design, the Chanin Building, #122. Occupying 110 East 42nd is the old Bowery Savings Bank, whose spectacular vaulted interior is now rented out by the hour for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and concerts. Head east on East 42nd to Third Avenue, obscured for decades by the elevated trains that ran on it and Second Avenue until 1955. Beyond Second, on the north side of the street, the Ford Foundation's brown modernist jewel box discreetly shelters assets of a billion or so, and opens its garden atrium to visitors on weekdays. Continue along 42nd to the stairs leading to Tudor City, an elevated redoubt of 12 apartment houses with names such as "The Cloister" and "The Manor." Built in the mid-1920s, Tudor City replaced a neighborhood of notorious slaughterhouses, breweries, and gangs, but you'd never guess it by the quiet that prevails in its twin parks overlooking 42nd Street.
From City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot by Martha Fay