The New York Public Library and Bryant Park are only a couple of blocks away from the terminal, a quick jaunt on 42nd Street. And from there, Times Square is just another block or two farther west of the library, its neon shimmering in the distance. One wonders, standing near the intersection of 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, how many souls have been lured away from their well-meaning library studies by the beckoning lights of the Theater District.
10 Short Walks from Grand Central Terminal
The following walks from the terminal conclude at another destination worth exploring. If visitors are in town, tell them to go to Grand Central and pass along this list of nearby things to do. The walks includes suggested routes, many of them straightforward.
View Short Walks from Grand Central Terminal in a larger map
1. New York Public Library and Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd Streets, 5th Avenue to 6th Avenue. The renovated main branch of the NYPL at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street features special exhibitions and an excellent library shop. Multifaceted Bryant Park is one of the most versatile public spaces in the city, adapting its programming to the changing seasons. Take a look at the restored Main Reading Room at the library.
|Bryant Park in late spring|
2. Lever House and Seagram Building, Park Avenue and E. 53rd St. Visit two monuments of modern architecture. The 1952 Lever House is famous for introducing the world to the glass curtain wall, and the building has aged well. The Lever House Art Collection displays works of art in the building's courtyard and adjacent spaces. The tall, dark, and handsome Seagram Building (1958), a monument of modern architecture by Mies van der Rohe, also features a popular plaza for people-watching.
3. The News Building, 220 E. 42nd St. The Art Deco building designed by Raymond Hood is most famous for the comic book-like world globe in its lobby. Clark Kent all the way.
4. United Nations Headquarters. 1st Avenue near E. 44th St. Take a tour of the General Assembly while taking in uncommon views of the East River.
5. Morgan Library & Museum. 225 Madison Avenue. Drawings and manuscripts are the strengths of the museum's collection, but be sure to visit the restored McKim Building to bask in the treasures of J.P.'s sumptuous Citizen Kane-like library and study.
6. MoMA at 11 W. 53rd St. serves as its own busy hub, with exhibitions, a renowned gift shop, places to eat, a packed film schedule, and an inspiring sculpture garden.
|MoMA's sculpture garden in autumn colors|
7. Rockefeller Center, Saks Fifth Avenue, St. Patrick's Cathedral. 5th Avenue between 49th and 51st Streets. The trifecta - a landmark destination for its architecture and NBC studio tours, a famous 5th Avenue department store, and the city's most prominent Catholic church, all neighbors. Visit Top of the Rock while at Rockefeller Center.
8. Waldorf Astoria. (Note - The hotel has plans to close for long-term renovation in the spring of 2017. Visit now.) 301 Park Avenue. Even if you're not staying overnight, a walk through the hotel smells like money, as F. Scott Fitzgerald would say, and old New York affluence. (Also, start at the Yale Club next to Grand Central Terminal and walk to Penn Station. You'll follow Nick Carraway's walk from The Great Gatsby.) A walk north of the Waldorf to The Plaza Hotel at 59th and 5th is a good way to extend the adventure.
9. Greenacre Park. E. 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Hideo Sasaki's masterpiece of a pocket park features a 25-foot waterfall that washes away city stress.
|The pedestrian friendly Times Square|
10. Times Square. intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue (hard to miss). A walk west from Grand Central eventually leads to this other important crossroad of the city. If people watching is a favorite activity, this one's for you. Now pedestrian friendly.
See Grand Central Terminal's website for food, shops, events, history, and more.
• Short Walks to NYC Attractions from the Port Authority.
• From Penn Station to New York Landmarks: Measuring Walking Time and Distance in Manhattan.
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple.