Midtown West with Kids: Top 40 Things to Do for NYC Families
For many people, the words Midtown West conjure up visions of Times Square with its Broadway theaters, illuminated billboards, crowded chain restaurants, megastores and tourist traps. But go a little further west and you'll find the treasures of Clinton, an amenity-filled residential neighborhood that many actors, artists and families call home. Also known as Hell's Kitchen, the area was once infamous for gangs and poverty but started changing in the 1990s. Tenements were renovated, luxury condos went up, and a slew of new restaurants and bars opened, especially on Ninth Avenue, which plays host to the International Food Festival every May.
While the nabe's gritty past is still evident—it hasn't enjoyed quite the same makeover as nearby Chelsea—it's getting more kid-friendly every year: Local parent group, Hell's Kitchen Babies, is very active; the Matthews-Palmer Playground on West 45th is poised to get a $2 million overhaul; the Midtown West School has become a sought-after public elementary school; and the waterfront, Bryant Park and, yes, even Times Square offer fantastic kid-friendly activities like a life-size T-rex and an indoor Ferris wheel. (Hey, sometimes there's something to be said for tourist spots!)
Throughout April we'll be writing about everything Midtown West (both Times Square and Hell's Kitchen) has to offer, including our favorite places to eat, play, shop and experience with kids. For the purposes of our posts, our geographical boundaries are 34th to Columbus Circle, Sixth Avenue to the Hudson River. We kick off our coverage with a list of the top 40 things for families to do in Midtown West.