Many people confuse Manhattan with New York City, but in fact Manhattan is one of the five boroughs that create NYC (the four others are Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island). Manhattan itself includes several neighborhoods.
Manhattan is divided into three parts, Uptown, Midtown and Downtown. Manhattan is divided into a grid of streets and avenues. 15 avenues cross the city lengthwise, and they are crossed by over 200 numbered streets (most of the avenues are also numbered, but some has names such as Park Avenue and Madison Avenue). For that reason, each corner is an intersection of a street and an avenue.
The Fifth Avenue is the central avenue which parts the city into an East and West, and each street that meets the avenue is marked by the letters E or W according to its direction.
Uptown Manhattan (or Upper Manhattan), which stretches from 59th St. and north to 125th street, is halved by the Central Park the Upper East Side and Upper West Side and topped by the formerly infamous Harlem neighborhood. Uptown Manhattan is the home of many NYC museums, including the Metropolitan, Guggenheim and The American Museum of Natural Art, all located in the area along Fifth Avenue known as the Museum Mile.
Neighborhoods in Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan is located south of 59th St. and north of 14th–30th Streets. Some of NYC famous and landmarks are located in Midtown Manhattan including the Times Square and the Theatre District, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, the Kreisler Building, Rockefeller Center and the United Nations Headquarters.
Hell’s Kitchen is the farthest west neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan, bordering the Hudson River on the west and the eighth Ave on the east. Once dominated by the Irish mob and later a home for aspiring actors and students of the Lee Strasberg School, Hell’s Kitchen is worth a visit for its diverse ethnic restaurants on Ninth Ave.
Downtown Manhattan Neighborhoods
Downtown Manhattan (or Lower Manhattan) is the area south of 14th St. Manhattan financial district, including Wall Street and the former World Trade Center are located there, as well as some of the most interesting neighborhoods:
Tribeca – located south of Canal St., between the Hudson River and Broadway, the neighborhood is mostly known for the Tribeca Film Festival, founded by Robert De Niro in 2002.
Chelsea – stretched between 14th and 34 St. and the sixth and tenth Ave., Chelsea is a special neighborhood, filled with art galleries, chic boutiques, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Some of its famous landmarks include the Chelsea Market, an indoor food market, the High Line, an elevated park built above historic rails and overlooking Manhattan skyline, and the Meatpacking District, formerly an industrial area for slaughterhouses and meatpacking factories and now the home of Manhattan high fashion industry.
Soho – the neighborhood south of Houston St., north of Canal St., west of the Bowery and east of the Sixth Avenue, was the original art district, but since many of the artists and galleries moved to Chelsea, the Soho is mainly filled with exclusive shops, cafes and restaurants.
Chinatown – located on the lower east side of Manhattan, loosely bordered by Kenmore and Delancey streets on the north, East and Worth streets on the south, Allen street on the east, and Broadway on the west, Chinatown is a popular tourist destination, famous for its authentic Chinese restaurants and many shops and vendors of exotic fruits, vegetables and spices, souvenirs and cheap electronic devices.
Little Italy – near Chinatown there’s a small, mini-neighborhood, the home of Italian immigrants and wonderful, authentic and affordable restaurants. Little Italy is located between Lafayette and Bowery St., south of Spring and north of Canal St.; the culinary scene centers around Mulberry St.
Greenwich Village – since the 1920s, the area between14th Street and Houston Street, was known as a home for bohemian artists and counter-culture characters. Now a bourgeois neighborhood, it is still worth a visit especially for its various coffee shops and bars, the famous Washington Park and its legacy.
East Village – the neighborhood east of Greenwich Village was considered part of the Lower East Side, until it was rebranded during the late 60s as an artistic area. Currently the neighborhood offers visitors many off-Broadway theatres, trendy ethnic restaurants and lots of shops.