Midtown East History & Culture
The opening of Grand Central in 1913 was a pivotal moment in the development of Midtown East, though as important as the station itself was the fact that the train tracks leading to it were buried underground. The result was that Manhattan had a new grand boulevard with wide sidewalks and a leafy median, Park Avenue, to develop. Among the first generation of buildings that followed, St. Bartholomew’s (completed in 1917), the Racquet and Tennis Club (1918), and the Waldorf-Astoria hotel (1931) still stand, later joined by a number of post-war office buildings. Those booms extended beyond Park to Lexington and Madison, though the closer one gets to the East River, the higher the ratio of residential to office buildings. In 1952, the opening of the UN headquarters was another key event, and its employees, and those of the many consulates here, continue to shape the character of the area.