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Get to know Murray Hill

Stretching from 34th to 42nd and Fifth Avenue to the East River, Murray Hill owes its name to a family that once owned a farm here. Mrs. Murray’s main claim to fame was having once entertained British soldiers and, by distracting them, provided George Washington with time to escape the city. Later, at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, it enjoyed a period as one of Manhattan’s most fashionable neighborhoods — a legacy that lives on in the handsome row houses on many blocks between Third and Fifth avenues as well as the Morgan Library. They now share the neighborhood with newer apartment blocks. While Murray Hill may not be a major destination for residents of other parts of the city, that seems to be fine with those who live there and enjoy its low-key atmosphere and convenience to Midtown and Gramercy.
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History & Culture

For much of the 19th century, Murray Hill sat at the northern edge of New York — a genteel enclave removed from the bustle of lower Manhattan. It continued to be a wealthy neighborhood into the first half of the 20th century, when most of the landmarked row houses in the Murray Hill Historic District (between 34th and 38th and Park and Lexington) were built. The other principal reminder of Murray Hill’s gilded-age past is the Morgan Library, on Madison and 36th, a neoclassical building by Charles McKim paired with a newer addition by Renzo Piano. Another cultural institution of note is Scandinavia House, on Park Avenue, which hosts exhibits on Nordic culture. If you are wondering exactly where the namesake hill is, it was centered at 36th and Park, where there is still a noticeable if modest rise, though its height was halved in the early 19th century.

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Dine & Shop

The principal commercial strip of Murray Hill runs along Third Avenue, with a mix of bars and restaurants that cater to everyone from recent grads with happy hour specials to longtime neighborhood residents. (Somewhat confusingly, the strip of Indian restaurants nicknamed “Curry Hill” sits outside of the neighborhood, on Lexington roughly between 24th and 28th. In fact, the dining options increase significantly if you travel a little beyond Murray Hill’s southern border.) Sarge’s Delicatessen on Third Avenue has its loyalists. They, and the pastrami sandwiches and matzo ball soup, may convince you it is the city’s best deli. Carnivores will want to make a reservation at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse on Park Avenue, while Kajitsu serves haute vegan Japanese dishes.

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