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Living in Murray Hill

Bordered by emblematic monuments like the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station, Murray Hill is a residential neighborhood tucked away from Midtown’s hustle and bustle. It was a desirable zip code for the city’s middle class at the end of the 1800s, and much of the Beaux-Arts architecture from this time period is perfectly preserved. Pre-war townhouses and Italianate mansions characterize this charming pocket of Manhattan. Cultural gems like the Morgan Library and Museum and Scandinavia House combine with the Indian restaurants of Curry Hill and boutiques of Madison Avenue. Popular with pet lovers, families and professionals alike for its laid-back atmosphere, Murray Hill invites a slower pace of life.

Murray Hill real estate

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Historic townhouses abound in Murray Hill. In fact, many of the original 100 townhouses listed in the 1892 Social Register still stand. Many have interior gyms, elevators and sleek kitchen appliances. Murray Hill real estate is a diverse blend of the old and new. Elegant brownstones balance with contemporary high-rise condos. Some of the most exciting new developments are in former office buildings along Madison Avenue, now cavernous loft-style Murray Hill apartments. The Kips Bay Towers condominium is a notable modern development, designed by I.M. Pei in 1961 to bridge the gap between nature and urban living. It features a three-acre private garden nestled between the two towers.

Murray Hill history

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This quiet enclave’s history extends back to the 18th century. It’s named after Quaker merchant Robert Murray, who established a farm sitting on top of a sloping green hill. Descendants of the Murrays drew up a Murray Hill Restrictive Agreement in 1847, which restricted developments to brick or stone dwellings, private stables and churches. The neighborhood grew with the arrival of the New York and Harlem Railroad tracks, followed by the Park Avenue Tunnel in the 19th century. Originally used for the railroad, it started to take on road traffic in 1937 and is now the modern Queens-Midtown Tunnel. With an increase in transportation links, wealthy families moved in and built the stately homes and cultural attractions like the Morgan Library that lure visitors to Murray Hill today.

Murray Hill restaurants

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There’s a diverse selection of international cuisine available in the neighborhood, from Korean to Mexican. Michelin-starred chef April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig fame helms a thriving Mexican cantina and taqueria. Salvation Taco draws in the hungry masses for its market-fresh cuisine and rooftop social scene. Adorned with Christmas lights and fake fruit, it recreates a little slice of Cancún right in the city. Murray Hill isn’t short on by-the-slice pizza joints, but for a more elaborate affair Marta dishes up thin-crust, Roman-style pies cooked in wood-burning ovens. Some of the best Murray Hill restaurants are in the area around Lexington and 28th Street, affectionately dubbed 'Curry Hill'. This Little India has a wealth of options, whether you are in the mood for the all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet at Vatan or Chinese-Indian fusion cuisine at Spice Symphony.

Murray Hill nightlife

You’re unlikely to find velvet ropes, cover charges or guest lists in Murray Hill bars. The nightlife here is laid-back and accessible. There’s an abundance of sports bars like Whiskey Rebel and cozy pubs like The Mad Hatter Pub and Eatery. The Ginger Man faithfully recreates the ambiance of a traditional Irish pub, right down to the long wooden bar and vintage Guinness posters on the wall. Another wood-paneled pub with a faithful following and lengthy list of craft beers, the Waterfront Ale House hosts live blues music on the first Friday of every month. The Cutting Room on East 32nd Street is a go-to destination for live music fans. Blues, rock and pop acts perform under a chandelier constructed from guitars.

Murray Hill shopping

Positioned in close proximity to hubs like Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building, Murray Hill has its fair share of chain stores and tourist outlets hawking souvenirs. Yet exploring the area’s vast avenues reveals independent fashion boutiques and eclectic gift shops. Dover Street Market is a high-fashion highlight. Created by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, it’s a conceptual department store, art gallery and café showcasing looks from the likes of Prada and Nike in unusual settings. New spaces and clothing lines ensure a consistently fresh shopping experience. There’s a concentration of diverse retail outlets lining Madison and Third Avenues, where you can pick up pet supplies, specialty hats or flashy new lingerie.

Murray Hill attractions

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With its well-preserved historical buildings and diverse population, Murray Hill contains a wealth of cultural attractions. The Morgan Library and Museum occupies a landmark 1852 Italianate brownstone. Once the private library of banker Pierpont Morgan, the museum holds a stunning collection of Morgan’s historical manuscripts and old master prints. Whether it’s an original Mozart symphony or Egyptian papyrus segments, there’s an intriguing display of treasures here to ponder. Learn more about Nordic culture at Scandinavia House. The headquarters of the American-Scandinavian Foundation is open to the public with art exhibitions, concerts, readings, lectures and activities for children. The house itself is a light-strewn modern structure designed by Polshek Partnership Architects. The National Museum of Mathematics is in the southwestern corner of Murray Hill overlooking Madison Square Park, providing hands-on exhibitions for all ages. MoMath gives visitors the chance to see how mathematics influences the world around us, not to mention the chance to ride a square-wheeled tricycle.

Fairway in Murray Hill

"I love a good grocery store and Murray Hill is now home to one of the best. Fairway, the iconic market from the UWS and Washington Heights, is now in Murray Hill on First Avenue @ 30th Street. 30 different brands of olive oil!"
Chris Megale
Chris                Megale
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What's In The Area: Murray Hill

Driving Walking

Local tips and information for going out in the Murray Hill from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.

All Murray Hill tips




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