Neighborhood: Koreatown (Sixth Avenue/30th Street/Fifth Avenue/36th Street)
Population: About 3,000 people (this area is mostly a business district). 52,910 people per square mile. Population Density of Manhattan: 69,000 people per square mile
Adjacent Neighborhoods: Herald Square, Midtown, Garment District, Murray Hill
Public Transit: B/D/F/M/N/R/Q at Herald Square, A/C/E/1/2/3, LIRR and NJ Transit at Penn Station, 6 at 28th and 33rd streets, R at 28th Street.
What’s Here?: In the thick of some of New York’s busiest tourist destinations (Herald Square and the Empire State Building) every big store is at your fingertips, including the original and largest Macy’s Department Store. This is where the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade wraps every year with Broadway performances, celebrities and massive balloons galore. Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks and superstar musicians play, is steps away, as are all of the trains to New Jersey and Long Island at Penn Station.
Flat or Tall?: Part of Midtown Manhattan, the buildings in this area tower over the sidewalks. The Empire State Building, one of the tallest and most celebrated structures of Manhattan’s entire skyline, takes up an entire city block and is the main fixture here.
History: Koreans started forming this miniature enclave conveniently located close to the Garment District and heavy tourist foot traffic in the late 1970s and people have come in droves to feel at home ever since.
Activities: More than groceries with kimchi, Koreatown is known as the place to go for barbeque and karaoke, of course. The main strip of 32nd Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue has these two indulgences in abundance. The neighborhood is also situated in the middle of the jewelry district where you can peruse baubles sold mostly in bulk to wholesalers and to the occasional savvy shopper. It seems as if every large store in the world has a location around the corner on 34th Street. Finally, from first time visitors to old time New Yorkers, everyone should journey to the top of the Empire State Building once.
Check it out: Don’t miss the Korean fried chicken at BonChon Chicken on Fifth Avenue. For an unfussy rooftop experience with the Empire State Building towering over you, take the elevator to the top of the La Quinta Hotel on 32nd Street. Great Vietnamese noodle soup can be found at Pho 32. Sample the Korean barbeque at Kang Suh Restaurant (expect to leave smelling like delicious meat). Finally, revel in the private room karaoke experience at 32 Karaoke.