CMJ Neighborhood Spotlight: Madison Square Park

posted by Cultivora on October 07, 2013

New York City -- Union Square, Flatiron, Gramercy, and NoMad – the neighborhoods included in this section – are all a stone’s throw from Madison Square Park. The area has fewer CMJ music venues than its southern counterparts, but they’re among the best. Since the introduction of several notable boutique hotels, such as the Ace and NoMad, myriad restaurants, bars, and shops have followed suit.

Listed below is just a taste of what is available in our full Official Travel Guide to CMJ Music Marathon, which is loaded with information about city-wide hotspots. The guide is available for free at select venues throughout New York City, and if you can't pick up a physical copy, you can download and view it digitally. Physical copies will also be available in each CMJ registrant's gift bag.




Shake Shack (Madison Square Park)
This NYC classic began as a hot dog cart in 2001 to support Madison Square Park’s first art installation. Three years later, locals and tourists line up for their staple burgers and shakes.


L'Express (249 Park Avenue South)
L’Express serves traditional French fare 24/7. With menu items that include steak frites and grilled swordfish, your next late-night meal is in for an upscale change.



Ace Hotel (20 West 29th Street)
With a bustling lobby and thoughtful decorative accents, Ace is a known haven for the young, hip, and musically inclined. When booking, opt for a mini, small, medium, or large room, which feel more like you’re staying at a friend’s apartment than at a hotel.


Gramercy Park Hotel (2 Lexington Avenue)
Modern cool meets vintage luxury at this NYC mainstay, first opened in 1925. In addition to plushly-furnished, spacious rooms, the hotel is home to the art-focused Rose Bar and the stunning Gramercy Terrace, located on the hotel’s 17th floor.



Idlewild Books (12 West 19th Street)
Peruse Idlewild’s extensive collection of books on the subject of travel, from essays and novels to classic travel guides and language workbooks. Warning: may induce wanderlust.


Project No. 8 (22 West 29th Street)
Project No. 8’s location within the Ace aims to higher the standard of a hotel store. Guests can find amenities they may have left at home while all can imagine their next vacation with guide books and travel accessories.



Milk & Honey (30 East 23rd Street)
There are no menus at this swanky speakeasy; instead, you describe your cocktail style and the bartender will whip up a customized concoction.


SPiN New York (48 East 23rd Street)
This unique ping-pong hall serves a full courtside menu of food and drinks. Stop by day or night to indulge in a specialty cocktail and try your luck on the court.



Union Square (Broadway & 14th Street)
There’s more to Union Square than just the subway station, although the buskers that frequent the underground hub do elicit a stop. Activities range from walking tours and a greenmarket to pop up demonstrations and rotating celebrations.


Madison Square Park (Madison Avenue & 23rd Street)
A quaint park located between East 23rd and 26th Streets and Fifth and Madison Avenues, Madison Square Park is largely known for housing Shake Shack as well as rotating art installations sponsored by the park’s Conservancy.

Introduction and Venue Descriptions by Laura Baker-Finch, Maressa Levy, and Marjana Jaidi

See Also:

CMJ Neighborhood Spotlight: East Village
CMJ Neighborhood Spotlight: Lower East Side
Music Monday Playlist: CMJ Music Marathon 2013