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CUT and Bar 45 at London’s 45 Park Lane Hotel: The Recipe for a Wonderful Night Out

CUT and Bar 45 at London’s 45 Park Lane Hotel: The Recipe for a Wonderful Night Out


Our evening there at the invitation of the hotel started with a trip to the hotel’s bar, called Bar 45. Located up a flight of stairs from the hotel’s modern and upscale lobby, this long and luxurious bar is the ideal spot to start or finish a romantic evening. Head bartender Maurizio Palermo has crafted a collection of truly astounding cocktails to be enjoyed in the high-end bar room, and the dark woods, dim lighting, and comfortable seating certainly put you in the mood to enjoy them. The £17 cocktails ($21) are categorized by base spirit, and highlights include The Duke of Earl (Earl Gray tea-infused Tanqueray No. 10 gin, lemon juice, simple syrup); Devil in Disguise (Patron Reposado, passion fruit, smoked Kashmiri chili salt); Smoke and Mirrors (Glenfiddich 12 infused with Lapsang Sauchong tea, Drambuie, cherry liqueur, lemon juice); Peace on Earth (tropical rum punch with pineapple, orgeat and coconut syrups, lime juice); and Crouching Tiger (Jasmine flower green tea infused vodka, lemon juice). A house-barrel aged Manhattan highlights the small selection of vintage cocktails; Negroni-lovers should definitely splurge on the vintage Negroni (£28, or $35), made with authentic 1970s-era bottles of gin, Campari, and vermouth. It’s like sampling a Negroni from 40 years ago. The wine selection is also amazing; the bar is home to the U.K.’s largest selection of American wines.


The bar overlooks CUT, which is located on the ground floor looking out onto Hyde Park, so drinks at Bar 45 followed by a meal at CUT makes for an ideal progression.

Wolfgang Puck runs a handful of CUT locations around the world including ones in California and Las Vegas; we’ve consistently named the Beverly Hills location the best steakhouse in America, so it was very exciting to have the opportunity to see what his first European restaurant had in store. The dining room itself is modern and elegant with well-spaced tables and dimly lit dining room with dark wood and cream-colored curtains. Though the star of the show here is obviously the steak, there’s plenty more than that to love on the menu. There’s a wide variety of seasonal salads and starters, including Dorset crab and lobster “Louis” cocktail with spicy tomato-horseradish sauce, maple-glazed pork belly with Asian spices, Austrian oxtail bouillon with bone marrow dumplings, and hand-cut steak tartare. When white Alba truffles are in season you can sample them atop risotto, polenta, or angel hair pasta.

If you’re not in the mood for steak, entrées including grilled jumbo prawns, Hong Kong-style steamed sea bass, pan-roasted Scottish lobster with black truffle emulsion, Dover sole meunière, and pan-roasted Label Rouge chicken will keep you more than satisfied, but the steak options here are some of the finest the world has to offer (and that’s not even an exaggeration). New York sirloin, filet mignon, and rib eyes are available from your choice of Kansas’ Creekstone Farms (Black Angus, aged 35 days); Southwest England (South Devon Angus, aged 28 days); or Australia’s Darling Downs (Wagyu/ Black Angus hybrid). American Wagyu sirloin from Idaho’s Snake River Farms and A5 Japanese Wagyu rib eye are also available and are definitely worth the splurge.


We decided to have a sampling of several different steaks, so we ordered the Tasting of New York Sirloin (above), which comes with 4-ounce portions of sirloin from Creekstone and South Devon, and a two-ounce portion from Australia. The richness and intensity increases with each steak, culminating in the deeply marbled Wagyu hybrid; it’s a tour of the world’s finest steaks, and each was cooked to a perfect medium-rare with a nicely seared crust and perfect seasoning. For a steak-lover, it’s a taste of heaven.

If you prefer to fancy up your steaks, there’s a selection of eight sauces and six toppings available, including housemade steak sauce, bordelaise, béarnaise, bone marrow, chimichurri, caramelized onions, a fried egg, and a sprinkling of white truffles when in season. The 11 side dishes include potato purée, tempura onion rings, creamed spinach with a fried egg, cavatappi mac and cheese with Westcombe Cheddar, baby Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower and Romanesco with golden raisins and almonds.

For an upscale and decadent night out to remember, all under one roof, we hope it’s obvious by now that you need look no further than Bar 45 and CUT at 45 Park Lane.


A Sidekick Street

THE sun had long set on a frigid Monday afternoon in February, and the lights had come on along West 58th Street. They illuminated the storefronts that make up Piano Row, framing glossy Steinways and polished Sauters like oil paintings on a gallery wall. Inside Klavierhaus (211 West 58th), a wiry-haired man had his head inside a baby grand. The music of strings wafted from the rear of the store.

“You can go back,” said the nice fellow at the desk. “They’ll give you a program.”

There, on an otherwise unremarkable workday, a master class in chamber music was just getting under way. As unknowing pedestrians hustled by on the sidewalk, the violist Paul Neubauer led four musicians from the New York Youth Symphony through a Mozart string quartet that any passer-by could stop and listen to, free of charge.

That is just one of many secrets this street has hiding in plain sight.

West 58th Street, from Fifth Avenue all the way to the West Side Highway, is sandwiched between the more celebrated stretch of Central Park South to the north, and the main drag of 57th Street to the south. It has a backdoor quality. Natty businessmen slip into the New York Athletic Club, whose proper entrance is at 180 Central Park South, through a revolving door on West 58th, adding a clandestine élan to the private club’s already heady exclusivity.

Posh Japanese tourists with enormous shopping bags from Louis Vuitton and Gucci use the recessed 58th Street door to the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel (officially 36 Central Park South) as they retreat from the throngs on Fifth Avenue. The splendid concave Solow Building (an office tower at 9 West 57th Street) swoops down onto 58th, creating a little plaza that’s marked by Joan Miró’s bulbous “Moonbird” sculpture.

Image

And when it’s complete in 2013, the 90-story One57 (a k a 157 West 57th Street), the residential tower on top of a Park Hyatt hotel that will not so much scrape the sky as pierce it, will have what the marketing materials call a “discreet” entrance on West 58th Street. Like much else here, it will be out of the way, right in the thick of things.

When Michael Fisher, a consultant in the biotech industry who is based in New Jersey, was looking for a pied-à-terre in Manhattan, he chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment in the Windsor Park, a converted 1920s hotel at 100 West 58th, just west of the Avenue of the Americas. “One thing that attracted me was the location,” he said. “It’s literally the center of the city. But really, it’s the center of the world.”

Indeed, if you were to pop down from, say, Apartment 11AB, a three-bedroom, 2,154-square-foot unit at the Windsor Park listed by the DeNiro Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $3.45 million, you might hear five different languages spoken on your one-block warm-up to a run in Central Park, and five more en route to the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, two blocks west.

Stop in at Windsor Pharmacy (1419 Avenue of the Americas), a wonderful relic that has held its ground on the corner of 58th Street since the 1940s, and the clientele and the inventory might make you mistake it for a boutique at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Look south from Seventh Avenue, and you don’t even have to squint to read the flashing billboards in Times Square.

This eight-block corridor cuts through the nerve center of New York City and encapsulates its history, architecture, culture and customs along the way. There’s everything from a boys’ boarding school, St. Thomas Choir School at No. 202 to a shop for triathletes, Swim Bike Run at No. 203, where the backstroke champion Leila Vaziri gives swimming lessons for $140 an hour in the lap pool behind the cash register.

There’s a subterranean theater in the bottom of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle) where the sensibility runs to David Bowie-retrospective and the aesthetic is modern, unchanged by the extensive renovation of the Edward Durell Stone building. There’s even a suggestion of Florence, circa 1989: the Park Savoy at No. 158, a no-frills, pension-like hotel that offers a double room with a queen-size bed for $106 a night and keeps room keys in cubbyholes at the reception desk.

The eastern end has a distinct air that, once upon a time, would have been called cosmopolitan. Here, Bergdorf Goodman (see the arched and very civilized 58th Street side entrance, whose revolving door propels you into a little corner of handbags) and the Plaza Hotel frame the Grand Army Plaza, which gives way to Central Park. Quite Continental.

In 1948, when the Paris Theater, the art-house cinema at No. 4, opened just off Fifth Avenue, Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon. Today she might raise a very thin eyebrow at the office workers huddled outside around smoker’s poles. But she’d be right at home at No. 182, the Art Deco bar at Petrossian — housed in the Alwyn Court, a 1909 luxury apartment house. An ornate French Renaissance landmark, it appears unchanged since Lili Marlene was in her prime.

Heading toward the Hudson River, the street sheds some of its tone as the neighborhood now known as Midtown West becomes Clinton. Yet the blocks are still peppered with treasures. For instance, 1790 Broadway, a 1912 Beaux-Arts skyscraper designed by Carrère & Hastings, once housed the United States Rubber Company. Accorded landmark status in 2000, it is now an office building, but the soaring lobby is open to the public.

There are also any number of 1960s co-ops, so well preserved you half expect Oscar and Felix to tip their hats to the doorman on their way out. One, the Coliseum Apartments at No. 345, spans 58th to 60th Street and hides a very European interior garden that abuts the back of the Time Warner Center.


A Sidekick Street

THE sun had long set on a frigid Monday afternoon in February, and the lights had come on along West 58th Street. They illuminated the storefronts that make up Piano Row, framing glossy Steinways and polished Sauters like oil paintings on a gallery wall. Inside Klavierhaus (211 West 58th), a wiry-haired man had his head inside a baby grand. The music of strings wafted from the rear of the store.

“You can go back,” said the nice fellow at the desk. “They’ll give you a program.”

There, on an otherwise unremarkable workday, a master class in chamber music was just getting under way. As unknowing pedestrians hustled by on the sidewalk, the violist Paul Neubauer led four musicians from the New York Youth Symphony through a Mozart string quartet that any passer-by could stop and listen to, free of charge.

That is just one of many secrets this street has hiding in plain sight.

West 58th Street, from Fifth Avenue all the way to the West Side Highway, is sandwiched between the more celebrated stretch of Central Park South to the north, and the main drag of 57th Street to the south. It has a backdoor quality. Natty businessmen slip into the New York Athletic Club, whose proper entrance is at 180 Central Park South, through a revolving door on West 58th, adding a clandestine élan to the private club’s already heady exclusivity.

Posh Japanese tourists with enormous shopping bags from Louis Vuitton and Gucci use the recessed 58th Street door to the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel (officially 36 Central Park South) as they retreat from the throngs on Fifth Avenue. The splendid concave Solow Building (an office tower at 9 West 57th Street) swoops down onto 58th, creating a little plaza that’s marked by Joan Miró’s bulbous “Moonbird” sculpture.

Image

And when it’s complete in 2013, the 90-story One57 (a k a 157 West 57th Street), the residential tower on top of a Park Hyatt hotel that will not so much scrape the sky as pierce it, will have what the marketing materials call a “discreet” entrance on West 58th Street. Like much else here, it will be out of the way, right in the thick of things.

When Michael Fisher, a consultant in the biotech industry who is based in New Jersey, was looking for a pied-à-terre in Manhattan, he chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment in the Windsor Park, a converted 1920s hotel at 100 West 58th, just west of the Avenue of the Americas. “One thing that attracted me was the location,” he said. “It’s literally the center of the city. But really, it’s the center of the world.”

Indeed, if you were to pop down from, say, Apartment 11AB, a three-bedroom, 2,154-square-foot unit at the Windsor Park listed by the DeNiro Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $3.45 million, you might hear five different languages spoken on your one-block warm-up to a run in Central Park, and five more en route to the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, two blocks west.

Stop in at Windsor Pharmacy (1419 Avenue of the Americas), a wonderful relic that has held its ground on the corner of 58th Street since the 1940s, and the clientele and the inventory might make you mistake it for a boutique at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Look south from Seventh Avenue, and you don’t even have to squint to read the flashing billboards in Times Square.

This eight-block corridor cuts through the nerve center of New York City and encapsulates its history, architecture, culture and customs along the way. There’s everything from a boys’ boarding school, St. Thomas Choir School at No. 202 to a shop for triathletes, Swim Bike Run at No. 203, where the backstroke champion Leila Vaziri gives swimming lessons for $140 an hour in the lap pool behind the cash register.

There’s a subterranean theater in the bottom of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle) where the sensibility runs to David Bowie-retrospective and the aesthetic is modern, unchanged by the extensive renovation of the Edward Durell Stone building. There’s even a suggestion of Florence, circa 1989: the Park Savoy at No. 158, a no-frills, pension-like hotel that offers a double room with a queen-size bed for $106 a night and keeps room keys in cubbyholes at the reception desk.

The eastern end has a distinct air that, once upon a time, would have been called cosmopolitan. Here, Bergdorf Goodman (see the arched and very civilized 58th Street side entrance, whose revolving door propels you into a little corner of handbags) and the Plaza Hotel frame the Grand Army Plaza, which gives way to Central Park. Quite Continental.

In 1948, when the Paris Theater, the art-house cinema at No. 4, opened just off Fifth Avenue, Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon. Today she might raise a very thin eyebrow at the office workers huddled outside around smoker’s poles. But she’d be right at home at No. 182, the Art Deco bar at Petrossian — housed in the Alwyn Court, a 1909 luxury apartment house. An ornate French Renaissance landmark, it appears unchanged since Lili Marlene was in her prime.

Heading toward the Hudson River, the street sheds some of its tone as the neighborhood now known as Midtown West becomes Clinton. Yet the blocks are still peppered with treasures. For instance, 1790 Broadway, a 1912 Beaux-Arts skyscraper designed by Carrère & Hastings, once housed the United States Rubber Company. Accorded landmark status in 2000, it is now an office building, but the soaring lobby is open to the public.

There are also any number of 1960s co-ops, so well preserved you half expect Oscar and Felix to tip their hats to the doorman on their way out. One, the Coliseum Apartments at No. 345, spans 58th to 60th Street and hides a very European interior garden that abuts the back of the Time Warner Center.


A Sidekick Street

THE sun had long set on a frigid Monday afternoon in February, and the lights had come on along West 58th Street. They illuminated the storefronts that make up Piano Row, framing glossy Steinways and polished Sauters like oil paintings on a gallery wall. Inside Klavierhaus (211 West 58th), a wiry-haired man had his head inside a baby grand. The music of strings wafted from the rear of the store.

“You can go back,” said the nice fellow at the desk. “They’ll give you a program.”

There, on an otherwise unremarkable workday, a master class in chamber music was just getting under way. As unknowing pedestrians hustled by on the sidewalk, the violist Paul Neubauer led four musicians from the New York Youth Symphony through a Mozart string quartet that any passer-by could stop and listen to, free of charge.

That is just one of many secrets this street has hiding in plain sight.

West 58th Street, from Fifth Avenue all the way to the West Side Highway, is sandwiched between the more celebrated stretch of Central Park South to the north, and the main drag of 57th Street to the south. It has a backdoor quality. Natty businessmen slip into the New York Athletic Club, whose proper entrance is at 180 Central Park South, through a revolving door on West 58th, adding a clandestine élan to the private club’s already heady exclusivity.

Posh Japanese tourists with enormous shopping bags from Louis Vuitton and Gucci use the recessed 58th Street door to the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel (officially 36 Central Park South) as they retreat from the throngs on Fifth Avenue. The splendid concave Solow Building (an office tower at 9 West 57th Street) swoops down onto 58th, creating a little plaza that’s marked by Joan Miró’s bulbous “Moonbird” sculpture.

Image

And when it’s complete in 2013, the 90-story One57 (a k a 157 West 57th Street), the residential tower on top of a Park Hyatt hotel that will not so much scrape the sky as pierce it, will have what the marketing materials call a “discreet” entrance on West 58th Street. Like much else here, it will be out of the way, right in the thick of things.

When Michael Fisher, a consultant in the biotech industry who is based in New Jersey, was looking for a pied-à-terre in Manhattan, he chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment in the Windsor Park, a converted 1920s hotel at 100 West 58th, just west of the Avenue of the Americas. “One thing that attracted me was the location,” he said. “It’s literally the center of the city. But really, it’s the center of the world.”

Indeed, if you were to pop down from, say, Apartment 11AB, a three-bedroom, 2,154-square-foot unit at the Windsor Park listed by the DeNiro Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $3.45 million, you might hear five different languages spoken on your one-block warm-up to a run in Central Park, and five more en route to the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, two blocks west.

Stop in at Windsor Pharmacy (1419 Avenue of the Americas), a wonderful relic that has held its ground on the corner of 58th Street since the 1940s, and the clientele and the inventory might make you mistake it for a boutique at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Look south from Seventh Avenue, and you don’t even have to squint to read the flashing billboards in Times Square.

This eight-block corridor cuts through the nerve center of New York City and encapsulates its history, architecture, culture and customs along the way. There’s everything from a boys’ boarding school, St. Thomas Choir School at No. 202 to a shop for triathletes, Swim Bike Run at No. 203, where the backstroke champion Leila Vaziri gives swimming lessons for $140 an hour in the lap pool behind the cash register.

There’s a subterranean theater in the bottom of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle) where the sensibility runs to David Bowie-retrospective and the aesthetic is modern, unchanged by the extensive renovation of the Edward Durell Stone building. There’s even a suggestion of Florence, circa 1989: the Park Savoy at No. 158, a no-frills, pension-like hotel that offers a double room with a queen-size bed for $106 a night and keeps room keys in cubbyholes at the reception desk.

The eastern end has a distinct air that, once upon a time, would have been called cosmopolitan. Here, Bergdorf Goodman (see the arched and very civilized 58th Street side entrance, whose revolving door propels you into a little corner of handbags) and the Plaza Hotel frame the Grand Army Plaza, which gives way to Central Park. Quite Continental.

In 1948, when the Paris Theater, the art-house cinema at No. 4, opened just off Fifth Avenue, Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon. Today she might raise a very thin eyebrow at the office workers huddled outside around smoker’s poles. But she’d be right at home at No. 182, the Art Deco bar at Petrossian — housed in the Alwyn Court, a 1909 luxury apartment house. An ornate French Renaissance landmark, it appears unchanged since Lili Marlene was in her prime.

Heading toward the Hudson River, the street sheds some of its tone as the neighborhood now known as Midtown West becomes Clinton. Yet the blocks are still peppered with treasures. For instance, 1790 Broadway, a 1912 Beaux-Arts skyscraper designed by Carrère & Hastings, once housed the United States Rubber Company. Accorded landmark status in 2000, it is now an office building, but the soaring lobby is open to the public.

There are also any number of 1960s co-ops, so well preserved you half expect Oscar and Felix to tip their hats to the doorman on their way out. One, the Coliseum Apartments at No. 345, spans 58th to 60th Street and hides a very European interior garden that abuts the back of the Time Warner Center.


A Sidekick Street

THE sun had long set on a frigid Monday afternoon in February, and the lights had come on along West 58th Street. They illuminated the storefronts that make up Piano Row, framing glossy Steinways and polished Sauters like oil paintings on a gallery wall. Inside Klavierhaus (211 West 58th), a wiry-haired man had his head inside a baby grand. The music of strings wafted from the rear of the store.

“You can go back,” said the nice fellow at the desk. “They’ll give you a program.”

There, on an otherwise unremarkable workday, a master class in chamber music was just getting under way. As unknowing pedestrians hustled by on the sidewalk, the violist Paul Neubauer led four musicians from the New York Youth Symphony through a Mozart string quartet that any passer-by could stop and listen to, free of charge.

That is just one of many secrets this street has hiding in plain sight.

West 58th Street, from Fifth Avenue all the way to the West Side Highway, is sandwiched between the more celebrated stretch of Central Park South to the north, and the main drag of 57th Street to the south. It has a backdoor quality. Natty businessmen slip into the New York Athletic Club, whose proper entrance is at 180 Central Park South, through a revolving door on West 58th, adding a clandestine élan to the private club’s already heady exclusivity.

Posh Japanese tourists with enormous shopping bags from Louis Vuitton and Gucci use the recessed 58th Street door to the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel (officially 36 Central Park South) as they retreat from the throngs on Fifth Avenue. The splendid concave Solow Building (an office tower at 9 West 57th Street) swoops down onto 58th, creating a little plaza that’s marked by Joan Miró’s bulbous “Moonbird” sculpture.

Image

And when it’s complete in 2013, the 90-story One57 (a k a 157 West 57th Street), the residential tower on top of a Park Hyatt hotel that will not so much scrape the sky as pierce it, will have what the marketing materials call a “discreet” entrance on West 58th Street. Like much else here, it will be out of the way, right in the thick of things.

When Michael Fisher, a consultant in the biotech industry who is based in New Jersey, was looking for a pied-à-terre in Manhattan, he chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment in the Windsor Park, a converted 1920s hotel at 100 West 58th, just west of the Avenue of the Americas. “One thing that attracted me was the location,” he said. “It’s literally the center of the city. But really, it’s the center of the world.”

Indeed, if you were to pop down from, say, Apartment 11AB, a three-bedroom, 2,154-square-foot unit at the Windsor Park listed by the DeNiro Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $3.45 million, you might hear five different languages spoken on your one-block warm-up to a run in Central Park, and five more en route to the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, two blocks west.

Stop in at Windsor Pharmacy (1419 Avenue of the Americas), a wonderful relic that has held its ground on the corner of 58th Street since the 1940s, and the clientele and the inventory might make you mistake it for a boutique at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Look south from Seventh Avenue, and you don’t even have to squint to read the flashing billboards in Times Square.

This eight-block corridor cuts through the nerve center of New York City and encapsulates its history, architecture, culture and customs along the way. There’s everything from a boys’ boarding school, St. Thomas Choir School at No. 202 to a shop for triathletes, Swim Bike Run at No. 203, where the backstroke champion Leila Vaziri gives swimming lessons for $140 an hour in the lap pool behind the cash register.

There’s a subterranean theater in the bottom of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle) where the sensibility runs to David Bowie-retrospective and the aesthetic is modern, unchanged by the extensive renovation of the Edward Durell Stone building. There’s even a suggestion of Florence, circa 1989: the Park Savoy at No. 158, a no-frills, pension-like hotel that offers a double room with a queen-size bed for $106 a night and keeps room keys in cubbyholes at the reception desk.

The eastern end has a distinct air that, once upon a time, would have been called cosmopolitan. Here, Bergdorf Goodman (see the arched and very civilized 58th Street side entrance, whose revolving door propels you into a little corner of handbags) and the Plaza Hotel frame the Grand Army Plaza, which gives way to Central Park. Quite Continental.

In 1948, when the Paris Theater, the art-house cinema at No. 4, opened just off Fifth Avenue, Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon. Today she might raise a very thin eyebrow at the office workers huddled outside around smoker’s poles. But she’d be right at home at No. 182, the Art Deco bar at Petrossian — housed in the Alwyn Court, a 1909 luxury apartment house. An ornate French Renaissance landmark, it appears unchanged since Lili Marlene was in her prime.

Heading toward the Hudson River, the street sheds some of its tone as the neighborhood now known as Midtown West becomes Clinton. Yet the blocks are still peppered with treasures. For instance, 1790 Broadway, a 1912 Beaux-Arts skyscraper designed by Carrère & Hastings, once housed the United States Rubber Company. Accorded landmark status in 2000, it is now an office building, but the soaring lobby is open to the public.

There are also any number of 1960s co-ops, so well preserved you half expect Oscar and Felix to tip their hats to the doorman on their way out. One, the Coliseum Apartments at No. 345, spans 58th to 60th Street and hides a very European interior garden that abuts the back of the Time Warner Center.


A Sidekick Street

THE sun had long set on a frigid Monday afternoon in February, and the lights had come on along West 58th Street. They illuminated the storefronts that make up Piano Row, framing glossy Steinways and polished Sauters like oil paintings on a gallery wall. Inside Klavierhaus (211 West 58th), a wiry-haired man had his head inside a baby grand. The music of strings wafted from the rear of the store.

“You can go back,” said the nice fellow at the desk. “They’ll give you a program.”

There, on an otherwise unremarkable workday, a master class in chamber music was just getting under way. As unknowing pedestrians hustled by on the sidewalk, the violist Paul Neubauer led four musicians from the New York Youth Symphony through a Mozart string quartet that any passer-by could stop and listen to, free of charge.

That is just one of many secrets this street has hiding in plain sight.

West 58th Street, from Fifth Avenue all the way to the West Side Highway, is sandwiched between the more celebrated stretch of Central Park South to the north, and the main drag of 57th Street to the south. It has a backdoor quality. Natty businessmen slip into the New York Athletic Club, whose proper entrance is at 180 Central Park South, through a revolving door on West 58th, adding a clandestine élan to the private club’s already heady exclusivity.

Posh Japanese tourists with enormous shopping bags from Louis Vuitton and Gucci use the recessed 58th Street door to the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel (officially 36 Central Park South) as they retreat from the throngs on Fifth Avenue. The splendid concave Solow Building (an office tower at 9 West 57th Street) swoops down onto 58th, creating a little plaza that’s marked by Joan Miró’s bulbous “Moonbird” sculpture.

Image

And when it’s complete in 2013, the 90-story One57 (a k a 157 West 57th Street), the residential tower on top of a Park Hyatt hotel that will not so much scrape the sky as pierce it, will have what the marketing materials call a “discreet” entrance on West 58th Street. Like much else here, it will be out of the way, right in the thick of things.

When Michael Fisher, a consultant in the biotech industry who is based in New Jersey, was looking for a pied-à-terre in Manhattan, he chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment in the Windsor Park, a converted 1920s hotel at 100 West 58th, just west of the Avenue of the Americas. “One thing that attracted me was the location,” he said. “It’s literally the center of the city. But really, it’s the center of the world.”

Indeed, if you were to pop down from, say, Apartment 11AB, a three-bedroom, 2,154-square-foot unit at the Windsor Park listed by the DeNiro Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $3.45 million, you might hear five different languages spoken on your one-block warm-up to a run in Central Park, and five more en route to the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, two blocks west.

Stop in at Windsor Pharmacy (1419 Avenue of the Americas), a wonderful relic that has held its ground on the corner of 58th Street since the 1940s, and the clientele and the inventory might make you mistake it for a boutique at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Look south from Seventh Avenue, and you don’t even have to squint to read the flashing billboards in Times Square.

This eight-block corridor cuts through the nerve center of New York City and encapsulates its history, architecture, culture and customs along the way. There’s everything from a boys’ boarding school, St. Thomas Choir School at No. 202 to a shop for triathletes, Swim Bike Run at No. 203, where the backstroke champion Leila Vaziri gives swimming lessons for $140 an hour in the lap pool behind the cash register.

There’s a subterranean theater in the bottom of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle) where the sensibility runs to David Bowie-retrospective and the aesthetic is modern, unchanged by the extensive renovation of the Edward Durell Stone building. There’s even a suggestion of Florence, circa 1989: the Park Savoy at No. 158, a no-frills, pension-like hotel that offers a double room with a queen-size bed for $106 a night and keeps room keys in cubbyholes at the reception desk.

The eastern end has a distinct air that, once upon a time, would have been called cosmopolitan. Here, Bergdorf Goodman (see the arched and very civilized 58th Street side entrance, whose revolving door propels you into a little corner of handbags) and the Plaza Hotel frame the Grand Army Plaza, which gives way to Central Park. Quite Continental.

In 1948, when the Paris Theater, the art-house cinema at No. 4, opened just off Fifth Avenue, Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon. Today she might raise a very thin eyebrow at the office workers huddled outside around smoker’s poles. But she’d be right at home at No. 182, the Art Deco bar at Petrossian — housed in the Alwyn Court, a 1909 luxury apartment house. An ornate French Renaissance landmark, it appears unchanged since Lili Marlene was in her prime.

Heading toward the Hudson River, the street sheds some of its tone as the neighborhood now known as Midtown West becomes Clinton. Yet the blocks are still peppered with treasures. For instance, 1790 Broadway, a 1912 Beaux-Arts skyscraper designed by Carrère & Hastings, once housed the United States Rubber Company. Accorded landmark status in 2000, it is now an office building, but the soaring lobby is open to the public.

There are also any number of 1960s co-ops, so well preserved you half expect Oscar and Felix to tip their hats to the doorman on their way out. One, the Coliseum Apartments at No. 345, spans 58th to 60th Street and hides a very European interior garden that abuts the back of the Time Warner Center.


A Sidekick Street

THE sun had long set on a frigid Monday afternoon in February, and the lights had come on along West 58th Street. They illuminated the storefronts that make up Piano Row, framing glossy Steinways and polished Sauters like oil paintings on a gallery wall. Inside Klavierhaus (211 West 58th), a wiry-haired man had his head inside a baby grand. The music of strings wafted from the rear of the store.

“You can go back,” said the nice fellow at the desk. “They’ll give you a program.”

There, on an otherwise unremarkable workday, a master class in chamber music was just getting under way. As unknowing pedestrians hustled by on the sidewalk, the violist Paul Neubauer led four musicians from the New York Youth Symphony through a Mozart string quartet that any passer-by could stop and listen to, free of charge.

That is just one of many secrets this street has hiding in plain sight.

West 58th Street, from Fifth Avenue all the way to the West Side Highway, is sandwiched between the more celebrated stretch of Central Park South to the north, and the main drag of 57th Street to the south. It has a backdoor quality. Natty businessmen slip into the New York Athletic Club, whose proper entrance is at 180 Central Park South, through a revolving door on West 58th, adding a clandestine élan to the private club’s already heady exclusivity.

Posh Japanese tourists with enormous shopping bags from Louis Vuitton and Gucci use the recessed 58th Street door to the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel (officially 36 Central Park South) as they retreat from the throngs on Fifth Avenue. The splendid concave Solow Building (an office tower at 9 West 57th Street) swoops down onto 58th, creating a little plaza that’s marked by Joan Miró’s bulbous “Moonbird” sculpture.

Image

And when it’s complete in 2013, the 90-story One57 (a k a 157 West 57th Street), the residential tower on top of a Park Hyatt hotel that will not so much scrape the sky as pierce it, will have what the marketing materials call a “discreet” entrance on West 58th Street. Like much else here, it will be out of the way, right in the thick of things.

When Michael Fisher, a consultant in the biotech industry who is based in New Jersey, was looking for a pied-à-terre in Manhattan, he chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment in the Windsor Park, a converted 1920s hotel at 100 West 58th, just west of the Avenue of the Americas. “One thing that attracted me was the location,” he said. “It’s literally the center of the city. But really, it’s the center of the world.”

Indeed, if you were to pop down from, say, Apartment 11AB, a three-bedroom, 2,154-square-foot unit at the Windsor Park listed by the DeNiro Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $3.45 million, you might hear five different languages spoken on your one-block warm-up to a run in Central Park, and five more en route to the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, two blocks west.

Stop in at Windsor Pharmacy (1419 Avenue of the Americas), a wonderful relic that has held its ground on the corner of 58th Street since the 1940s, and the clientele and the inventory might make you mistake it for a boutique at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Look south from Seventh Avenue, and you don’t even have to squint to read the flashing billboards in Times Square.

This eight-block corridor cuts through the nerve center of New York City and encapsulates its history, architecture, culture and customs along the way. There’s everything from a boys’ boarding school, St. Thomas Choir School at No. 202 to a shop for triathletes, Swim Bike Run at No. 203, where the backstroke champion Leila Vaziri gives swimming lessons for $140 an hour in the lap pool behind the cash register.

There’s a subterranean theater in the bottom of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle) where the sensibility runs to David Bowie-retrospective and the aesthetic is modern, unchanged by the extensive renovation of the Edward Durell Stone building. There’s even a suggestion of Florence, circa 1989: the Park Savoy at No. 158, a no-frills, pension-like hotel that offers a double room with a queen-size bed for $106 a night and keeps room keys in cubbyholes at the reception desk.

The eastern end has a distinct air that, once upon a time, would have been called cosmopolitan. Here, Bergdorf Goodman (see the arched and very civilized 58th Street side entrance, whose revolving door propels you into a little corner of handbags) and the Plaza Hotel frame the Grand Army Plaza, which gives way to Central Park. Quite Continental.

In 1948, when the Paris Theater, the art-house cinema at No. 4, opened just off Fifth Avenue, Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon. Today she might raise a very thin eyebrow at the office workers huddled outside around smoker’s poles. But she’d be right at home at No. 182, the Art Deco bar at Petrossian — housed in the Alwyn Court, a 1909 luxury apartment house. An ornate French Renaissance landmark, it appears unchanged since Lili Marlene was in her prime.

Heading toward the Hudson River, the street sheds some of its tone as the neighborhood now known as Midtown West becomes Clinton. Yet the blocks are still peppered with treasures. For instance, 1790 Broadway, a 1912 Beaux-Arts skyscraper designed by Carrère & Hastings, once housed the United States Rubber Company. Accorded landmark status in 2000, it is now an office building, but the soaring lobby is open to the public.

There are also any number of 1960s co-ops, so well preserved you half expect Oscar and Felix to tip their hats to the doorman on their way out. One, the Coliseum Apartments at No. 345, spans 58th to 60th Street and hides a very European interior garden that abuts the back of the Time Warner Center.


A Sidekick Street

THE sun had long set on a frigid Monday afternoon in February, and the lights had come on along West 58th Street. They illuminated the storefronts that make up Piano Row, framing glossy Steinways and polished Sauters like oil paintings on a gallery wall. Inside Klavierhaus (211 West 58th), a wiry-haired man had his head inside a baby grand. The music of strings wafted from the rear of the store.

“You can go back,” said the nice fellow at the desk. “They’ll give you a program.”

There, on an otherwise unremarkable workday, a master class in chamber music was just getting under way. As unknowing pedestrians hustled by on the sidewalk, the violist Paul Neubauer led four musicians from the New York Youth Symphony through a Mozart string quartet that any passer-by could stop and listen to, free of charge.

That is just one of many secrets this street has hiding in plain sight.

West 58th Street, from Fifth Avenue all the way to the West Side Highway, is sandwiched between the more celebrated stretch of Central Park South to the north, and the main drag of 57th Street to the south. It has a backdoor quality. Natty businessmen slip into the New York Athletic Club, whose proper entrance is at 180 Central Park South, through a revolving door on West 58th, adding a clandestine élan to the private club’s already heady exclusivity.

Posh Japanese tourists with enormous shopping bags from Louis Vuitton and Gucci use the recessed 58th Street door to the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel (officially 36 Central Park South) as they retreat from the throngs on Fifth Avenue. The splendid concave Solow Building (an office tower at 9 West 57th Street) swoops down onto 58th, creating a little plaza that’s marked by Joan Miró’s bulbous “Moonbird” sculpture.

Image

And when it’s complete in 2013, the 90-story One57 (a k a 157 West 57th Street), the residential tower on top of a Park Hyatt hotel that will not so much scrape the sky as pierce it, will have what the marketing materials call a “discreet” entrance on West 58th Street. Like much else here, it will be out of the way, right in the thick of things.

When Michael Fisher, a consultant in the biotech industry who is based in New Jersey, was looking for a pied-à-terre in Manhattan, he chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment in the Windsor Park, a converted 1920s hotel at 100 West 58th, just west of the Avenue of the Americas. “One thing that attracted me was the location,” he said. “It’s literally the center of the city. But really, it’s the center of the world.”

Indeed, if you were to pop down from, say, Apartment 11AB, a three-bedroom, 2,154-square-foot unit at the Windsor Park listed by the DeNiro Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $3.45 million, you might hear five different languages spoken on your one-block warm-up to a run in Central Park, and five more en route to the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, two blocks west.

Stop in at Windsor Pharmacy (1419 Avenue of the Americas), a wonderful relic that has held its ground on the corner of 58th Street since the 1940s, and the clientele and the inventory might make you mistake it for a boutique at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Look south from Seventh Avenue, and you don’t even have to squint to read the flashing billboards in Times Square.

This eight-block corridor cuts through the nerve center of New York City and encapsulates its history, architecture, culture and customs along the way. There’s everything from a boys’ boarding school, St. Thomas Choir School at No. 202 to a shop for triathletes, Swim Bike Run at No. 203, where the backstroke champion Leila Vaziri gives swimming lessons for $140 an hour in the lap pool behind the cash register.

There’s a subterranean theater in the bottom of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle) where the sensibility runs to David Bowie-retrospective and the aesthetic is modern, unchanged by the extensive renovation of the Edward Durell Stone building. There’s even a suggestion of Florence, circa 1989: the Park Savoy at No. 158, a no-frills, pension-like hotel that offers a double room with a queen-size bed for $106 a night and keeps room keys in cubbyholes at the reception desk.

The eastern end has a distinct air that, once upon a time, would have been called cosmopolitan. Here, Bergdorf Goodman (see the arched and very civilized 58th Street side entrance, whose revolving door propels you into a little corner of handbags) and the Plaza Hotel frame the Grand Army Plaza, which gives way to Central Park. Quite Continental.

In 1948, when the Paris Theater, the art-house cinema at No. 4, opened just off Fifth Avenue, Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon. Today she might raise a very thin eyebrow at the office workers huddled outside around smoker’s poles. But she’d be right at home at No. 182, the Art Deco bar at Petrossian — housed in the Alwyn Court, a 1909 luxury apartment house. An ornate French Renaissance landmark, it appears unchanged since Lili Marlene was in her prime.

Heading toward the Hudson River, the street sheds some of its tone as the neighborhood now known as Midtown West becomes Clinton. Yet the blocks are still peppered with treasures. For instance, 1790 Broadway, a 1912 Beaux-Arts skyscraper designed by Carrère & Hastings, once housed the United States Rubber Company. Accorded landmark status in 2000, it is now an office building, but the soaring lobby is open to the public.

There are also any number of 1960s co-ops, so well preserved you half expect Oscar and Felix to tip their hats to the doorman on their way out. One, the Coliseum Apartments at No. 345, spans 58th to 60th Street and hides a very European interior garden that abuts the back of the Time Warner Center.


A Sidekick Street

THE sun had long set on a frigid Monday afternoon in February, and the lights had come on along West 58th Street. They illuminated the storefronts that make up Piano Row, framing glossy Steinways and polished Sauters like oil paintings on a gallery wall. Inside Klavierhaus (211 West 58th), a wiry-haired man had his head inside a baby grand. The music of strings wafted from the rear of the store.

“You can go back,” said the nice fellow at the desk. “They’ll give you a program.”

There, on an otherwise unremarkable workday, a master class in chamber music was just getting under way. As unknowing pedestrians hustled by on the sidewalk, the violist Paul Neubauer led four musicians from the New York Youth Symphony through a Mozart string quartet that any passer-by could stop and listen to, free of charge.

That is just one of many secrets this street has hiding in plain sight.

West 58th Street, from Fifth Avenue all the way to the West Side Highway, is sandwiched between the more celebrated stretch of Central Park South to the north, and the main drag of 57th Street to the south. It has a backdoor quality. Natty businessmen slip into the New York Athletic Club, whose proper entrance is at 180 Central Park South, through a revolving door on West 58th, adding a clandestine élan to the private club’s already heady exclusivity.

Posh Japanese tourists with enormous shopping bags from Louis Vuitton and Gucci use the recessed 58th Street door to the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel (officially 36 Central Park South) as they retreat from the throngs on Fifth Avenue. The splendid concave Solow Building (an office tower at 9 West 57th Street) swoops down onto 58th, creating a little plaza that’s marked by Joan Miró’s bulbous “Moonbird” sculpture.

Image

And when it’s complete in 2013, the 90-story One57 (a k a 157 West 57th Street), the residential tower on top of a Park Hyatt hotel that will not so much scrape the sky as pierce it, will have what the marketing materials call a “discreet” entrance on West 58th Street. Like much else here, it will be out of the way, right in the thick of things.

When Michael Fisher, a consultant in the biotech industry who is based in New Jersey, was looking for a pied-à-terre in Manhattan, he chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment in the Windsor Park, a converted 1920s hotel at 100 West 58th, just west of the Avenue of the Americas. “One thing that attracted me was the location,” he said. “It’s literally the center of the city. But really, it’s the center of the world.”

Indeed, if you were to pop down from, say, Apartment 11AB, a three-bedroom, 2,154-square-foot unit at the Windsor Park listed by the DeNiro Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $3.45 million, you might hear five different languages spoken on your one-block warm-up to a run in Central Park, and five more en route to the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, two blocks west.

Stop in at Windsor Pharmacy (1419 Avenue of the Americas), a wonderful relic that has held its ground on the corner of 58th Street since the 1940s, and the clientele and the inventory might make you mistake it for a boutique at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Look south from Seventh Avenue, and you don’t even have to squint to read the flashing billboards in Times Square.

This eight-block corridor cuts through the nerve center of New York City and encapsulates its history, architecture, culture and customs along the way. There’s everything from a boys’ boarding school, St. Thomas Choir School at No. 202 to a shop for triathletes, Swim Bike Run at No. 203, where the backstroke champion Leila Vaziri gives swimming lessons for $140 an hour in the lap pool behind the cash register.

There’s a subterranean theater in the bottom of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle) where the sensibility runs to David Bowie-retrospective and the aesthetic is modern, unchanged by the extensive renovation of the Edward Durell Stone building. There’s even a suggestion of Florence, circa 1989: the Park Savoy at No. 158, a no-frills, pension-like hotel that offers a double room with a queen-size bed for $106 a night and keeps room keys in cubbyholes at the reception desk.

The eastern end has a distinct air that, once upon a time, would have been called cosmopolitan. Here, Bergdorf Goodman (see the arched and very civilized 58th Street side entrance, whose revolving door propels you into a little corner of handbags) and the Plaza Hotel frame the Grand Army Plaza, which gives way to Central Park. Quite Continental.

In 1948, when the Paris Theater, the art-house cinema at No. 4, opened just off Fifth Avenue, Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon. Today she might raise a very thin eyebrow at the office workers huddled outside around smoker’s poles. But she’d be right at home at No. 182, the Art Deco bar at Petrossian — housed in the Alwyn Court, a 1909 luxury apartment house. An ornate French Renaissance landmark, it appears unchanged since Lili Marlene was in her prime.

Heading toward the Hudson River, the street sheds some of its tone as the neighborhood now known as Midtown West becomes Clinton. Yet the blocks are still peppered with treasures. For instance, 1790 Broadway, a 1912 Beaux-Arts skyscraper designed by Carrère & Hastings, once housed the United States Rubber Company. Accorded landmark status in 2000, it is now an office building, but the soaring lobby is open to the public.

There are also any number of 1960s co-ops, so well preserved you half expect Oscar and Felix to tip their hats to the doorman on their way out. One, the Coliseum Apartments at No. 345, spans 58th to 60th Street and hides a very European interior garden that abuts the back of the Time Warner Center.


A Sidekick Street

THE sun had long set on a frigid Monday afternoon in February, and the lights had come on along West 58th Street. They illuminated the storefronts that make up Piano Row, framing glossy Steinways and polished Sauters like oil paintings on a gallery wall. Inside Klavierhaus (211 West 58th), a wiry-haired man had his head inside a baby grand. The music of strings wafted from the rear of the store.

“You can go back,” said the nice fellow at the desk. “They’ll give you a program.”

There, on an otherwise unremarkable workday, a master class in chamber music was just getting under way. As unknowing pedestrians hustled by on the sidewalk, the violist Paul Neubauer led four musicians from the New York Youth Symphony through a Mozart string quartet that any passer-by could stop and listen to, free of charge.

That is just one of many secrets this street has hiding in plain sight.

West 58th Street, from Fifth Avenue all the way to the West Side Highway, is sandwiched between the more celebrated stretch of Central Park South to the north, and the main drag of 57th Street to the south. It has a backdoor quality. Natty businessmen slip into the New York Athletic Club, whose proper entrance is at 180 Central Park South, through a revolving door on West 58th, adding a clandestine élan to the private club’s already heady exclusivity.

Posh Japanese tourists with enormous shopping bags from Louis Vuitton and Gucci use the recessed 58th Street door to the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel (officially 36 Central Park South) as they retreat from the throngs on Fifth Avenue. The splendid concave Solow Building (an office tower at 9 West 57th Street) swoops down onto 58th, creating a little plaza that’s marked by Joan Miró’s bulbous “Moonbird” sculpture.

Image

And when it’s complete in 2013, the 90-story One57 (a k a 157 West 57th Street), the residential tower on top of a Park Hyatt hotel that will not so much scrape the sky as pierce it, will have what the marketing materials call a “discreet” entrance on West 58th Street. Like much else here, it will be out of the way, right in the thick of things.

When Michael Fisher, a consultant in the biotech industry who is based in New Jersey, was looking for a pied-à-terre in Manhattan, he chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment in the Windsor Park, a converted 1920s hotel at 100 West 58th, just west of the Avenue of the Americas. “One thing that attracted me was the location,” he said. “It’s literally the center of the city. But really, it’s the center of the world.”

Indeed, if you were to pop down from, say, Apartment 11AB, a three-bedroom, 2,154-square-foot unit at the Windsor Park listed by the DeNiro Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $3.45 million, you might hear five different languages spoken on your one-block warm-up to a run in Central Park, and five more en route to the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, two blocks west.

Stop in at Windsor Pharmacy (1419 Avenue of the Americas), a wonderful relic that has held its ground on the corner of 58th Street since the 1940s, and the clientele and the inventory might make you mistake it for a boutique at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Look south from Seventh Avenue, and you don’t even have to squint to read the flashing billboards in Times Square.

This eight-block corridor cuts through the nerve center of New York City and encapsulates its history, architecture, culture and customs along the way. There’s everything from a boys’ boarding school, St. Thomas Choir School at No. 202 to a shop for triathletes, Swim Bike Run at No. 203, where the backstroke champion Leila Vaziri gives swimming lessons for $140 an hour in the lap pool behind the cash register.

There’s a subterranean theater in the bottom of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle) where the sensibility runs to David Bowie-retrospective and the aesthetic is modern, unchanged by the extensive renovation of the Edward Durell Stone building. There’s even a suggestion of Florence, circa 1989: the Park Savoy at No. 158, a no-frills, pension-like hotel that offers a double room with a queen-size bed for $106 a night and keeps room keys in cubbyholes at the reception desk.

The eastern end has a distinct air that, once upon a time, would have been called cosmopolitan. Here, Bergdorf Goodman (see the arched and very civilized 58th Street side entrance, whose revolving door propels you into a little corner of handbags) and the Plaza Hotel frame the Grand Army Plaza, which gives way to Central Park. Quite Continental.

In 1948, when the Paris Theater, the art-house cinema at No. 4, opened just off Fifth Avenue, Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon. Today she might raise a very thin eyebrow at the office workers huddled outside around smoker’s poles. But she’d be right at home at No. 182, the Art Deco bar at Petrossian — housed in the Alwyn Court, a 1909 luxury apartment house. An ornate French Renaissance landmark, it appears unchanged since Lili Marlene was in her prime.

Heading toward the Hudson River, the street sheds some of its tone as the neighborhood now known as Midtown West becomes Clinton. Yet the blocks are still peppered with treasures. For instance, 1790 Broadway, a 1912 Beaux-Arts skyscraper designed by Carrère & Hastings, once housed the United States Rubber Company. Accorded landmark status in 2000, it is now an office building, but the soaring lobby is open to the public.

There are also any number of 1960s co-ops, so well preserved you half expect Oscar and Felix to tip their hats to the doorman on their way out. One, the Coliseum Apartments at No. 345, spans 58th to 60th Street and hides a very European interior garden that abuts the back of the Time Warner Center.


A Sidekick Street

THE sun had long set on a frigid Monday afternoon in February, and the lights had come on along West 58th Street. They illuminated the storefronts that make up Piano Row, framing glossy Steinways and polished Sauters like oil paintings on a gallery wall. Inside Klavierhaus (211 West 58th), a wiry-haired man had his head inside a baby grand. The music of strings wafted from the rear of the store.

“You can go back,” said the nice fellow at the desk. “They’ll give you a program.”

There, on an otherwise unremarkable workday, a master class in chamber music was just getting under way. As unknowing pedestrians hustled by on the sidewalk, the violist Paul Neubauer led four musicians from the New York Youth Symphony through a Mozart string quartet that any passer-by could stop and listen to, free of charge.

That is just one of many secrets this street has hiding in plain sight.

West 58th Street, from Fifth Avenue all the way to the West Side Highway, is sandwiched between the more celebrated stretch of Central Park South to the north, and the main drag of 57th Street to the south. It has a backdoor quality. Natty businessmen slip into the New York Athletic Club, whose proper entrance is at 180 Central Park South, through a revolving door on West 58th, adding a clandestine élan to the private club’s already heady exclusivity.

Posh Japanese tourists with enormous shopping bags from Louis Vuitton and Gucci use the recessed 58th Street door to the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel (officially 36 Central Park South) as they retreat from the throngs on Fifth Avenue. The splendid concave Solow Building (an office tower at 9 West 57th Street) swoops down onto 58th, creating a little plaza that’s marked by Joan Miró’s bulbous “Moonbird” sculpture.

Image

And when it’s complete in 2013, the 90-story One57 (a k a 157 West 57th Street), the residential tower on top of a Park Hyatt hotel that will not so much scrape the sky as pierce it, will have what the marketing materials call a “discreet” entrance on West 58th Street. Like much else here, it will be out of the way, right in the thick of things.

When Michael Fisher, a consultant in the biotech industry who is based in New Jersey, was looking for a pied-à-terre in Manhattan, he chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment in the Windsor Park, a converted 1920s hotel at 100 West 58th, just west of the Avenue of the Americas. “One thing that attracted me was the location,” he said. “It’s literally the center of the city. But really, it’s the center of the world.”

Indeed, if you were to pop down from, say, Apartment 11AB, a three-bedroom, 2,154-square-foot unit at the Windsor Park listed by the DeNiro Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $3.45 million, you might hear five different languages spoken on your one-block warm-up to a run in Central Park, and five more en route to the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, two blocks west.

Stop in at Windsor Pharmacy (1419 Avenue of the Americas), a wonderful relic that has held its ground on the corner of 58th Street since the 1940s, and the clientele and the inventory might make you mistake it for a boutique at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. Look south from Seventh Avenue, and you don’t even have to squint to read the flashing billboards in Times Square.

This eight-block corridor cuts through the nerve center of New York City and encapsulates its history, architecture, culture and customs along the way. There’s everything from a boys’ boarding school, St. Thomas Choir School at No. 202 to a shop for triathletes, Swim Bike Run at No. 203, where the backstroke champion Leila Vaziri gives swimming lessons for $140 an hour in the lap pool behind the cash register.

There’s a subterranean theater in the bottom of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle) where the sensibility runs to David Bowie-retrospective and the aesthetic is modern, unchanged by the extensive renovation of the Edward Durell Stone building. There’s even a suggestion of Florence, circa 1989: the Park Savoy at No. 158, a no-frills, pension-like hotel that offers a double room with a queen-size bed for $106 a night and keeps room keys in cubbyholes at the reception desk.

The eastern end has a distinct air that, once upon a time, would have been called cosmopolitan. Here, Bergdorf Goodman (see the arched and very civilized 58th Street side entrance, whose revolving door propels you into a little corner of handbags) and the Plaza Hotel frame the Grand Army Plaza, which gives way to Central Park. Quite Continental.

In 1948, when the Paris Theater, the art-house cinema at No. 4, opened just off Fifth Avenue, Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon. Today she might raise a very thin eyebrow at the office workers huddled outside around smoker’s poles. But she’d be right at home at No. 182, the Art Deco bar at Petrossian — housed in the Alwyn Court, a 1909 luxury apartment house. An ornate French Renaissance landmark, it appears unchanged since Lili Marlene was in her prime.

Heading toward the Hudson River, the street sheds some of its tone as the neighborhood now known as Midtown West becomes Clinton. Yet the blocks are still peppered with treasures. For instance, 1790 Broadway, a 1912 Beaux-Arts skyscraper designed by Carrère & Hastings, once housed the United States Rubber Company. Accorded landmark status in 2000, it is now an office building, but the soaring lobby is open to the public.

There are also any number of 1960s co-ops, so well preserved you half expect Oscar and Felix to tip their hats to the doorman on their way out. One, the Coliseum Apartments at No. 345, spans 58th to 60th Street and hides a very European interior garden that abuts the back of the Time Warner Center.