What Is So Special About 34th Street?

Immerse yourself in the magical world of 34th Street, where every step unveils a delightful surprise. From its enchanting holiday displays to the vibrant energy pulsating through its bustling shops, this iconic street effortlessly captures the heart and imagination of visitors from far and wide. As you stroll along its storied sidewalks, you will discover a tapestry of captivating history and timeless charm infused into every corner. Prepare to be dazzled as we embark on a journey to unravel the secrets that make 34th Street an unparalleled destination for all who venture into its embrace.

History of 34th Street

Origins and Development

The history of 34th Street dates back to the early days of Manhattan’s development. Originally known as “Delmonico’s Lane,” the street was named after the famous Delmonico’s Restaurant. As the city continued to grow, 34th Street gradually transformed into a bustling commercial hub. The construction of Penn Station in 1910 further solidified the street’s significance, as it became a major transportation hub for the city.

Notable Landmarks and Buildings

Over the years, 34th Street has become home to numerous iconic landmarks and buildings. One of the most notable landmarks is the Empire State Building, which stands proud at the intersection of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue. The Macy’s Herald Square flagship store, renowned for its impressive size and historic significance, is another notable landmark on the street. Additionally, the street is lined with beautiful examples of architectural splendor, with buildings ranging from art deco to modern skyscrapers.

Transformation over the Years

34th Street has undergone significant transformations throughout its history. From its origins as a quiet lane, the street developed into a bustling commercial corridor and a popular shopping destination. Over time, various neighborhoods surrounding 34th Street, such as Koreatown and Chelsea, have influenced its character and contributed to its vibrant atmosphere. Despite these changes, 34th Street continues to hold its unique charm and remains an integral part of New York City’s cultural fabric.

Cultural Significance

Iconic Status

34th Street holds an iconic status in popular culture. It has been featured in countless movies, songs, and literature, becoming synonymous with the energy and spirit of New York City. Locals and tourists alike are drawn to the street’s vibrant atmosphere, as it embodies the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps.

Film and Television

The fame of 34th Street extends to the silver screen, as it has served as a backdrop for numerous iconic films and television shows. The bustling scenes of Miracle on 34th Street capture the magic of the street during the holiday season, while the vibrant energy of Times Square on 34th Street has been featured in countless action-packed films. From romantic comedies to thrilling dramas, 34th Street’s on-screen appearances have further cemented its place in popular culture.

Holiday Celebrations

One of the most cherished traditions on 34th Street is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every year, millions gather along the street to witness the grand spectacle of giant balloons, marching bands, and celebrity performances. This beloved event has become a symbol of the holiday season and a cherished tradition for both locals and visitors. Additionally, during the festive season, the street’s famous holiday window displays enchant passersby, creating a magical atmosphere and spreading joy to all.

Shopping and Retail

Flagship Stores

34th Street is renowned for being a shopper’s paradise, thanks to its numerous flagship stores. One of the most famous is Macy’s Herald Square, which covers almost an entire city block and boasts an immense selection of fashion, cosmetics, and home goods. Other well-known flagship stores include Victoria’s Secret, Zara, and H&M, offering a wide range of options for fashion enthusiasts.

Department Stores

In addition to flagship stores, 34th Street is also home to several iconic department stores. Bloomingdale’s, a New York City institution, offers a luxurious shopping experience with its wide array of designer brands. Nordstrom Rack, another popular destination, offers discounted designer items, attracting thrifty shoppers seeking quality products.

Luxury Brands

For those looking for high-end luxury shopping, 34th Street offers a range of options. The prominent luxury brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany & Co. have flagship stores on the street, enticing shoppers with their opulent displays and exclusive collections. With its luxurious ambiance, 34th Street is a prime location for indulging in a world of luxury and refinement.

Holiday Window Displays

One of the most anticipated highlights of the holiday season on 34th Street is the unveiling of the stunning window displays. Macy’s, in particular, is famous for its elaborate and captivating displays, telling enchanting stories that attract crowds of admirers year after year. The intricate craftsmanship and creativity behind these displays make them a must-see attraction during the festive season.

Transportation Hub

Penn Station

As the name suggests, 34th Street is closely linked to Penn Station, one of the busiest transportation hubs in New York City. Serving both Amtrak and several commuter rail lines, Penn Station connects millions of people each year to destinations across the country. The station’s convenient location on 34th Street ensures easy access to the rest of the city and beyond, making it a key transportation hub for residents and visitors alike.

Subway Access

For those navigating the city by subway, 34th Street offers multiple subway lines running through its heart. The 34th Street-Herald Square station serves as a major interchange, with connections to numerous subway lines, including the B, D, F, M, N, Q, R, and W trains. This extensive subway network makes it easy to explore different neighborhoods and attractions across the city.

Bus Routes

In addition to subway access, 34th Street is well-served by various bus routes. The street serves as a major bus thoroughfare, with buses running both east-west and north-south, connecting different parts of Manhattan and beyond. Whether you’re heading to the theater district, exploring other neighborhoods, or simply commuting within the city, the bus routes along 34th Street offer convenient transportation options.

Iconic Events

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, one of the most cherished traditions in New York City, is a highlight of 34th Street’s event calendar. Each year, millions of spectators gather along the route to witness the spectacle of colorful floats, marching bands, and larger-than-life balloons. The parade culminates with the arrival of Santa Claus, signaling the start of the holiday season and spreading joy to all.

Empire State Building Run-Up

For those seeking an exhilarating challenge, the Empire State Building Run-Up is a unique event on 34th Street. Participants compete in a race to conquer the 1,576 steps leading to the Empire State Building’s observation deck. This annual event attracts athletes from around the world, testing their endurance and offering breathtaking views of the city as a reward.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, 34th Street becomes a focal point for joyous celebrations. The iconic Times Square, just a stone’s throw away from 34th Street, draws revelers from all corners of the globe. As confetti fills the air and cheers ring out, the vibrant energy of the city electrifies the atmosphere, creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience to ring in the new year.

Entertainment and Theater

Broadway Shows

With its proximity to the Theater District, 34th Street is the perfect starting point for immersing yourself in the world of Broadway. From beloved classics to groundbreaking new productions, theater enthusiasts can find a wealth of options just minutes away. The dazzling lights of Broadway attract visitors seeking unforgettable performances, making 34th Street a central location for experiencing the magic of live theater.

Madison Square Garden

For sports fans and music lovers, Madison Square Garden is an iconic venue located on 34th Street. This renowned arena hosts a wide range of events, including basketball games, ice hockey matches, concerts, and even award shows. From thrilling sports showdowns to unforgettable concerts, Madison Square Garden offers entertainment that captivates audiences and keeps them coming back for more.

Radio City Music Hall

Just steps away from 34th Street, Radio City Music Hall stands as an architectural gem and a legendary venue. Known for its iconic Rockettes, the theater hosts spectacular shows throughout the year, including the world-famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular. With its grandeur and history, Radio City Music Hall adds a touch of elegance and glamour to 34th Street’s entertainment scene.

Food and Dining

Diverse Cuisine Options

When it comes to food and dining, 34th Street offers a diverse culinary landscape to satisfy all tastes. The street and its surrounding neighborhoods boast an array of international cuisines, representing the cultural melting pot that is New York City. From authentic Korean BBQ in Koreatown to exquisite Italian trattorias in Chelsea, there is something to tempt every palate along 34th Street.

Historic Restaurants

In addition to its international flavors, 34th Street is also home to some historic establishments that have stood the test of time. These restaurants carry a legacy of culinary excellence and have become beloved institutions for locals and visitors alike. From the classic American dishes served at Keens Steakhouse to the iconic seafood fare of Grand Central Oyster Bar, these historic restaurants add a touch of nostalgia to the dining scene on 34th Street.

Street Food Vendors

For a taste of the quintessential New York street food experience, 34th Street delivers. The street is dotted with food carts and vendors offering a variety of delectable treats. From the mouthwatering aroma of freshly baked pretzels to the sizzle of hot dogs on the grill, the street food scene on 34th Street enhances the vibrant and multicultural atmosphere, providing quick and tasty bites for those on the go.

Public Spaces and Landmarks

Herald Square

Located at the intersection of 34th Street and Broadway, Herald Square serves as an important public gathering space on 34th Street. Bordered by Macy’s flagship store and other retail establishments, the square offers a place to rest, people-watch, and soak in the energy of the surrounding area. During the holiday season, Herald Square comes alive with festive decorations and the joyous atmosphere of holiday shoppers.

Greeley Square

Nestled between 32nd and 33rd Streets, Greeley Square offers a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling cityscape of 34th Street. This small park features lush greenery, seating areas, and a fountain, providing a peaceful escape for residents, workers, and visitors. Greeley Square is a perfect spot to relax and recharge before continuing to explore the vibrant energy of the surrounding area.

Empire State Building

Undoubtedly the most iconic landmark on 34th Street, the Empire State Building graces the city skyline with its impressive stature and distinctive Art Deco design. Visitors can ascend to the observation deck, located on the 86th floor, to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city. The Empire State Building serves as a testament to the innovation and grandeur that epitomize New York City.

Neighborhood Surroundings


Just a few blocks away from 34th Street, Koreatown (KTown) offers a taste of authentic Korean culture and cuisine. Packed with Korean restaurants, karaoke bars, and Korean beauty shops, this vibrant neighborhood is a thriving community and a beloved culinary destination. Visitors can indulge in traditional Korean BBQ, savory kimchi, and delicious street food, immersing themselves in the rich flavors and cultural experiences of Korea.

Garment District

Stretching from 34th to 42nd Streets, the Garment District has a deep-rooted connection to the fashion industry. Historically, this area served as the manufacturing heart of New York City’s garment production, earning its name. Today, the district houses a mix of design studios, fabric stores, and fashion showrooms, making it a vital hub for the fashion community. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or simply fascinated by the industry, the Garment District is a must-visit destination near 34th Street.


Located to the west of 34th Street, Chelsea is a vibrant neighborhood known for its art galleries, trendy eateries, and lively nightlife. Visitors can explore the High Line, a unique urban park built on elevated train tracks, which offers stunning views of the city and art installations along the way. Chelsea Market, housed in an iconic historic building, is another popular attraction, where artisan food vendors and unique shops create a bustling atmosphere that embodies the neighborhood’s creative spirit.

Community and Social Engagement

Local Residents

The community surrounding 34th Street is a dynamic mix of residents from diverse backgrounds. Both long-time residents and newcomers to the city contribute to the vibrant fabric of the neighborhood. Their presence fosters a sense of local pride and an engaging community spirit, making 34th Street a welcoming place for all.

Charitable Organizations

Numerous charitable organizations in the area are dedicated to making a positive impact on the community. From food banks providing meals for those in need to organizations supporting homeless individuals, these initiatives help uplift the less fortunate and foster a sense of compassion and empathy within the community surrounding 34th Street.

Street Performers

Adding to the lively atmosphere of 34th Street, street performers showcase their talents to captivate and entertain passersby. Whether it’s musicians playing a catchy tune or skilled dancers showcasing their moves, these performers cultivate a vibrant street culture that brings joy and inspiration to all who encounter them.

In conclusion, 34th Street is a cultural gem that encapsulates the vibrant spirit of New York City. From its rich history and iconic landmarks to its bustling retail scene and diverse culinary offerings, the street offers an array of experiences that captivate residents and visitors alike. Whether it’s attending a Broadway show, marveling at holiday window displays, or exploring the historic landmarks, 34th Street promises an unforgettable journey through the heart of Manhattan.