Like the Man of La Mancha, I have a quest, a journey. I dream the impossible dream that Murray Hill may one day be a little cooler. It's a uphill battle. The neighborhood is a transitory one, known for being home to old ladies and kids fresh out of college. Its defining characteristic is that it is completely vanilla: everything you could need is within a five-block radius of your apartment, but it's hardly a mind-expanding living experience. Given that Murray Hill is walking distance to Midtown, Grand Central and Penn Station, you would think it would have more cache. This is is not the case.
Over the last few years, though, Murray Hill has evolved quite a bit. It started with the assorted glass and steel apartment buildings that have sprouted up where walk-ups once stood. Gone are the silly girls from Syracuse, living in alcove studios on daddy's dime. The fratty bars are still there, but at night they are quieter, perhaps because the clientele has to get up to go to work in the morning. In the evenings, the sidewalks are a parade of young professionals, coming home from the skyscrapers in Midtown.
The stores are evolving as well. We recently got a Fairway and a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Notably, a Vince Camuto took over the space that was once a bland shoe store. Their offerings are a huge step up from the disposable fashions that used to be available in Murray Hill. Maybe the Vince Camuto people, like myself, are noticing that the area is changing, however subtly. It can be our secret.
A few of their offerings: