Safety First: Is Midtown Manhattan Safe?

Midtown Manhattan. The center of a place that many call ‘the center of the world.’ The center of New York City tourism. The center of business for an endless list of internationally known brands and companies.

Did you know? Midtown Manhattan is the world’s largest central business district, commanding over 400 million square feet of office space. Companies like Bloomberg, Calvin Klein, Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, NBC/Universal, Simon and Schuster, and even Marvel have their headquarters stationed in Midtown Manhattan. That’s just a short list. 

Besides the commerce, Midtown Manhattan is also ground zero for world-famous landmarks like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MoMA), the Great White Way, aka Broadway, and a host of others.

With all those business people and tourists running around, it makes you wonder: Is Midtown Manhattan safe to visit or to raise a family?

There’s a lot of mixed data out there regarding Midtown Manhattan and this article is going to take a long hard look and help you sift through all that data to determine if Midtown Manhattan is safe. 

Understanding the Boundaries of Midtown Manhattan

The boundaries of what constitutes Midtown Manhattan are often and hotly debated. 

Officially, the boundaries are 59th Street at the north end, 34th Street at the south end, 3rd Avenue on the east side, and 8th Avenue on the west.

Depending on your source, the downtown boundaries can extend as far as 23rd Street or 14th Street. Either way, Midtown stretches from East Side to West Side. Manhattan is popularly composed of the East Side and The West Side from top to bottom. 

Some contest that Midtown stretches from west to east from the Hudson River on one side to the East River on the other.

To cover all that area, there are six primary zip codes used throughout midtown manhattan. Thus, the postal service operates an equal number of post offices within the noted boundaries.

It also is helpful to realize that Midtown Manhattan is actually made up of a diverse count of smaller sub-neighborhoods, like Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and tourist destination zones such as Times Square. There are about a dozen more, and the number grows depending on what boundaries are being considered.

Demographic Profile of Midtown Manhattan

In recent rankings, Midtown Manhattan has landed the position of #6 on the list of best places to live in New York City. What kind of people live in midtown Manhattan? 

In the most recent data available, the population of Midtown Manhattan was just above one hundred fifty thousand, including Chelsea and Clinton. As noted above, boundaries are disputed, so depending on the chosen geographics, population counts in Midtown Manhattan can come in as low as 53,000 in data compiled by various officials.

In any case, the majority of the population of Midtown Manhattan is white. Over sixty percent. Close to twenty percent of residents identify as Asian, seventeen percent as Hispanic, and four percent as Black. About twenty-eight percent of the population of Midtown Manhattan was born outside the United States. 

The median age in Midtown Manhattan is thirty-nine, with the majority falling in the 25-64 demo. The gender ratio errs towards females at fifty-two percent. 

The average income is around 100,000 dollars per year, and only about eleven percent of residents live in poverty, below the citywide average. Over forty percent of residents fall in the 100-250,000 USD per year income bracket. 

Midtown Manhattan is considered a high-income neighborhood comparable to other parts of the city and is not considered a gentrified neighborhood. 

Is Midtown Manhattan Safe for Real Estate Investments?

Real estate is where it gets sticky. To soften the blow first, here comes a fun fact! 

Did you know? Midtown Manhattan real estate is valued at close to one trillion dollars  – yes trillion –  in total. Eight years ago. So imagine what it is now. 

More fun facts! The most expensive hotel ever sold was Midtown’s Waldorf Astoria New York, at $195 million dollars. The most expensive home sale in history was also conducted in Midtown. A  24,000 square feet penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park to the tune of 238 million dollars. It wasn’t even a house!

The point is, rents are expensive, and fifty-nine percent of residents rent their homes. But due to the high-income bracket, Midtown Manhattan residents are considered less rent-burdened relative to other areas of the city. 

Rents start around twenty-five hundred dollars and have increased by almost a quarter in the past decade. Buying a home will set you back, on average, around a cool million. 

Navigating Midtown Manhattan: Transportation Overview

Whether living in or visiting Midtown Manhattan, you’ll need transportation. 

Midtown Manhattan, a central business and tourist zone, is overstuffed with traffic, from deliveries to executives to yellow taxis. This leads to not just car congestion but air congestion as well. Midtown Manhattan is a victim of high pollution. 

Go Green! There are transportation hubs spread throughout midtown, from 57th Street to Times Square to 34th Street Penn Station.

Besides local subways and buses, The Port Authority Bus Terminal, where you can catch a Greyhound to anywhere in the nation, is located on 42nd street. On 34th and 8th Avenue, you can catch a train anywhere at Penn Station, even New Joy-zee! Or visit the historic Grand Central Station Terminal on 42nd Street and Park Avenue, even if you don’t have a train to catch. 

The average commute to work for a midtown resident is roughly half an hour. Half of the residents walk or take public transportation to work. A small percentage drive a car or cycle, and almost none carpool. 

Health Statistics of Midtown Manhattan Residents

Overall, health statistics are pretty, well, healthy in Midtown Manhattan. 

A higher percentage of residents rate their health as excellent, good, or very good than the citywide average. Same with those who eat fruits and vegetables every day. 

Oddly, in Midtown Manhattan, a slightly higher percentage of residents are without health insurance. Avoidable hospital visits were about 688 per 100,000 residents, almost .07 percent. 

In most categories of preventable health issues, including smoking, residents come in below the citywide average, especially in the categories of diabetes and high blood pressure. Nearly half the citywide average in those categories. 

There are several esteemed, renowned, and highly-regarded hospitals in the Midtown Manhattan area, including Beth Israel, Bellevue, and Mount Sinai West

In total, there are six hospitals that serve Midtown Manhattan that are operated by the Gotham Health + Hospitals network. Gotham Health + Hospitals is the official healthcare system of New York City.

Residents of Midtown Manhattan are among the healthiest in the city, with a longer life expectancy rate and lower disease rates in most categories.

Is Midtown Manhattan a Safe Place to Raise a Family?

If you plan on moving to and living in Midtown Manhattan, you might want to start raising your family there. Is it a good place to raise children? Here’s a look at the stats. 

While midtown Manhattan is cluttered with single professionals, there exists ten percent of residents are families with children. In addition, Midtown Manhattan was recently ranked #17 on the list of best places to raise a family in New York City out of 227 contenders.

The best part of raising a family in Midtown Manhattan comes at Christmas Time. Rockefeller Center is smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, and you can take the kids to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and then go see the legendary tree on the world famous ice skating rink.

Plus, all the department stores around Fifth Avenue feature holiday-themed window displays the likes of which you have never seen. They are unparalleled throughout the entire world. 

Christmas is truly magical in Midtown Manhattan. 

Education in Midtown Manhattan: A Comprehensive Look

The average educational level achieved by a resident of Midtown Manhattan is college, at least. Seventy-eight percent of residents have a college degree, more than double the citywide rate. Forty-Five percent of residents possess Masters Degrees. High standards to achieve!

School absenteeism is lower than the citywide average, and ninety-two percent of high school students graduate on time, a rate surpassed only by the Financial District at ninety-six percent.

The New York City Department of Education only operates public schools for grades 9-12 in midtown. But there is a diverse selection of private study schools, including The Beekman School and a number of lauded language and music schools, including Berlitz

The Public Library operates five circulating libraries in midtown, so a good book is never far away. In addition, midtown is home to the Stephen A. Schwarzman branch, a reference branch, which was built in 1911 and is recognized across continents for its architectural design. 

Representation of Midtown Manhattan: Ensuring Safety and Welfare

Midtown Manhattan belongs to Community District 5. This organization oversees management of the area between 14th and 59th streets, including three beautiful parks: Bryant Park, Madison Square Park and Union Square Park. 

Midtown Manhattan is represented diversely throughout the state and the country.  The neighborhood has three members on the New York City Council: Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera and Erik Bottcher.

The neighborhood is represented in the New York State Senate by Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Liz Krueger. In the New York State Assembly there are four elected officials representing Midtown Manhattan: Tony Simone, Alex Bores, Linda Rosenthal and Harvey Epstein. 

Midtown Manhattan is represented nationally in the House Of Representatives by Congressman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat who started his career in public service in 1976, representing the Upper West Side.

Investigating Safety: Is Midtown Manhattan Safe for Residents and Tourists?

Midtown Manhattan is so big that it needs patrolling by not one but two police forces. The 14th and 18th precincts of the New York Police Department. Though they are assigned numbers, more commonly, the two precincts are known as Midtown North and Midtown South

South is the 14th Precinct, and North is the 18th Precinct. Both precincts have seen big decreases in crime rates in the past thirty years. Current crime data can be found on each precinct’s home page. 

In the case of Midtown Manhattan, it’s important to know how to read the data. The precincts are dead last in the ranking of safest patrol areas. This is due to a high per-capita crime rate, a phenomenon attributable to the large numbers of tourists in the area and the crimes committed against them.

Violent crime rates are high, yes, but on the plus side, non-fatal hospitalization rates are low. Just 25 per 100,000 people, as opposed to 49 per 100,000 people in the city as a whole. 

Property crime rates are especially high. Like, astronomically higher, compared to the rest of the city. Mostly due to common petty crimes like pickpocketing in high tourist areas. 

However, in recent polls, the majority of residents say that the police presence is very visible and very responsive and almost all residents say that they find Midtown Manhattan extremely safe. 

First-hand Experiences from Midtown Manhattan Residents

Residents’ best piece of advice for newcomers is to get involved in the community. Residents unanimously say there is a good sense of community in Midtown Manhattan. They also warn that the weather changes like crazy. All those tall buildings blocking the sun. 

Overall, residents are mostly excited to live so vicariously through all the hustle and bustle of Midtown Manhattan. It takes a certain kind of person to appreciate it. They describe it as vibrant but expensive.

Some residents say the worst crime they see is ‘a homeless guy taking a nap in the bike lane’.

Safety Tips for Midtown Manhattan: What to Keep in Mind

Because Midtown Manhattan is such a high tourist area, the best thing you can do is pretend you’re one while you’re there, reminding yourself of the common precautions you can take to protect yourself from petty crime.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Travel in groups.
  3. Don’t walk alone at night.
  4. Hold on to your belongings and don’t leave them unattended. 
  5. Don’t wear conspicuous jewelry. 
  6. Keep things out of your back pocket.
  7. Try to look like a local. 
  8. Research destinations before you go.
  9. Ask the Police for help if needed. 

The upside of Midtown Manhattan is that it’s all bright lights, big city and you’ll never be far from a crowd or a neon sign on a well-lit street. In conclusion, you can feel relatively safe in Midtown Manhattan.