"The other side of midtown"
While the touristy heart of midtown - along 5th Avenue - is bustling with out-of-towners, especially during Christmastime, this part of East Midtown is surprisingly staid. It's not quite the Upper East Side, with its pre-war co-ops and picturesque brownstones, but it's nevertheless a pleasant area, a combination of swank residential areas (such as Sutton Place, nearby, one of the city's most prestigious addresses), the beginnings of the diplomatic/UN scene that really starts to thrive in the East 40's, and a number of office buildings. This mix of residential and commercial renders the area a lively one, although families will be pleased to learn that East 54th Street is near two well-regarded schools: the HIgh School for Art and Design and the Cathedral School. Transport is also good here, with the E and M trains stopping at Lexington Avenue and 51st Street, and the 4 and 6 trains stopping at 51st Street. Check out legendary diners PJ Clarke's and Johnny Rocket's for some relaxing grub, or head upscale at one of the city's most famous Chinese eateries, Shun Lee Palace on 55th Street.