Tucked between Midtown and Murray Hill is a small neighborhood called Turtle Bay. The neighborhood is known for its commercial real estate, proximity to the United Nations, and its plethora of hotels.
Blocks away on Park Avenue sits the prime commercial real estate in all of Manhattan. As a result of this center of business, a large amount of hotels are located close by, providing a luxurious living option near the business hub. E 48th st, between 3rd Avenue and Lexington, is home to more than a few of these very nice hotels, including the Roger Smith Hotel and the East Side Marriot.
Mornings on 48th are more than a little busy, with hundreds of new guests checking in and out every morning. The bellhops stand at the corner of 48th and Lex with their whistles, hailing cabs to make the turn onto 48th to shuttle the hotels’ guests. “I would say I hail about one hundred cabs every morning for our guests,” doorman Juan Barrea said, who has been working for various hotels in the area for over ten years. “I’ve been hit by more than a few cabs, but I guess I hail over two hundred a day.”
Working down 48th towards 3rd avenue, there are a plethora of small shops and restaurants, working towards the large apartment complex on the corner, 160 E 48th St, The Buchanan. The Buchanan is a high-rise apartment building outfitted with fifteen stories, two entrances (one on 47th, one on 48th) elevators, and a garden courtyard in the center of the complex.
After being let in by one of the many doormen, the courtyard has the potential to impress. There are well cared for gardens, fountains, and ample benches and tables for the residents to utilize during the nice weather. It offers an extremely tranquil place to relax, and for many, smoke. “A few years back, the super said we weren’t going to be smoking in our buildings, so the only place for us to really smoke is out here,” said long-time resident Janice Cheung. Cheung and a few others can often be found sitting at the tables smoking, doing a crossword, and enjoying their morning coffee.
The courtyard is also a very sociable gathering place. Residents often gather for evenings of wine and cheese and social drinking. More than one child’s birthday party has taken place in the courtyard, and the super’s kids can often be seen riding scooters and throwing balls during the middle of the warmer days. “The courtyard reminds me of Europe; I love coming down here after I get back from work,” said new resident Stephanie Wells.