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Real estate is a significant factor in the city of New York's economy. In 2006 the total value of Manhattan property was $802.4 billion The Time Warner Center is the property with the highest-listed market value in the city, at $1.1 billion in 2006. The UK consulting firm Mercer, in a 2009 assessment "conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments", ranked New York City 49th worldwide in quality of living; the survey factored in political stability, personal freedom, sanitation, crime, housing, the natural environment, recreation, banking facilities, availability of consumer goods, education, and public services including transportation.


Midtown Manhattan, or simply Midtown, is an area of Manhattan, New York City home to world-famous commercial zones such as Rockefeller Center, Broadway, and Times Square. Midtown Manhattan is home to the city's tallest and most famous buildings such as the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building.
Midtown, along with "Uptown" and "Downtown", is one of the three major subdivisions of Manhattan (though "Uptown" and "Downtown" can also be used as adjectives or adverbs, and can take on completely different meanings in the other boroughs, whereas the term "Midtown" cannot) and can be understood as those parts of Manhattan in neither of these two other regions - that is, all areas between 14th Street and 59th Street, from the Hudson River to the East River, about five square miles or 12 km2. The core of Midtown Manhattan is from about 31st Street to 59th Street between Third and Ninth avenues, about two square miles (this is the area most commonly referred to as "Midtown.") The "Plaza District", a term used by Manhattan real estate professionals to denote the most expensive area of midtown from a commercial real estate perspective, lies between 42nd Street and 59th Street, from Third Avenue to Seventh Avenue, about a square kilometer or half a square mile.
As New York's largest central business district, Midtown Manhattan is indisputably the busiest single commercial district in the United States, and among the most intensely and diversely used pieces of real estate in the world. The great majority of New York City's skyscrapers, including its tallest hotels and apartment towers, lie within Midtown. More than 700,000 commuters work in its offices, hotels, and retail establishments; the area also hosts many tourists, visiting residents, and students. Some areas, especially Times Square and Fifth Avenue, have massive clusters of retail establishments. Sixth Avenue in Midtown holds the headquarters of three of the four major television networks, and is one of a few global centers of news and entertainment. It is also a growing center of finance, second in importance within the United States only to Downtown Manhattan's Financial District. Times Square is also the epicenter of American theater.

Some of the most expensive office space in the United States is located in New York City. 450 Park Avenue was sold on July 2, 2007 for $510 million, about $1,589 per square foot ($17,104/m²), breaking the barely month-old record for an American office building of $1,476 per square foot ($15,887/m²) set in the June 2007 sale of 660 Madison Avenue. Manhattan had 353.7 million square feet (32,860,000 m²) of office space in 2001.
Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the world. New York City has long been the leading Real Estate business center in the United States, but with the city's fiscal crisis in the 1970s a new Real Estate trend began to develop resulting in corporate headquarters and subsidiaries gradually moving to the suburbs and other regions.
In 2005 there were 602 stand-alone headquarter operations for major companies in the city. Many international corporations are headquartered in the city, including more Fortune 500 companies than any other city. It is also the home of JetBlue Airways, headquartered in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens.
Out of the 500 U.S. Real Estate corporations with the largest revenues in 2009, as listed by Fortune magazine in May 2010, 42 had headquarters in New York City and another 14 elsewhere in New York state (total 56). In the 1997 Fortune 500, 46 corporations had New York City headquarters, out of 61 corporations headquartered in New York state.
In the May 2008 Fortune 500 list, reflecting the year before the global Real Estate financial crisis of 2007-2010, five of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies in New York City were classified as securities firms (reflecting the importance of Wall Street), but two years later, none were. Two of the securities firms (Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) had converted themselves into commercial banks, while different banks had absorbed either the organization or the post-liquidation assets of the other three firms (Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers).