The blocks which surround Irving Place feature some of the most expensive apartments in the city. Their exteriors range from cute to fortress-like, while the sidewalks remain narrow and covered in trees. While both 3rd Avenue and Park Avenue are bustling commercial roads, Irving is a quiet neighborhood-centric lane, which mostly caters to the residents.
The eastern-half of this segment is a bit more quaint and residential than those to the west of Irving, but I attribute this mostly to the proximity to Union Square. Approaching Park Avenue, restaurants like Maxie's, Dukes and City Crab all take hold…thus ending the terrible reign of beautiful residential buildings.