Living in Central Park South: A Real Estate and Lifestyle Guide to Central Park South, New York City

Central Park South: High-Rise, High-End Life on the Park

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A small enclave of Midtown West, Central Park South occupies just three blocks along 59th Street, between Columbus Circle to the west and Fifth Avenue to the east. Central Park South has the most expensive real estate in New York City, a mix of white-glove prewar and contemporary condominium and co-op buildings with the best views of Central Park. Just to the south is Billionaires’ Row, a gilded strip along 57th Street, lined with brand-new ultra-luxury and ultra-high condominium towers. The neighbourhood has many of the city’s finest restaurants and luxury retailers, while cultural attractions, including the Theater District and Lincoln Center, are within a short walk.

What to do in Central Park South?

Since 1927, the New York Athletic Club’s City House has overlooked Central Park South. The invitation-only members club offer members rowing, fencing, swimming, basketball, tennis, squash, lacrosse, water polo, and other sports. Many of the luxury buildings along Central Park South have full-service gyms and spa services. The street also has several luxury day spas, including La Prairie, Guerlain (at the Plaza Hotel), and Exhale, which also offers a full range fitness and yoga classes. The crown jewel of the city, though, is Central Park. It is an 843-acre urban oasis of elm-lined walkways and jogging paths, meadows, a boating lake, ice-skating rink, outdoor theater, cafes, restaurants, hot dog stands, carousel, ballfields, as well as concerts, film festivals, sporting events, and even a zoo--a veritable playground steps from the front door.

The Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle is the closest shopping hub, offering high-end retail, a Whole Foods Market, and upscale dining, including the three-Michelin-starred restaurants Per Se and Masa. Fifth Avenue’s draws retail draws include the luxury department stores Bergdorf Goodman and  Henri Bendel, and jewelry houses, such as Tiffany & Co. Harry Winston, and Cartier. New York’s famous Diamond District is just south, on 47th Street between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas.

For world-class entertainment 365 days a year, Broadway’s Theater District begins just six blocks south. Lincoln Center, home of the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet, is seven short blocks north. Also within walking distance are the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Arts and Design, as well as art galleries, including Marlborough, Pace, and Gallery St. Etienne, and Christie’s auction house. Just behind Bergdorf Goodman’s luxury department store is the Paris Theatre, which specializes in independent and French-language films. Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall are both a few blocks south.

What to See in Central Park South?

The first buildings went up along Central Park South in the 1870s. Once known as “Hotel Row,” the first Plaza Hotel was built in 1870, and then rebuilt two decades later as the magnificent Art Deco structure that stands today. The iconic Essex House, built in 1931 as the largest and most luxurious hotel in Manhattan, now owned by Marriott hotels, is another of the street’s Art Deco treasures, as is the circa-1937 Hampshire House, one of the city’s finest co-ops. Both have a range of residences with white-glove services and luxury amenities, and, of course, stunning park views. The 34-story French Renaissance-style brick and glass co-op at 200 Central Park South has a dramatic curved façade, banded by balconies, all with unobstructed Central Park views. The building, whose former residents include film icon Raquel Welch, features a roof deck, maid services, valet parking, and concierge services.

Modernist structures include 240 Central Park South, built in 1963, and the brand new 220 Central Park South, a sleek 950-foot-tall, limestone-clad condominium tower designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects. One of the building’s penthouses sold in January 2019 for $238 million—the most expensive home ever sold in the United States.

Where to Eat in Central Park South?

Living on Central Park South affords access to the city’s finest restaurants. Masa, Chef Masayoshi Takayama’s Japanese and sushi restaurant, and Thomas Keller’s Per Se (both with three Michelin stars) are located at The Shops at Columbus Circle). Nearby are two-starred Jean-Georges and the Italian restaurant Marea. Within The Plaza, is the elegant Palm Court, which serves breakfast and afternoon tea, and craft cocktails, and the hotel’s opulent lounges, the Champagne Bar and the Rose Club. A few doors down is Sarabeth’s, which serves contemporary American cuisine just across from Central Park.

What Schools are in Central Park South?

Central Park South is close to several elite independent schools. Among them are the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, the York Preparatory School, the Fusion Academy Manhattan, and the Browning School for boys. Several public schools are also nearby: PS 35 primary and middle school and the Professional Performing Arts School, founded in 1990.

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