Living on the Upper East Side: Things to Do and See on the Upper East Side, New York

The Upper East Side—Prestige on Central Park

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Home to Central Park, Museum Mile, the white-glove doorman, and some of the finest Beaux Arts architecture in the United States, the Upper East Side is New York City’s most prestigious neighborhood. Since the late 1800s, living east of Central Park has drawn America’s most affluent and influential—names like Rockefeller, Astor, Duke, and Vanderbilt—who built their limestone palaces along the “Gold Coast,” between 59th and 78th Streets from Fifth to Lexington Avenues. The area is one of New York City’s largest landmark districts. The Neoclassical Revival mansions and elegant brownstone townhouses, designed by the likes of Richard Morris Hunt, Stanford White, and C.P.H. Gilbert, are a testament to Gilded Age America. Today, the historic architecture blends with postmodern and contemporary residential and commercial space. But with Central Park on the doorstep, the Upper East Side remains a highly coveted sanctuary away from the bustle of Midtown.

Where is the Upper East Side Located in NYC?

The Upper East Side is located in Uptown Manhattan, east of Central Park, from Fifth Avenue to the East River, and extending north from East 59th Street to East 96th Street.

  • East to West Boundaries: The East River to Fifth Avenue
  • North to South Boundaries: East 96th St. to East 59th St.
  • Subways: 4, 5, 6, F, N, Q and R
  • Ticket Out of the City: FDR Drive

What to Do on the Upper East Side?

The Upper East Side is synonymous with prestige; its denizens are an eclectic mix of old families, celebrities, and private-sector professionals. As the gateway to Central Park, home to such famous attractions as the zoo, carousel, ballfields, boating lake, ice rink, running loop, and Sheep Meadow, it’s also a great place for families and those seeking a taste of the outdoors in one of the world’s greatest cities.

For world-leading museums, head to the aptly named Museum Mile. Cultural heavyweights such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with its permanent collection of over two million artworks, and the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum lead other notables such as the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design, Jewish Museum, National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, Goethe House German Cultural Center, El Museo del Barrio, and the Museum of the City of New York. Just off Fifth Avenue is the Frick Collection, renowned for its distinguished collection of Old Master paintings and European decorative arts, and sculpture. Icons of modern art, such as Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol have all lived here at one time or another. Warhol created some of his most influential Pop Art in a townhouse on Lexington Avenue.

What to See on the Upper East Side?

The Upper East Side is one of New York’s largest historic districts. The architecture has evolved over time, but the Beaux Arts mansions, Victorian brownstone townhouses, and white-glove Park Avenue cooperatives are its hallmarks. To witness the evolution of the Upper East Side first hand, step into the splendor of the Gilded Age by walking through the marble halls of its historic landmarks, then head a block east to shop in Madison Avenue’s designer emporiums.

The most desirable real estate offerings on the UES are the palatial homes lining Fifth Avenue, revered for their architectural provenance and Central Park views. Farther east, luxury home buyers can choose from elegant three- to six-story townhouses with private gardens or luxury-serviced high rises with enviable East River views.

Where to Eat on the Upper East Side?

Even the culinary delights on the UES are opulent. Stop by Serendipity 3 for the world’s most expensive (and decadent) dessert—the gold leaf and truffle sundae—or try their signature frozen hot chocolate. For Michelin-star dining, visit acclaimed French chef and leading culinary authority Daniel Boulud’s two Upper East Side locations, two-star rated Daniel on East 65th and the casually elegant Café Boulud in the Surrey Hotel at East 76th. For a contemporary twist on sushi, try the outstanding one-Michelin-starred Sushi of Gari, in Yorkville.

Of course, brunch is a must for any New Yorker and the UES provides the perfect setting to enjoy a mimosa or bloody mary before a leisurely stroll through the park or shopping on Madison Avenue. Count on neighborhood classics such as Sarabeth’s and The Barking Dog to serve up contemporary American fare in a casual setting.

How Many People Live in New York City?

As of 2017, the estimated population of New York City is 8,622,698 people.

What Language Is Spoken in New York City?

The United States has no official langugae, however, in Manhattan the most common language spoken by far is English, followed by Spanish, French, and Chinese. African Kru, Creole, Russian, and Yiddish are also popular in certain neighborhoods.

Can Foreigners & Non-Residents Buy a Home in New York City?

Yes. Non-US reisents/citizens may buy a home in New York. However, buying a Co-Op as a non-US citizen can be extremely difficult, as doing so requires board approval interview processes that are very extensive. Condos and townhouses are much better suited for foreign buyers in New York.

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