Central Park. Museum Mile. Fine Dining. The boutiques of Madison Avenue. Imposing pre-war buildings. These are just a few of the features that characterize Manhattan’s Upper East Side, one of the most coveted and affluent sections of New York City. Indeed, years before the unveiling of Central Park prompted the full-on development of this neighborhood after 1858, New York’s elite were building their country homes here on the scenic bluffs overlooking the East River. Today, for many, the UES continues to be a symbol of fashion, style, culture and the “good life” in general.
And yet, while this neighborhood does live up to its reputation, look closer and you’ll see there’s more than meets the eye. Along with Michelin-star restaurants like Daniel and Café Boulud, you’ll also find a slew of casual diners, quaint bistros, coffee shops, pizzerias and bagel shops. Within a block of the exclusive designer clothing and jewelry stores, you’ll find the basics like pharmacies, wine shops and markets. Head a few blocks east from the luxury doorman apartment buildings lining Central Park, and you’ll find more approachable areas like Lenox Hill and Yorkville, with more affordable prices to boot.
In short, aside from being home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, Cartier and Woody Allen, the Upper East Side is also home to a lot of different types of people. It may be one of New York’s most famous neighborhoods, but it is still, at the end of the day, a neighborhood.