History of the Upper East Side
The Upper East Side (UES), is the area bordered by 59th Street to 96th Street (south to north) and Central Park to the East River (west to east). It is one of the most upscale areas in New York City and includes three neighborhoods – Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, and Yorkville.
The UES was initially a farmland and market garden district. People only began to move into the area in the mid-1800’s, after the completion of a station that finally connected the UES to the city center in lower Manhattan.
It was Andrew Carnegie who transformed the entire Upper East Side when he built a mansion in the area, which made the area more appealing and caused other wealthy people to want to live there as well.
Some other well-known figures who resided on the Upper East Side include the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, Kennedys, Whitneys, and Dukes, just to name a few. It was these residents that made the UES the lush neighborhood it is today.
The Vibe of the Upper East Side
Once home to the country’s wealthiest people, the Upper East Side is best known for upscale real estate, mainly on Fifth, Madison, and Park Avenue. On the UES you can find classic mansions that date back to the 19th century, Renaissance-style townhouses, and luxury condos. However, there are also plenty of Upper East Side apartments that meet every price point.
On the UES, you will feel a slower, more relaxed vibe. And even though you may feel far away from the hub of the city, you can find everything you need including playgrounds, community centers, and schools.
The 4 and 5 express lines and 6 local lines are north-south subway lines that can get you to The Bronx up north or to the southern tip of Manhattan, and even Brooklyn. Other lines include the F, N, Q, and R lines that serve the southern end.
Unique Features of the Upper East Side
Two unique features of the UES are Central Park and Museum Mile. On the UES, Central Park at the west becomes your garden, where there is no better place to go for a walk, jog, bike, or simply enjoy a picnic on a sunny day in Manhattan.
On the southeast corner of Central Park lays Museum Mile. It is home to some of New York’s most famous museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (“The Met”), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (“The Guggenheim”), and specialty museums such as the Frick Collection, Neue Galarie, and the Cooper Hewitt Museum.
This quiet, upscale neighborhood in combination with respective museums offers both a reprieve from the busy city and a perfect residential area to dwell in.
Things to do on the Upper East Side
Although for many, the first place to come to mind is Central Park, there is also an equally beautiful park called the Carl Schurz Park located on the east end of UES where you can pass by Gracie Mansion, an old colonial house that is now the official residence of the New York Mayor.
On the other hand, if you are looking for something to fuel creativity, visiting The Met and The Guggenheim are great options. Both museums offer various exhibitions throughout the year, so there is always something new to view.
Top Food Choices on the Upper East Side
Feeling hungry? Here are some of our agents’ favorite places to eat on the Upper East Side!
1. Café d’Alsace
There are plenty of great brunch places on the UES to sit outside on a sunny day and do some great people watching. Café d’Alsace is definitely one of them. It is a popular upscale French brunch spot with a lovely ambiance. The Belgian waffle, topped with fresh strawberries, strawberry coulis, whipped cream, and organic maple syrup, is a favorite order for many.
Café d’Alsace also serves dinner and the top dish for many is the Steak Frites—certified price hanger steak served with red wine sauce, brown marrow, and French fries. “Even tastier when you match it with a beer from its beer list,” says Triplemint Agent Brad Lauren.
“No Spicy Tuna, No California roll. Trust Me,” is the motto of this minimalistic, casual, but upscale sushi bar on the UES. Sasabune offers first-class food with very basic décor compared to over-the-top Japanese restaurants saturated in the city that you have to dress up for.
At Sasabune, the fish is sensational, where it offers a phenomenal selection of exotic fish. Coupled with sweet and pleasantly warm rice, the sushi literally melts in your mouth the moment it enters. Sasabune requires deep pockets, but for the fresh fish, it is worth it.
Triplemint Agent Omer Sultan’s favorite go-to spot for Pho in the city is Vietnaam, a local favorite on the UES that serves delicious broth with generous portions! The service is fast and efficient, a perfect place to be for your quick Pho fixes when you are craving warm soup. The place is also large and suitable for large groups.
Something unique at Vietnaam is its udon. Udon and Pho aren’t typically seen together, but when combined, it’s absolutely delicious.
Top Three Things We Love About the Upper East Side
- The Beauty – The UES is gorgeous. It is quiet, relaxing, and filled with tree-lined streets.
- Escape from the Hustle and Bustle – The UES has a suburban feel where people move at a slower pace.
- Central Park – The close access to the park makes the UES one of the most desirable places to live in the city.