Upper East Side
Generations of wealth and success concentrate on New York’s Upper East Side, particularly along Park, Madison and Fifth Avenues. This real-life Monopoly board is the neighborhood’s prime real estate thanks to its close proximity to Central Park. But don’t overlook the rest of the Upper East Side: New construction is almost always going to be found east of Park Avenue. Buyers who would prefer a brand new condo to a charming pre-war will find their dream home to the east of Park Ave, and they will still have convenient access to the many attractions that the neighborhood has to offer.
The Upper East Side (UES) encompasses everything from 60th to 96th Streets and also from Fifth Avenue to the East River. Aside from the occasional church and the many world-famous museums along Fifth – including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Smithsonian Design Museum, among others – Fifth and Park Avenues are comprised entirely of residential homes, while Madison consists mostly of boutique shopping, fine dining, and entertainment. Nearly all of the buildings have been around for almost a century or even longer, and because of this the inventory is made up of mostly co-ops. Buyers looking for prime UES should expect to have strong financials to make it past the co-op boards.
The character of the neighborhood changes to the east of Lexington Avenue. Many more modern buildings and condominiums can be found here, making it perfect for buyers who want the neighborhood but don’t want the restrictions of a co-op. No matter where you find your next home on the UES, you can expect convenient access to schools and transportation, plenty of G-rated entertainment, and a strong residential vibe that makes you feel as if you actually went home after work, not just to another part of the city.
The UES is massive and it contains a few distinct neighborhoods within itself. The two most distinct neighborhoods-within-the-neighborhood are:
Manhattan’s premier residential neighborhood, Carnegie Hill, was named for the mansion that Andrew Carnegie built on 91st Street and Fifth Avenue in 1901. It is bordered by 86th Street to the south; 96th Street to the north; Lexington Avenue to the east; and Fifth Avenue to the west. Carnegie Hill is highly coveted for its convenience to many of the city’s elite private schools, as well as its proximity to Central Park, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, and Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue. (Today, even Andrew Carnegie’s former mansion is home to a museum: the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution.)
Carnegie Hill lacks the nightlife and the excitement of downtown New York, but that’s exactly why many choose to call it home. If you’re looking for in a genuine neighborhood in the middle of the world’s busiest city, then you will be right at home in Carnegie Hill.
East End (“Yorkville’)
Opposite of Carnegie Hill, to its east, is another neighborhood with a rich residential character, although one that is much more affordable than its neighbor bordering Central Park. That neighborhood is called East End (historically called ‘Yorkville’) and it lies east of Second Avenue; south of 96th Street; north of 79th Street; and west of the East River. Its name comes from East End Avenue, which is home to the most prestigious addresses in the area. Many former residents of Park and Fifth Avenues re-locate to East End Avenue for stunning river views, access to Carl Schurz Park (which, unlike Central Park, is not a tourist attraction), its convenience to FDR Drive (great for escaping to your weekend home quickly), and to find new construction homes that they could not find in more established neighborhoods.
The rest of the neighborhood offers many of the same benefits, minus the river views and the prestige of East End Avenue, but with the benefit of being more affordable. That affordability makes East End perfect for finding your starter home and also for those in need of a large home on a budget. The neighborhood is as convenient to transportation as any other thanks to the Second Avenue Subway. You can’t do wrong if you choose to live here.