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Get to know the Upper East Side

For many, the words “Upper East Side” evoke an image of luxury doorman buildings, handsome rowhouses, and boutiques, and galleries along Madison Avenue. Indeed, the Upper East Side is home to some of New York’s most rarefied ZIP codes. The cultural highlights of Museum Mile as well as Central Park, running along the neighborhood’s western edge, bring visitors from all over the city, and the world, to this part of Manhattan.
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History & Culture

The initial impetus for the development of the Upper East Side was the opening of Central Park in 1858, followed soon after, in the 1860s and 1870s, by the extension of streetcar lines northward. For much of the 19th Century, open railroad tracks along Park Avenue noisily bisected the neighborhood, but in the 1870s, the city began moving the railway underground, creating the Upper East Side we know today. For residents interested in art, few neighborhoods in the world can compete with the Upper East Side. Its Museum Mile (Fifth Avenue along the park) is home to the Met, the Frick Collection, and the Guggenheim, along with a number of smaller institutions.

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Dine & Shop

Given the notoriety of the Upper East Side, it is perhaps not surprising that the area includes restaurants that are regularly included among New York’s very best (Daniel, Café Boulud) and stores that are destinations in themselves (Barneys, Bloomingdale’s). The neighborhood includes two parallel and different commercial hearts. Madison Avenue is the place to shop for fine watches; jewelry; and men’s and women’s fashions from French, Italian, and American designers and brands. Second and Third avenues are where you’ll find businesses providing the necessities of daily life, from wine stores to pharmacies. While the Yorkville section has some white-tablecloth options, it caters to a broad array of diners. You’ll also find casual pizzerias and diners along with restaurants serving various international cuisines.