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Get to know the Sutton Area

Sutton Place and its surrounding neighborhood stretch only from 53rd to 59th, and between First Avenue and the East River, but together they include some of Manhattan’s most expensive real estate. The area’s spine is the street known as Sutton Place from 57th to 59th, and Sutton Place South from 53rd to 57th, while the riverfront is bookended by two small parks. The existence of the street reflects the fact that geography didn’t oblige completely when it came time to lay a grid over Manhattan. At those points where the island widens, York Avenue and Sutton Place were added rather than leaving large areas without a north-south thoroughfare. The street became especially desirable around 1920 when monied families moved in. After a brief downturn in the 1930s, fortunes rose again, and the area has remained an example of Manhattan living at its most elegant.
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History & Culture

Sutton Place appears on the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, when it (and York Avenue, which is the same street, though going by that different name between 59th and 92nd) was designated Avenue A. It wouldn’t be until the late 19th century, however, that developers began to build here and also bestowed a more tony name: Sutton Place. Then, starting around 1920, it became known as the address of choice for Manhattan’s wealthiest residents, with members of the Morgans, the Vanderbilts, and other leading families buying homes along its length. The Great Depression put a brake on the luxury real estate market here, but by the 1940s, the area’s rowhouses and luxury apartments were once again synonymous with Manhattan’s elite. Its name has appeared in cultural classics — Rodgers & Hart lyrics and Catcher in the Rye, for example — as shorthand for a certain swanky elegance, and countless movies have used the setting to convey privileged wealth.

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Dine & Shop

Sutton Place and even the slightly larger Sutton Area don’t have restaurants and shopping scenes to speak of, given the area’s small size, but options abound that are either a short walk or cab ride away. Just to the north of Sutton Place, near the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge, a number of stores including a Bed Bath & Beyond sell daily essentials. While Sutton Place itself doesn’t have much retail, its northern stretch, York Avenue does — at least once you get to the other side of the Weill Cornell Medical Center’s buildings. Beyond the immediate area, the shopping, dining, and culture of the Upper East Side and Midtown East are close at hand.