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Living in the Upper West Side

Tucked between the lush green of Riverside Park and Central Park, the Upper West Side is a pristine neighborhood with a surprisingly leisurely pace of life. Its tree-lined streets, well-kept townhouses and village-like charm make it one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city – not to mention the breathtaking Hudson River views. A vibrant performing arts community also helps add to its prestige. Home to Lincoln Center and a wealth of museums, the Upper West Side has long been a hotspot for actors, artists and writers. There’s a bohemian, intellectual vibe that permeates the independent bookstores and airy bistros lining the sidewalks. Although the area can feel worlds apart from the hustle and bustle of downtown, residents here are well-connected. The 1, 2 and 3 subway lines stop on Broadway’s main strip, and the A, B, C and D trains all connect to Central Park West.

Upper West Side real estate

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The Upper West Side stretches from 59th Street to 110th Street between Central Park and the Hudson River, which means that Upper West Side real estate comes in all shapes and sizes. Crossing the neighborhood from top to bottom reveals different sides to its character, from modern condos at the southern end to classic prewar brownstones in the ‘70s and ‘80s. For sweeping waterfront views, look no further than the spacious Upper West Side apartments on Riverside Drive. Meanwhile, some of the most impressive cooperatives in the city line Central Park West, including the marble-walled San Remo and the high-gabled Dakota.

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Upper West Side history

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Settled by Dutch immigrants in the 17th century, the Upper West Side, then known as Bloomingdale, was originally a major center of tobacco production. Wealthy merchants flocked to the area, drawn to its rural surroundings to build their stately homes. After the end of the Civil War, Bloomingdale was assimilated into New York City and grand apartment buildings like the Dakota began sprouting up in the late 19th century, adding to the area’s growth. The Dakota has attracted the rich and famous since it opened in 1884, with everyone from Lauren Bacall to Bono calling it home. When Columbia University relocated from the East Side to nearby Morningside Heights in the 1890s, the Upper West Side earned a reputation as a center for academic discourse, a status it has retained to this day.

Upper West Side restaurants

Brunch is more of a pastime than a meal in the Upper West Side. Here you’ll find an international assortment of bistros and diners packed to the rafters on weekends. Neighborhood favorite Sarabeth’s has a mouth-watering brunch menu featuring potato waffles and short-rib hash, while Greek restaurant Kefi is known for its sheep’s milk dumplings, mezze platters and selection of ouzo.

Boulud Sud in Lincoln Plaza is a vibrant dining destination for the theater-going crowd. Renowned chef Daniel Boulud’s Mediterranean-inspired menu plays with flavors from North Africa and Southern France, and the restaurant’s elegant interior is a masterpiece of mid-century modern design. For another gourmet dining option, try Jean-Georges, which was awarded three Michelin stars for its French fusion haute cuisine, served in an intimate, light-strewn dining room. At the other end of the spectrum, new residents and old-timers alike frequent mainstays like Zabar’s and Barney Greengrass for bagels, lox and knishes.

Upper West Side nightlife

As the home of the city’s most important fine arts complex, it’s no surprise that Upper West Side nightlife veers towards the highbrow. On any given evening, there’s bound to be a world-class dance, music or theater performance on at Lincoln Center, which sprawls out over 16.3 acres and houses the New York City Opera, NY Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera. A few blocks uptown, the Symphony Space has a full calendar of comedy, music, dance and dramatic performances. Here you can take in a show or simply relax in the opulent café-bar with a glass of wine.

Upper West Side bars range from casual pubs perfect for watching sports games to live jazz clubs like Cleopatra’s Needle or Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center. And literary buffs will feel right at home at the Dead Poet, where cocktails are named after writers such as Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe.

Upper West Side shopping

Stroll along Columbus Avenue, Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway for a high concentration of diverse shops. While you can find a host of brand names in the Time Warner Center, there's also no shortage of independently owned stores around to balance them out. Westsider Rare & Used Books, for instance, is a book lover’s dream, selling a dizzying assortment of unusual and out-of-print books stacked all the way to the ceiling.

On Sundays, locals like to peruse the rainbow of fresh fruit and foraged greens at the 79th Street Greenmarket, or sift through the bric-a-brac at the GreenFlea market on 77th and Columbus. Antique shop Emporium is the go-to destination for fine art and vintage treasures. It’s been a beloved part of the neighborhood for roughly four decades, owned by antique jewelry expert Leo Mavrovitis, who scours the globe for truly one-of-a-kind objets d’art.

Upper West Side attractions

Riverside Park covers four miles of relaxing waterfront landscape featuring tranquil elm groves and well-tended lawns. A skate park, sports fields and public marina invite residents to spend more time outdoors. This culturally rich neighborhood is also home to several of New York’s most enthralling museums. The American Museum of Natural History has delighted visitors of all ages since 1869, with its life-size dinosaurs and the striking Guggenheim Hall of Minerals that dazzle in every color of the rainbow. The museum is also home to the Hayden Planetarium, which brings the mysteries of the cosmos to the Upper West Side. The New York Historical Society, located in a classic Roman-style granite building, houses a rich and varied overview of the city’s history in its permanent collections. Here you can marvel at historic manuscripts, artwork from the Hudson Valley School of painters, and a display of American board games from the 19th century.

Dieters Beware

"The Levain Bakery on West 74th Street has the most addictive cookies in the city, you can’t have just one and you will be there again sooner than you think. Enjoy! "
Joseph Guzzo
Joseph               Guzzo
Explore Properties in the Neighborhood
120 West 78th Street, Apt. 3D, Upper West Side $539,000Featured
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220 Riverside Blvd, Apt. 27B, Upper West Side $2,195,000Featured
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210 West 78th Street, Apt. 6AB, Upper West Side $4,300,000Reduced
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123 West 74th Street, Apt. 1A-1, Upper West Side $579,000Featured
123 West 74th Street, Apt. 1A-1 1 Bed / 1 Bath / 600 Sq. Ft.
200 Riverside Blvd, Apt. 25D, Upper West Side $2,195,000New
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What's In The Area: Upper West Side

Driving Walking

Local tips and information for going out in the Upper West Side from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.

All Upper West Side tips




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