Upper East Side is a neighborhood in the Manhattan borough in New York City, situated between Central Park/Fifth Avenue, 59th Street, the East River, and 96th Street. The Upper East Side is recognized as one of the most well-to-do neighborhoods in New York City, and has been portrayed as so in pop culture T.V. shows like Gossip Girl and Bravo’s Odd Mom Out.
The Making Of The Affluent Neighborhood
As New York City took shape as one of the world’s first megacities, the Upper East Side along Lexington Avenue developed into one of the city’s first postwar neighborhoods. The farmland area that is now Upper East Side was inherited by James Lenox who went on to divide the land into blocks of house-lots in the 1870s and built his Lenox Library on a Fifth Avenue lot.
The narrow strip between Central Park and the railroad cut had a row of beautiful townhouses that were supposedly built by Mary Mason Jones, owner of the entire block bordered by 57th and 58th streets and Fifth and Madison.
Prior to the Park Avenue Tunnel being covered in 1910, trendy New Yorkers of the time chose to move away from the railroad trench, up what is now Park Avenue, in favor of building stylish mansions and townhouses on bigger lots in the Fifth Avenue, Central Park facing locale and adjoining side streets. This location attracted the likes of Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clark Frick. Since then a lot of New York’s upper-class families have resided on the Upper East Side, some of those residents were the Rockefellers, Roosevelts and the Kennedys to name a few.
Today, the affluent neighborhood is home to presidential candidate Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg, late comedian Joan Rivers and Mariah Carey to name a few.
Upper East Side Demographics
According to the 2000 census, approximately 207,543 people live in Upper East Side. Racially, the neighborhood is made up of 89.5% White, 6.14 Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.34% African American, 0.09% Native American, 1.39% other races and 1.74% two or more races. Foreign-born residents make up 21% of the Upper East Side population. The Upper East Side is known to have a predominantly large and well-off Jewish population of about 56,000.
The area has the biggest concentration of individual wealth in Manhattan with a high population density and per capita income of $85,081 in 2000. In 2011 the Upper East Side average household income was $117,903.
Politically, this area of Manhattan is a prominent political fundraising location.
Must See Attractions
Regardless of the neighborhood’s pretentious reputation, the Upper East Side is home to some of New York City’s main attractions such as museums, restaurants and shops as well some pivotal pop culture tours like the Sex and the City tour. Below are some of the area’s must-see attractions:
1. Museum of the City Of New York:
The Museum stands across from Central Park, facing Fifth Avenue. The historic museum was founded in 1923 and helps tourists and New Yorkers alike know more about the history of New York City, through prints and photographs, costumes and paintings and more.
2. The Jewish Museum:
Since 1947 the Jewish Museum has been enclosed in a chateau-like mansion, featuring a collection of 26,000 objects. Some of the museum’s highlights are works from Andy Warhol and Amedeo Modigliani, as well as some obsolete remains from Jewish communities as well as historic radio and television broadcasts. There are also photos and videos that showcase the remarkable resilience of the Jewish people throughout history.
3. The Metropolitan Museum Of Art:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, commonly known as The Met, boasts a five million visitor count every year. The Met holds paintings from Renoir, Rembrandt and Picasso. The museum includes its Main Building on Fifth Avenue as well as the Cloisters museum and gardens in northern Manhattan which dates back as far as 1866.
4. Sex and the City Hotspots Tour:
The popular turn of the century sitcom, Sex and the City, gave New York Upper East Side Manhattan a whole new modern makeover. A guided tour in the neighborhood allows fans to follow the footsteps of the show’s leading ladies and be a part of their shopping, eating, and gossiping experiences. The tour has over 40 locations from the sitcom to explore.
5. Central Park Zoo:
Located on Fifth Avenue and East 64th Street, Central Park Zoo allows visitors to see penguins, polar bears, tropical birds, snow monkeys and endangered red pandas. Next to the park is also the Tisch Children’s Zoo where little ones can feed and pet animals.
6. Gracie Mansion:
A tour of the Gracie Mansion, shows the building’s historical faux finishes and a profound collection of decorative arts. It was built in 1799 and has since been restored. Gracie Mansion is also the Mayor’s residence, currently housing Mayor de Blasio and his family.
How To Get Around
The main Upper East Side subway line is the 4 and 5 express line and 6 local line, which run under Lexington Avenue. This is the only north-south subway line servicing the east side.
Bus services are available as well but there are also limited routes going uptown, downtown and crosstown.
In Case Of Emergency Resources
In any case of emergencies, here are the some of the hospitals, fire departments, and police stations to get hold of in Upper East Side, Manhattan.
525 E 68th St
New York, NY 10065
100 E 77th St
New York, NY 10065
E 67th Street between 3rd & Lex
153 E 67th St
New York, NY 10065