Traced between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 110 Street, the Upper West Side of Manhattan is an upscale, primarily residential, neighborhood that has the reputation of being home to the uptown branch of New York City’s cultural and artistic legacy. Just how artistic the now thoroughly upmarket Upper West Side is at this point remains debatable. Less debatable is the Upper West Side’s status as one of Manhattan’s most desirable residential neighborhoods. With tree-lined streets, wide avenues and the some of the most sought-after property in the city on Central Park West, the Upper West Side’s appeal is nearly impossible to miss.
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Upper West Side-to-be contained some of colonial New York’s most ambitious houses, with additional smaller townhouses eventually filling in the gaps between larger homes. With the construction of Central Park and the Seventh Avenue (1, 2, 3) subway line, housing boomed and the first of the stately, ornate co-op apartments on the Upper West Side appeared along Central Park West. Today, the Upper West Side’s architecture runs from renovated Dutch Revival rowhouses to glassy new construction luxury condominiums, and from neo-Gothic apartment buildings to Beaux Arts luxury condominiums such as the Kenilworth building. Upper West Side residents are heirs to some New York City’s most prestigious art institutions, such as the American Museum of Natural History, The Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the ballet and theaters of Lincoln Center.
Central Park marks the easternmost boundary of the Upper West Side and provides fields of green between the concrete. Prestigious universities such as Columbia University and Barnard College add a youthful flair and sensibility to the Upper West Side, while meshing nicely with the neighborhood’s famed intellectualism. Shoppers love Zabar’s Food Market and the myriad shops at Columbus Circle, while gourmets will find tasty food at a myriad of prices — from ultra-upscale to ethnic food spots pitched to Columbia kid budgets — on Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. The Upper West Side offers more than a little bit of everything, in short, and one of the most quintessentially Manhattan living experiences of any New York neighborhood.