The Upper East Side has been my home for the past twenty-seven years and throughout those years we’ve been through many transformations. Today, I am proud to say that the Upper East Side still remains a highly desirable neighborhood, especially post-Covid. I’ve always felt this neighborhood brings a charming “small town” feel to an otherwise bustling City, giving residents the best of both worlds.
A largely residential, densely populated conglomerate of communities between East 59th and 96th Streets and Central Park and the East River, the Upper East Side has among its residents, celebrities, billionaires, socialists and even political figures who have called the Upper East Side home for over a century. Everyone from Andrew Carnegie or Jackie Kennedy Onassis to Lady Gaga have lived on the Upper East Side or attended the many upscale private schools there. The posh reputation of the Upper East Side gave it the nickname the “Silk Stocking District.” With the exception of the Central Park-facing mansions on Fifth Avenue, and many long-demolished East River villas, the Upper East Side was largely an immigrant community until the early- to mid-20th Century, when elevated trains over Second, Third and Park avenues were torn down and tenement buildings were replaced with luxury high-rises.
The neighborhood’s proximity to Midtown, and quick connection to the Financial District has also made the Upper East Side popular with investment bankers, media moguls and Broadway producers, actors as well as students from New York University and other urban universities. Since the neighborhood is also home to The Hospital for Special Surgery, New York-Presbyterian and Lenox Hill hospitals – with Mount Sinai just a stone’s throw away – doctors and research scientists also made their homes here. The Upper East Side’s proximity to the United Nations has also made it a popular haven for diplomats. Italy, France and Russia all have their consulates here and many ambassadors to the UN have homes in the neighborhood.
Today, the Upper East Side is more desirable than ever. With the opening for Phase One of the Second Avenue Subway in 2017, the Q train now serves three stops along Second Avenue, providing residents closer to the East River with a shorter commute. The NYC Ferry system also has a stop in the northern part of the neighborhood at East 90th Street, which directly connects the community to the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, as well as Midtown and Wall Street.
The neighborhood is home to most of New York City’s most renowned cultural institutions, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim, the Frick and other museums along Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue. The world-renowned 92nd Street Y is perhaps the community’s most notable performing arts space and plays hosts to concerts, live theater, cultural programs, camps and programs focusing on professional development.
With Central Park as the neighborhood’s western boundary, the City’s premiere greenspace is the Upper East Side’s backyard. Carl Schurz Park, home to Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the Mayor of New York City, offers 14.9 acres of greenspace right on the edge of the East River. The park also features basketball courts, dog runs and beautiful views of the East River. John Jay Park on East 78th Street and the FDR Drive is smaller but hosts an Olympic-sized public swimming pool. Both parks connect to the East River Greenway, a pedestrian path that runs along the East River from East 116th Street to the Queensboro Bridge.
The Upper East Side plays host to a number of diverse restaurants and dining experiences. The neighborhood is home to two Michelin Star restaurants – Daniel, a French restaurant on East 65th Street and Sushi Nozi, a popular mecca for sushi and Japanese cuisine on East 78th Street, and hundreds more eateries ranging from diners to sushi bars and pizza restaurants to fine dining.
There is no doubt that the neighborhood that long has been at the top of the list of desirable places to live remains one of the city’s most popular. The Upper East Side, known to many as a dynamic, vibrant community of culture and convenience, is still very much alive.
About Bettina Equities:
For over 30 years, Bettina Equities has been helping New Yorkers live well in the world’s greatest city. With over 40 properties and more than 2,000 units throughout Manhattan, we help people find apartments they love, in the neighborhoods they prefer. Whether you’re looking for quiet elegance in an area like Gramercy Park, or the edgy excitement of the East Village, Bettina has the choices you need for the lifestyle you desire. Bettina Equities is a family business with a long tradition of fine buildings, great customer service, and prices that bring Manhattan living within your reach. As developer, owner and manager of our properties, there is a hands-on difference in the way our buildings are run. That difference is quality.