The Upper East Side (UES) of Manhattan ranges from 59th Street to 96th Street and from 5th Avenue to the East River. It includes Lenox Hill, Yorkville, Carnegie Hill and areas along Park Avenue, Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue.
The Gold Coast properties - mansions and huge prewars in the Sixties and Seventies, on and near Fifth and Park Avenues - remain the domain of the seriously wealthy, for whom park views, expensive meals, Madison Avenue shopping, and proximity to most of the city's best private schools are basic requirements. East of Lexington Avenue, young professionals and budding families live in prewar and postwar co-ops, condos, and mid-block townhouses, which run smaller than those on the Gold Coast. They're mostly one- and two-bedrooms in walkups and postwar slabs, including lots of convertible studios.
Many New Yorkers would snicker at the thought of seeing "hot spots" and "Upper East Side" together. After all, the hottest scene most weekends is at Eli's, the grand (and grandiose) gourmet emporium at 80th Street and Third Avenue; nightlife more or less means the evenings when top-tier museums - the Met, the Whitney, the Guggenheim, and the excellent Neue Galerie - stay open. But not to be overlooked are first-rate cabaret at the Carlyle, the scene at Elaine's, and the tribal rites of the fur-coat set at Swifty's.
Take the Lexington Av. IRT (4 or 5 express train or 6 local train).
Every avenue from Fifth Av. to York Av. has at least one bus route, and there are also crosstown buses on 57th St. (M57; also M31, which doubles as the York Av. bus), 66th/68th Sts. (M66), 72 St. (M72, which uses the 66th St. transverse through Central Park), 79 St. (M79), 86th St. (M86) and 96 St. (M96).
From the Upper West Side, a walk or bike ride to the Upper East Side through Central Park is very pleasant in good weather.
Museums and galleries
The stretch of Fifth Avenue alongside Central Park in the Upper East Side (between 82nd and 104th Streets) is commonly referred to as "Museum Mile", though museums and galleries are also to be found off this particular beaten track:
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, tel 212-535-7710, . Tu-Th 9.30am-5.30pm, F-Sa 9.30am–9pm, Su 9.30am-5.30pm, closed Mondays (except for holiday Mondays when open 9.30am-5.30pm), January 1, Thanksgiving Day, December 25. Located on the eastern edge of Central Park on Fifth Avenue, the Met is New York's and one of the world's largest and most important museums of art and world culture. The present building opened in 1872 and houses collections of considerable variety: from Egypt and the Ancient Near East, through Classical Antiquity (Greece and Rome), to extensive holdings in African, Asian, Oceanic, Middle Eastern, Byzantine and Islamic art. Recommended admissions: adults $15, seniors $10, students $7, members and children under 12 free (all prices include admission to the Cloisters on the same day).
- Guggenheim Museum (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), 1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street, tel 212-423-3500, . Sa-W 10am-5.45pm, F 10am-8pm, closed Th. Probably the most famous of the Guggenheim foundations (others found in Bilbao, Venice, Berlin and Las Vegas), housed in the unique Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building, rendered in rounded, organic form and completed in 1959. Founded in 1937, the Guggenheim was established to promote avant-garde modern art by artists such as Kandinsky and Mondrian. Tip: take the elevator to the top floor, then follow the spiral viewing floors downwards to the street level. Adults $15, seniors and students (valid ID) $10, children under 12, members and CityPass holders free.
- Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, 2 East 92st Street / Fifth Avenue at 91st Street, . Tu–Th 10am–5pm, Fr 10am–9pm, Sa 10am–6pm, Su 12noon–6pm (garden entrance on 90th Street open May through September, weather permitting), closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Devoted to historic and contemporary design. A branch of the Smithsonian Institution and the only one that is not free. Adults $10, seniors and students with valid ID $7, members and children under 12 free.
- Neue Galerie New York (Museum for German and Austrian Art), 1048 Fifth Avenue at 86th Street, .
- Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, tel 1-800-WHITNEY, . W–Th 11am–6pm, F 1–9 pm, closed M–Tu, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Founded in 1931, the Whitney Museum is known for displaying contemporary American art, even more up-to-date than the Museum of Modern Art. It is most famous for its long-standing tradition of hosting a biennial art show that displays many lesser-known artists new to the American art scene. Adults $12, seniors (62 and over) and students with valid ID $9.50, members, New York City public high school students with valid student ID, and children under 12 free. Pay-what-you-wish Friday 6–9pm.
- Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Av (92nd St), . Su-W 11am-5:45pm, Th 11-9pm, F 11-3pm. Largest Judaica museum outside Israel. Adults $10; donation Th 5-9pm.
- Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Av (103rd St), . Tu-Su 10-5, M closed. Adults $7 suggested.
A full season of concerts, lectures, and other events takes place at the 92 St. Y, 92 St. and Lexington Av. The Y's Kaufmann Concert Hall is one of the premiere concert halls in the city. The Y also offers classes in various subjects.
The Metropolitan Museum and the Frick Collection are among the other venues in the neighborhood that host concert series.
- Orsay French Restaurant, 1057 Lexington Avenue (75th & 76th), 212-517-6400.
- Annie's Restaurant, 1381 3rd Ave (78th & 79th), 212-327-4853. Homey food, reasonably-priced.
- Etats Unis 242 E. 81st St. American Nouveau. This wonderful gem is a must for a foodie who desires sublime flavors with a staff that is clearly passionate about food.
- Googie's Luncheonette, 1491 2nd Ave (77th & 78th), 212-717-1122. Popular with families.
- Maya Restaurant, 1191 1st Ave (64th & 65th), 212-585-1818. Fine Mexican, creative, seafood-laden menu.
- Two Little Red Hens, 1652 2nd Av. between 85th and 86th Sts., 212-452-0476, is a great bakery specializing in American pastries and cakes. They make one of the best cheesecakes in New York, but don't pass up the other offerings.
- Ito En Tea House, 822 Madison Avenue (68th & 69th), . Leave it to Ito En, the largest supplier of green tea in the world, to open the most beautiful tea shop in town. Seventy-five varieties of black, green, white, and herbal tea from India, China, and Sri Lanka are for sale.