What to Do on the Upper East SideDecember 4, 2014 - by City Guide
The Upper East Side maintains its reputation as home to “Old Money” -- or, actually, money in general. It is where you’ll find Museum Mile, as well as glamour, upscale boutiques, and great restaurants. This neighborhood begins at the Plaza Hotel on 59th Street and goes all the way north to 105th Street on the east side of Central Park. Although it was the creation of Central Park in the mid-1800s that gave this neighborhood its distinct identity, the avenues truly developed with the opening of the iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1870s.
Main page photo: Photo: David M. Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
If you head over to 88th Street you can see Gracie Mansion, where the mayor resides. This grand structure is surrounded by Carl Schurz Park, an area that stretches out with several blocks of grassy lawns and benches. Just south of the park at 81st Street is John Finley Walk, which runs along FDR Drive. With playgrounds and enclosed dog runs, this is a lovely place to take the family for an afternoon.
The Upper East Side maintains a reputation for attracting an affluent group of people. This elegant status was confirmed after the railroad along Park Avenue was buried and the opulent townhouses were built in the early 1900s. (The neighborhood's zip code, 10021, is generally known to be the wealthiest in the U.S.) To accommodate Upper East Siders, an exquisite collection of designer stores opened on Fifth and Madison Avenues, and on any given day you can be certain to catch a celebrity darting in and out of the specialty shops.
One of the most enthralling components of the neighborhood is its collection of museums, Museum Mile. The nine museums that comprise it are El Museo del Barrio, Museum of the City of New York, Jewish Museum, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Neue Galerie New York, the Museum for African Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Frick Collection and the Whitney Museum of American Art are also in the area.
The charm of the Upper East Side is found along the quieter, residential streets that attract young families and couples. After shopping or an afternoon at the museums, the manicured landscapes are very relaxing, making this neighborhood one of the more delightful and serene places in the city.
Dining on the Upper East Side: For a complete list of restaurants on the Upper East Side, click here.