EXPLORE UPPER WEST SIDE

DESCRIPTION

No Upper West Side story can be told without some of the city’s most beloved longstanding fixtures. Home to the American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center and Riverside Park, the area abounds with cultural and leisurely destinations, and Central Park by far leads the narrative. If the area were in fact a storybook, its gorgeous brownstones would be the major motif, and its trademark prewar architecture the central theme. The Upper West Side’s architecture surely precedes itself, with historic and storied names like Dakota, Ansonia, Apthorp, Manhasset and Astor Court standing strong and proud.

Bounded by 116th and 59th Streets to the north and south, and by the Hudson River and Central Park to the west and east, the neighborhood is bookended by two major cultural institutions: Columbia University and Lincoln Center. The latter is host to a suite of memories always in the making, including the New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. In between, the American Museum of Natural History offers a constant rotation of awe-inspiring exhibits, and low-key nightlife venues dotted along the area’s avenues and streets make relaxing fun.

There is never a shortage of eateries to try in the neighborhood as well, from tasty bakeries to upscale French restaurants. Ample transportation, particularly at Columbus Circle and Lincoln Center, make travel to, from and inside the area’s grid a cinch.

HISTORY

The entire area north of 59th Street well up to Harlem was, like most of the city, pure country with rolling hills, fields, farms and streams. It was around the 18th century that many country residences were established, particularly by well-to-do New Yorkers who lived on and near what was then Anthrop Farm and Bloomingdale Road (now Broadway). The 1830s brought a major period of development to the area following the addition of the Hudson River Railroad, and Central Park’s inception two decades later continued in suit. Later development in the neighborhood was spurred by the introduction of the Ninth Avenue El train line at the turn of the 20th century.

LANDSCAPE

Central Park’s ample grassy lawns and paths are built for more than just bike-rides picnics. You’ll be hard-pressed to go for a stroll through the park or across the Upper West Side’s cozy streets without running into a four-legged friend on a leash.

At its lower end along the southern entry of Central Park, the Upper West Side commands a modern and polished image, greeting visitors with both a statue of Columbus and Trump Tower. Further inside the neighborhood along Broadway and on Columbus, Amsterdam and eventually West End Avenue and Riverside Drive, residents encounter a myriad of pre- and post-war buildings of varying sizes. These culminate in size particularly along parts of Broadway, West End Avenue and Riverside Boulevard and Drive.

The Upper West Side is primarily a grid, with Broadway's traffic running in both directions down the center. Its southern edge begins at 59th Street and Central Park, stretching towards the river and up to 110th Street where it becomes Morningside Heights. It then extends to 125th Street, with St. Nicholas at the eastern end and Riverside Drive to the west. The 2 and 3 express trains take visitors through the Upper West Side before heading to Harlem and The Bronx. The B and C trains also have stops along Central Park West, while the 1 train runs the entire area along Broadway.

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