Exuding a cosmopolitan, refined air that is reminiscent of Paris or other European cities, the Upper East Side (the UES, to local cognoscenti) has a reputation as being a bastion of wealth and privilege. Even though it was built by American “royalty” families like the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, Kennedys, Carnegies and Rockefellers, whose elaborate mansions once anchored Fifth Avenue, there are affordable housing options throughout the neighborhood. The further east you move, away from Central Park and the more commercial avenues, the more likely you are to find quiet, tree-lined streets with historic townhouses and brownstones. Keep your eye out for reasonably priced apartments in pre-war low-rise and even a few high-rise buildings.
With abundant, beautifully landscaped green spaces, including the oasis of Central Park acting like a backyard, the area is quiet and lushly green. You can relax and unwind in John Jay Park, Carl Schurz Park or take a stroll along the East River Promenade. The whole neighborhood seems isolated from the workaday chaos of the city at large. Add to that the history of the neighborhood and the abundance of cultural institutions, and you have a uniquely welcoming neighborhood.
Known for its abundance of high-end retail shopping, especially on Madison Avenue, the Upper East Side is host to the Barneys New York flagship department store. Here you can find upscale goods, fashion and home decor items. You will also find the edgy runway-inspired Alexander McQueen collections. If you are dying to treat your feet to red-soled opulence, be sure to visit the Christian Louboutin boutique. These are only a small sampling of this high-end shopper’s paradise that features everything from designer boutiques that offer the ultimate in haute couture to resale shops where you can find last season’s best on sale at hefty discounts .
There are many unique dining experiences, from fine dining to the casual bite-on-the-go, awaiting you in the UES. Sushi is going through a renaissance in the city, and the best omakase-style sushi can be found at Sasabune on E 73rd Street. Omakase sushi means that you leave the choice of ingredients, preparation method and presentation to the chef. Elegant French cuisine can be experienced at JoJo, E 64th Street, housed in gorgeous townhouse. Just for fun, visit the Lexington Candy Shop on Lexington Avenue, to get a taste of an old-fashioned soda fountain.