Carnegie Hill is a small neighborhood at the northern tip of the Upper East Side that borders Central Park. It is steeped in history, great wealth, architecture and culture. It is known for its world-class museums and its rows of historic mansions. Nothing much changes here as the entire area is landmarked, preventing the proliferation of high-rise developments. Thus the buildings stay a human scale, the sky is aplenty and the neighborhood kind of feels like a small town to its long time residents.
The name Carnegie Hill is derived from the industrial magnate Andrew Carnegie, when Carnegie decided to build himself a mansion at 91st Street and Fifth Avenue….
Carnegie Hill is a family neighborhood with old fashioned upper crust money. The mid-rise co-ops that line the avenues are among the most prestigious addresses in the city. The avenues are lined with small restaurants, boutique shops
The residential towers that have proliferated on the eastside of Third Avenue in the East 90s simply do not exist between Lexington and Fifth.
While Museum Mile extends beyond the boundaries of Carnegie Hill, the world-famous cluster of museums does run right through the neighborhood along Fifth Avenue, today occupying some of the distinguished mansions of its celebrity residents of years long past. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum at 88th Street, the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts at 89th Street, the Cooper Hewitt Museum at 91st Street (Carnegie’s old haunts) and the Jewish Museum at 92nd Street are just a few of the places where one can spend an afternoon immersed in culture.
Central Park. How great would it be to call Central Park your front yard. Well, if you live in Carnegie Hill the park and all its glories are at your doorstep. Run or walk around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir or take in a game of softball on the ballfields at East and North Meadow.
92nd Street Y (at Lexington Avenue). If you’re a New Yorker, the 92nd Street Y is a beacon for entertainment, famous speakers and classes.
The Corner Bookstore at Madison Avenue and 93rd Street is actually an old school independent bookstore owned and operated by people who love books. The store has been operating in this pre-war townhouse since 1978 and many of its selections are curated for the patrons of Carnegie Hill.
What You Might See
Dogs. Everyone seems to have a dog and everyone seems to have a dog walker running to the park.
Kids, lots of kids going to and from school. Private schools abound and kids in uniform swarm certain streets during the late afternoon.
Older demographics. The median age of Carnegie Hill is significantly higher than most neighborhoods in NYC, primarily due to the type of housing stock and in some cases the minimum financial requirements to live in many of the co-ops.
What’s in the Future
Protecting what is the past. Carnegie Hill as presently constituted won’t change much. The landmark status of the neighborhood, the solidarity of its residents and the lack of development opportunities will maintain the status quo. However, given the virtue of its name, the real estate industry will continue to try and expand the borders to the north.
Small developments as developers pay crazy prices for older rental buildings and then obtain even crazier prices for newly built pre-war styled apartments. Check out 1110 Park Avenue where prices for three-bedroom units started at $7.6 million. The 16-story limestone structure with just nine residences sets a standard of opulence for which even Andrew Carnegie would be proud.
What You May Not Know
When Carnegie purchased the land for his home on 91st Street, he also bought the neighboring lots so that he could sell to people he deemed acceptable as potential neighbors. At some point we have all wished that we purchased that apartment next door.
The Convent of Sacred Heart, at 1 East 91st Street, is the oldest independent all-girls school in New York City.
What We Love
We love the feel of the streets and the sense of great elegance and history that emanates from the doorways of these buildings. Doormen in uniform hail cabs for residents; no Uber here.
The human scale of the neighborhood. Due to the landmarked status of the district and the architectural history, there are only two high-rise buildings of any significance in Carnegie Hill, 45 East 89th Street and 40 East 94th Street.
The Hotel Wales at Madison Avenue and 92nd Street is an elegant reminder of old New York, a boutique hotel in a landmarked building. The rooftop terrace is its own urban oasis. For those who desire a special weekend brunch, try some Apple-Cinnamon French Toast at Sarabeth’s at street level.