The Upper East Side is one of the most iconic parts of the city. It’s known for some of the city’s best shopping destinations, renowned cultural and historical institutions, and expensive real estate. We love helping our clients buy and sell there – but what is it like to live there?
The Upper East Side is slower, more relaxed, and calmer than other parts of the city. The apartments, buildings, and businesses tend to be upscale and affluent, and there’s easy access to all forms of transportation.
Our team has spent decades in the Upper East Side, and we know it like the back of our hand. That’s why we’re covering everything you need to know if you’re considering living there – including location, transportation, apartment cost, the feel of the neighborhood, schools, culture, libraries, food, drink, parks, recreation, history, where you can find historic districts within the Upper East Side, and where some of the most notable apartment buildings are.
The Real Talk NYC Real Estate Podcast | Episode 14
If podcasts are more your speed, consider listening in to this episode, which is all about the Upper East Side. We discuss all our favorite restaurants, bars, shopping, and more, as well as John’s favorite bakeries.
If you’ve ever thought about living on the Upper East Side but wanted to know a little more, this episode is for you.
You can find out even more in the show notes here.
Location | The Upper East Side
Situated between 59th and 96th Streets, and from the East River to Central Park/Fifth Avenue, the Upper East Side has long been known as one of the most affluent areas in the city.
The Upper East Side is actually a larger neighborhood that includes three smaller neighborhoods – Carnegie Hill, Lenox Hill, and Yorkville.
If you are looking for a place of exclusivity, refined culture, first-class dining, shopping, and entertainment options – the Upper East Side has it all.
What Is It Like To Live On The Upper East Side?
Life on the Upper East Side is elegant and slower-paced than in the rest of the city.
Anywhere you go on the Upper East Side, you won’t be far from anything and everything you could need for daily living. From household name stores and restaurants, to smaller markets, shops, and boutiques, the Upper East Side has it all.
The Upper East Side, much like New York City itself, has a little bit of everyone from everywhere. As you stroll through the streets, you are likely to hear any number of languages spoken by the many residents of the Upper East Side.
New York City is the best place to live in the world – there’s no doubt about it. The Upper East Side is one of the reasons why.
Transportation | The Upper East Side
The Upper East Side is accessible by the 4, 5, 6, and 6 trains under Lexington Avenue, and the N, Q, and R trains under Second Avenue.
You can also get to the Upper East Side via the M1, M2, M3, M4, M15, M15 SBS, M31, M98, M101, and M103 going uptown and downtown. Crosstown, you can take the M66, M72, M79 SBS, M86 SBS, and M96.
How Much Do Apartments Cost On The Upper East Side?
As always, price depends on what you’re looking for.
Purchasing An Upper East Side Apartment
The Upper East Side is one of the biggest neighborhoods in Manhattan, and the variety of apartments available is stunning – whether you’re looking for a cozy studio or a classic 5, the Upper East Side has it all. The best way to know current pricing is to look at active listings (which we can help you do), but historic trends can help too.
Upper East Side Final Sale Prices, 2003-2021
Renting An Upper East Side Apartment
The Upper East Side is known for being one of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City. As such, the average rent in the area is higher than in other areas of town.
Here’s what you can expect to pay in average monthly rent:
- A studio apartment on the Upper East Side is $2,499
- A one-bedroom will cost you about $3,174 per month
- Two bedrooms average around $5,250 per month
- Three bedrooms, you’ll likely be paying somewhere around $8,318 monthly
The drive to live on the Upper East Side is as powerful as ever, and the market reflects that. In the past year (at the time of writing), rental costs on the Upper East Side increased by roughly 1.2%, but things can change quickly – be sure to tune into our monthly podcasts where we cover changes in the market in-depth.
Feel | The Upper East Side
A stroll down the streets of the Upper East Side will take you past striking and stately townhouses, full-service white-glove luxury apartments and condos, and some of the finest cultural institutions in the country.
Known for being particularly upscale, the Upper East Side has a wide variety of luxury accommodation options for visitors as well as residents. Many of the city’s classiest hotels, such as the Carlyle, The Mark Hotel, and more, are found within the neighborhood’s bounds.
The atmosphere on the Upper East Side is slower and more relaxed than some of the other neighborhoods, giving it a small-town feel within some parts of the big city.
What Schools Are On The Upper East Side?
There are a number of public schools on the upper east side, operated by the New York City Department of Education:
- P.S. 6 – Lillie Devereux Blake School
- P.S. 77 – The Lower Lab School
- P.S. 158 – Bayard Taylor
- P.S. 183 – Robert Louis Stevenson School
- P.S. 267 – East Side Elementary
- P.S. 290 – The New School of Manhattan
- M.S. 114 – East Side Middle School
- J.H.S. 167 – Senator Robert F. Wagner Middle School
- Talent Unlimited High School
- Eleanor Roosevelt High School
- Urban Academy Laboratory High School
- Hunter College High School
There are also a vast number of private schools on the Upper East Side, including:
- Birch Wathen Lenox School
- Caedmon School
- Dalton School
- Loyola School
- Lycée Français de New York
- La Scuola d’Italia Guglielmo Marconi
- Park East School
- The Town School
- Trevor Day School
- Ramaz School
- Sephardic Academy of Manhattan
- Islamic Cultural Center School
In terms of higher education, the Upper East Side is home to several colleges and universities, including:
- Hunter College
- Marymount Manhattan College
- Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
- New York Medical College
- New York School of Interior Design
- New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
- New York University Institute of Fine Arts
- Rockefeller University
- Weill Cornell Medical College
Where Are The Libraries On The Upper East Side?
There are four branches of the New York Public Library on the Upper East Side.
Located at 328 East 67th Street, the two-story 67th Street branch was opened in 1905.
The Yorkville branch of the New York Public Library sits at 222 East 79th Street. This branch opened in 1902 and is listed on both the National and New York State Register of Historic Places.
Founded in 1893 as the Webster Free Library, the Webster branch is located at 1465 York Avenue.
The fourth and final branch of the New York Public Library on the Upper East Side is the 96th Street branch, located at 112 East 96th Street. Like the 67th Street branch, this library was opened in 1905.
History | The Upper East Side
Driven in part by an immigration boom in the second half of the 19th century, the New York and Harlem Railroad increased commercial traffic to the more rural parts of northern New York City throughout the 1800s. It’s hard to imagine the Upper East Side ever being a rural park of New York City, but in the 1800s, it was.
By the 1880s, the Upper East Side had transformed from rural fields, farms, and countryside, to the new prime and central location of New York residential real estate. Just a decade later, the area was laden with homes for New Yorkers of all financial statuses. Many of those who lived in the area commuted for work into the downtown districts of the time.
Development of the trains along Park Avenue in the early 1900s turned the properties along Park Avenue into prime real estate. New shops, schools, and social clubs began popping up all along the tree-lined streets of the Upper East Side. Many of the churches, synagogues, and museums built during this time rose to a level of international prominence and helped to lock in the exclusivity of life on the Upper East Side.
After the 1913 introduction of the income tax, major townhouse and mansion construction came screeching to a halt, and for a while, the Upper East Side became a place that only America’s wealthiest could afford to call home.
Of the nation’s most prominent families of the time, the Rockefellers, Roosevelts, Astors, and Whitneys are just a few who have called the Upper East Side home.
This didn’t change the fact that an ever-increasing number of New Yorkers were excited by the idea of living in the affluent neighborhood. Luxury apartment buildings began to show up on the Upper East Side during the early 20th century but were stopped due to the Great Depression and the Second World War.
Construction on the East River Drive in 1934 and the FDR drive from 1948-1966 increased accessibility to the Upper East Side. This, in turn, set in motion new commerce and development in the neighborhood.
To this day, the Upper East Side remains one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the country. The vital and vibrant atmosphere of the Upper East Side continues to flourish. If you’re looking for a place to experience unparalleled cultural influence and diversity, look no further than the Upper East Side.
Historic Districts | The Upper East Side
Within the Upper East Side, there are several different established historic districts, including:
The Upper East Side Historic District, which runs from 59th Street to 78th Street along Fifth Avenue. The UES Historic District is recognized by both the city and the National Register of Historic Places.
The Carnegie Hill Historic District, which covers an area primarily along Fifth Avenue between 86th and 98th Streets. This historic district includes 400 buildings.
The Metropolitan Museum Historic District is a city landmark district consisting primarily of properties between 79th Street and 86th Street on Fifth Avenue.
What are some of the most notable apartment buildings on the Upper East Side?
435 East 52nd Street, River House
This 26-story Art Deco co-operative was constructed in 1931 on the site of a former cigar factory.
998 Fifth Avenue
Built between 1910 and 1912, this 12-story Italian Renaissance Palazzo-style building was the first super-luxury apartment house on Fifth Avenue.
781 Fifth Avenue, The Sherry Netherland
The building of its kind in New York City when it opened, the Sherry Netherland is a 38-story luxury apartment-hotel located on the Upper East Side.
778 Park Avenue
This 18-story apartment house was designed in the English Renaissance style by Rosario Candela.
927 Fifth Avenue,
This 12-story limestone-clad building was built in the Renaissance Revival style by Warren & Wetmore, also known for the Grand Central Terminal.
Want to Know More?
Our team has been working on the Upper East Side for decades, and if you have a lingering question about the neighborhood, we’d be happy to answer it. If you’re looking to buy or sell, definitely reach out – we’d be thrilled to help. You can reach us through the contact form below, by emailing us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling us directly at 212.836.1015.