NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

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Upper East Side

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Elegant, exclusive, and historic, the Upper East Side is one of the most storied, famous, and instantly recognizable neighborhoods in Manhattan. Boasting the greatest concentration of individual wealth in the world, this neighborhood has long been home to the most powerful influential families, socialites, business executives, politicians, and philanthropists in New York.


Landscape

Comprised of all the land east of Central Park between 59th and 96th Streets, the Upper East side is located on relatively high ground formerly used as fishing camps by the Lenape Indians. The land at the edge of the East River is characterized by a steep bluff running all the way north to Gracie Mansion, creating beautiful views for residents of Yorkville at the far eastern edge of the neighborhood.


History

The largely undivided and sparsely populated farmland of the Upper East Side gave rise to the burgeoning development of mansions and townhouses built by New York’s upper class, seeking a breath of fresh air on the edge of newly constructed Central Park. By 1900, the Vanderbilts, Astors, Whitneys, Rockefellers, Dukes, and Roosevelts all owned at least one home on the Upper East Side, and many of these historic homes along Fifth Avenue still exist today. Increased public transportation options in the late 1800s created demand for residential real estate further east, leading to developments as far east as Yorkville, which was then largely comprised of middle-class German-Americans. A proliferation of subsequent high-end developments in the 20th century established this neighborhood as a destination for well-heeled New Yorkers looking for a home close enough to the action of midtown to feel conveniently urbane, but far enough from the hustle to feel like home.