The Upper East Side is known worldwide as the most refined, wealthy sub-sector of the most refined, wealthy city in America. As such, it’s long been perceived as a stuffy bastion of old money propriety. But in the new millennium, the Upper East Side has changed. The cliché of society snobs walking poodles in designer clothes – if it were ever really true – has given way to an educated, sophisticated crowd who appreciates fine art and architecture as well as good value in real estate. Although this neighborhood has a reputation for high prices, it has become surprisingly affordable in recent decades.
The Upper East Side stretches from 59th to 106th Streets, and the East River to Central Park, which serves as an expansive front yard for the luxurious homes lining Fifth Avenue. On the east side, you’ll see joggers, bicyclists, and dogwalkers sharing the parks and greenways along FDR Drive esplanade. Commuters are served by the 4/5/6 trains and the sparkling new 2ndAvenue line, as well as several bus lines, and many of the postwar buildings have onsite garages to accommodate weekend travelers.
One Of The Largest Historic District
Centuries ago, nearly all of Manhattan was converted to farms by Europeans arriving in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the Upper East Side was no exception. After the Civil War ended in 1865, middle-class housing began to crop up in the area, soon to be superseded by mansions of the wealthy, whose names are still found throughout the area: Lenox, Carnegie, Frick, Rockefeller, Warburg, Vanderbilt, et al. The beautiful buildings from that era are now preserved in the Upper East Side Historic District, one of the largest of its kind, comprising some 20 blocks from 3rd to 5th Avenues. The neighborhood is also home to the venerated Museum Mile. With eight world-class cultural institutions, this tiny area is arguably the planet’s greatest concentration of treasures.
Upper East Side Urban Life
In addition to fine arts, the East Side provides all the necessities and luxuries of urban life, such as convenient shopping, sophisticated dining, 5-star hotels, designer boutiques, and charities. Although Rodeo Drive’s three-block stretch in Beverly Hills is famous for luxury shopping, it rates a distant second to the 20-block retail stretches on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, both in terms of volume and retail rental prices, according to a study by commercial analysts Cushman Wakefield.
As a historically affluent enclave, the Upper East Side offers residents some of the most beautiful and distinguished architecture in the city. Housing stock ranges from quaint townhouses to gracious prewar high-rises to new green constructions packed with amenities. Potential residents who once felt deterred by the area’s traditional tony reputation are finding, on closer examination, that many affordable opportunities are available, many of which are no-fee luxury rentals. For reasonable prices, tenants can now enjoy the beautiful streetscapes, sophisticated culture and fine schools for which the Upper East Side is known.
The increasing affordability of the Upper East Side is largely due to the rise of desirable new residential neighborhoods which are presenting competition to established ones. Most tenants – and many brokers – are not aware that parts of Brooklyn and Queens are now actually more expensive than Manhattan. Array Property Group looks forward to helping you uncover the hidden gems in this esteemed and historic part of New York.