78° Good Morning
78° Good Morning
Real EstateCity LivingManhattan

Upper East Side residents between 90-99th streets enjoy a quiet, affordable nabe

When searching for a neighborhood with spacious housing for affordable prices in Manhattan, the Upper East Side is not what first comes to mind for most New Yorkers.

But there’s more to the section between East 90th and 99th streets than the luxury condos and one-family townhouses lining Fifth and Park avenues and their side streets.

The area, which sits between Central Park and the East River and includes the micro-neighborhood Carnegie Hill, offers a variety of price points, experts said.

As a result, it is an increasingly popular destination for those looking to live in Manhattan for lower costs than what they find further downtown.

“The Upper East Side definitely has that stigma of being nothing but old money, but I think more people are becoming aware that you are able to get more space for less money in the East 90s,” attested Allie Tessitore, a sales broker with Citi Habitats, who added that the area is a particularly good place to look for renters.

In terms of data, sales prices in the East 90s are collectively higher than in Manhattan as a whole — the median in the nabe was $1,255,880 in 2016 as of Oct. 12, compared to $1,050,000 borough-wide, according to the listings site StreetEasy.

Rental prices are lower, however. The median rent in the area was $2,875 this year as of Oct. 12, down from $3,195 in Manhattan as a whole.

The lower end of the market is concentrated in the pre-war walk-ups on the side-streets toward the river, which draw people of all income levels to the neighborhood, experts said.

“Oftentimes people have a different opinion of what Carnegie Hill really is,” said Joanna Cawley, executive director of the civic group Carnegie Hill Neighbors. “It’s not just a bunch of hedge funders. There is a cross-section of people.”

According to some residents, the East 90s offer the conveniences of city living while also giving some respite from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.

Mike Cesari, 36, owns Earl’s Beer and Cheese at 1259 Park Ave., Vinyl Wine at 1491 Lexington Ave., and Steep Rock Bouldering at 1506 Lexington Ave. Cesari and is also a resident of the community.

“You can live in New York City and at the same time feel like you’re not living in New York City,” he said of the area. “The pace is a little slower. You have access to everything the city offers but can escape a bit as well.”

But that’s not to say the area is without its Upper East Side-style amenities. Cultural institutions such as the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, at 2 E. 91st St., the Jewish Museum, at 1109 Fifth Ave., and the 92nd Street Y at 1395 Lexington Ave., are just some of the cosmopolitan places to spend an afternoon here.

The nabe is also home to several prestigious private schools, including the all-girls Spence School on 91st Street and the Manhattan Country School on 96th Street. Even the public schools, like P.S. 77 on Third Avenue and Hunter College High School on 94th Street, have good reputations.

And while the 4, 5 and 6 trains have long-been considered overcrowded and insufficient to serve residents along the river, the Second Avenue Q line was extended to 96th Street last week.

Locals said they welcome the new train line and aren’t concerned that it will change the fabric of the area.

“More people are going to move there because of the subway lines, for sure,” Tessitore said. “But I think that won’t change things so much. I think people really respect the character and charm that the neighborhood has.”

Find it:

The Upper East Side in the 90th Streets span from East 90th to East 99th Street and sit between Fifth Avenue and the FDR Drive.

UES restaurants between 90-99th streets

Earl's Beer and Cheese1259 Park Ave.A rotating list
Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Earl's Beer and Cheese

1259 Park Ave.

A rotating list of craft beers and a menu featuring a grilled cheese sandwich made with a slab of pork belly, kimchi and a fried egg helped put Earl's on the foodie map.


173 E. 99th St.

Thai favorites in an intimate setting make this a local gem.

Little Luzzo's (pictured)

119 E. 96th St.

Stop by this pizzeria for one of the Upper East Side's best slices.


Bars and nightlife

Manny's on Second1170 Second Ave.Whichever sports game you're
Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Manny's on Second

1170 Second Ave.

Whichever sports game you're looking for, it's likely to be one of Manny's numerous TVs.

Guthrie Inn

1259 Park Ave.

Hand-crafted cocktails by the team behind Earl's Beer and Cheese, which is next door.


Biddy's Pub (pictured)

301 E. 91st Street

This classic Irish spot offers happy hour, trivia nights and plenty of Guiness.

Where to shop

SHOP Cooper Hewitt (pictured)2 E. 91st St.With items
Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

SHOP Cooper Hewitt (pictured)

2 E. 91st St.

With items inspired by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum's offerings, this is a great place for those looking for a unique gift.

Blue Tree

1283 Madison Ave.

A high-end boutique featuring women's clothes, accessories and home goods.

Annie & Company Needlepoint & Knitting

1763 Second Ave.

For all your knitting and needlepoint needs. Beginners may also take a private lesson for $50 per hour.

Things to do in the UES between 90-99th streets

92nd Street Y1395 Lexington Ave.Popular for its performing
Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

92nd Street Y

1395 Lexington Ave.

Popular for its performing arts programs and conversational series with cultural icons, the 92Y also offers adult and youth education and recreational activities.

Bobby Wagner Walk (pictured)

FDR Drive between 90th and 99th streets

Get great views of Roosevelt Islands and the RFK Bridge on this stretch of the East River Esplanade.

The Jewish Museum

1109 Fifth Ave.

Art and artifacts illuminating the heritage of Jewish people. Downtown eatery Russ and Daughters' recently opened a 70-seat cafe on the premises.

UES real estate data between 90-99th streets

Median sales price: $1,255,880 Number of units on
Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Median sales price: $1,255,880

Number of units on market: 573

Median rent price: $2,875

Number or rentals on market: 3,436

(Source: StreetEasy)

Transit basics

TransportationTrains:6 to 96th Street and Lexington AvenueQ to
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert



6 to 96th Street and Lexington Avenue

Q to 96th Street and Second Avenue


M2, M3, M4, M15, M86, M96, M98, M101, M102, M103, M106

UES between 90-99th streets in TV and movies

The exterior of the James Burden Mansion at
Photo Credit: The CW / Patrick Harbron

The exterior of the James Burden Mansion at 1 E. 91st St. was featured in the 1998 film "A Perfect Murder," starring Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow. The building housed the apartment belonging to characters Steven and Emily Taylor, played by Douglas and Paltrow. The Synod of Bishops Russian Orthodox Church at 75 E. 93rd St. was used as a prep school location in the CW series "Gossip Girl."

Q&A with Giannina Gutierrez, local artist

Giannina Gutierrez rents a studio at El Barrio's
Photo Credit: Diana Zapata /

Giannina Gutierrez rents a studio at El Barrio's Artspace PS109, a formerly abandoned school at 215 E. 99th St. that was transformed into 89 units of affordable live/work housing for artists in 2014 thanks to government funding. Gutierrez, 33, was born in Columbia and raised in Jamaica, Queens. She has worked on several murals in Manhattan and has also been featured in galleries across the country.

How would you describe your artwork?

I'm traditionally a painter. Though, over the past few years I have been leaving the canvas and working in mixed media. I've been playing around with sculpting and collaging. I like to repurpose materials found in New York. My work is meant to create and experiences. It touches on human experience. How we mimic nature.

Why do you like living and working in PS109?

It means the world to me. I wake up and I'm surrounded by my work. I'm able to show it in the gallery just downstairs. I'd say I live in about 30% of my studio. The rest is for my work.

Do residents of PS109 interact with the community?

I feel that this place plays a very, very, very important role in the neighborhood. I also feel that living here is a major responsibility. We have different community events, like Halloween face painting for kids. There's just something about this neighborhood that's very special. I feel more a part of this community living here than I did before living nearby.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos