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Upper West Side: Enjoy the Museum of Natural History and more between 70-79th streets

It’s a picture-perfect neighborhood made for the movies.

Sandwiched between two lush parks, the Upper West Side from 70th to 79th streets is a quiet enclave where shopping and dining are plentiful, neighbors know each other by name and Hollywood has come calling when looking for a quintessential New York City location.

On a recent Sunday afternoon on one of the area’s commercial strips, West 72nd Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Central Park West, locals greeted each other and stopped to catch up. A few blocks west, at the dog run in Riverside Park, residents chatted while their dogs played.

Judy Stepeck, a sales broker with Citi Habitats and a lifelong Upper West Sider, said the area feels like a neighborhood despite being in the heart of Manhattan.

“I’ve watched New York City and the Upper West Side really grow,” Stepeck said, noting that many new bars, restaurants and shops have popped up over the years. “I feel that there’s still a neighborhood, small brownstone feel.”

Resident Sally Yanchus, 51, who works in investment management in Midtown, said she has lived in several parts of Manhattan but this is her favorite.

“There’s just more character. The markets are nicer, the blocks are nicer,” Yanchus said. “It’s super convenient.”

Yanchus added that while she sometimes walks home from work, she appreciates the abundance of transportation options. The No. 1 and 2 trains stop along Broadway, and several bus lines serve the area.

Roberta Semer, chair of Community Board 7 and a resident of the area for 28 years, called the neighborhood “vibrant,” and noted the proximity to two different parks (Central Park and Riverside Park) were big draws.

In terms of real estate, the West 70s offer a variety of housing from pre-war low-rises to brownstones, to luxury buildings overlooking Central Park.

Price wise, this section of the Upper West Side tends to be fairly comparable to Manhattan as a whole.

Prices tend to be more affordable further west where it’s a longer walk to the train, experts said.

As of Oct. 12, the 2016 median sales price in the West 70s was $1.3 million, compared to $1.05 million for all of Manhattan, according to data provided by the listings site StreetEasy.

On the rental side, the median rent was $2,995 in the West 70s so far this year as of Oct. 12, compared to $3,200 for the borough.

For those who can afford to live here, amenities abound. It offers several shopping districts, including Broadway where stores like the Bloomingdale’s Outlet and several supermarkets including Trader Joe’s and Fairway line the street.

On Amsterdam Avenue, residents can find a slew of restaurants, including Sugar and Plumm, near West 78th Street, which specializes in American comfort foods.

But the area is also known for its quiet side streets, which residents say lend charm to the neighborhood.

Brian Lissak, 22, moved to the Upper West Side with his family when he was in high school and hasn’t left yet. He said the two nearby parks are a major part of why he loves the neighborhood.

Riverside Park offers quiet greenery and a promenade, where lights dance off the water at night.

And on the other side of the neighborhood, Central Park sits packed on warm weekend afternoons. Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon memorial, the Cherry Hill fountain, the lake, and Sheep Meadow are all near the 72nd Street entrance to the park.

“I love that it feels like a neighborhood, I see people I know,” Lissak said. “It’s very friendly, very communal feeling.”

Lifelong resident Abby Rotter, 25, echoed his sentiments.

“It’s quiet,” Rotters said of the West 70s. “There’s still stuff to do without living in a crowded area.”

Upper West Side restaurants between 70-79th streets

Dovetail103 W. 77th St.Perfect for Upper West Siders
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier


103 W. 77th St.

Perfect for Upper West Siders looking for a special-occasion restaurant. This Michelin-starred staple has menus that change with the seasons and offers a pre-theater menu and a meatless Monday night prix fixe.

Levain Bakery (pictured)

167 W. 74th St.

Cookies as big as your head are the draw at this bakery that first opened on the Upper West Side in 1994 and then expanded to Harlem and the Hamptons. While you can buy breads, cakes and even pizzas, the is most known for its giant, gooey chocolate chip walnut cookies.


316 Columbus Ave.

This neighborhood mainstay has served classic Tuscan dishes since 1983. Try an assortment of small plates like marinated artichokes or order a brick oven pizza. There's also a separate allergy-friendly menu for gluten-free patrons.

Bars and nightlife

Dublin House Bar and Tap Room (pictured)225 W.
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Dublin House Bar and Tap Room (pictured)

225 W. 79 St.

This watering hole has been serving booze since its first owner rented the space in 1921. With prohibition in full swing at the time, the outside looked like a residential home but the inside was, and still is, a full bar.

Stand Up NY

236 W. 78 St.

Grab a drink and see an up-and-coming comic or, if you're lucky, one of the venue's more famous entertainers like Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari and Chris Rock.

Cafe Talulah

240 Columbus Ave.

Try a fancy cocktail at this chic restaurant and bar. The Pink Panther has gin, honey syrup, pink peppercorns, ginger, and absinthe bitters.

Things to do in the UWS from 70-79th streets

American Museum of Natural History (pictured)Central Park West
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

American Museum of Natural History (pictured)

Central Park West at 79th Street

Learn about everything from dinosaurs to Cuba, in a new exhibit that will run until August, at this Upper West Side icon. For kids, the museum's annual origami holiday tree is on display until Jan. 8.

NY Historical Society Museum & Library

170 Central Park W.

Founded in 1804, this is the oldest museum in the city. Current exhibitions include the Holiday Express, featuring the Jerni Collection of model trains, and "The Battle of Brooklyn."

Voila Chocolat

221 W. 79th St.

This chocolate shop also offers classes and other events for adults, co-workers and kids.

Where to shop

79th Street GreenmarketColumbus Avenue from 77th to 81st
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

79th Street Greenmarket

Columbus Avenue from 77th to 81st streets

Shop for fruits and veggies in addition to eggs, baked goods and more at this year-round Sunday farmers market.

Westsider Books and Records

233 W. 72 St.

Buy, sell, or trade books and music at this local store which is packed floor-to-ceiling with treasures.

Bocnyc (pictured)

410 Columbus Ave.

This women's clothing store, which stands for Boutique on Columbus, has everything from T-Shirts and denim to designer dresses.

Transit basics

Trains:1 to 72nd Street, and 79th Street2, 3
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier


1 to 72nd Street, and 79th Street

2, 3 to 72nd Street


M5, M7, M10, M11, M57, M72, M79, M104

UWS real estate between 70-79th streets

Median sales price: $1,052,500 Number of units on
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Median sales price: $1,052,500

Number of units on market: 828

Median rent: $2,900

Number of rentals on market: 3,786

(Source: StreetEasy)

UWS in pop culture between 70-79th streets

John Lennon lived in The Dakota, at 1
Photo Credit: Getty Images

John Lennon lived in The Dakota, at 1 W. 72nd St., from 1973 until he was killed outside the building in 1980. His wife Yoko Ono still resides in the building. To commemorate his work, the Imagine circle and the greater 2.5-acre Strawberry Fields section of Central Park, between West 71st and 74th streets, is dedicated to Lennon.

The buzz

In an effort to combat overcrowding on the
Photo Credit: iStock

In an effort to combat overcrowding on the esplanade in Riverside Park, the city Parks Department is planning to renovate a nearby path into one specifically for bicycles.

The construction, which a Parks Department spokeswoman said is slated to begin late next year, would add pavement markings, prune trees, and lights for increased visibility.

"Older people and people with children were really happy that the bikes would not be on the esplanade," said 28-year resident Roberta Semer, chair of the local Community Board 7, which recently voted in approval of the bike path. "It is a paved path, they're just going to repair part of it. Pieces of it have to be cleaned up a bit."

A Parks Department spokeswoman said in an email that the agency aims to address concerns from the community by "working to address safety hazards [on the esplanade] by facilitating cycling on this path."

Q&A with Donna Schofield, UWS business owner

Donna Schofield, 50, has been running Stationery &
Photo Credit: via Facebook

Donna Schofield, 50, has been running Stationery & Toy World since 1986. Schofield said the family-owned business at 125 W. 72nd St., which she runs with her father Larry Gomez, relies on its loyal customers to stay afloat despite competition from big box chains and online retailers. The store sells a variety of items from toys to art supplies.

Why did you open the business?

I always wanted to do retail. We were in the wholesale business at one time and this store came available a few years after we were in that business -- and we knew it was in a great location.

What makes this location great?

It's very family oriented up here. It's a great neighborhood store. You're part of the Upper West Side, you're part of a great family here. You watch all these kids when they were little and now they're coming back and visiting on Christmas Break. They're always surprised we're still here.

Are you affected by chain retailers?

It's Christmas time, it's not as busy as we used to be because of Amazon. But we still have a lot of dedicated customers who come to us and we're still holding our own. What makes us thrive is we have a very large mix -- we're not just toys, we're not just stationery, we're not just party . If we were just a toy store we'd probably be finished too. It's getting harder and harder to survive.


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