Upper East Side: A look beyond the glamour between 70-79th streets

Upper East Side: A look beyond the glamour between 70-79th streets

The Upper East Side between 70th and 79th streets represents New York’s glamorous side.

Long considered a place to park old money and shop in glitzy boutiques along Madison and Park avenues, even the words Upper East Side have a connotation of wealth.

Currently change is afoot, from new developments like the Charles, 31 stories of luxury condos at 1355 First Ave. between East 72nd and 73rd streets, to the ongoing construction of the Second Avenue subway line.

The $4.5 billion first phase of the project, which will include a new train station at East 72nd Street, is slated for completion in December, according to the MTA.

After decades of downtown Manhattan being the trendy place to be, “with the Second Avenue subway coming in, everyone wants to come back uptown,” said Jessica Kaufman, a 13-year resident of the East 70th streets and a real estate broker for Citi Habitats.

Despite the glitz and glam of the area, its real estate is less expensive than one might expect, according to Alan Lightfeldt, a data scientist with the listings site StreetEasy.

“The Upper East Side has more to offer than multi-million dollar brownstones,” Lightfeldt said. “The neighborhood has a consistently high volume of co-op units priced below $1 million, making it an affordable option for a wide variety of buyers.”

The median sales price between East 70th and 79th streets in 2015 was $1,145,000 — compared to $1,175,000 for all of Manhattan — according to StreetEasy.

On the rental side, the median monthly price last year was $3,350, compared to $3,250 in Manhattan as a whole, StreetEasy found. Rents tend to be cheaper closer to the East River, Lightfeldt noted, but that’s expected to change once the new subway line opens.

Locals and tourists alike come to the neighborhood for its shops. Often referred to as the “Gold Coast of shopping,” Madison Avenue between East 70th and 79th streets is home to boutiques from some of the world’s most luxurious designers, including Tom Ford, Missoni, Ralph Lauren and Carolina Herrera.

There’s plenty to do here besides shop, however. It is home to a plethora of art spaces, including the Rosenfeld Gallery at 16 E. 79th St., the Gagosian’s galleries at 980 Madison Ave. and 821 Park Ave., and the world-famous Frick at 1 E. 70th St.

For added culture, head to literary events held by the New York Society Library at 53 E. 79th St. or check out an exhibit at the Asia Society Museum at 725 Park Ave.

“Living in the neighborhood is like living in a resort,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the area. “You’ve got everything you’re looking for without having to leave the neighborhood: great food, great entertainment and great shopping.”

And of course, Upper East Side could not be described without its parks.

Along the East River from 76th to 78th streets is John Jay Park, which features handball and basketball courts and a public pool.

But the crown jewel for the Upper East Side, and the borough as a whole, is Central Park. With its 26,000 trees across 843 acres, the park is the ultimate escape from Manhattan’s hectic streets. The numerous monuments, ponds and fountains that are accessible from its East 72nd and 79th street entrances are only some of the wonders the sprawling greenspace has to offer.

“I use it all year round,” said Sheila Walpin, a resident of the area for 25 years, who heads to Central Park about four to five times a week.

Graham Fowler is there even more.

“I’m there every day, twice a day walking these two,” said the resident of East 75th Street and Madison, referring to his Brussels Griffons puppies.

Fowler moved from London in 1999 and settled in the area because of its easy access to the Central Park. He said he loves the “greenery in the [park], which you don’t find downtown.”

Find it:

This section of the Upper East Side goes from East 70th to East 79th streets between Fifth Avenue and the East River.

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