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.”
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.