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.”

Alison Fox