Although the Upper East Side has rightly come by its ritzy reputation, it’s far more affordable than stereotypes imply. Families such as the Rockefellers, Kennedys, and Carnegies are responsible for the affluent history of the neighborhood as well as the gorgeous mansions lining its streets.
Nowadays, though, the stretch of 5th Avenue along Central Park where the city’s aristocrats once made their homes can be enjoyed by everyone; known as “Museum Mile,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum are amongst the world-class highlights. Affordable real estate is plentiful the closer one gets to the East River.
Delightful contradictions abound on the Upper East Side – some of the city’s most elite designer shops line Madison Avenue, while blocks away the dining and nightlife options of 2nd Avenue are judiciously unpretentious and casual. The soon-to come 2nd Avenue Subway line is yet another incentive to make a home on the Upper East Side, which manages to be equal parts prestigious and attainable.
The largest museum in the United States and one of the ten largest in the world, the Met is one of New York City’s cultural centerpieces . Located across from Central Park at 1000 5th Avenue, its unparalleled permanent collection features Ancient Eastern works as well as some of the world’s best known paintings by Van Gogh, Picasso, and Rembrandt. In the summers, the Roof Garden - which hosts a single artist exhibition each year, with former honorees including the likes of Jeff Koons and Roy Lichtenstein - has stunning, panoramic views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.The Metropolitan Museum of Art
An exquisite collection of Old Master paintings, including many an important Goya, Vermeer, and Rembrandt, is housed in this beautiful mansion on 70th St and 5th Avenue, the former home of industrialist Henry Clay Frick.Frick Collection
The lavish William Starr Miller House - a mansion on 86th St and 5th Avenue - is home to one of Museum Mile’s newer establishments; indeed, ‘Neue Galerie’ is German for “New Gallery.” An impressive collection of early twentieth-century German and Austrian art resides within, with notable works by greats such as Gustav Klimt (his “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” was aquired for the Neue in 2006 and was, at the time, the most expensive painting ever sold), Egon Schiele, Wassily Kandinsky, and many more.Neue Galerie
One of the world’s most famous green spaces, Central Park needs no introduction; while it sits in the middle of Manhattan, its charms are particularly accessible from the Upper East Side. From the Great Lawn to the Boathouse to Sheep Meadow to Shakespeare Cottage to Strawberry Fields and beyond, one can live in New York City for years and not stop exploring the park’s secrets.Central Park Conservancy