NYC Neighborhood Guide

Upper East Side

The Upper East Side offers some of the best real estate value in Manhattan. Homes range from expansive apartments in prewar buildings to postwar brick construction to modern units in glassy towers. The neighborhood feels quietly luxurious, especially on cross streets.

Traditionally the UES was an enclave for society elites residing on Fifth and Park Avenues. Nowadays, young families and recent college grads are in the mix, with the latter congregating at energetic bars on Second and Third Avenues. Regardless of demographic, Central Park’s outdoor amenities await while The Met, Guggenheim, and other landmark museums house cultural treasures for locals and tourists alike.

🎓 Excellent public schools

🌳 Central Park access

🚸 Family friendly

💲 Good value for small apts

🔠 Varied housing stock

🏛 Museum Mile

 

Upper East Side Real Estate and Trends

Upper East Side inventory includes historic townhouses with ornate stylings, classic prewar apartments, and modern high-rises. The large stock of buildings, diversity of housing, and relatively low turnover translates into steadier home prices than other neighborhoods. Although the area is known for exorbitant luxury apartments on Park and Fifth Avenues and Sutton Place, UES price per square foot shows that value here is better than trendier downtown neighborhoods.

Numerous studio apartments are popular with young professionals and provide good value for first-time buyers. Since peaking in 2018, Upper East Side home prices have fallen and the average time on market is well above Manhattan’s average.

Price Trends

Studio $394,000

1 BD $692,000

2 BD $1,400,000

3 BD $2,363,000

4 BD $4,175,000

Average sales price based on past transactions. Last updated: 2/18/21

 

• A waste transfer station on E 91 St is now operating 24/6.

• The area around the new 86 St Q stop is still seeing a boom in new apartment construction.

Robin, Localize real estate advisor

Transportation on the Upper East Side

Subway – The long-awaited Second Avenue line (Q train) funnels riders into midtown and relieves overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue line, which makes express stops at 86 St and 59 St (4/5 trains) and local stops (6 train) about every 10 blocks. Second Avenue line expansion is planned from 96 to 125 St.

Bus – North-south buses run along every avenue except Park and East End. Catch crosstown service to the West Side through Central Park via the M66, M72, M79, M86, and M96.

Ferry – An NYC Ferry terminal at E 90 St ping-pongs across the East River with stops in Astoria and Long Island City in Queens, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Midtown East and Wall Street in Manhattan.

Bike – Citi Bike stations saturate the neighborhood, but east of York Av is dry. Cyclists use protected lanes going uptown on 1 Av and downtown on 2 Av. The waterfront greenway along the East River isn’t as charming as its West Side counterpart, but offers uninterrupted, car-free biking from the Queensboro Bridge to East Harlem.

Best Schools on the Upper East Side

Public schooling is excellent throughout the UES; however, home address may not determine school assignment. Learn more about NYC public school enrollment.

GreatSchools rates these a 9 or 10:

  • PS 6 Lillie D. Blake (PK-5)
  • PS 183 Robert L. Stevenson (PK-5)
  • PS 290 Manhattan New School (PK-5)
  • PS 77 Lower Lab School (K-5)
  • PS 267 East Side Elementary School (K-5)
  • PS 527 East Side School for Social Action (K-5)
  • Ella Baker School (PK-8)
  • JHS 167 Robert F. Wagner (6-8)
  • Yorkville East Middle School (6-8)
  • East Side Middle School (6-8)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt High School (9-12)

Hunter College High School is arguably the best public high school in the entire nation; its scholars represent the top 0.25% of NYC students based on test scores.

For dictionary definitions of prestigious independent private schools, see Dalton, Chapin, Brearley, Spence, and Nightingale-Bamford. Parochial options include Regis High School, The Ramaz School, Marymount School of New York, and Convent of the Sacred Heart. Finally, the 92 St Y is renowned for its nursery school.

Your Perfect Day: Things to Do on the Upper East Side

🎽 Run a 1.58-mile loop around Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, named after the former First Lady and Fifth Avenue resident; West Sider Madonna liked to do it, too

🛍 (Window) shop designer boutiques on Madison Avenue

🍔 Sink your teeth into a plump patty and cottage fries at J.G. Melon

🏛 Museum hop along Fifth Avenue, from the Frick Collection inside a lavish mansion at 70 St to El Museo del Barrio for Latino culture at 103 St 

😎 Stroll Carl Schurz Park promenade and find the bronze Peter Pan sculpture from 1928

🥪 Have a Kosher deli experience at Pastrami Queen for arguably the city’s best pastrami on rye

🍪 Indulge in a sweet treat at William Greenberg Desserts, a 1940s bakery revered for its black and white cookies

🍾 Celebrate a special occasion in style at Daniel, or savor chef Daniel Boulud’s elegant French-American cuisine at Café Boulud

🎨 Sip a cocktail at Bemelmans Bar, named for the Madeline books’ author who illustrated Central Park’s seasons on these walls to settle the bill for his 18-month stay at the Carlyle Hotel

Want to live on the UES?

 

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