NYC Neighborhood guide
Upper West Side
Ensconced between Central Park and Riverside Park, the Upper West Side is a leafy enclave of stately townhouses and apartment buildings that feels far removed from Midtown’s bustle. A prevailing residential character makes this quieter than other Manhattan neighborhoods, yet plenty of local restaurants and bars serve up a good time along the commercial corridors of Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus Avenues.
The area has more than its fair share of excellent public and private schools, while Ivy League Columbia University lies just to the north. A variety of north-south transit options facilitate commutes to midtown and downtown. Multiple museums and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts offer world-class learning and entertainment nearby.
🌳 Expansive greenery
🎓 Quality public schools
🚸 Family friendly
🚇 Efficient transportation
🏰 Historic blocks
🏛 Cultural institutions
Upper West Side Real Estate and Trends
Gracious pre-war buildings line Central Park West, Riverside Drive, West End, Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus Avenues. Notable examples include the Ansonia, Apthorp, Dakota, and Beresford. Townhouses from the 19th and early 20th centuries also compose the housing stock. Interest in these properties, which have private outdoor spaces and multi-floor living, has surged during the pandemic.
Contemporary residential developments are also popular, with new luxury condos like Waterline Square on 59 St and 220 Central Park West at the highest end of the price spectrum. Affordability can be a challenge. The mansion tax for properties costing $1,000,000 or more is paid by the buyer at the time of closing. The rate starts at 1% and increases with the cost of the purchase price.
Median Sale Prices
1 BD $850,000
2 BD $1,700,000
3 BD $3,000,000
4 BD $5,200,000
Blocks in historic districts have restrictions on exterior renovations. Expect larger construction projects south of 72 St and north of 96 St because permitting is more lenient there.
—Robin, Localize real estate advisor
Transportation on the Upper West Side
Subway – 1/2/3 trains run below Broadway while B/C local trains stop along Central Park West. Express 2/3 trains with stations at 96 St, 72 St, and 59 St make for a zippy ride to midtown.
Bus – Buses travel each of the north-south avenues, even far west Riverside Drive. They also offer quick access to the East Side through Central Park transverses at 65 St, 79 St, 86 St, and 97 St.
Bike – Citi Bike stations are generously dispersed except for along West End. Protected or striped bike lanes run north on Amsterdam and Central Park West and south on Columbus. Proximity to the Hudson River Greenway is perfect for recreational rollers. Car-free biking is also a joy throughout Central Park.
Best Schools on the Upper West Side
The Upper West Side has many highly ranked public schools. Those scoring a 9 or 10 on GreatSchools include:
- PS 87 William Sherman (PK-5)
- PS 452 (PK-5)
- Success Academy Charter School Harlem 4 (K-4)
- PS 199 Jessie Isador Straus (K-5)
- The Anderson School (K-8)
- Special Music School (K-12)
- MS 245 The Computer School (6-8)
- Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (9-12)
- Manhattan Hunter Science High School (9-12)
Note: Home address may not be the deciding factor in school assignment. Here’s what to know about NYC public school enrollment. [LINK to related content]
The UWS is also steeped in a tradition of notable private schools. They include Columbia Grammar and Prep, Robert Louis Stevenson, Calhoun, Trinity, Ethical Culture Fieldston, Collegiate, Rodeph Shalom, Manhattan Country, Manhattan Day, Dwight, and Fusion Academy Upper West Side.
Your Perfect Day: Things to Do on the Upper West Side
🚲 Start the day with a walk, run, or roll along the Hudson River Greenway
🥯 Reward yourself with a bagel, lox, and schmear from legendary Zabar’s, or sit down for an Old World deli experience at Barney Greengrass — on Amsterdam Ave since 1929
🕰 Browse indie boutiques along Amsterdam Ave in the low 80s or find a hidden gem at Grand Bazaar, a year-round Sunday flea market bonanza
🌮 Have a fun lunch al fresco at Playa Betty’s, serving coastal Cali and Baja California flavors and beach vibes
🦕 Gawk at dinosaur bones, gems, and celestial objects at the American Museum of Natural History, or play and learn at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
🏰 Lie out in Central Park and soak up the views from Belvedere Castle
🍽 Dine on Parisian fare on the patio of classic Cafe Luxembourg
🎭 Enjoy dance, music, film, opera, or theater at Lincoln Center (try your luck with same-day discounts at the TKTS booth in David Rubenstein Atrium)
🍸 Imbibe an inventive cocktail at Nobody Told Me
🌭 Grab a late-night bite at Gray’s Papaya, open 24/7 and serving quintessential NYC dogs since 1973