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Upper East Side 90s: More than just a fancy place to live

Museum Mile

Museum Mile Credit: Museum Mile: 82nd Street to 105th Street, along Fifth Avenue. (Nancy Borowick)

Click on related content below for more photos of the Upper East Side in the 90s.

At the northern reaches of the Upper East Side, in the 90s until East 96th Street, reasonably priced restaurants and bars and family-geared attractions breathe new life into the area, giving this neighborhood a welcoming feel.

A walk down one of the Upper East Side’s pristine avenues or tree-lined sidewalks will take you past world famous museums, centuries-old brownstones and tony shops and eateries. It may feel like a movie scene, and that’s because often it is.

From Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence” to “Gossip Girl,” the image of the high-society Upper East Side has remained strong in popular culture. But there’s more to this neighborhood than its dated reputation as a haven for bluebloods and ladies-who-lunch.

“The interesting thing about the Upper East Side is, more so than other neighborhoods, you get these sub-neighborhoods, like Carnegie Hill and Yorkville,” says Lauren Cangiano, a real estate broker with Halstead for more than 25 years. “Each area has its own flavor.”

The 25-year resident of Carnegie Hill, which runs from 86th to 96th streets between Fifth and Third avenues, also added that like many areas of the Upper East Side, real estate differs on either side of Third Avenue in the 90s.

“Generally speaking, east of Third, you can mostly get more space for your dollar,” she said. “There is a lot less new construction closer to the park, and the price points for available inventory are significantly higher.”

Luckily for both buyers and sellers, the Upper East Side is experiencing a healthy market, with some real estate professionals comparing it to the 2007 boom.

“In February through June of this year, the Upper East Side market was wild,” Cangiano explained. “It reflected conditions in the height of the market, with people in lines around the block for open houses.”

And for those interested in experiencing all the Upper East Side has to offer, Cangiano believes the fall is the time to buy in the East 90s.

One of the main draws to the Upper East Side in the 90s is the vibrant food scene. Though steakhouses and cafes will never go out of style here, innovative ethnic restaurants join standbys like Ottomanelli New York Grill and Sarabeth’s.

The nightlife on the Upper East Side is strong, particularly in the upper part of Yorkville (79th to 96th streets from Third Avenue to the East River). There is a concentration of lounges and Irish pubs.

There are also many well-known cultural attractions. Museum Mile, the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 82nd and 105th streets, is home to nine museums.

Smaller exhibition spaces like the Valerie Goodman Gallery, which displays contemporary French art, also dot the neighborhood.

For kids, the prevalence of parks and playgrounds help give the upper part of the Upper East Side a particularly family-friendly vibe.

Of course, Central Park is a great place to kick back for people of all ages. The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is a favorite for joggers and nature-enthusiasts alike.

This neighborhood runs from 90th Street in the south to 96th Street in the north. The nabe is bounded by Central Park to the west and the East River to the east.



The Upper East Side is a highly walkable neighborhood, and the Lexington Avenue line as well as numerous buses also service the area.

Train: 6 train to 96th Street, 4 after 11 p.m.

Buses: M2, M3, M4, M15, M31, M96, M101, M102, M103, M106

LIBRARY: New York Public Library, 112 E. 96th St.

POST OFFICE: United States Post Office, 1617 Third Ave.

CRIME: This area is covered by the 19th Precinct, 153 E. 67th St. The NYPD CompStat reports no murders for the year to date. Historically, all incidents of crime have declined since 2001, with the exception of rapes, which rose from nine in 2001 to 16 in 2012.


Nick’s Pizza, 1814 Second Ave
. Sure, the “macaroni” dishes like orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage or a particularly crowd-pleasing “chicken-in-the-oven” entrée are delicious, but it’s called Nick’s Pizza for a reason. 212-987-5700
La Tarte Flambée, 1750 Second Ave. This relaxed bistro-like restaurant dishes out authentic Alsatian cuisine. The restaurant is fairly small, however, so plan on waiting for their popular weekend brunch. 212-860-0826

Hokkaido Sushi, 1817 Second Ave. Hokkaido’s fish is always fresh, appetizers like gyoza and tatsuta-age chicken fail to disappoint and the service is friendly and prompt. 212-289-1902


Reif’s Tavern, 302 E. 92nd St.
An Upper East Side mainstay since 1942, Reif’s lives up to its name as a tavern. And there’s a beer garden in the back. 212-426-0519

Kaia Wine Bar, 1614 Third Ave. This cozy, atmospheric wine bar offers an interesting and extensive wine list, including a robust selection of South African wines, in homage to owner Suzaan Hauptfleisch’s homeland. 212-722-0490

Vinus and Marc, 1825 Second Ave. For a more sophisticated, old-school feel with classy cocktails, head here. 646-692-9105


Blue Tree, 1283 Madison Ave.
Open since 2005, this store proffers a medley of women’s clothing, jewelry and fragrances, along with home goods and miscellanea. Blue Tree is a great boutique for gifts. 212-369-2583

The Corner Bookstore, 1313 Madison Ave. This bookstore stocks a nice variety of books from beloved classics to hard-to-find hobby works. Around since 1978, The Corner Bookstore caters to its younger clientele with a large children’s section and popular newsletter for kids. 212-831-3554

Rachel Riley, 1286 Madison Ave. As the only stateside outpost of this British luxury children’s brand, Rachel Riley sells clothing for young ladies and gentlemen as well as a select supply of toys, women’s clothing and footwear. Scoop up polka dot or sailboat-print summer dresses or preppy nautical-inspired sweaters for the tykes. 212-534-7477


The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave
. Located right on Museum Mile and housed in the former Felix M. Warburg House, The Jewish Museum features more than 25,000 artifacts, objects and artwork relevant to Jewish culture. With two permanent exhibitions, ever-changing temporary exhibits and an offering of informational programs, The Jewish Museum should not be overlooked. Tip: Thursday evenings from 5- 8 p.m. are pay-what-you-wish, and Saturdays, admission is free for the Sabbath, though some exhibits are closed. 212-423-3200

The Art Farm in the City, 419 E. 91st St. In keeping with the family-friendly vibe of the Upper East Side, the Art Farm in the City opened in 2002 and quickly became a favorite for parents and kids alike. Cooking classes, music lessons and organized playgroups are offered, and the facility has an indoor playground and a room reserved for birthday parties. The highlight, though, is the indoor petting zoo, stocked with kid-friendly animals like cockatiels, bunnies, frogs and turtles, the only one of its kind in New York. 212-410-3117

92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. Despite recent change-ups on the 92nd Street Y’s executive board, the massive multi-facility cultural institution and community center remains largely popular. More than 4,000 classes a year, ranging from the arts to personal development, are taught by professionals. 92Y has a concert hall, a Jewish culture center and a fitness center with an indoor lap pool. 212-415-5500


The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, a Smithsonian institution on the Upper East Side, is undergoing a renovation set for completion in 2014.

The museum, located in the former mansion of the industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie on East 91st Street and Fifth Avenue, is the only in the United States dedicated exclusively to design.

Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper-Hewitt, called the plans “a global first, a transformative force for all in 2014 and beyond, impacting the way people think about and understand design,” in a statement.

Two New York-based firms are collaborating on the estimated $64 million renovations.

Gluckman Mayner Architects is handling the interior while Beyer Blinder Belle, the group behind the Grand Central Terminal remodeling, is responsible for “engineering, architectural and historic preservation aspects,” according to the Cooper-Hewitt website.

Until the renovations are complete, Cooper-Hewitt opened a satellite center in Harlem at 111 Central Park North in which visitors can participate in design-focused events and programs.


Q&A with Valentina Van Hise: director of The Art Farm in the City
Valentina Van Hise opened The Art Farm in the City in collaboration with Mari Linnman, founder of The Art Farm in the Hamptons. Since 2002, the facility has served as a teaching center for kids to learn about art, music and animals.

How has the neighborhood responded to The Art Farm in the City?
We see many locals, because all city dwellers like having things in their direct neighborhood. We also see many families from downtown, the west side, Queens and Brooklyn since we are unique and they all enjoy coming to our indoor petting zoo.

What do you appreciate about the area?
I enjoy the 90s [streets]. When we opened in 2002 we were one of the only activities up here. Since we have been in business several doorman buildings have been built, which has increased the family population in our neighborhood, which has been a plus. ... It is really a wonderful neighborhood.

What is your goal with The Art Farm in the City?
I have been working on expanding our programs for a couple years. Finding space in this city is a challenge. I would love to stay in our neighborhood if we can find the right space for a new larger facility.

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