Upper West Side

Get to know Upper West Side

Although geographically it sits between Central Park and the Hudson River, the Upper West Side is arguably an attitude as much as it is a place. Many of its residents have a passion for embracing all the cultural riches that New York offers, and it’s been a favorite neighborhood of people who produce much of that culture — actors, writers, professors, musicians, and others. Much of the bookish quality of the Upper West Side is due to some of the institutions that call it home (or sit on its edges) — Columbia and Barnard (just north, in Morningside Heights), Fordham Law School, Juilliard, and other smaller schools.

NEARBY NEIGHBORHOODS:

Midtown

Harlem

Morningside Heights

Clinton

Central Park South
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History & Culture

While the first mansions were built on the Upper East Side a few years after the opening of Central Park in 1858, it took the Upper West Side longer to get going. (This was due largely to the fact that elevated train service wasn’t inaugurated until 1879.) When construction on the Dakota began in 1880, so the story goes, the developer embraced the ribbing that, given its remote location, it might as well be in the Dakota Territory. A construction boom followed, and the neighborhood today consists mostly of apartment buildings (on Broadway and the avenues) and rowhouses (on side streets) from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with some recent additions. Columbia University provides much of the vitality of the neighborhood’s northern reaches, while Lincoln Center and the American Museum of Natural History are the leading cultural institutions farther south.
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Schools & Transportation

  • Manhattan Country School 150 WEST 85TH STREET
  • Success Academy Upper West 145 WEST 84TH STREET
  • Ps 811 Mickey Mantle School 466 WEST END AVENUE
  • Ps 9 Sarah Anderson 100 WEST 84TH STREET
  • Metropolitan Montessori School 325 W 85TH STREET
  • The Calhoun School 433 W END AVENUE
  • Calhoun School 433 W END AVENUE
  • Rodeph Sholom 168 W 79TH STREET
  • Ps 166 The Richard Rogers School Of The Arts And S 132 WEST 89TH STREET
  • Ps 87 William Sherman 160 WEST 78TH STREET
  • Stephen Gaynor School 148 WEST 90TH STREET
  • Rodeph Sholom School 10 WEST 84TH STREET
  • St. Gregory the Great School 138 W 90TH STREET
  • Collegiate School 260 WEST 78TH STREET
  • Beit Rabban 15 WEST 86TH STREET
  • Yeshiva Ketana Of Manhattan 346 WEST 89TH STREET
  • The Anderson School 100 WEST 77TH STREET
  • Trinity School 139 WEST 91ST STREET
  • The Ideal School of Manhattan 314 WEST 91ST STREET
  • Trevor Day School 1 WEST 88TH STREET

Dine & Shop

Given that the neighborhood is roughly 50 blocks long and four blocks wide, you’ll be able to find almost any culinary or shopping experience you may want. At the neighborhood’s southern end, the Shops at Columbus Circle includes several restaurants (including the legendary Per Se), Whole Foods, and three dozen other stores, mostly luxury brands. Broadway is the main commercial strip, cutting its way diagonally across the Upper West Side. You’ll find stores selling all the necessities of daily life along its length, from Home Depot to a Fairway that is almost a neighborhood institution. Head to Columbus and Amsterdam avenues if you are more interested in local, independent alternatives, with plenty of neighborhood restaurants waiting when you need a shopping break. Book Culture, Frank Stella (menswear), Magpie (handcrafted and sustainable gifts), and West Side Kids are a few favorites when you want to dispose of some disposable income.
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