The area above West 96th Street is comprised of many individual “neighborhoods” some of which include: Washington Heights, Morningside Heights, Inwood, Harlem, Hudson Heights, Manhattanville, Mount Morris and Sugar Hill. Harlem has an interesting and very culturally significant history. The area was completely independent of New York City until 1873. Most known for the “Harlem Renaissance” in the 1920’s and 1930’s Harlem has seen many peaks and valleys. The Harlem Renaissance showcased artists and professionals at a time when many people of different races were unappreciated for their talents.
The area of Harlem was first settled by the Dutch in 1637 and then abandoned on and off until 1658, at which time it came under the rule of Peter Stuyvesant. In 1664 The English took control of the area and renamed it Harlem. During the Late 1700’s Harlem was considered an elegant area to live in and consisted mostly of wealthy farmers and their families. During the later 1800’s the area declined and was taken over by the city of New York. In the early 1900’s with the advent of mass public transit, Harlem experienced revitalization. Many African American and blacks migrated to Harlem during the real estate crash spanning from 1890 through 1910, seeking better jobs and escape from the Jim Crow south.
The Harlem Renaissance created a center of black culture, jazz venues and artistic production. Even though there are had a large black population and the hottest artists were black, many clubs, restaurants and lounges were still segregated during this time.
Harlem is a Mecca for amazing architecture. It’s home to over 400 churches, the Dance Theater of Harlem, Apollo Theater, City College of New York, Harbor Conservatory of the Performing Arts, The Harlem School of the Arts, Lenox Lounge, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Museum of the City of New York, Studio Museum in Harlem and many more.
Harlem Real estate has undergone its own ‘Renaissance’ since 1995. Many of the existing brownstones have been restored to their original splendor; doorman/luxury buildings have been erected; 6-8 family townhouses have been built or restored. Prices have soared and the residents have seen a gentrification of the areas below West 140th Street and above 200th Street. Gentrification of the remaining areas has recently begun. Since the early 1990’s property values in Central Harlem have increased nearly 300%.
Until recently Harlem has been comprised of mostly rental buildings. In recent years, many more condos and co-op buildings have sprung up giving individuals the opportunity to own their own share of this historic neighborhood.
The Upper West Side is one of the most family-oriented residential neighborhoods in New York. Initially settled by upper-class Jewish families, the area has long been a welcome haven for young professionals and those with an artistic bent. Apartments in this neighborhood have ample access to plenty of stores and markets (including the renowned Zabar's on Broadway between 80th and 81st Streets), public transportation, great public schools, and two major parks.
There have always been a number of shops and restaurants in this region, and the strong economy in recent years has only contributed to their proliferation. Both Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues are probably the best examples of this trend. Each thoroughfare does brisk business on weekends, especially during the summer months.
Compared to the manic pace of the West Village and Midtown West, however, the area is relatively placid, but hardly devoid of excitement. The Upper West Side contains Lincoln Center, one of the most important cultural centers in Manhattan.
Five major performing groups are housed in the three main buildings that face the fountain, and the nearby Juillard School, which consistently graduates top performers in music, theater and dance, hosts a number of inexpensive and sometimes free productions throughout the school year.
For sunny Sunday afternoons, Central Park may seem like the natural locale in which Upper West Siders might choose to spend a Sunday afternoon. Nonetheless, many residents prefer the slightly less popular but just as beautiful Riverside Park. Riverside Park may not be as wide as Central Park, but it is considerably longer, winding its way from 72nd Street all the way to 159th. Despite the fact that the West Side Highway runs almost directly through its center, Riverside has become a favorite with locals seeking to get out of their apartments for a while.
Hugging the curves along Riverside Park's eastern edge is Riverside Drive, the only major thoroughfare in Manhattan to consistently deviate from the straight and narrow. The brownstones and apartment complexes that line Riverside Drive's east side are especially prized for their magnificent views of the park.
While it may not boast a park view, West End Avenue remains the neighborhood's most sought-after address. The street is lined with beautiful apartment buildings of varying sizes, each more picturesque than the last. And since most of the traffic in the area travels up and down Broadway, it remains relatively quiet no matter what time of day it may be.
Although many of Manhattan's neighborhoods have had their ups and downs, the majority of Central Park West is just as prestigious a place to own or rent a New York apartment now as it was decades ago. Towering over Central Park like a vast wall of monoliths, the buildings present both a literal and figurative pinnacle in the quest to reach the top in New York City.
Of course, the main attraction for those who seek apartments on Central Park West is the unparalleled view of the park. While most other city denizens prefer to live close to the ground in order to avoid those grueling walk-ups, on Central Park West, the higher you are the better. The reason is instantly apparent once you look out over the swath of green all the way over to Museum Mile on the other side.
Central Park West begins as one of the offshoots at Columbus Circle with the ultra-luxurious Trump International Hotel and Towers. Donald Trump purchased the decaying building in the early 90s and completely refurbished it. Now it presents a reflective glass exterior behind which are housed a five-star restaurant, luxury apartments, and some of the poshest hotel rooms in the tri-state area.
On the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West stands the Dakota. Although the castle-like building-complete with dry moat-has long been a favorite among the famous, it is now notorious as the place where John Lennon was shot.
Walk further north and you'll soon come to the four-block sprawl of the American Museum of Natural History. The museum contains many reproductions of animal habitats and some truly monstrous gems, but the main attraction, especially for children, is most definitely the dinosaurs.
One asset that Central Park West residents enjoy as a result of the magnificent location is the proximity of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Those lucky enough to have an apartment on Central Park West needn't worry about crowds or inclement weather, as the route goes directly past their windows. Many residents get into the spirit of the day by inviting other New York residents over to watch the festivities.
Because of the combination of amenities and location, apartment vacancies in Central Park West are not the easiest to come by. Those willing to make the investment, however, will find the dividends more than make up for the expense.
The Lower Upper West Side spans from 59th Street through 79th Street and from Central Park West to the Hudson River. Initially settled by upper-class Jewish families, the area has long been a welcome haven for young professionals and artists. Apartments in this neighborhood have ample access to plenty of stores and markets, public transportation, great public schools, and two major parks.
Shopping is a one of-a-kind phenomenon in the Lower Upper West Side. The area is recognized for stores such as Zabar’s (the renowned gourmet grocer and bakery), Fairway (an oversized mega specialty grocer), Bang & Olufsen (high-end audio video store), Barney’s (6,000 square foot high-end department store).
Compared to the manic pace of the West Village and Midtown West, however, the area is relatively placid, but hardly devoid of excitement. The Lower Upper West Side contains Lincoln Center, and the Performing Arts Center, two of the most important cultural centers in Manhattan.
Five major performing groups are housed in the three main buildings that face the fountain, and the nearby Juilliard School, which consistently graduates top performers in music, theater and dance, hosts a number of inexpensive and sometimes free productions throughout the school year.
No matter what block you’re standing on, you’re just a few minutes walk from Central Park or Riverside Park. Enjoy Central Park for it’s massive open spaces and trails, outdoor activities, pools and hidden gems. Riverside Park starts at the bottom tip of the west side of Manhattan and spans all the way up to Inwood Hills Park, which starts at W. 203rd Street. Riverside Park and Central Park in the West 60’s through West 79th Street offer many free concerts, performances, water sports and public forums.
Columbus Circle is a major landmark in the Lower Upper West Side. Created by Italian sculptor Gaetano Russo, the circle was erected to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ first trip to the Americas. Near by you’ll find the Time Warner Center, Shops at Columbus Circle, and Jazz at Lincoln center, New York Headquarters of CNN, Trump International Hotel and Tower and the headquarters of Paramount Picture. Other near by institutions are the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Fordham University, New York Institute of Technology and Professional Children’s School.
The Lower Upper West Side offers many options for housing. From Old World, pre-war doorman buildings, to new high-rises, to renovated brownstones and townhouses, you have Manhattan style at your fingertips. Known for service excellence, the Lower Upper West Side is known for it’s incredible Luxury doorman buildings. Coops, Condos and rental housing abound in this wonderful neighborhood.
East Harlem is a district that has gone through quite a number of names throughout the years. Known primarily as Spanish Harlem outside of the neighborhood, it was more commonly referred to as El Barrio ("the neighborhood") inside it. Making this all the more interesting is the fact that Hispanics were not the first residents of the area.
The apartments and houses in East Harlem were originally built to be much more modest than the middle-class structures being erected in neighboring West Harlem. Because of this, working-class families naturally leaned toward apartments and houses they could afford. And the first ethnic group to take advantage of the East Harlem area was Italian.
In the 1950s, the U.S. Government wanted to assist the people of Puerto Rico by alleviating the small country's problem of overpopulation by making it easier to emigrate to America. Numerous Puerto Ricans took advantage of the opportunity, and many of them eventually made the East Harlem area their own.
One of the traditions that Hispanic-Americans maintain in East Harlem is La Marqueta, or the Market. Extending from 111th to around 116th on Park Avenue, this open-air market has something for everybody. Whether you're picking up vegetables for tonight's dinner or a knick-knack for the folks back home, chances are you can pick it up here.
Across Fifth Avenue in Central Park stands one of the most beautiful spots in all of East Harlem. The six-acre Conservatory Garden is set apart from the rest of the park as a formal garden. Come during spring to watch the tulips bloom, or drop by during the fall to get your fill of chrysanthemums. When the weather is warm enough, expect to see at least one newly-married couple stopping here to get their photos taken.
Perhaps the most important set of buildings in the neighborhood are those that make up Mount Sinai hospital. This complex is also one of East Harlem's major employers and a true boon to anyone who maintains an apartment or house in East Harlem. The originally Jewish facility was moved here in 1904, and now takes up all of 98th to 101st Streets on Fifth Avenue.
There's a very good reason that this area bears Andrew Carnegie's name. Near the turn of the century, when the area was considered the frontier of the city, Carnegie decided he would build himself a place to get away from the bustle of downtown. Unfortunately, the plan backfired. Other members of the upper class, seeing Carnegie's new mansion as a brave statement, followed him uptown.
Not long after moving to his new estate, the steel magnate found himself in the center of it all once again. Because of all the new money coming into the neighborhood, the character of it changed significantly. Gone were many of the row houses and tenements. In their place sprang up mansions and luxury apartment complexes.
Now, a significant portion of this section has been designated an historic district in order to prevent further development. Simply walking and examining the varying styles, from Federalist to Romanesque, it isn't difficult to see why these buildings should be preserved. Be sure to look carefully, as many of the facades contain intricate carvings that you won't see on most modern architecture.
Recently, many upscale retailers have been taking advantage of the significant amount of buying power common for this area. The area on 86th Street now does a brisk tourist business on the weekends, as the well-to-do from miles around come here to make a contribution to the local economy.
Because the 4, 5, and 6 subway line is the only one to service the whole of the Upper East Side, most people who want an apartment in Carnegie Hill need to have the gumption to withstand crowded commutes. While the tourist trade is quite brisk on the major thoroughfares, it is virtually nonexistent once you walk a few blocks deeper. This makes Carnegie Hill an ideal place to live for those people who value their privacy, but also like to be close to the many conveniences that New York has to offer.
The neighborhoods that make up the Upper East Side-Carnegie Hill, Yorkville, and the Lower Upper East Side-are synonymous with the wealthy residents that have made this section of Manhattan their home over the last century. Only Yorkville, however, can state that they have what is probably the most sought-after address in all of New York City.
Despite its upscale appearance, part of this district had rather modest beginnings. With the construction of the Third Avenue elevated subway line near the turn of the century, the area became a second haven to many German immigrants who were being slowly displaced from their downtown residences.
Once the trains went underground, the area became a great deal more isolated. Eventually, the German section of Yorkville began shrinking. Although most of those former residents have since moved on, there is still a thriving pocket of inhabitants who speak German to this day.
One thing that the Germans have left behind for the rest of Manhattan to sample is their rich food heritage. Second Avenue between 84th and 86th Streets is still the heart of German cuisine. You can take your pick of sausages at Schaller and Weber, Black Forest Cake at Kramer's Pastries, or your choice of beers at Heidelberg.
Perhaps the most famous German immigrant to live in Yorkville was Carl Schurz. After being a minister to Spain, a Union Army general, and Secretary of the Interior under President Rutherford Hayes, Schurz moved back to Yorkville, where he worked as an editor for the New York Evening Post and Harper's Weekly. East End Park was renamed Carl Schurz Park in 1911 in his honor.
Speaking of His Honor, the most coveted address in New York City happens to be in Carl Schurz Park: Gracie Mansion. Home of most New York City mayors since Fiorello LaGuardia first moved in during the Second World War, with the exception of Michael Bloomberg, the mansion's significance actually goes back much farther.
George Washington commandeered this swath of land from its owner, Jacob Walton, so that he could fortify it against the British. Ultimately, Washington didn't fortify it enough, as the British bombarded the spot from across the East River. Walton's house was one of the casualties.
The Walton family subsequently sold the property to Archibald Gracie, a recent émigré from Scotland. Gracie built his famous mansion as a country home in 1799, only to sell it less than a quarter-century later. The City of New York acquired the property almost a hundred years later, and every mayor since LaGuardia has called it home while in office. If you'd rather not depend on the electorate to see its interior, the first floor is open to the general public.
Although it isn't known if the Mayor participates, there is a strong athletic community in Yorkville. Whether your interests run from basketball to softball or football, it's likely that there's an organized team in the area that could use another player. If you prefer exercising alone, Central Park is about a ten-minute walk. Or a five-minute jog.
Because of the successive waves of new inhabitants, the apartment buildings in Yorkville range from quaint townhouses to ultra-modern apartment complexes. Interior spaces also vary from the tiny to the cavernous. With all the different varieties offered, chances are there's a combination in this area that will fit your needs perfectly.
For those looking for modern accoutrements, Madison Avenue is highly recommended. Here you'll find all sorts of tiny shops and unique boutiques filled with the latest runway trends. Of particular note is the beautiful Ralph Lauren store on 72nd Street.
Although many families in this area prefer to send their children to private schools, the public schools in this district are also exemplary. P.S. 6, on Madison and 81st Street, is highly regarded for its art and computer curriculum. Despite the fact that their K through 5 students consistently score high on standardized tests, there is still plenty of room for parents looking to enroll their children.
With doorman buildings facing Central Park, exceptional schools, and some of the best high-end shopping in the city, the Upper East Side is great for families looking for an apartment in New York.
Roosevelt Island is located between the Island of Manhattan and Queens and spans from East 46th Street to East 85th Street. It’s approximately two miles long and at its widest reaches 800 feet across. The Island is considered part of Manhattan even though it is not connected by land. Most of Roosevelt Island is designated a no car zone, meaning no personal or private transportation is allowed.
Roosevelt Island consists of many housing complexes, luxury buildings, expansive parks and cobblestone streets. The Octagon, one of the island’s landmark luxury buildings, has been restored in 2006 as a LEED Silver green building with the largest array of solar panels on any building in New York City. Other significant buildings include the Riverwalk Development, Chapel of the Good Shepherd, Louis Kahn Roosevelt Memorial, Rivercross, Eastwood and Westview.
The Island’s residential housing is mostly offered only as rental units. The prices reflect the convenience of being one subway stop or tram ride away from Manhattan while having 74 acres of parks right in your backyard. However, the apartment layouts are generally larger than their Manhattan counterparts; the buildings are more spaced out and it’s almost impossible to find an apartment without a great view.
Shopping and dining out are not past times on Roosevelt Island. The Island is better for outdoor activities and a quiet, peaceful existence away, but with in a few minutes of, bustling Manhattan.
To most New Yorkers, the word 'Midtown' is synonymous with 'Work.' And, in fact, a lot of people do commute here for business during the day. But Midtown, and especially Midtown West, is packed full with more universally-known buildings then any other district in Manhattan.
Snuggled tightly in the bosom of Midtown West is the Theater District. Over 30 theaters make their home here, and the fare varies from long-running musicals to the latest highly-touted drama, A mere block north of 42nd Street, where Seventh Avenue and Broadway intersect, is Times Square. This is where Manhattan is at its showiest. All around these blocks are massive billboards surrounded with tubes of neon in every imaginable color. It is here where hundreds of thousands of people gather every New Year's Eve to watch the ball drop.
Face east while in Bryant Park and you'll see the rear of the magnificent New York Public Library. If you think the back is impressive, then you should walk around to Fifth Avenue and see the front. You'll find two large stone lions guarding the wide steps that lead up to the great bronze doors. Inside, the books are spread out over 85 miles of shelves-many of them housed underneath Bryant Park itself.
On the west side of Fifth Avenue, between 48th and 51st Streets, are the buildings that comprise Rockefeller Plaza. Nineteen buildings make up the Plaza, almost all of which are connected by a series of underground passages. Also in the Plaza (at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 51st Street) is Radio City Music Hall, the world's largest indoor theater.
Stroll west from Fifth down the lovely promenade known as Channel Gardens to the Plaza's centerpiece, the gold-leaf statue of Prometheus that overlooks the Lower Plaza area. The Lower Plaza is given over to cafes during the summer, but come the winter months it is transformed into an ice skating rink. Every year around the holidays a gigantic live Christmas tree is stationed between Prometheus and the looming GE Building behind it.
Bustling with business people during the day, thriving with tourists and theatergoers at night, Midtown West is one area of Manhattan that barely pauses to rest. If you have an apartment in Midtown Manhattan's West Side, it is hard not to take in the lights and sounds here without feeling yourself infused with its energy.
Many people have heard of the Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Now you can meet Clinton, the New York Neighborhood Formerly Known as Hell's Kitchen. Actually, residents of apartments in this New York neighborhood tend to use both terms interchangeably, but there are some good reasons that many people are taking the Clinton name to heart.
At one time, the Clinton neighborhood was ruled by street gangs with an iron fist. While the power and influence of the street gangs eventually wanted, the neighborhood didn't improve once the gangs had moved on. Never a pristine neighborhood to begin with, the area descended into a veritable slum known primarily for its vast array of pornography shops.
The Worldwide Plaza was the first sign that people were once again starting to see Hell's Kitchen as a New York neighborhood into which they could invest money voluntarily. Built on a former site of Madison Square Garden, this complex takes up an entire block. Aside from providing both commercial and residential spaces, the Plaza also has a restaurant and one of the only discount movie theaters on the island.
A few blocks south of the Plaza is the famed stretch of eateries that make up New York's Restaurant Row. Because of its relative nearness to Times Square, this block is a favorite with pre- and post-theater crowds. With over twenty restaurants located here, if you can't find a cuisine that speaks to your stomach, you're probably not hungry.
One of the city's transportation hubs also makes it home in Clinton - the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Not only do buses come in and out of the all through the day and night, but there is also a parking garage on the top floors. So you can put the car away for the day, and experience the excellence of the transit system yourself!
Because of the way the area has been randomly both preserved and developed, there is no particularly prevalent building style. If you're not certain whether you would prefer a luxury high-rise apartment or a brownstone apartment, chances are you'll be able to find either of these in Clinton.
Much like Midtown West, the east side of Midtown is generally filled with business people during the day. And though this Manhattan district encompasses one of the central commuting centers, it is considerably more subdued come nightfall. Those who are looking for a less hectic version of the Midtown scene would do well to look for an apartment on Manhattan's Midt-East side.
Every morning, the main concourse of Grand Central Station is the first sight that many out-of-town commuters glance. And what a sight it is. The 12-story ceiling painted with the constellations of the zodiac gives the concourse an open, airy feel. Best of all, this stored terminal offers connections to 5 subway lines and the Metro-North commuter rail system, to say nothing of the countless nearby stops from which city buses and airport buses depart. In short, if your apartment, co-op or condo is near Grand Central, transportation throughout New York and beyond will always be accessible.
Just before 42nd Street reaches the East River, it intersects with a small thoroughfare called Tudor City