Manhattan/Upper West Side

Classy apartment buildings on the Upper West Side

The Upper West Side (including Morningside Heights) covers a large area in upper Manhattan bounded by 59th Street on the south, 125th Street on the north, the Hudson River on the west, and Central Park and Morningside Park on the east. The area encompasses four distinct Manhattan neighborhoods -- the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights, Bloomingdale, and Manhattan Valley -- and includes one of its finest parks, Riverside Park, which runs along the river all the way from 59th Street to 125th Street.

Often called the city's quintessential neighborhood, the area includes delightful residential streets, the twin-towered facades of the old apartment hotels on Central Park West and Riverside Drive, two of the city's best-known markets (Zabar's and Fairway), one of its major museums (the American Museum of Natural History), an Ivy League university (Columbia University), and the Neo-Gothic Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Riverside Church. The area is an architectural historian's delight with many of its buildings (especially in Morningside Heights) built before the Second World War and quite a few built before the First World War, though the area is changing with the construction of large condominium buildings south of 110th Street. The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, running from 62nd Street to 66th Street, contains the Metropolitan Opera; the David H. Koch Theater, home of the New York City Ballet; Avery Fisher Hall, the home of the New York Philharmonic; the Juilliard School; and the New York Public Library's Library for the Performing Arts, among other institutions.

Understand

From west to east, the Upper West Side is oriented along Riverside Drive, West End Avenue (which is called 11th Avenue south of 59th St.), Amsterdam Avenue (called 10th Avenue south of 59th St.), Columbus Avenue (9th Avenue), and Central Park West (8th Avenue). All these avenues change from numbers to names north of 59th Street. The 66-block stretch of Broadway forms the backbone of the Upper West Side and lies diagonally across the avenues; it begins at its juncture with Central Park West at Columbus Circle (59th Street), crosses Columbus Avenue at Lincoln Square (65th Street), crosses Amsterdam Ave. at Verdi Square (72nd Street), and then merges with West End at Straus Square (aka Bloomingdale Square, at 107th Street).

Get in

Upper West Side Map

By subway

The primary subway service to the Upper West Side is the 1 local train and the 2 and 3 express trains, which run under Broadway. All three lines stop at 72nd St. and 96th St., with the 1 also stopping at 59th St. (Columbus Circle), 66th St. (Lincoln Center), 79th St., 86th St., 103rd St., 110th St., 116th St. (Columbia University), and 125th St. The 1 line continues north along Broadway, while the 2 and 3 lines branch east north of the 96th St. stop and head into Central Harlem.

Also serving the neighborhood are the A, B, C, and D lines, which run under Central Park West (called 8th Av. north and south of Central Park), although the A and D express lines usually stop only at 59th St. (Columbus Circle) and 125th St.(at St. Nicholas Av.), except after midnight, when the A goes local for a few hours. The B (weekdays only) and C local lines stop at 59th St., 72nd St., 81st St. (Museum of Natural History), 86th St., 96th St., 103rd St., 110 St., 116th St., and 125 St.

By bus

Numerous bus routes serve this neighborhood, including:

There are also crosstown buses on 65th/66th Sts., 72nd St. (the M72, which uses the 66th St. transverse through Central Park), 79th St., 86th St., 96th St., 106th St. (to and from East 116th St.), and 125th St.

On foot or by bicycle

A walk or bike ride to the Upper West Side is a very pleasant way to get in in good weather, whether going through Central Park from the Upper East Side or heading north from the Theater District. The Hudson River Greenway provides easy access through Riverside Park to Upper and Lower Manhattan. A project is afoot to extend the Citibike bike sharing system, which now stops at 61st Street, into the rest of Manhattan in 2015.

See

Landmarks

Museums

A Barosaurus rears over the Museum of Natural History entry hall

Churches and cathedrals

Institutions of learning

Alma Mater, Columbia University

Monuments

Grant's Tomb

Do

Performances

Parks and walks

Part of the immense interior of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Cinemas

Buy

Central Savings Bank building at 73rd St. between Broadway and Amsterdam

The neighborhood, especially the Morningside Heights area, is home to several excellent bookstores.

Eat

Budget

Tom's Restaurant

Street Food

Mid-range

Splurge

Markets

Lox for sale at Zabar's

Drink

Riverside Church

Cafes

The Upper West Side has many idiosyncratic cafes, some of long standing in the neighborhood. Of course, there is no shortage of Starbucks in the area, but for something different try one of the following:

Sleep

YMCA, near Central Park
Empire Hotel, near Lincoln Center

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Low Library, Columbia University

Go next

Other than visiting Central Park, obvious places to go next are the Theater District and the Village, easily reachable via all subway lines that run through the Upper West side; and the Upper East Side, for visits to the Metropolitan Museum and any number of other museums along 5th Avenue. In addition, Harlem is easily walkable from the northern reaches of the Upper West Side, and well worth exploring.

Routes through Upper West Side

Bronx Harlem and Upper Manhattan  N  S  Theater District Financial District
Harlem and Upper Manhattan  N  S  Theater District Financial District
Bronx Harlem and Upper Manhattan  N  S  Theater District Midtown


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