Exploring the Upper East Side

By Samantha Nicholson

Caption for under the picture: The New York University Institute of the Fine Arts (originally the James B. and Nanline Duke house) is located on East 78th Street.

The Upper East Side is usually viewed as an upperclass residential neighborhood without much going on. Many people view it as a Gossip Girl-esque place, where the people are snobby and tourists aren’t exactly welcome. This couldn’t be further from the truth. On your first visit to the Upper East Side, you might only notice the gorgeous apartment buildings and proximity to Central Park. However, there is actually a thriving nightlife scene in the UES, as well as many exciting things to do during the day.

You’ll want to check out Museum Mile, which runs from 82nd street to 105th street.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue), known colloquially as the Met, is located on the Eastern edge of Central Park. It contains more than two million works of art. The museum features an extensive permanent collection, featuring everything from ancient Egyptian art to modern art to the fantastic Costume Institute. Due to the delicate nature of the collection, the Costume Institute is only open twice a year. However, you don’t want to miss it.

You’ll also want to check out the Whitney Museum of American Art (945 Madison Ave). This museum houses arguably the finest collection of 20th century American art in the city. The Whitney is known for not getting a lot of tourists because its name is not as recognizable as the Met or the MoMa.

Most people head below 14th street for nightlife attractions. Don’t discount the Upper East Side yet though. There are a variety of place to go to when night falls. Check out the bar and restaurant at the Mark Hotel (25 E 77thstreet).  Since its opening in 1927, the Mark Hotel has been New York’s premier landmark hotel. The hotel just recently re-opened since renovating. The newly finished restaurant has an elegant yet understated ambiance. This is a great place to grab drinks before heading to the clubs for the night.

The Upper East Side nightspots might be fewer and far between than their downtown compatriots, but there is still plenty to discover in the neighborhood. One casual place to get a drink is Uptown Lounge (1576 3rd Ave). It feature a spectacular dining area with a separate lounge. During the summer, their sidewalk café opens. They have a happy hour special everyday, and their food selections range from chicken fingers to filet mignon.  The crowd is mostly locals, but you’ll find that the placed is packed with revelers even on a Tuesday night.

Another hip lounge/restaurant is Bruno Jamais (24 E 81st st). The outside of this exquisite French restaurant simply looks like a townhouse in the Upper East Side, but inside you will find a dimly lit dining area and a full bar. This place is quintessential NYC, and the people watching is almost as good as the duo foie gras.

While most New Yorkers and tourists will continue to head downtown for some fun, there is plenty to discover uptown. The Upper East Side has something for everyone.




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