In modern terms, the Upper West Side is bound by West 59th St., Central
Park Central Park is a large park (843 acres = 3.4 km², a rectangle of
2.5 miles/4 km by one-half mile/800 m) in Manhattan, New York. An oasis
for Manhattanites escaping from their skyscrapers, the park is
well-known worldwide after its appearance in many movies and television
shows, which made it one of the most famous city parks in the world.
The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted
West 110th St., and the Hudson River The Hudson River, called
Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk in Mahican, is a river running mainly through New York
State but partly forming the boundary between the states of New York and
New Jersey. It is named for Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the
Netherlands, who explored it in 1609, though the first European to see
it was the Italian Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 whose expedition was
financed by the citizens of Lyon, France, under the auspices of King
Francois I. Early European settlement of the area clustered around the
North lies Morningside Heights Morningside Heights. It is a neighborhood
of the borough of Manhattan in New York City and is bound by the Upper
West Side, Morningside Park, Harlem, and Riverside Park. Streets marking
its edges are 110th and 125th Streets, Riverside Drive, and Morningside
Drive. (Some define the southern edge as being 106th St., and a few
place it as far south as 100th St.) The main thoroughfare is Broadway,
site of Columbia University
Columbia University, officially known as Columbia University in the City
of New York, is a private institution of higher education. It is one of
the world's foremost research universities, and a member of the Ivy
League. Founded in 1754 under a royal charter granted by England's King
George II, Columbia has grown over time to comprise 20 schools and
Harlem is a neighborhood of Manhattan, long known as a major African
American cultural and business center. Although the name is sometimes
reckoned as comprising the whole of upper Manhattan, traditionally
Harlem is bounded on the south by East 96th Street (where the railroad
tracks emerge from the tunnel under Park Avenue) and west of Fifth
Avenue by Central Park, on the west by Morningside Heights, then along
Broadway near Riverside Church to the Hudson River, on the north by
155th (or 160th) Street and Coogan's Bluff, and on the east by the East
River and Harlem River.
The exact size of the Midtown area is disputed. Most agree that the core
commercial area extends from 40th Street up to the southern edge of
Central Park on 59th Street and from Third Avenue in the east to Ninth
Avenue in the west, but some take a broader view and classify Midtown as
the whole area of Manhattan between 23rd and 59th Streets and between
the Hudson and East Rivers and Hell's Kitchen Hell's Kitchen (also known
as Clinton) is a neighborhood of New York City. It is the area between
34th and 59th Streets, from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River.
Originally the expression "Hell's Kitchen" referred to a rough
neighborhood in South London. The term in reference to New York first
appeared in print on September 22, 1881 when a New York Times reporter
went to a police guide to get details of a multiple murder there. He
referred to a particular tenement at 39th Street and 10th Avenue as
"Hell's Kitchen", and said that the entire section was "probably the
lowest and filthiest in the city". According to this version, 39th
Street between 9th and 10th Avenues became known as Hell's Kitchen and
the name was later expanded to the surrounding streets.
. (aka Clinton). The entire western edge alongside the river is Riverside
Park Riverside Park is a scenic waterfront park on the Upper West Side
of Manhattan in New York City, consisting of a narrow four-mile strip of
land between the Hudson River and the gently curving rise-and-fall of
Riverside Drive. When the park was first laid out, access to the river
was blocked by the right-of-way of the New York Central RR Hudson Line;
it was covered over with an esplanade later.
From west to east, the avenues of the UWS are Riverside Drive Riverside
Drive is a scenic north-south thoroughfare in New York City. The
boulevard runs generally parallel to the Hudson River from West 72nd St.
to near the George Washington Bridge at West 181st St. on the west side
of Manhattan. At times Riverside Drive is a wide avenue; at other points
it narrows to a serpentine neighborhood street. Some of the most coveted
addresses in New York are located along its route.
West End Ave., Amsterdam Ave., Columbus Ave., and Central Park West
Central Park West is a scenic avenue in New York City.
As its name indicates, "CPW" forms the western edge of Central Park. It
also forms the eastern boundary of the Upper West Side. It runs 51
blocks from Columbus Circle (at 59th St., or Central Park South) to
Frederick Douglass Circle (at 110th St., or Cathedral Parkway). South of
Columbus Circle, in Midtown, CPW becomes Eighth Avenue. North of
Frederick Douglass Circle, in Harlem, it is alternately known as Eighth
Avenue or Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
The 51-block stretch of Broadway forms the spine of the neighborhood and
moves diagonally across the avenues; it begins at its juncture with
Central Park West at Columbus Circle (59th St.), crosses Columbus Ave.
at Lincoln Square (65th St.), crosses Amsterdam Ave. at Verdi Square
(72nd St.), and then merges with West End at Straus Square (aka
Bloomingdale Square, at 107th St.).
Traditionally the neighborhood ranged from the former village of
Harsenville, centered on the old Bloomingdale Road (now Broadway)
Broadway, as the name implies, is a big, wide avenue in New York City, New
York, and is one of the main north-south thoroughfares in the city. It
runs the length of Manhattan, the central borough, being the only street
running from almost the southern tip of the island, where it starts at
Bowling Green, to the northern tip.
65th St., west to the railroad yards along the Hudson, then north to 110th
St., where the ground rises to Morningside Heights Morningside Heights
is a neighborhood of the borough of Manhattan in New York City and is
bound by the Upper West Side, Morningside Park, Harlem, and Riverside
Park. Streets marking its edges are 110th and 125th Streets, Riverside
Drive, and Morningside Drive. (Some define the southern edge as being
106th St., and a few place it as far south as 100th St.) The main
thoroughfare is Broadway.
With the building of Lincoln Center Lincoln Center for the Performing
Arts is a 15-acre complex of buildings in New York which serves as home
for 12 arts companies. It was built during Robert Moses's program of
urban renewal in the 1960s. It was the first gathering of major cultural
institutions into a centralized location in an American city, and was
located between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues, between 62nd and 66th
Originally the name Bloomingdale (from the Dutch "Bloemendal"), or the
Bloomingdale District, applied to the west side of Manhattan from about
23rd St. up to the Hollow Way (modern 125th St.), and it contained
numerous farms and country residences of many of the city's well-off.
The main artery of this area was the Bloomingdale Road, which began
north of where Broadway and the Bowery Lane join (at modern Union Square
Union Square is an important and historic intersection in New York
Union Square was located where Broadway and the Bowery Lane came together
in the early 19th century. Today it is bound by 14th St., Union Square
East, 17th St., and Union Square West. Important thoroughfares which
lead away from the park are Broadway, leading both north and south;
Fourth Ave., leading southeast to the Bowery; and Park Avenue South.
Neighborhoods around the park are the Flatiron District to the north,
Chelsea to the west, Greenwich Village and New York University to the
south, and Gramercy to the east.
and wended its way northward up to about modern 116th St. in Morningside
Heights Morningside Heights is a neighborhood of the borough of
Manhattan in New York City and is bound by the Upper West Side,
Morningside Park, Harlem, and Riverside Park. Streets marking its edges
are 110th and 125th Streets, Riverside Drive, and Morningside Drive.
(Some define the southern edge as being 106th St., and a few place it as
far south as 100th St.) The main thoroughfare is Broadway.
where the road further north was known as the Kingsbridge Road. Within
the confines of the modern-day Upper West Side, the road passed through
areas known as Harsenville, Striker's Bay, and Bloomingdale Village.
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the Upper West Side-to-be
contained some of colonial New York's most ambitious houses, spaced
along Bloomingdale Road. It became increasingly infilled with smaller,
more suburban villas in the first half of the nineteenth century, and in
the middle of the century, parts had become decidely lower class. The
Hudson River Railroad line right-of-way, granted in the late 1830s, soon
ran along the riverbank, and creation of the Central Park caused many
squatters to move their shacks westward into the UWS. Parts of the
nieghborhood became a ragtag collection of squatters' housing, boarding
houses, and rowdy taverns.
As this development occurred, the old name of Bloomingdale Road was slowly
being chopped away and the name Broadway was progressively being applied
further northward to include what had been lower Bloomingdale Road. In
1868, the city began straightening and grading the section of the
Bloomingdale Road from Harsenville north, and it became known as "The
Boulevard". It retained that name until the end of the century, until
the name Broadway finally supplanted it.
Development of the neighborhood lagged even while Central Park was being
laid out in the 1860s and 70s, then was stymied by the Panic of 1873 The
Panic of 1873 was touched off on September 18, 1873, when the
Philadelphia banking firm Jay Cooke and Company closed its doors and
declared bankruptcy. It was one of a series of economic crises in the
19th and early 20th centuries. The others occurred in 1837, 1857, 1884,
1893, 1907, 1919, and 1929.
The end of the Civil War saw a boom in railroad construction, with 35,000
miles of new track being laid across the country between 1866 and 1873.
The railroad industry, at the time the nation's largest employer outside
of agriculture, involved large amounts of money and risk. A large
infusion of cash from speculators caused abnormal growth in the
industry. Cooke's firm, like many others, was invested heavily in the
Things turned around when the elevated train's rapid transit was extended
up Ninth Avenue (renamed Columbus Avenue in 1890, and with Columbia
University's relocation to Morningside Heights in the 1890s, using lands
once held by the Bloomingdale Asylum. The Upper West Side was built in a
boom from 1885
In the early part of the 1900s, the Upper West Side area south of 67th St.
was heavily populated by African-Americans and supposedly gained its
nickname of "San Juan Hill" in commemoration of African-American
soldiers who were a major part of the assault on Cuba
But by 1960, the area was a rough neighborhood of tenement housing and was
used for exterior shots in the movie musical "West Side Story West Side
Story is a musical written by Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein
(music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics), and originally produced and
directed by Jerome Robbins. West Side Story debuted on Broadway in 1957
and played 732 performances before going on tour - a very successful run
for the time. In 1961, it was made into a motion picture, directed by
Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, winning ten Motion Picture Academy
Awards including Best Picture.
then swept through with the construction of the Lincoln Center for the
Performing Arts and Lincoln Towers apartments during 1962-1968.
In a subsequent phase of urban renewal, the rail yards which had formed
the Upper West Side's southwest corner were replaced by the Riverside
South residential project and a southward extension of Riverside Park.
The evolution of Riverside South had a 40-year history, often extremely
bitter, beginning in 1962 with the first proposal made by the Penn
Railroad itself. The most ambitious proposal, and the one generating the
most opposition was Donald Trump's "Television City" concept of 1985,
which would have included a 152-story tower. In 1991, civic groups
signaled that they were willing to accept a development about 40%
smaller in scope than Trump proposed, and things finally started moving.
By 2004 construction is essentially complete, but still to be resolved
is the future of the West Side Highway viaduct over the park area.
The Bloomingdale district was the site for several long-established
charitable institutions: their unbroken parcels of land have provided
suitably-scaled sites for Columbia University and the Cathedral of Saint
John the Divine, as well as for some vanished landmarks, such as the
Schwab Mansion on Riverside Drive, the most ambitious free-standing
private house ever built in Manhattan.
The name Bloomingdale is still used in reference to a part of the Upper
West Side, essentially the location of old Bloomingdale Village, the
area from about 96th St. up to 110th St. and from Riverside Park east to
Amsterdam Ave. The triangular block bound by Broadway, West End Ave.,
106th St. and 107th St., although generally known as Straus Park (named
for Isidor Straus and his wife Ida), was officially designated
Bloomingdale Square in 1907. The neighborhood also includes the
Bloomingdale School of Music and Bloomingdale branch of the New York
Public Library. Adjacent to the Bloomingdale neighborhood is a
neighborhood called Manhattan Valley, focused on the downslope of
Columbus Ave. and Manhattan Ave. from about 102nd St. up to 110th St.
Landmarks and institutions
American Broadcasting Company - Headquarters located in Lincoln Center
Time Warner Center - New headquarters located on Columbus Circle, at the
site of the old New York Coliseum
American Museum of Natural History
Children's Museum of Manhattan
Avery Fisher Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic
New York State Theater, home of City Opera
Juilliard School of Music
New-York Historical Society
Columbia University - in Morningside Heights
Fordham University Lincoln Center campus - Schools of Law, Business,
Social Service and Education
Food and gourmet
Amsterdam Ave. from 67th St. up to 92nd St. is thick with retaurants,
Columbus Ave. is also to a slightly lesser extent. The following lists a
few neighborhood institutions and famous places.
Barney Greengrass the Sturgeon King - gourmet grocery, Amsterdam Ave. and
86th St., founded 1908
Café des Artistes - 67th St. at Central Park West, founded 1917
Cafe Lalo - dessert cafe, 83rd St. at Amsterdam, seen in You've Got Mail
Citarella - gourmet grocery, Broadway and 75th St., founded 1912 at 164th
St. and later moved to UWS
Edgar's Cafe - dessert cafe, 84th St. at Broadway, so named because Edgar
Allan Poe lived at this location during 1844-1845 while composing "The
Fairway Market - market and grocery, Broadway and 74th St., founded c.
H&H Bagels - Broadway and 80th St., founded 1972
Tom's Restaurant - Broadway and 112th St. in Morningside Heights, founded
Zabar's - gourmet grocery, Broadway and 80th St., founded 1934
Grant's Tomb - in Morningside Heights
Cathedral of Saint John the Divine - in Morningside Heights
Congregation Shearith Israel
Society for Ethical Culture
The apartment buildings along Central Park West, facing the park, are some
of the most exclusive apartments in New York, if not the world. The
Dakota at 72nd St. has been home to numerous celebrities including John
Lennon. Other famous buildings include the San Remo, Eldorado, Beresford
and Majestic on CPW all built by Emory Roth, and along Broadway, the
Apthorp and the Ansonia Hotel.
In film, television, and the arts The Upper West Side has been a setting
for many movies and television shows because of its pre-War
architecture, colorful community and rich cultural life. Ever since
Edward R. Murrow went "Person-to-Person" live, the length of Central
Park West in the 1950s, West Siders scarcely pause to gape at on-site
trailers, and jump their skateboards over coaxial cables.
The neighborhood is also known for the conjunction of affluent lifestyles
and liberal politics, and is frequently used by conservative critics as
shorthand for "out-of-touch liberal elite". It is a dependable punchline
for liberal jokes.
The Apartment (1960)
Cruel Intentions (1999)
Cruel Intentions 3 (2004), takes place at an Upper West Side prep school
(1995), includes a scene set outside the subway station at 72nd St. and
Ghost Busters (1984), the opening of the movie, when a library is overrun
with ghosts, is actually at Columbia University and the building where
Sigourney Weaver's character lives is 55 Central Park West, at 66th St.
Keeping the Faith (2000), various church locations
Kissing Jessica Stein (2002)
Rosemary's Baby (1968), apartment building in movie is The Dakota
Single White Female (1992), apartment building in movie is the Ansonia
Vanilla Sky (2001), car accident at center of movie happens in Riverside
Park, near 96th Street http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0259711/locations
West Side Story (1961), takes place in tenements where Lincoln Center is
today, around 66th Street
You've Got Mail (1998), used many UWS locations, such as the park at 72nd
Street and Riverside Drive. The DVD of movie includes an interactive
tour of the neighborhood. The storyline is also in some degree
appropriate to the area in that a well-loved UWS independent bookstore,
Shakespeare & Co., was driven out of business in the late 1990s when it
was sandwiched by two branches of a national chain bookstore, one of
them just a block away. Another amusing sidelight relating to the local
character of the movie was the scene in which the two principals enter a
movie theater. The multiplex exists, and the sub-theater in which they
go to watch the movie later showed You've Got Mail.
Various Woody Allen movies
The end of Annie Hall involves a shot of the Thalia Theater at 96th and
Law and Order - often used Upper West Side and Morningside Heights
locations near Columbia University for filming.
Seinfeld - Jerry in the series lived at 129 West 81st St., and the series
used exteriors from locations such as Tom's Restaurant and H&H Bagels.
Sex and the City - used many locations including Papaya King and Zabar's.
"Classical Rap" - this parody by Peter Schickele, on his album "P.D.Q.
Bach: Oedipus Tex & Other Choral Calamities", describes the travails of
living on the Upper West Side, as a Yuppie chants hip-hop lyrics to a
classical instrumental background.
ReferencesHopper Striker Mott, The New York of Yesterday: A Descriptive
Narrative of Old Bloomingdale, 1908.
Peter Salwen, Upper West Side Story 1989, ISBN 0896598942.
Steven Birmingham, Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address,
1996, ISBN 081560338X.