Elongated between Central Park and the Hudson River, the neighbourhood of Upper West Side is one of New York’s most prosperous. It was here that West Side Story was set in the 1950s, and while the gangs depicted are no longer present, grand apartment buildings and hotels still line the leafy streets, and is a great spot to just soak up local living.
Broadway runs through its heart and a walk down this iconic boulevard takes in many of Upper West Side’s most engaging sights. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan boasts plenty of hands-on exhibits to keep young ones entertained, while the grand Ansonia Hotel, opened in 1904, still stands with a history of opulent luxury. At the southern end of Broadway lies the distinguished Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts, which was influential in transforming the area from a blue-collar district into the cultural and intellectual hub of today. The American Museum of Natural History is one of the neighbourhood’s top attractions, with an outstanding collection of dinosaurs, together with exhibits on space and ancient civilisations. While the Upper West Side is dotted with landmark apartment buildings, one of the most famous remains the Dakota on 72nd Street where John Lennon was assassinated. Just across the road lies the entrance to Central Park and the landscaped grounds of Strawberry Fields, named in Lennon’s honour and one of the park’s most tranquil spots.
Subway lines run beneath both Broadway and Central Park West, with stops at the Natural History Museum and 72nd Street offering easy access to the Upper West Side’s attractions. It’s a pleasant neighbourhood to wander on foot, with the leafy expanses of Central Park never too far away.
The Upper West Side started out as a shipping and transportation hub along the Hudson riverfront and it wasn’t until Central Park was laid out in the 1850s that boarding houses and taverns started to emerge. The opening of the city’s first subway line in 1904 saw a building boom in the area, with stately apartment blocks that contribute largely to the character of the area today.