The Upper East Side…home to Museum Mile, Gossip Girl, and the #1 rated school district in all of NYC (hello, PS6!) It’s got a reputation for being one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in NYC, and for good reason. But there’s plenty of spots to enjoy, no matter your budget. Today, I’m taking you on a walk to some of my favorite spots in the ‘hood.
First stop: the Central Park sailboats! There’s a LPQ cafe right next to the pond, making it an ideal spot to grab a cup of coffee, claim a bench as your own, and watch the boats sail for a bit. The famous Alice in Wonderland statue is on the north end of the pond, so be sure to pop on by and say hi to her before you exit the park.
Next, walk on over to Madison Avenue, and engage your senses in some fancy (but totally free) art at the Nahmad Contemporary Gallery at 980 Madison Avenue. When I went recently the Basquiat exhibit was up (it will be up through May 31st), such a treat!
Head across the street to the famous Carlyle Hotel, where you’ll settle in The Gallery for an afternoon tea. The room is quite dark (no windows), but it plays in perfectly to the velvet couches and moody wallpaper of the place, and the tea setting is simply superb.
After you’re stuffed with sandwiches, scones, and sweets, begin walking south on Madison for a fabulous stroll filled with window shopping at some of the most beautiful stores in Manhattan. A few favorites of mine are:
Diptyque for elegant French perfumes and candles (971 Madison), the Nespresso Boutique for a really excellent cup of coffee (935 Madison), Laduree for macaroons and more tea (834 Madison), Hermes for its beautiful accessories floor of bracelets, fragrances, and of course silk scarves (691 Madison), Barneys for window shopping everything luxe and $$$$$, especially the shoe floor (660 Madison), and finally Camper for being my favorite PRACTICAL shoe store in all of NYC…their shoes truly are the most comfy I’ve ever worn and reasonably priced, as you’ll remember reading here (635 Madison).
This will take up the better part of an afternoon, but if you have time, a few of my other favorite haunts in the Upper East Side are: the Museum of the City of New York for learning interesting tid-bits about the city, the Guggenheim for the architecture and art (pay what you wish admission on Saturdays from 5pm to 8pm), Cafe Sabarsky for a fancy coffee and dessert date, Y7 Studio for hip-hop yoga classes, the New York Society Library for perhaps the quietest place to read in all of NYC, The Reservoir in Central Park for killer skyline views of Manhattan, and Cafe Boulud at The Surrey Hotel for an exquisite meal (the rooftop of said hotel is where my husband and I eloped!)
p.s. for more nyc neighborhood guides, here’s how to spend a day in Tribeca, Chinatown, the Lower East Side, the Meatpacking District, Midtown East, the Upper East Side (East of Lexington), Astoria, Queens, and Red Hook, Brooklyn!