Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists (2016)
Map 14. Upper West Side (Lower)
Away from the bustle of midtown and downtown Manhattan, the lower part of the Upper West Side offers a decidedly different, slower pace. But by no means does this neighborhood feel sleepy. Sandwiched between two parks, this neighborhood offers great food, museums, dive bars, and beautiful Art Deco architecture, not to mention the cultural meccas of Lincoln Center and the American Museum of Natural History, all of which remind you that New York is a livable city after all.
Many of the buildings that line the streets of the Upper West Side are landmarks. The Ansonia (built between 1899 and 1904) was originally a hotel and is now an exclusive apartment building. It has had many famous residents including Babe Ruth and Theodore Dreiser. The Dakota (built from 1880-1884) is best known for being the home of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and the place where Lennon was killed at the entrance to the building. The Dorilton (built in 1902), The Majestic (built in 1894), and The San Remo (completed in 1931) all attest to bygone days of elaborate building construction.
Green space surrounds this neighborhood. To the east lies Central Park, but most locals head west to the gorgeous Riverside Park. It is filled with beautiful flower gardens, wonderful playgrounds, and some great spots to sit down and relax by the water. For those looking for something more active, a path runs along the Hudson River, perfect for jogging and biking. The Boat Basin at 79th Street is the only facility in the city that allows year-round residency in boats. It is also used as a launch site for kayaks, canoes, and sailboats, which you can rent in the summer. The rotunda overlooks the marina and is the site of the Boat Basin café (open April to October), a great place to unwind with a beer as the sun sets over the Hudson.
Like a city unto itself, The American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest museums in the world. Founded in 1869, the museum contains 25 interconnected buildings with lots of famous permanent exhibits (anthropological collections, rooms on human biology and evolution, a life-sized model blue whale, and the world’s largest sapphire in the world, to name a few). Be sure to check out the always popular Hayden Planetarium and its spectacular space show—it’s a great spot to experience the wonders of the universe—and of course the collection of dinosaur fossils that tantalize visitors of all ages. Just south of AMNH is The New-York Historical Society which has a fabulous collection documenting the history of New York and the United States. Some highlights include many of James Audubon’s watercolors, paintings from the Hudson River School, and materials from the Civil War and Reconstruction.
When Upper West Siders tire from museums, they join the rest of the city’s cultural elite at Lincoln Center, probably the most famous arts and culture center in the world. Home of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Lincoln Center Theater, the Metropolitan Opera, the City Opera, the City Ballet, and the New York Philharmonic, as well as Juilliard, the School of American Ballet, and the Library for the Performing Arts, this place is just bursting with artistic brilliance.
Upper West Side (Lower)
✵ American Museum of Natural History ✵ Central Park W & W 79th St
Includes an outstanding planetarium and lots and lots of stuffed animals.
✵ The Ansonia ✵ 2109 Broadway [W 73rd St]
Truly unique residence on Broadway.
✵ The Apthorp ✵ 2201 Broadway [W 78th St]
Huge, city-block-spanning condos complete with inner courtyard.
✵ The Dakota ✵ W 72nd St & Central Park W
Classic Central Park West apartment building, designed by Henry J Hardenbergh.
✵ The Dorilton ✵ Broadway & W 71st St
Understated it ain’t. But damn, it’s pretty.
✵ Hotel Des Artistes ✵
1 W 67th St [Central Park W]
$4,000,000 artist studios on CPW. Nice one.
✵ Lincoln Center ✵
70 Lincoln Center Plaza [W 62nd St]
A rich and wonderful complex. Highly recommended—movies, theater, music, opera.
✵ The Majestic ✵ 115 Central Park W [W 71st St]
Great brick by Chanin.
✵ MLK Sculpture ✵
122 Amsterdam Ave [W 65th St]
Massive brutalist-but-cool square monument to MLK.
✵ New-York Historical Society ✵
170 Central Park W [W 77th St]
Oldest museum in New York City.
✵ Rotunda at 79th St Boat Basin ✵
W 79th St [Riverside Dr]
Rotunda, arcade, arches, and boats.
✵ The San Remo ✵ Central Park West & W 74th St
Emery Roth’s contribution to the Upper West Side skyline.
✵ West End Collegiate Church ✵
368 West End Ave [W 77th St]
Dutch/Flemish goodness from Robert Gibson, circa 1892.
✵ Aroma Espresso Bar ✵
161 W 72nd St [Amsterdam Ave]
The Israeli version of Starbucks comes stateside.
✵ Box Kite Coffee ✵
128 W 72nd St [Columbus Ave]
Tiny. Cute. Great coffee. Very new New Yorky.
✵ Irving Farm Coffee Roasters ✵
224 W 79th St [Broadway]
Kalita brew bar, reclaimed wood, medium on the hipster scale.
✵ Joe The Art of Coffee ✵
514 Columbus Ave [W 85th St]
Joe really knows his joe.
✵ Le Pain Quotidien ✵ 60 W 65th St [Lincoln Sq]
Excellent coffee and pastries. Thanks Belgium.
✵ 79th Street Greenmarket ✵
Columbus Ave & W 79th St
Sun, 8 am-4 pm, Year Round
✵ Tucker Square Greenmarket ✵
W 66th St & Columbus Ave
Thurs & Sat 8 am-5 pm, Year Round
For a night of culture, go to Lincoln Center or see a concert at theBeacon Theater. For drunken revelries and beer pong, hit Jake’s Dilemma. Was that out loud? We meant to say, With a selection of wine for everyone, seek out Barcibo Enoteca. And Harry and Sally set up their best friends at Cafe Luxembourg.
✵ Beacon Theater ✵ 2124 Broadway [W 74th St]
Former movie palace with beautiful neo-Grecian interior.
✵ Bin 71 ✵ 237 Columbus Ave [W 71st St]
Sip wine with 30-something Upper West Siders.
✵ Blondies Sports Bar ✵
212 W 79th St [Amsterdam Ave]
Want to catch a game? Any game? Come here.
✵ Bourbon Street ✵
407 Amsterdam Ave [W 79th St]
Not like N’Awlins, except for the drunken fratboys.
✵ Café Luxembourg ✵
200 W 70th St [Amsterdam Ave]
Hey, is that Tom Hanks over there?
✵ The Dead Poet ✵
450 Amsterdam Ave [W 82nd St]
Good Irish feel. No secret society that we know of.
✵ Dive 75 ✵ 101 W 75th St [Columbus Ave]
The quintessential dive bar with the friendliest staff around.
✵ Dublin House ✵ 225 W 79th St [Broadway]
Great dingy Irish pub. Recommended.
✵ Fred’s ✵ 476 Amsterdam Ave [W 83rd St]
Sort of old-school. Sort of fun.
✵ George Keeley ✵
485 Amsterdam Ave [W 83rd St]
A rotation of good draft beers and all the sports you need.
✵ Hi Life Bar & Grill ✵
477 Amsterdam Ave [W 83rd St]
Not a bad option for this part of town.
✵ Jake’s Dilemma ✵
430 Amsterdam Ave [W 81st St]
Drink beer and pretend you’re still in college.
✵ Malachy’s Donegal Inn ✵
103 W 72nd St [Columbus Ave]
Friendly Irish dive keeping it real on the Upper West Side.
✵ Prohibition ✵ 503 Columbus Ave [W 84th St]
Cool space, music, people, etc. Sometimes.
✵ Stand-Up NY ✵ 236 W 78th St [Broadway]
The frog replies, “Brooklyn—they’re a dime a dozen out there!”
✵ The Tangled Vine Wine Bar and Kitchen ✵ 434 Amsterdam Ave [W 81st St]
Have an environmentally friendly wine trio at this UWS hot spot.
✵ Wine and Roses ✵
286 Columbus Ave [W 74th St]
A wine-o’s paradise. Not as sappy as it sounds.
✵ ‘cesca ✵ 164 W 75th St [Amsterdam Ave]
212-787-6300 ✵ $$$$
Sunday Sauce worthy of a cameo in “Goodfellas.”
✵ Albert’s Mofongo House ✵
4762 Broadway [W 61st St]
212-569-3431 ✵ $$$
Exceptional food, festive drinks, and family-friendly events.
✵ Ali Baba ✵ 515 Amsterdam Ave [W 85th St]
212-787-6008 ✵ $
Yemenite-Israeli chef brings twist to Kosher takeout.
✵ Amber Restaurant ✵
221 Columbus Ave [W 70th St]
212-799-8100 ✵ $$
Multiple asian cuisines, all decent. Fast service. Comfortable seating.
✵ Artie’s Delicatessen ✵
2290 Broadway [W 83rd St]
212-579-5959 ✵ $$
Hot pastrami on rye never goes out of style.
✵ Bar Boulud ✵ 1900 Broadway [W 63rd St]
212-595-0303 ✵ $$$
Before the opera, stop in for the fabulous charcuterie plate.
✵ Barcibo Enoteca ✵ 2020 Broadway [W 69th St]
212-595-2805 ✵ $$$
An incredible wine list for the post Lincoln Center crowd.
✵ Bello Giardino ✵ 71 W 71st St [Columbus Ave]
212-875-1512 ✵ $$
Check out the back patio and enjoy some Italian fare.
✵ Bettola ✵ 412 Amsterdam Ave [W 80th St]
212-787-1660 ✵ $$
Try the wood-fired pizza at this authentic Italian restaurant.
✵ Blondies ✵ 212 W 79th St [Amsterdam Ave]
212-362-4360 ✵ $$
Pair wings with a salad to save your arteries.
✵ Boat Basin Cafe ✵
W 79th St & Hudson River [Riverside Dr]
212-496-5542 ✵ $$
Burgers, buckets of beer, and a killer view.
✵ Brother Jimmy’s BBQ ✵
428 Amsterdam Ave [W 80th St]
212-501-7515 ✵ $$
Good ol’ Southern gluttony!
✵ Bustan ✵ 487 Amsterdam Ave [W 84th St]
212-595-5050 ✵ $$$
Modern Middle Eastern with a multicultural spin.
✵ Café Lalo ✵ 201 W 83rd St [Amsterdam Ave]
212-496-6031 ✵ $$
Packed dessert and coffee destination.
✵ Café Luxembourg ✵
200 W 70th St [Amsterdam Ave]
212-873-7411 ✵ $$$$$
Top-end bistro. Anyone know what Luxembourgian cuisine is?
✵ Calle Ocho ✵ 45 W 81st St [Columbus Ave]
212-873-5025 ✵ $$$
Pan-Latin restaurant with a bottomless sangria brunch.
✵ Celeste ✵ 502 Amsterdam Ave [W 84th St]
212-874-4559 ✵ $$
Cheap and tasty homemade pastas. A true gem.
✵ Chirping Chicken ✵
355 Amsterdam Ave [W 77th St]
212-787-6631 ✵ $
Grilled birds done right. No chirping.
✵ Cocina Economica Mexico ✵
452 Amsterdam Ave [W 82nd St]
212-501-7755 ✵ $$
Nuevo Mexican in a cute space for only a few pesos.
✵ Communal Oven & Earth ✵
141 W 72nd St [Columbus Ave]
212-579-2929 ✵ $$
”Organic Red Quinoa Paella” says it all.
✵ Dovetail ✵ 103 W 77th St [Columbus Ave]
212-362-3800 ✵ $$$$
Notable NYC chef brings impeccable wine list, indulgent prix fixe dinner.
✵ Fairway Café ✵ 2127 Broadway [W 74th St]
212-595-1888 ✵ $$$
When it’s all too much.
✵ Fine & Shapiro ✵
138 W 72nd St [Columbus Ave]
212-877-2721 ✵ $$$
Very old-school kosher deli.
✵ Firehouse Tavern ✵
522 Columbus Ave [W 85th St]
212-787-3473 ✵ $$
Where to go for after-softball wings.
✵ Fishtag ✵ 222 W 79th St [Broadway]
212-362-7470 ✵ $$$
Excellent basement seafood spot with Mediterranean flavors.
For Daniel Boulud’s take on seasonal French cuisine, check out Bar Boulud and its charcuterie bar. Or take a walk to Telepan where Bill Telepan serves up rock-steady seasonal tasting menus and great cocktails. But if breaking the bank isn’t in the agenda, check out Kefi for the best Greek food around. Meanwhile, sushi snobs don’t even have to leave the neighborhood with Gari close by.
✵ Freddie & Pepper’s Pizza ✵
303 Amsterdam Ave [W 74th St]
212-799-2378 ✵ $
Thin crust pizza. Has been around forever.
✵ French Roast ✵ 2340 Broadway [W 85th St]
212-799-1533 ✵ $$
Open 24 hours. Good croque-monsieur.
✵ Gabriel’s ✵ 11 W 60th St [Broadway]
212-956-4600 ✵ $$$
Local-draw; good all-around.
✵ Gari Columbus ✵
370 Columbus Ave [W 78th St]
212-362-4816 ✵ $$$$$
Why UWS sushi snobs no longer have to take the cross-town bus.
✵ Good Enough to Eat ✵
483 Amsterdam Ave [W 83rd St]
212-496-0163 ✵ $$$
Good brunch but Sunday line starts early.
✵ Gray’s Papaya ✵ 2090 Broadway [W 71st St]
212-799-0243 ✵ $
Open 24 hours. An institution.
✵ Han Dynasty ✵ 215 W 85th St [Broadway]
212-858-9060 ✵ $$$
Spicy Szechuan. Dan dan noodles, anyone?
✵ Harriet’s Kitchen ✵
502 Amsterdam Ave [W 84th St]
212-721-0045 ✵ $$
Reliable comfort food take-out joint.
✵ Isabella’s ✵ 359 Columbus Ave [W 77th St]
212-724-2100 ✵ $$$
Cosmos match the couture of ladies who lunch.
✵ Jackson Hole ✵ 517 Columbus Ave [W 85th St]
212-362-5177 ✵ $$
Extremely large burgers at this mini-chain.
✵ Jacob’s Pickles ✵
509 Amsterdam Ave [W 84th St]
212-470-5566 ✵ $$
Upmarket Southern-style menu and booze, and yes, plenty of pickles.
✵ Kefi ✵ 505 Columbus Ave [W 84th St]
212-873-0200 ✵ $$
Greek food gets an upgrade at this amazingly affordable gem.
✵ La Caridad 78 ✵ 2199 Broadway [W 78th St]
212-874-2780 ✵ $$
Cheap Cuban paradise.
✵ Land Thai Kitchen ✵
450 Amsterdam Ave [W 82nd St]
212-501-8121 ✵ $$
✵ Le Pain Quotidien ✵
50 W 72nd St [Central Park W]
212-712-9700 ✵ $$
Great breads. Communal table. Euro vibe.
✵ The Milling Room ✵
446 Columbus Ave [82nd St]
212-595-0380 ✵ $$$
Fancy tavern food.
✵ Nanoosh ✵ 2012 Broadway [W 69th St]
212-362-7922 ✵ $
Cheap, fast Middle-Eastern food. Good for before the movies.
✵ Nice Matin ✵ 201 W 79th St [Amsterdam Ave]
212-873-6423 ✵ $$$
Traditional French food staple with outdoor seating.
✵ Nick & Toni’s Cafe ✵ 100 W 67th St [Broadway]
212-496-4000 ✵ $$$
A-listers snack on thin-crust pizza and more Mediterranean food.
✵ Nougatine ✵ 1 Central Park W [Columbus Cir]
212-299-3900 ✵ $$$$$
Brilliant $24.07 prix fixe lunch!
✵ Ouest ✵ 2315 Broadway [W 84th St]
212-580-8700 ✵ $$$$
Trendy and upscale. Just the way some Upper Westsiders like it.
✵ Parm ✵ 235 Columbus Ave [W 71st St]
212-776-4921 ✵ $$
Mini-chain frying up righteous namesake sandwiches.
✵ Patsy’s Pizza ✵ 61 W 74 St [Columbus Ave]
212-579-3000 ✵ $$
Small city chain. Excellent thin-crust pizza. Fresh ingredients.
✵ Pier i Cafe ✵ 500 W 70th St [West Side Hwy]
212-362-4450 ✵ $$
In season, sip a beer, munch a burger, and take in that view.
✵ Planet Sushi ✵
380 Amsterdam Ave [W 78th St]
212-712-2162 ✵ $$
Decent sushi in a cheap raw fish no-man’s land.
✵ RedFarm ✵ 2170 Broadway [W 77th St]
212-724-9700 ✵ $$$
Creative, farm-fresh dim sum. Home of the Pac Man dumpling.
✵ Rosa Mexicano ✵
61 Columbus Ave [W 62nd St]
212-977-7700 ✵ $$$$
Inventive Mexican. Great guac.
✵ Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto ✵
283 Amsterdam Ave [W 73rd St]
212-877-4801 ✵ $$
Eatery doubles as excellent salami shop. Beware of ‘80s glam interior.
✵ Santa Fe ✵ 73 W 71st St [Columbus Ave]
212-724-0822 ✵ $$$
✵ Sarabeth’s ✵ 423 Amsterdam Ave [W 80th St]
212-496-6280 ✵ $$
Brunch, brunch, and brunch.
✵ Shake Shack ✵ 366 Columbus Ave [W 77th St]
646-747-8770 ✵ $$
Now you can get your Shack Burger year round.
✵ Simit + Smith ✵ 124 W 72nd St [Columbus Ave]
212-496-6605 ✵ $
Nope, that’s not a Turkish bagel. It’s a simit!
✵ Sushi Yasaka ✵ 251 W 72nd St [West End Ave]
212-496-8460 ✵ $$$
Assorted Japanese with tons of rolls. Try the mini omakase.
✵ Taco Grill ✵ 146 W 72nd St [Columbus Ave]
212-501-8888 ✵ $
Fast food Mexican. But still way better than Taco Bell.
✵ Telepan ✵ 72 W 69th St [Columbus Ave]
212-580-4300 ✵ $$$$$
Bill Telepan’s seasonal menus never disappoint.
✵ Tessa ✵ 349 Amsterdam Ave [77th St]
212-390-1974 ✵ $$$$
Exposed brick and steel French-Italian-Mediterranean tavern.
✵ 67 Wine ✵ 179 Columbus Ave [W 68th St]
Top-notch selection and helpful staff. Lots of tastings.
✵ Bicycle Renaissance ✵
430 Columbus Ave [W 81st St]
Mountain bikes galore; convenient to Central Park.
✵ Bloomingdale’s Outlet ✵
2085 Broadway [W 72nd St]
Multi-floor outlet version of the classic department store.
✵ Century 21 ✵ 1972 Broadway [W 66th St]
Where most New Yorkers buy their underwear.
✵ Citarella ✵ 2135 Broadway [W 75th St]
Expensive but delicious breads, meats, cheeses, and pastries.
✵ Eddie’s Bicycles ✵
480 Amsterdam Ave [W 83rd St]
✵ Fairway Market ✵ 2127 Broadway [W 74th St]
Top-notch supermarket, but always packed.
New York’s prime food shopping can be found in this neighborhood. Zabar’s (cheeses, fish, coffee, free samples) and Fairway (fresh produce, breads, dry goods, total chaos) are within blocks of each other. To pair some wine with that fine food, we like 67 Wine & Spirits. And everyone can find something to wear at the uptown outpost of Century 21.
✵ Gracious Home ✵ 1992 Broadway [W 68th St]
A side of hardware with your fancy housewares.
✵ Grandaisy Bakery ✵
176 W 72nd St [Amsterdam Ave]
Uptown outpost of famous Sullivan Street location.
✵ GreenFlea Market ✵
Columbus Ave & W 77th St
Fantastic craft and antique market with local vendors. Sundays only.
✵ Jonathan Adler ✵
304 Columbus Ave [W 74th St]
Funky, fun housewares.
✵ Laytner’s Linen & Home ✵
2276 Broadway [W 82nd St]
Things that’ll make you want to stay home more.
✵ Patagonia ✵ 426 Columbus Ave [W 81st St]
Eco-conscious store selling fleece for your adventurous subway ride.
✵ Pookie & Sebastian ✵
322 Columbus Ave [W 75th St]
Flirty tops, girly dresses, and fly jeans—for UWS chicks.
✵ Strings and Other Things ✵
1995 Broadway [W 68th St]
Petite and lovely shop for violin, viola, and cello.
✵ Toga Bikes ✵ 110 West End Ave [W 65th St]
NYC’s oldest bike shop.
✵ Town Shop ✵ 2270 Broadway [W 82nd St]
Where experts will fit you for the perfect bra.
✵ Western Beef ✵ 75 West End Ave [W 63rd St]
If you don’t have time for Fairway and Zabar’s.
✵ Westsider Records ✵
233 W 72nd St [Broadway]
Cool record store. You’ll find some interesting stuff.
✵ The Yarn Company ✵
2274 Broadway [W 82nd St]
The nitty gritty for knitters in the city.
✵ Zabar’s ✵ 2245 Broadway [W 80th St]
Manhattan supermarket legend. NFT’s favorite.