Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists (2016)
Map 16. Upper West Side (Upper)
Close to Columbia University, this neighborhood is home to much of New York’s liberal intelligentsia. It is not uncommon to overhear discussions about the fate of health care reform or the latest Phillip Roth novel at the dog run, or on line for coffee at a neighborhood bakery. But the neighborhood is far from snobby. Mixed in with the college professors, theater directors, doctors, and lawyers are many families with young children, and twenty-somethings, all of whom enjoy the slower pace of life and physical beauty of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
This neighborhood is one of the greenest spaces in New York. Situated between Riverside and Central Park, there are many places to run, bike, or sit in the shade of a tree. There are few tourist attractions in this part of Central Park, but the natural beauty of the park and its recreational spaces are abundant. You can enter the reservoir from this end of the park, and enjoy a scenic view while running 1.6 miles around a dirt path. Walking west from Central Park to Riverside Park, peek into Pomander Walk, a tiny, pedestrian-only street of tiny houses. In Riverside Park, take the time to explore the many famous monuments. After 9/11, neighborhood residents gathered at the Fireman’s Memorial to commemorate those that were lost. The statue of Joan of Arc sits within an island on Riverside Drive that is maintained by neighborhood residents. Dedicated on Memorial Day in 1902 and modeled after a Corinthian temple, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument commemorates those who served during the Civil War. If you’re just looking for some place to sit and read, Straus Park, a small green island between West End and Broadway, offers a quiet spot to rest amid the bustle of the street.
For a neighborhood so far from the bustling theater hub of Times Square and Museum Mile, the Upper West Side offers its fair share of cultural entertainment. Symphony Space is a multidisciplinary arts center. There is always a reading or concert on the main stage, and the Leonard Nimoy Thalia next door is always showing a classic movie. Symphony Space also occasionally hosts free marathon concerts, and is known for its fun “Wall To Wall” series. Come early to get a seat and stay as long as you want. For jazz, check out Smoke; many well-known musicians perform. They also have excellent food. The Underground Lounge hosts decent comedy nights and also occasionally has live music. The West Side Arts Coalition sponsors visual arts exhibitions at the Broadway Mall Community Center in a renovated Beaux-Arts building in the middle of Broadway. El Taller Latino Americano has live music, salsa dancing, and an occasional film, as well as Spanish classes, all very affordable.
For cheap drinks, check out Abbey Pub or Broadway Dive. For a good LGBT spot, head to Suite. Go Euro with the Beligum brews at B. Cafe. Cleopatra’s Needle is jamming with open mike and jam sessions around the grand piano and Smoke is, uh, smokin’ with live jazz. The Village Pourhouse is where the football fans and softball teams go.
Upper West Side (Upper)
✵ Broadway Mall Community Center ✵
W 96th St & Broadway
Beaux-Arts home of The West Side Arts Coalition.
✵ El Taller ✵ 2710 Broadway [W 104th St]
Vibrant cultural hub for Latino art, music, and dance.
✵ Firemen’s Memorial ✵
W 100th St & Riverside Dr
Memorial to fallen fire fighters.
✵ Joan of Arc Memorial ✵
Riverside Dr & W 93rd St
Impressive statue erected in 1915.
✵ Pomander Walk ✵ 261 W 94th St [Broadway]
Great little hideaway.
✵ Riverside Park ✵
Hudson River b/n 59th & 155th St
330 acres of Olmsted/Moses parkland along the Hudson River.
✵ Schinasi Mansion ✵
351 Riverside Dr [W 107th St]
My name is Elmer J. Fudd, I own a mansion…
✵ Soldiers and Sailors Monument ✵
W 89th St & Riverside Dr
It’s been seen in Law & Order, along with everything else in New York.
✵ Straus Park ✵ Broadway & W 106th St
Green respite just off the craziness of Broadway.
✵ Le Pain Quotidien ✵
2463 Broadway [W 91st St]
Excellent coffee and pastries. Thanks Belgium.
✵ Silver Moon Bakery ✵
2740 Broadway [W 105th St]
Delicious morning coffee and croissant.
✵ 97th Street Greenmarket ✵
Columbus Ave & W 97th St
✵ Abbey Pub ✵ 237 W 105th St [Broadway]
Cozy Columbia hangout.
✵ Amsterdam Tavern ✵
938 Amsterdam Ave [W 106th St]
Great beer selection. Annoying TVs.
✵ B. Cafe ✵ 566 Amsterdam Ave [W 87th St]
Belgian beer tastes good. Really good.
✵ Broadway Dive ✵ 2662 Broadway [W 101st St]
How’s that for a name?
✵ Buceo 95 ✵ 201 W 95th St [Amsterdam Ave]
Surprisingly affordable wine bar with delicious tapas.
✵ Cleopatra’s Needle ✵
2485 Broadway [W 92nd St]
Solid middle eastern food and solid live jazz performances.
✵ Dive Bar ✵ 732 Amsterdam Ave [W 96th St]
That’s “dive” as in “deep”; Columbia hangout.
✵ Lion’s Head Tavern ✵
995 Amsterdam Ave [W 109th St]
Sports bar where locals and Columbia students drink cheaply.
✵ The Parlour ✵ 250 W 86th St [Broadway]
Irish pub, two spaces, good hangout.
✵ Smoke ✵ 2751 Broadway [W 106th St]
Local jazz hangout. Sunday nights are fun.
✵ Suite ✵ 992 Amsterdam Ave [W 109th St]
Karaoke on Thursdays. Rare gay bar in the neighborhood.
✵ Tap A Keg ✵ 2731 Broadway [W 104th St]
Cheap beer and pool tables!
✵ The Underground Lounge ✵
955 West End Ave [W 107th St]
Stand up comedy and live music. Some really good!
✵ Village Pourhouse ✵
982 Amsterdam Ave [W 109th St]
Drink good beer and catch the big game here.
Wait in line for bagels and lox at Barney Greengrass. Jam econo with the rice & beans at either Flor de Mayo or El Malecon. Dine on awesome Mexican at Taqueri Y Fonda and rich Indian at Indus Valley. On the go? Swing by Roti Roll for Indian treats, Absolute Bagels for freshness right out of the oven, and pastry rivaling what you’d find in Paris at Silver Moon Bakery.
✵ A Cafe and Wine Room ✵
973 Columbus Ave [W 107th St]
212-222-2033 ✵ $$
Enjoy French-Caribbean cuisine at this hole-in-the-wall BYOB.
✵ Asia Kan ✵ 710 Amsterdam Ave [W 94th St]
212-280-8878 ✵ $$$
Super sushi & so hip!
✵ Awash ✵ 947 Amsterdam Ave [W 106th St]
212-961-1416 ✵ $$
✵ Ayurveda Cafe ✵
706 Amsterdam Ave [W 94th St]
212-932-2400 ✵ $$$
Indian veggie delights for the body and soul.
✵ Barney Greengrass ✵
541 Amsterdam Ave [W 86th St]
212-724-4707 ✵ $$$
Sturgeon and eggs make the perfect NYC b-fast.
✵ Bella Luna ✵ 584 Columbus Ave [W 88th St]
212-877-2267 ✵ $$$
Old fashion Italian with live jazz Tuesdays.
✵ Blockheads ✵
951 Amsterdam Ave [W 106th St]
212-662-8226 ✵ $$
Mexican, SF-style food for, well you know, blockheads.
✵ Broadway Restaurant ✵
2664 Broadway [W 101st St]
212-865-7074 ✵ $
Great breakfast and sandwiches, good place to start the day.
✵ Café Con Leche ✵
424 Amsterdam Ave [W 80th St]
212-595-7000 ✵ $$
✵ Carmine’s ✵ 2450 Broadway [W 91st St]
212-362-2200 ✵ $$$
✵ Cascabel Taqueria ✵
2799 Broadway [W 108th St]
Great Mexican food and drinks; nice outdoor seating.
✵ City Diner ✵ 2441 Broadway [W 90th St]
212-877-2720 ✵ $$
✵ Crepes on Columbus ✵
990 Columbus Ave [W 109th St]
212-222-0259 ✵ $$
Savory & sweet crepes in abundance.
✵ Edgar’s Café ✵
650 Amsterdam Ave [W 92nd St]
212-496-6126 ✵ $$
Salads, desserts, and atmosphere.
✵ El Malecon ✵ 764 Amsterdam Ave [W 97th St]
212-864-5648 ✵ $
Roast chicken and a con leche.
✵ El Rey de la Caridad ✵
973 Amsterdam Ave [W 108th St]
212-222-7383 ✵ $$
Enjoy a Dominican feast. Bring your Spanish dictionary.
✵ Flor de Mayo ✵ 2651 Broadway [W 101st St]
212-663-5520 ✵ $$
✵ Gabriela’s ✵ 688 Columbus Ave [W 94th St]
212-961-9600 ✵ $$
✵ Gennaro ✵ 665 Amsterdam Ave [W 92nd St]
212-665-5348 ✵ $$$
✵ Giovanni’s ✵ 1011 Columbus Ave [W 109th St]
212-663-7000 ✵ $$
Pretty good slice.
✵ Henry’s ✵ 2745 Broadway [W 105th St]
212-866-0600 ✵ $$$
Friendly uptown joint.
✵ Indus Valley ✵ 2636 Broadway [W 100th St]
212-222-9222 ✵ $$$
Locals rave about this Indian food but it costs.
✵ Jerusalem Restaurant ✵
2715 Broadway [W 104th St]
212-865-2295 ✵ $
Good Middle Eastern, friendly service, open late.
✵ Kouzan ✵ 685 Amsterdam Ave [W 93rd St]
212-280-8099 ✵ $$
Upscale Japanese dining with a pseudo nightclub-like atmosphere.
✵ La Mirabelle ✵ 102 W 86th St [Columbus Ave]
212-496-0458 ✵ $$$
New York old-timers keep coming back for classic French cuisine.
✵ Malaysia Grill ✵ 224 W 104th St [Broadway]
212-579-1333 ✵ $$
Inexpensive Malaysian pleasure.
✵ Mermaid Inn ✵
568 Amsterdam Ave [W 88th St]
212-799-7400 ✵ $$$$
Simple seafood creations in a tasteful setting.
✵ Metro Diner ✵ 2641 Broadway [W 100th St]
212-866-0800 ✵ $$
Get in line for weekend brunch.
✵ Momofuku Milk Bar ✵
561 Columbus Ave [W 87th St]
347-577-9504 ✵ $$
A dessert-lover’s delight (try the cake truffles!).
✵ Noche Mexicana ✵
852 Amsterdam Ave [W 102nd St]
212-662-6900 ✵ $$
Certainly more authentic than Blockheads up the street.
✵ Ozu Restaurant ✵
566 Amsterdam Ave [W 87th St]
212-787-8316 ✵ $$
Cozy kosher Japanese, lots of veggie options.
✵ Pio Pio Salon ✵
702 Amsterdam Ave [W 94th St]
212-665-3000 ✵ $$
Tasty rotisserie chicken with all the fixins. Thanks Peru!
✵ Pizzeria Sirenetta ✵
568 Amsterdam Ave [W 88th St]
212-799-7401 ✵ $$$
Rustic Italianesque pizzeria from Mermaid Inn folks.
✵ Regional ✵ 2607 Broadway [W 98th St]
212-666-1915 ✵ $$$
20 regional Italian cuisines and Sunday brunch.
✵ Roti Roll Bombay Frankie ✵
994 Amsterdam Ave [W 109th St]
212-666-1500 ✵ $
Hole-in-the-wall rotis to soak up alcohol.
✵ Saiguette ✵ 935 Columbus Ave [W 106th St]
212-866-6888 ✵ $
Damn good Vietnamese including scrumptious banh mi sandwiches.
✵ Talia’s Steakhouse ✵
668 Amsterdam Ave [W 93rd St]
212-580-3770 ✵ $$$$
Your basic everyday kosher steakhouse.
✵ Taqueria Y Fonda ✵
968 Amsterdam Ave [W 108th St]
212-531-0383 ✵ $$
Amazing Mexican dive. Columbia kids love this place.
✵ Thai Market ✵
960 Amsterdam Ave [W 107th St]
212-280-4575 ✵ $$
Another favorite Thai among locals.
✵ Trattoria Pesce Pasta ✵
625 Columbus Ave [W 91st St]
212-579-7970 ✵ $$$
Decent neighborhood Italian. Good antipasti.
✵ Turkuaz ✵ 2637 Broadway [W 100th St]
212-665-9541 ✵ $$
Craving gelenseksel yemekler (traditional dish)? It’s all here.
Looking for a nice bottle of wine to bring to dinner? Try Whole Foods Wine, which is the first branch of the upscale grocery store to have one. Barzini’s has nice fresh produce as does Garden of Eden. For smoked fish and prepared foods try The Kosher Marketplace. Schatzie’s is the best butcher around and Joon Fine Seafood has fresh fish at fair prices.
✵ Absolute Bagels ✵
2788 Broadway [W 108th St]
Amazing. Home of the hard-to-find pumpernickel raisin.
✵ Ace Hardware ✵
610 Columbus Ave [W 90th St]
✵ Barzini’s ✵ 2455 Broadway [W 91st St]
Huge selection of cheeses. Fresh bread and produce.
✵ Ben & Jerry’s ✵ 2722 Broadway [W 104th St]
Hippie treat trifecta: Cherry Garcia, Phish Food, and Half Baked.
✵ Champion Bicycles ✵
896 Amsterdam Ave [W 104th St]
Well priced, good guys.
✵ Garden of Eden ✵
2780 Broadway [W 107th St]
Produce is pretty good here.
✵ Gotham Wines And Liquors ✵
2517 Broadway [W 94th St]
Friendly neighborhood favorite.
✵ Gothic Cabinet Craft ✵
2652 Broadway [W 101st St]
Real wood furniture. Made in Queens!
✵ Health Nuts ✵ 2611 Broadway [W 99th St]
Standard health food store.
✵ Innovation Bike Shop ✵
105 W 106th St [Columbus Ave]
Sales, service, rentals, and accessories.
✵ Janovic ✵ 2680 Broadway [W 102nd St]
Top NYC paint store.
✵ Joon Fine Seafood ✵
774 Amsterdam Ave [W 98th St]
Fresh fish market that will fry ‘em up right there.
✵ The Kosher Marketplace ✵
2442 Broadway [W 90th St]
For all of your Kosher needs.
✵ Mani Marketplace ✵
697 Columbus Ave [W 94th St]
Fantastic little grocery with jazz on the sound system.
✵ Metro Bicycles ✵ 231 W 96th St [Broadway]
New York’s bicycle source.
✵ Michael’s ✵ 808 Columbus Ave [W 100th St]
Gigantic arts and crafts store straight from suburbia.
✵ Mitchell’s Wine & Liquor Store ✵
200 W 86th St [Amsterdam Ave]
Worth a trip just for the gorgeous neon sign.
✵ Mugi Pottery ✵
993 Amsterdam Ave [W 109th St]
Handcrafted pottery. Like in the movie Ghost.
✵ Murray’s Sturgeon Shop ✵
2429 Broadway [W 90th St]
UWS comfort food: rugelah, knishes, and, lots of sturgeon.
✵ New Westlane Wines & Liquor ✵
689 Columbus Ave [W 93rd St]
Behind the bullet proof glass is a pretty good selection.
✵ New York Flowers & Plant Shed ✵
209 W 96th St [Amsterdam Ave]
Makes you wish you had more (or any) garden space.
✵ Schatzie The Butcher ✵
555 Amsterdam Ave [W 87th St]
Butcher with good prime meat and poultry.
✵ Upper 90 Soccer & Sport ✵
697 Amsterdam Ave [W 94th St]
Great selection of soccer apparel and accessories.
✵ Variazioni ✵ 2389 Broadway [W 88th St]
Funky tops, designer jeans, high prices.
✵ Whole Foods ✵ 808 Columbus Ave [W 97th St]
Finally. Good fresh food north of 96th Street.
✵ Whole Foods Wine ✵
808 Columbus Ave [W 100th St]
Featuring lots of NY State wines.