Upper East Side / East Harlem - Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists

Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists (2016)

Map 17. Upper East Side / East Harlem



Neighborhood Overview


Map 17

Whew, finally a break from the chaos. This part of the Upper East Side is a place for families, young, old, black, white, Latino, rich, poor—it just depends what block you stumble upon. Head above 96th Street for some of the best Mexican food on the planet, or head west to Central Park, where you’ll find kids and adults playing soccer, softball, and football. Get some culture at the neighborhoods museums, get some knowledge at a lecture at the 92nd Street Y, but most importantly, get ready to be somewhere where people can actually live, work, and shop. Nothing hip or cool here, this is just a good old-fashioned New York neighborhood.

Much of this part of the Upper East Side is known as Carnegie Hill, named for the Carnegie Mansion on 91st and Fifth Avenue (it’s now the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum). Gracie Mansion, the charming Federal-style mansion in Carl Schurz Park, dates to 1799 and has served as the official residence of New York City mayors since the days of Fiorello La Guardia. Henderson Place, built in 1881 for families of “moderate means” was designed by the architectures of Lamb and Rich and with 24 units still remaining, serves as an example of original middle-class living in the Big Apple.

Ever think a Soviet battle could take place on American soil? The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas was the site of a power struggle between czarist and Soviet Russians after its founding in 1902. Finally conflict-free, it is an amazing sight to see. Asphalt Green, an old municipal asphalt plant, now houses sports fields; the source of much controversy, some called it the ugliest thing they’d ever seen, but MoMA hailed it as a masterpiece of functional design. Head over to 91st Street and decide for yourself. Both visitors and native New Yorkers will learn something new at The Museum of the City of New York, with its vast collection of over 1.5 million objects and images telling the story of the city’s past.

The Jewish Museum features works by Chagall, a video and film archive, and traveling exhibits that are always worth a peek. Head up to 104th Street and down to the Caribbean at Museo del Barrio, where you can find an excellent collection of Latin American art. Elsewhere, The Guggenheim not only houses Picasso, Chagall, Mondrian, and Kandinsky but is also a piece of art itself, with Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence seen on the swirling staircase that guides visitors through. One of the best ways to see the Guggenheim is on the first Friday of every month at Art After Dark, where visitors can tour the museum and enjoy some cocktails and music along the way. Before you leave, check the schedule at the 92nd Street Y, which frequently hosts boldface-name speakers. And the Graffiti Wall of Fame at 106th and Park (yes, that 106 & Park for those BET fans out there), is an awesome collection of street art at its best.

Wanna watch the game or play a few games of beer pong? You’ve come to the right place. Check out the cheap specials at Rathbones, watch the big game at Kinsale, or “dive” right into things at Reif’s. Then, escapethe beer-filled Upper East Side bars with a stop for a cozy drink at Auction House, or ABV and its smartly curated beer and wine lists, or even the mixology of The Guthrie Inn.

Upper East Side / East Harlem


Map 17

image Landmarks

✵ 92nd Street Y ✵

1395 Lexington Ave [E 92nd St]


Community hub for film, theater, and interesting lectures.

✵ Asphalt Green ✵ E 90th St & East End Ave


Industrial architecture turned sports facility.

✵ Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum ✵ 2 E 91st St [5th Ave]


Great design shows; run by the Smithsonian.

✵ El Museo del Barrio ✵

1230 5th Ave [E 104th St]


NYC’s only Latino museum.

✵ Glaser’s Bake Shop ✵ 1670 1st Ave [E 87th St]


Best black-and-white cookies for more than a century.

✵ Gracie Mansion ✵ E End Ave & 88th St


Our own Buckingham Palace, right above the FDR drive.

✵ Graffiti Wall of Fame ✵ E 106th St & Park Ave

This street art will blow you away.

✵ Guggenheim Museum ✵

1071 5th Ave [E 88th St]


Wright’s only building in NYC, but it’s one of the best.

✵ Henderson Place ✵ E End Ave & E 86th St

Charming Queen Anne-style apartment houses circa 1881-82.

✵ Islamic Cultural Center ✵

1711 3rd Ave [E 96th St]


Enormous and extraordinary mosque. Bustling on Fridays.

✵ The Jewish Museum ✵

1109 5th Ave [E 92nd St]


Over 28,000 artifacts of Jewish culture and history.

✵ Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center ✵ 1680 Lexington Ave [E 105th St]


Artistic and community hub of East Harlem.

✵ Museum of the City of New York ✵

1220 5th Ave [E 103rd St]


Fascinating exhibitions on life in the big city.

✵ Papaya King ✵ 179 E 86th St [3rd Ave]


Dishing out damn good dogs since 1932.

✵ Schaller & Weber ✵ 1654 2nd Ave [E 86th St]


A relic of old Yorkville with great German meats.

✵ St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral ✵ 15 E 97th St [5th Ave]

This UES cathedral, built in 1902, remains the center of Russian Orthodoxy in the US.

image Coffee

✵ Bluestone Lane ✵ 2 E 90th St [5th Ave]


Fancy caffeine from Down Under inside a gorgeous church.

✵ East Harlem Cafe ✵

1651 Lexington Ave [E 104th St]


Great coffee and even better community vibe.

✵ Gracie’s Diner ✵ 300 E 86th St [2nd Ave]


Old-school diner. Open 24 hrs.

image Farmers Markets

✵ 92nd St Greenmarket ✵ 1st Ave & E 92nd St

Sun 9 am-5 pm July-Nov

✵ Harvest Home East Harlem Farmers Market ✵ 3rd Ave & E 104th St


Thu 8 am-4pm, Jul-Nov

✵ Mount Sinai Greenmarket ✵

Madison Ave & E 99th St

Wed 8 am-4 pm July-Nov

image Nightlife

✵ ABV ✵ 1504 Lexington Ave [E 97th St]


Nicely curated wine and beer lists in a classy setting.

✵ Auction House ✵ 300 E 89th St [2nd Ave]


Stylish lounge…or at least stylish for the Upper East Side.

For the signature UES meal, there’s nothing like brunch at Sarabeth’s. If you want to shell out for a good steak, head to the Parlor Steakhouse. Also, don’t miss the the bar food at Earl’s Beer & Cheese, cemitas sandwiches at Cafe Ollin, and Alsatian at Cafe D’Alsace. Between paydays, head over to Papaya King (“Tastier than a filet mignon”) or Shake Shack.

✵ Biddy’s Pub ✵ 301 E 91st St [2nd Ave]


Skip the pretension, grab the beer at this small neighborhood spot.

✵ The District ✵ 1679 3rd Ave [E 94th St]


Upscale pub for the grown up frat boys.

✵ Earl’s Beer & Cheese ✵

1259 Park Ave [E 97th St]


Best beer selection for miles. And awesome food.

✵ East End Bar and Grill ✵

1664 1st Ave [E 87th St]


Mellow Irish hang out.

✵ Eastside Billiards ✵

163 E 86th St [Lexington Ave]


Go for the pool, not the atmosphere.

✵ The Guthrie Inn ✵ 1259 Park Ave [E 97th St]


Amazing cocktails from a well-known mixologist.

✵ Il Vino Wine Bar ✵ 1728 2nd Ave [E 90th St]


Good meal deals that include a whole bottle of vino.

✵ The Lexington Social ✵

1634 Lexington Ave [E 104th St]


Good happy hour and tapas.

✵ Lucy’s Whey ✵ 1417 Lexington Ave [E 93rd St]


Gourmet cheese shop that doubles as a wine bar.

✵ Phil Hughes ✵ 1682 1st Ave [E 88th St]


An honest-to-god dive bar on the UES.

✵ Rathbones Pub ✵ 1702 2nd Ave [E 88th St]


Your basic Manhattan pub.

✵ Reif’s Tavern ✵ 302 E 92nd St [2nd Ave]


Dive-o-rama since 1942.

✵ Third Avenue Ale House ✵

1644 3rd Ave [E 92nd St]


New school pub food and beer brunches.

image Restaurants

✵ Barking Dog ✵ 1678 3rd Ave [E 94th St]

212-831-1800 $$

Woof woof. This food ain’t too bad.

✵ Café D’Alsace ✵ 1695 2nd Ave [E 88th St]

212-722-5133 $$$$

Chic Alsatian bistro with an actual beer sommelier.

✵ Cafe Ollin ✵ 339 E 108th St [1st Ave]

212-828-3644 $

Tiny Mexican hole cranking out awesome cemitas and more.

✵ Cafe Sabarsky ✵ 1048 5th Ave [E 86th St]

212-288-0665 $$$

Beautiful wood-paneled surroundings for sipping Viennese coffee.

✵ Cavatappo Grill ✵ 1712 1st Ave [E 89th St]

212-987-9260 $$$$$

Northern Italian standout with loyal neighborhood following.

✵ Chef Ho’s ✵ 1720 2nd Ave [E 89th St]

212-348-9444 $$$

Creative gourmet-ish Chinese cuisine. Try the Banana Chicken—delicious!

✵ Corner Bakery ✵ 1645 3rd Ave [E 92nd St]

212-860-8060 $$

Brisk brunch spot with dine-in and take-out options.

✵ Delizia 92 Ristorante & Pizza ✵

1762 2nd Ave [E 92nd St]

212-996-3720 $$

Great, if slightly overpriced, NYC pizza and pasta.

✵ El Caribeno ✵ 1675 Lexington Ave [E 105th St]

212-831-3906 $$

Dominican hang out for roast chicken and pork.

✵ El Paso ✵ 1643 Lexington Ave [E 104th St]

212-831-9831 $

Fantastic Mexican. Try the chilaquiles and spicy guacamole.

✵ El Paso Taqueria ✵ 64 E 97th St [Park Ave]

212-996-1739 $$

Finally, real Mexican food at incredibly good prices.

✵ Frere de Lys ✵ 1685 1st Ave [E 87th St]

646-861-2793 $$$

Tres French spot with a homey vibe and nice wine list (of course).

✵ GK Triple A Diner ✵ 2061 2nd Ave [E 106th St]

212-410-6950 $

Standard diner food.

✵ Gong ✵ 173 E 99th St [3rd Ave]

212-360-5874 $$

Neighborhood tasty Thai.

✵ Gracie’s Diner ✵ 300 E 86th St [2nd Ave]

212-879-9425 $$

Diner that’s open all night.

✵ Il Salumaio ✵ 1731 2nd Ave [90th St]

646-852-6876 $$

Cozy wine bar with an Italian deli counter.

✵ Infirmary NYC ✵ 1720 2nd Ave [E 89th St]

917-388-2512 $$$

HMO-approved Cajun food.

✵ Ithaka ✵ 308 E 86th St [2nd Ave]

212-628-9100 $$$

Fish grilled to perfection. Live music too.

✵ Joy Burger Bar ✵

1567 Lexington Ave [E 100th St]

212-289-6222 $

Burgers that, yes, bring joy to your mouth.

✵ La Isla Restaurant ✵ 1883 3rd Ave [E 104th St]

212-534-0002 $

Locals get take-out from this Puerto Rican diner.

✵ Libertador ✵ 1725 2nd Ave [E 89th St]

212-348-6222 $$$

Grilled meats and empanadas.

✵ Little Luzzo’s ✵ 119 E 96th St [Park Ave]

212-369-2300 $

In the pizza wasteland of the UES, these slices hit the spot.

✵ Mansion Restaurant ✵

1634 York Ave [E 87th St]

212-535-8888 $

Don’t be scared of anything on this diner’s massive menu.

✵ Maz Mezcal ✵ 316 E 86th St [2nd Ave]

212-472-1599 $$

Decent Mexican in a soulless area, good salsa.

✵ Midnight Express ✵ 1715 2nd Ave [E 89th St]

212-860-2320 $

Fine for breakfast, downright amazing for 3 am food.

✵ Moustache ✵ 1621 Lexington Ave [E 102nd St]

212-828-0030 $$

Middle Eastern surrounded by Mexican.

✵ Naruto Ramen ✵ 1596 3rd Ave [E 90th St]

212-289-7803 $$

Sip Japanese soup at the cramped counter.

✵ Nick’s Restaurant & Pizzeria ✵

1814 2nd Ave [E 94th St]

212-987-5700 $$$

Piping hot, thin-crust, brick oven pizza (and pasta).

✵ Noglu ✵ 1266 Madison Ave [E 91st St]

646-895-9798 $$$

Upscale gluten-free French import.

✵ Papaya King ✵ 179 E 86th St [3rd Ave]

212-369-0648 $

Dishing out damn good dogs since 1932.

✵ Parlor Steakhouse ✵ 1600 3rd Ave [E 90th St]

212-423-5888 $$$$

Sink your teeth into an authentic filet mignon worth the dough.

✵ Peri Ela ✵ 1361 Lexington Ave [E 90th St]

212-410-4300 $$

Classy Turkish restaurant.

✵ Piatto D’Oro ✵ 349 E 109th St [2nd Ave]

212-828-2929 $$$

East Harlem Italian.

✵ Pinocchio Ristorante ✵

1748 1st Ave [E 91st St]

212-828-5810 $$$$$

Itty bitty sleeper Italian with rave reviews and loyal fans.

✵ Pio Pio ✵ 1746 1st Ave [E 91st St]

212-426-5800 $$

The Matador chicken combo will feed the whole family.

✵ Roast ✵ 1569 Lexington Ave [E 100th St]

212-360-7200 $$

Kosher chicken joint with fried or rotisserie birds.

✵ Sabor A Mexico ✵ 1744 1st Ave [E 90th St]

212-289-2641 $$

Small, home-cooked, cheap, and delicious.

✵ Sarabeth’s ✵ 1295 Madison Ave [E 92nd St]

212-410-7335 $$$

Good upper class breakfast, if you can get in.

✵ Schaller’s Stube ✵ 1652 2nd Ave [E 86th St]

646-726-4355 $$

Sausage counter from the German meat market next door.

✵ Sfoglia ✵ 1402 Lexington Ave [E 92nd St]

212-831-1402 $$$$

Exquisite and experimental Italian by 92nd Street Y.

✵ Shake Shack ✵ 154 E 86th St [Lexington Ave]

646-237-5035 $

Finally, something good on 86th Street.

✵ Table d’Hote ✵ 44 E 92nd St [Madison Ave]

212-348-8125 $$$$

Cozy French vibe. Good Prix Fixe.

✵ Tokubei 86 ✵ 314 E 86th St [2nd Ave]


Long time UES friendly Japanese pub with sushi.

✵ Uptown Lounge ✵ 1576 3rd Ave [E 89th St]

212-828-1388 $$

Decent food meets incredibly potent cocktail specials.

✵ White Castle ✵ 351 E 103rd St [1st Ave]

212-876-6737 $

One of four in Manhattan.

Feed your mind at The Corner Bookstore before heading over to Eli’s Vinegar Factory for an overpriced (but delicious) bag of groceries. For German treats and meats, Schaller & Weber is the place. Mister Wright knows his wine and booze. Wankel’s is the best for hardware. Make the kids happy at The Children’s General Store. Of course, what you’re really here for are the black-and-white cookies at Glaser’s.

✵ Yura & Company ✵ 1659 3rd Ave [E 93rd St]

212-860-8060 $

Corner Bakery

✵ Zebu Grill ✵ 305 E 92nd St [2nd Ave]

212-426-7500 $$$$$

Candlelit Brazilian bistro with exposed brick and earthy wooden tables.

image Shopping

✵ Blacker & Kooby Stationers ✵

1390 Lexington Ave [E 92nd St]


Good selection of stationery, pens, and art supplies.

✵ The Children’s General Store ✵

168 E 91st St [Lexington Ave]


Toys, games, crafts, and all things kids love.

✵ Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Shop ✵ 2 E 91st St [5th Ave]


Cool design stuff.

✵ Corner Bookstore ✵

1313 Madison Ave [E 93rd St]


Tiny, old-school shop. Great selection.

✵ Coup de Coeur ✵ 1628 3rd Ave [E 91st St]


Stylish boutique on not-so-stylish stretch of Third Avenue.

✵ Danny’s Cycles ✵ 1690 2nd Ave [E 87th St]


Service, repair, and rentals.

✵ Eli’s Vinegar Factory ✵ 431 E 91st St [1st Ave]


Gourmet market with prepared (and expensive) foods.

✵ Fresh From the Farm ✵

141 E 96th St [Lexington Ave]


Excellent produce and unique Turkish products.

✵ Glaser’s Bake Shop ✵ 1670 1st Ave [E 87th St]


Best black-and-white cookies for more than a century.

✵ Goliath ✵ 175 E 105th St [3rd Ave]


Super cool urban sneaker emporium.

✵ Gourmet Garage ✵ 1245 Park Ave [E 96th St]


Not really gourmet, but better than the average market.

✵ Housing Works Thrift Shop ✵

1730 2nd Ave [E 90th St]


Uptown outpost of our favorite thrift shop.

✵ Kitchen Arts & Letters ✵

1435 Lexington Ave [E 93rd St]


Fine selection of food and wine books.

✵ La Casa Azul Bookstore ✵

143 E 103rd St [Lexington Ave]


Spanish and English books, art gallery, and a lovely backyard.

✵ La Tropezienne Bakery ✵

2131 1st Ave [E 110th St]


Excellent French bakery in El Barrio.

✵ Lucy’s Whey ✵ 1417 Lexington Ave [E 93rd St]


Gourmet cheese shop that doubles as a wine bar.

✵ Milano Market ✵ 1582 3rd Ave [E 88th St]


Gem of an Italian market.

✵ Mister Wright Fine Wines & Spirits ✵

1593 3rd Ave [E 90th St]


Good liquor store with huge selection and tastings.

✵ Museum of the City of New York ✵

1220 5th Ave [E 103rd St]


Great NYC-focused gift shop.

✵ Orva Shoes ✵ 155 E 86th St [Lexington Ave]


Ladies’ discount department store.

✵ Schaller & Weber ✵ 1654 2nd Ave [E 86th St]


A relic of old Yorkville with countless German meats.

✵ Super Runners Shop ✵

1337 Lexington Ave [E 89th St]


Think before you buy running shorts that are too tight.

✵ Vinyl Wine ✵ 1491 Lexington Ave [E 96th St]


Excellent hand-picked selection. And a record player.

✵ Wankel’s Hardware ✵ 1573 3rd Ave [E 88th St]


The best hardware store around.