When the well-heeled downtown set lost their power due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, they didn’t load up on candles, batteries and canned goods; instead, they ditched their West Village brownstones and Soho lofts and headed to the Upper East Side. The stylishly displaced, crowd rode out the storm in many of the neighborhood’s luxury hotels like The Carlyle or the Plaza Athene, The Pierre and Bentley Hotel and dined out in many of the area’s four-star restaurants like Caravaggio and Daniel.
Bounded by 59th Street to 96th Street and the East River to Fifth Avenue and Central Park, the Upper East Side is one of New York City’s most affluent neighborhoods and is associated with high society, wealth and power. The neighborhood is home to some of New York City and the world’s most expensive residential real estate.
The oil-rich Rockefellers, political Roosevelts and Kennedy’s and the tobacco-fortuned Dukes are just a few of New York’s upper-class families that have made residences on the Upper East Side.
In the Early Days
In the early 1800s, the Upper East Side was filled with Native American fishing camps along the East River bluffs. As boatloads of immigrants arrived in Manhattan, most remained in lower Manhattan as the Upper East Side existed as rural farmland and market gardens.
Then in 1837 the New York and Harlem Railroad began to increase commercial development at 86th Street. This hub of activity would eventually become the center of the German-American neighborhood of Yorkville. An enclave for middle-class Germans, many whom worked in nearby breweries, stables and piano factories, the area was home to Yankee baseball great Lou Gehrig, who was supposedly born in East Harlem in the lower middle class section of Yorkville.