Museum Mile, the mayor's house, and some of the most expensive real estate in the United States: these are just a few things found on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The buildings from 59th to 96th Street between Central Park and the East River are recognized for their sense of luxury and refinement. Once known as the "Silk Stocking District," the Upper East Side has been the locale for nearly all of the city's most affluent families, from Rockefellers to Roosevelts, from Kennedys to Carnegies.
For many years during NYC's beginning, however, the Upper East Side lay unused. Commercial and residential buildings were located mainly downtown, and it wasn't until the addition of an elevated train that the blocks were built up. By the early 1890s, the area had become primarily residential, with the exception of Fifth Avenue. Breaking up the residences, some of the city's best museums run down Fifth Avenue, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Smithsonian Institution, the Jewish Museum, the International Center of Photography, and the Museum of the City of New York, among others. Other Upper East Side museums include the Frick Collection and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Since construction first started on the Upper East Side, its blocks have been filled with everything from tenements to mansions over the years, (although the tenements didn't last long). In fact, some of Manhattan's only remaining mansions are located on the Upper East Side; Gracie Mansion is one such building. It has served as a haven for the city's mayors from 1942 until recently, when Michael Bloomberg elected to stay in his own home, also located on the Upper East Side. With penthouse apartments selling for around $100 million, you may not be able to afford to live on the Upper East Side. But with the Museum Mile and a clear view of Central Park, it's worth the trip uptown for a little visit.