The Upper East Side vs. The Upper West Side

A New York City brownstone home with blooming flower boxes, green shrubs, and dark iron railings.

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Manhattan may be one island, but there are plenty of unique neighborhoods that remain distinct in their own ways. The Upper West Side and the Upper East Side are two in particular that people sometimes see as the same – both bordered by the iconic Central Park and beautiful rivers. However, if you ask residents of these areas what the difference is between each, you’ll get an earful! Here’s our comparison of the Upper East and West Sides of Manhattan to highlight which neighborhood, and their amenities, best suit your New York City lifestyle.

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Living in the Upper West Side

Since the East Side is very family-oriented and quiet, a majority of 20 and 30-something professionals tend to gravitate more towards the West Side for it’s trendy and upcoming nightlife. In fact, Glenwood maintains 7 exclusive luxury apartment buildings in this area! Although the West Side sees higher rent prices, the area itself can’t be beat! Running from Columbus Circle all the way up to Columbia University, the UWS is a fantastic mix of residential buildings, commercial businesses, mom and pop-style cafes and bakeries, and trendy restaurants. Many people residing here work in midtown or downtown – thanks to awesome public transportation options.

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Welcome to the Upper East Side!

Did you know Glenwood has 12 luxury apartment buildings in the Upper East Side? This is a residential area with trendy boutiques and exclusive storefronts scattered between luxurious town homes and apartment buildings.

The Upper East Side is primarily known as a family-oriented area with iconic New York City style (I’m thinking Gossip Girl), and generally has a mix of older residents and families with children. An interesting point about the population of the Upper East Side is that a lot of them are lifelong New Yorkers!


An interior view of the Second Avenue Subway station in New York City with colorful wall decor.

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Getting Around

When it comes to subways, the East Side has the Lexington Avenue Line 4, 5 & 6 trains, as well as the newly opened Second Avenue line (thank you, NYC transit!). In comparison, the West Side has the Eighth Avenue A/C/E and B/D lines, as well as and the Seventh Avenue 1, 2 & 3 lines. Taxis services can be found just as easily in both areas, as well as Citi Bike stations if you want to get your pedal on!

Location, Location, Location

At first glance, the location of each neighborhood seems pretty symmetrical. The Upper West and East Sides run from about 60th Street to 116th Street (there’s no definitive boundary). So what are the big differences?

  • The West Side is bordered by the Central Park West and the Hudson River, which nearby access to the George Washington Bridge.
  • The East Side is also bordered by Central Park, along with the East River. The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, Roosevelt Island, and Riverside Park are nearby if you’re a fan of activities in the park!
A wooden playground surrounded by large green trees on a sunny day in Central Park.

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Nearby Parks and Outdoor Activities

Obviously our number one pick in spending time outside near these neighborhoods is Central Park! Central Park has a beautiful reservoir with dirt jogging paths, paved sidewalks and roads, as well as a path around the park. Here are a few of the Upper East Side and West Side’s most popular parks and playgrounds:

The Upper East Side

  • John Jay Park
  • Central Park’s Ancient Playground
  • Carl Schurz Park
  • Crunch Fitness

The Upper West Side

  • Riverside Park’s Cherry Lane trail
  • Theodore Roosevelt Park
  • Damrosch Park
  • Equinox Gym
  • Top-notch spin studios
  • Central Park’s Strawberry Fields
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Upper East Side’s Best Moving Companies

It's time to pack up and save up when it comes to moving into your new luxury New York City apartment! These top moving companies in Manhattan's East Side know the ins and outs of getting you, and your things, from point A to point B.

The Food Scene

The Upper West Side is best known for food options, and the central Upper West Side is a food lover’s dream! You’ll find a coffee shop on every corner, countless bakeries, upscale restaurants, and authentic mom and pop-style bistros and bars that locals love. In addition, Amsterdam Avenue has been making itself known for delicious, affordable eating options. Smaller style cafes and bistros also exist on the East Side, especially specialty bagel shops (H&H Midtown Bagels East is our fav), but if you’re looking for nearby nightlife, the West Side is where you want to be.

So, which neighborhood will it be? Once you decide on whether you’d like to live East or West of the Park, check out Glenwood’s latest listings of luxury apartments in each area, and share your favorite characteristics of each area with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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