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 neighborhoods with their own set of distinct characteristics. The Upper West Side and the Upper East Side are two areas people often see as the same, since they’re both bordered by iconic Central Park and beautiful rivers. However, if you ask residents of these neighborhoods what the difference is between each, we promise you’ll get an earful! Here is Glenwood’s comparison of the Upper East and West Sides of Manhattan to help prospect residents figure out which neighborhood best suits your New York City lifestyle.


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, exclusive storefronts, and upscale eateries that are 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!

Living in the Upper West Side

Since the East Side is known to be family-oriented and quiet, a majority of 20 and 30-something professionals tend to gravitate more towards the West Side for its trendy nightlife. In fact, Glenwood maintains 7 exclusive luxury apartment buildings in this area. Although the West Side tends to see 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 convenient public transportation options.

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

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Getting Around Each Neighborhood

When it comes to subways, the East Side has the Lexington Avenue Line 4, 5 & 6 trains, as well as the 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.

Which Neighborhood Would You Live In?

Are you looking for convenience, a central location, and easy access to some of New York's hottest activities?


Are you looking for four-star restaurants or exclusive boutiques that are right outside your front door?


It’s All About 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 bordered by Central Park and the East River. The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, Roosevelt Island, and Riverside Park are nearby if you’re a fan of  parks!
A wooden playground surrounded by large green trees on a sunny day in Central Park.

Photo Credit: Central Park Facebook

Nearby Parks and Outdoor Activities

Our number one pick to spend time outdoors is in nearby Central Park. This iconic New York City staple has a beautiful reservoir with dirt jogging paths, paved sidewalks and roads, as well as a path around the park. If you’re looking to check out other nearby parks, playgrounds, and walking trails on the outskirts of Central Park, here are a few most popular:

Outdoor and Fitness Activities in the Upper East Side

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

Outdoor and Fitness Activities in 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

The Food Scene

The Upper West Side is best known for food options, and in particular, central Upper West Side is known as a food lover’s dream! You’ll find a coffee shop on every corner, countless bakeries, upscale restaurants, and cozy bistros 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 whether you prefer to live East or West of Central park, check out Glenwood’s latest listings of luxury apartments. Share your favorite characteristics of each area with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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