NFT New York Upper East Side / East Harlem

Upper East Side / East Harlem
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, escape the 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.

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.

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 & white cookies at Glaser's.

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This Neighborhood Featured in...
East Side Kids

By Jessica Feder-Birnbaum
Kids these days. So full of life. Sometimes you gotta put them in their place and sometimes you just gotta take them on the town. And what part? The East Side. From Kosher bakeries to high-falutin' libraries, the East Side has it all. Come. Join us on this kid-friendly journey.

Living on a Budget in NYC

By Diana Bocco
The living is easy when you have lots of money. And that's why we need Diana Bocco to tell us to shop at the Greenmarket and patronize the free-for-all furniture store of the street. After all, what is living if not suffering; drinking if not free sampling? Nothing. It is nothing if not that.

Breaking into Non-Profit Arts

By Liz Pink
Young, talented, poor and striving. Artists are a mysterious lot. Will they make it, or will we wipe our hands of them, devilishly and unforgivingly. J/K. Liz Pink offers truckloads of making-it-in-the-big-city advice that only a very rich or successful artist could pass up. Join her.


On Our Radar:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Georgia Lawson

Cafe Sabarsky
Step back in time at Cafe Sabarsky. The converted mansion draws inspiration from Viennese cafes with dark wooden panels, coat racks, a grand piano, and a chandelier by Josef Hoffmann. The waiters even feel authentic pronouncing the dishes with perfect accents, whilst dressed smartly with long aprons. They were also very attentive; my water glass was never empty. Serving up authentic German and Austrian cuisine to a high standard, Cafe Sabarsky is ideal for just a piece of cake or a more hearty main meal. This was my first experience with German food, and the advice I was given is that the Sauerkraut should not be too sour. And I can assure you it wasn't; it perfectly complemented the flavorsome sausages. Due to the quality of food you do have to line up. The room down stairs serving the same menu is not subject to big lines but lacks the atmosphere of the main dining room. In the dining room there are also live shows in the evening which are mainly of the classical genre. The mansion is also home to the Neue Galerie which specializes in German and Austrian art. So after a spot of lunch on a Sunday afternoon one can peruse the rest of the mansion.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Posted By:  Georgia Lawson
Photo:  Georgia Lawson

Guggenheim Museum
The Chaos and Classicism exhibition looks at French, Italian, and German art from the years 1918-1936, concentrating on the recovery right after World War One. The spiraling ramps of the Guggenheim are ideal for gently guiding through the changes and developments of art at this important time. Chaos and Classicism explores the fascination with the human form as artists turned away from the experimental styles of cubism. In search of the comforting artistic language from the past, they became fascinated with Greek and Roman history and myth as they began to classify the everyday. It leads right through to the dark side of this movement when the fascist influences of Hitler and Mussolini began to exploit the celebration of humanity. A free audio guide is given with every ticket and this enlightening exhibition will be running through January 9, 2011.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Vinyl Wine
Ok winos, time to break out of the routine and head up above 96th Street to the recently opened Vinyl Wine. Focusing on small and organic vintners, the guys running this cozy shop offer around 100 top-notch hand-picked selections. Most are reasonably priced in the $10-20 range with a few options for the high rollers (like fancy Barolos and Cabs) and a couple of choices for the struggling artist (cheap and tasty Roses and Tempranillos). It's a nice alternative for locals up this way to the bigger stores like Mister Wright and K&D. And for the perfect gift that will keep on drinking, let the owners work their magic and have them curate a case for you. You'll save 15% and ensure that you'll be sipping unique wines for weeks. And if you're too lazy to jump on the 6 train, they have free delivery on the east side between 86th and 116th streets. Or anywhere in the city with an order over $50. Unfortunately, thanks to antiquated NY State laws, they can't actually sell vinyl records. But they do have a turntable in the corner. Be nice and maybe they'll let you BYOV.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Little Luzzo's
East 96th Street isn't exactly a culinary wonderland. In fact, besides the free cheese samples at Gourmet Garage and a nice selection of Turkish goods at Fresh From the Farm, you need to dig deep to find any decent food options. Even a detailed posting on about 97th & Lex only brings up a few good gems. That's where NFT comes in to help with this tip: If you live up this way, $2 is all you need for a killer snack. Check out Little Luzzo's for a pretty darn good slice. With a tangy sauce and heaps of high grade cheese, this is way better than your average Ray's. And at only two bucks, it's cheaper too. These guys are Italian so you know you're getting some authentic taste in every slice, and the RAI (Italian TV) is blasting all day which is a nice perk, especially with the 2010 World Cup in full effect.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Milano Market
Ok, are you ready for this? Today we're covering something that's REALLY GOOD on the Upper East Side. Shocking, I know. Look hard enough (translation: use NFT) and you'll find a few other gems up here like Milano Market Place. With their extensive salami selection they can make a mean sandwich right on the spot. Throw in some olives (way in the back) and a couple of gourmet Italian cheeses and you’re good to go for a picnic on Second Avenue as you watch them build the new subway tunnel. Or pretend you're downtown and just browse the Italian imports of fancy tuna, biscotti, and olive oils. If you're looking to bring something home, the prepared foods like homemade chicken cutlets, broccoli rabe, and a variety of pasta dishes make a tasty dinner. Just dash across the street to Mister Wright for some vino. Hey, the Upper East Side ain't so bad afterall. At least on these two blocks.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

El Paso
Big news in East Harlem: El Paso on Lexington has finally moved across the street to their new location. Although it's only about 40 feet from the old place, it's a totally different vibe from the tiny, always crowded corner joint they used to have. Now they have lots of space, a faux-Southwestern aesthetic, a detailed wine list, an army of staff, even a maître d'. They've upgraded the menu as well with oysters, ceviches, and several new entrees (including a lamb dish). It took a few minutes and few Negro Modelos to adjust to the fancy-pants atmosphere, but once the food arrived, all was right in the universe. The ceviche with mango and striped bass was tangy and refreshing and the roast chicken with sesame seeds, baby cactus, and guajillo was melt-in-your-mouth perfect. And don't worry if you loved the food at the old place. All your favorites are still here--spicy guacamole, fabulous chilaquiles, homemade huaraches, carne enchilada cemitas, and mushroom quesadillas. Plus, once you get a glimpse of the gorgeous back patio complete with an outdoor bar, you'll be back for sure.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Guggenheim Museum
Definitely check out the current exhibit, The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia 1860-1989. Not because it's got a whole hell of a lot to do with Asia, really, but because it's an excuse to go see a bunch of really cool shit from a bunch of really mind-blowing conceptual artists (You might also want to invite your friend Owsley to come along, if he's in town that day). Either way, the show should have enough to keep you occupied for quite some time. Highlights: Tehching Hsieh's One Year Performance, 1980-1981, where the artist photographed himself standing in the same place every hour, on the hour, for a full year; Anne Hamilton's Human Carriage, the site-specific work that graces the rotunda; Adrian Piper's Here and Now; and great work by James Turrell, Robert Irwin, Jordan Belson, Richard Tuttle, James Lee Byars, and Walter de Maria, among others. Your last stop should be LaMonte Young's Dream House re-creation; it's not as loud as the one in TriBeCa, and they didn't do anything new or special for it, but it's still killer. Owsley will agree.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Il Fornaio Pizzeria
The formula is simple. One old guy makes pizza all day long. Sounds familiar right? Well, the Upper East Side may have nothing close to the magic of DiFara, but it does have Il Fornaio Pizzeria which really isn't half bad. There's no line, big doughy slices are only two bucks, and the guy even wears one of those old-school red and white striped pizza making shirts while on the job. He's only open a few hours a week and there's no delivery, so it's hard to get in the door unless you live close by. But if you do, you'll be rewarded with a trip back to a simpler time when wood paneling was the interior design of choice and garlic knots were cheap and plentiful.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Posted By:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch

Mount Sinai Medical Center
Newsbreak: My left foot is an adamantine bother. I animadvert that it cease to burn in my toes. No ministrations or silent prayers have coerced my foot to return to its pre-neuroma-struck self. I am tearful over the state of my immobility. I am sitting on my boss's chair with a CoolPac wrapped 'round my ankle, toes and mid-foot. Midwood is where I was ambulating when my left foot started to ache. It was long ago, perhaps December, when I was young and able-bodied. I danced in my hallway, merrymade in my altogether. But now that I have returned to NFT, all is lost; specifically, my ability to walk. Leaders Rob and Jane do smite me, pious Michael does indict me. Melanie throws rocks. Jane's dogs, they roughly taunt. Emily lives under a podiatrist and daily she vexes me with this proximity to healing. Norman mocks me in Spanish because he knows I am American, Aaron is excessively diverted by my misfortune and the ladies Lea and Sarah (alongside their trusty underling Nate) send me on needless errands as my tendons crack and carol in the moonlight. I long for the Mount Sinai Orthopedic department as I have longed for nothing in days.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

49 East 96th Street
In 1940 my grandmother was working as a jewelry buyer for Macy’s. In those days Macy’s was a classy department store, not a zoo of foreigners trying to spend their powerful Euros on as much crap as possible. But before I go on another rant, let’s get back to 1940. In January of that same year my mom entered this great planet at New York Hospital. According to her birth certificate she spent the first two years of her life at 49 East 96th Street, a beautiful pre-war building. Fast forward 69 years later, and I find myself living only ten blocks away from where my mom’s life began. I frequently walk by and try to peer in, before the door man can catches my eye. I can easily imagine my mom and her folks walking to Central Park, catching the bus downtown, or visiting the Museum of the City of New York (my granddad loved the antique fire trucks in the basement). When Googling the address I came across a real estate listing for an apartment there. Now if anyone can loan me a mere 639,000 bucks (so much for falling real estate prices), I can complete the ancestral journey and move back into my mom’s first apartment.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Posted By:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch
Photo:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch

Mount Sinai Medical Center
Slowest ER in town. Prettiest individual patient rooms for lollygagging a hundred hours before the Resident rolls 'round to erroneously diagnose your "tendinitis." A typical red tape-laden admittance to the ER goes like this: First, you wait in an airless, whitewashed hoi polloi waiting room, then are teased into a temperature-taking, injury-describing secret room with a pretty, nail-lacquered lady before being sent back to the main waiting room for a million hours before being transferred to an individual room where you languish before being treated by a Resident before being sent to dispatch yourself wherein the dispatcher lady instructs you to register at the main desk in which case you wait in the hoi polloi waiting room again and deal with your throbbing left foot/people. And you know how in the movie Lower City, the white guy gets stabbed and is circuitously taken to some slab of concrete in a slum where some quasi-doctor puts a bandage on him and a few days later he's fine? That makes me so jealous. Would that I were stabbed and not inflamed of nerve. It would heal so much faster and obviate the hospital factor.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Posted By:  Sarah Moroz
Photo:  Sarah Moroz

Museum of the City of New York
Meanwhile, uptown, the Museum of the City of New York is showing the New York Public Library's more extensive counterpart--Paris/New York: Design Fashion Culture 1925-1940--which examines the innovative ways in which modern life is being re-conceptualized, economic downturn or not. This mid 20th century showcase examines art, textiles, architecture, and furniture design. The evolution within categories was integral to the progress of the respective metropolises. From Josephine Baker to Chanel, from Van Cleef & Arpels to Sonia Delaunay, jazz to skyscrapers, design parameters were totally reconfigured and incredibly daring. Observing these wonders can serve as an inspiration to you (and as a distraction from your instinctual consumer-driven activities). See it! Runs through February 22.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Posted By:  Sarah Liston
Photo:  Sarah Liston

Hanging Dead Bird
Lots of NYC neighborhoods are adorned overhead with old pairs of shoes, their laces knotted together, dangling from street lamps, traffic signals, and telephone wires. It seems that most people have no idea how they got there—or why. The same goes for a dangling dead bird hanging from the street lamp at the corner of East 88th Street and Lexington Avenue. Much smaller than a pigeon and too far away to confirm that it’s a sparrow, the bird hangs from some kind of string or wire—almost as if it were put it there on purpose. Maybe the pigeons sacrificed the sparrow during a pigeon voodoo ceremony (performed by a secret squab society). Or maybe it’s not even a real dead bird. And how is it possible that it seems completely intact? Dead birds can’t stay that “alive-looking” for that long, can they? It may sound crazy to care about something like a dead bird hanging from a street lamp, but every time I pass it, I kind of like the fact that there is a bizarre little mystery overhead that, possibly, only I bother to notice. Now you can notice it, too.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Posted By:  Sarah Liston
Photo:  Sarah Liston

Glaser's Bake Shop
Glaser’s Bake Shop, a neighborhood institution that has been in business for over 100 years, has THE BEST black and white cookie in all of NYC. Yes, I know these are fighting words for some folks, who swear that THEIR neighborhood bakery holds the title. But—I kid you not—Glaser’s has the best. The cookie, a soft, buttery specimen is the perfect texture on which to place the heavenly chocolate and vanilla frosting. They’re so fresh that there’s usually an indentation in the frosting from where the staff picked up the cookie with a piece of wax paper to put it in your bag. And if you’ve gone on just the right day—you can be waited on by Terri, a woman with short blonde hair who has an infinite knowledge about 1980s new wave music and has been rumored to have appeared on MTV where she won a 1980s music quiz. If you have been out of the ‘80s reunion tour music scene…or if you just want to discuss the subtle differences between Bauhaus and Tones on Tail over the best black and white cookie you’ll ever taste—then Terri’s your girl and Glaser’s is the place.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Roland Halbe

Guggenheim Museum
Well, she’s great. Which is why she’s scored about a dozen major commissions in the last eight years, all of which are in various stages of completion. If you stay to watch the videos, you’ll realize that she’s also an insane megalomaniac, but then again, so is every other star architect ever (see Wright, Frank Lloyd and The Fountainhead). So, of course, watch the videos, look at the paintings, and marvel at the models. The BMW Central Building (completed) with the assembly line running through the corporate offices is inspired; the Landesgartenschau (a small exhibit building in a park in Germany) is sublime, and the Rosenthal (pictured) is, well, open and in the States, at least. And the stuff that’s coming—the high-speed train station in Naples, the office towers in Marseilles and Moscow, and a half-dozen others—is even more mind-blowing. Well done, Zaha—now take a chill pill.

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See Upper East Side / East Harlem...
Restaurants (60)
Nightlife (26)
Shopping (103)
Landmarks (21)

Other Upper East Side / East Harlem Restaurants

Barking Dog
Woof woof. This food ain't too bad.
Bella Cucina
Non-Zagat rated Italian with great fish specials.
Buddha BBeeQ
Get K noodles with beef at this hole in the wall.
Café D'Alsace
Chic Alsatian bistro with an actual beer sommelier.
Cafe Ollin
Tiny Mexican hole cranking out awesome cemitas and more.
Cafe Sabarsky
Beautiful wood-paneled surroundings for sipping Viennese coffee.
Cavatappo Grill
Northern Italian standout with loyal neighborhood following.
Chef Ho's
Creative gourmet-ish Chinese cuisine. Try the Banana Chicken--delicious!
Choux Factory
Kona coffee and filled-to-order Japanese cream puffs.
Where transplanted Texans satisfy cravings for Southwestern fare.
Corner Bakery
Brisk brunch spot with dine-in and take-out options.
Corner Bakery
Take-out and bakery branch with hot breakfast station.
Delizia 92 Ristorante & Pizza
Great, if slightly overpriced, NYC pizza and pasta.
El Paso
Fantastic Mexican. Try the chilaquiles and spicy guacamole.
El Paso Taqueria
Finally, real Mexican food at incredibly good prices.
Ignore the naysayers! Great food and fun center-of-it-all vibe.
Excellent Japanese specialties like crab & salmon shumai.
GK Triple A Diner
Standard diner food.
Neighborhood tasty Thai.
Il Fornaio Pizzeria
One guy and some slices.

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Other Upper East Side / East Harlem Nightlife

Nicely curated wine and beer lists in a classy setting.
Aces And Eights
Come to play lots and lots of beer pong and darts.
Auction House
Stylish lounge...or at least stylish for the Upper East Side.
Seriously just want to watch the game? Come here.
Biddy's Pub
Skip the pretension, grab the beer at this small neighborhood spot.
Big Easy
Cheap college dive. Beer Pong anyone?
Blondies Sports Bar
Watch sports every night of the week.
CT Wine Bar
Jewel-box-sized spot to sip wine and nibble appetizers.
Delta House
Go back to college with jello shots and cheap beer.
Earl's Beer & Cheese
Best beer selection for miles. And awesome food.
East End Bar and Grill
Mellow Irish hang out.
Eastside Billiards
Go for the pool, not the atmosphere.
Party with Elaine like a '70s art star.
FB Lounge
Live Latin jazz, Afrocaribbean, and world beats.
Happy hour spot for Mt Sinai workers.
Kinsale Tavern
Right-off-the-boat Irish staff. Good beers.
Marty O'Brien's
Where kilted firefighters go to enjoy pints on St. Paddy's.
Pat O'Briens
A refuge for Boston fans with cheap beer specials.
Phil Hughes
An honest-to-god dive bar on the UES.
Puerto Rico USA Bar
Friendly dive complete with domino table.

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Other Upper East Side / East Harlem Shopping

Best Cellars
Lots of wines under $20 and daily tastings.
Blacker & Kooby Stationers
Good selection of stationery, pens, and art supplies.
Corner Bookstore
Tiny, old-school shop. Great selection.
Coup de Coeur
Stylish boutique on not-so-stylish stretch of Third Avenue.
Danny's Cycles
Service, repair and rentals.
Eli's Vinegar Factory
Gourmet market with prepared (and expensive) foods.
Fresh From the Farm
Excellent produce and unique Turkish products.
Glaser's Bake Shop
Best black-and-white cookies for more than a century.
Super cool urban sneaker emporium.
Gourmet Garage
Not really gourmet, but better than the average market.
Housing Works Thrift Shop
Uptown outpost of our favorite thrift shop.
Kitchen Arts & Letters
Fine selection of food and wine books.
La Casa Azul Bookstore
Spanish and English books, art gallery and a lovely backyard.
La Tropezienne Bakery
Excellent French bakery in El Barrio.
MAD Vintage Couture & Designer Resale
Former art gallery turned boutique.
Metro Bicycles
New York's bicycle source.
Milano Market
Gem of an Italian market.
Mister Wright Fine Wines & Spirits
Good liquor store with huge selection and tastings.
Orva Shoes
Ladies' discount department store.
Pickles, Olives Etc
Pickle barrel-sized shop worth a visit.

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Other Upper East Side / East Harlem Landmarks

92nd Street Y
Community hub for film, theater, and interesting lectures.
Asphalt Green
Industrial architecture turned sports facility.
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
Great design shows; run by the Smithsonian.
El Museo del Barrio
NYC's only Latino museum.
Glaser's Bake Shop
Best black-and-white cookies for more than a century.
Gracie Mansion
Our own Buckingham Palace, right above the FDR drive.
Graffiti Wall of Fame
This street art will blow you away.
Guggenheim Museum
Wright's only building in NYC, but it's one of the best.
Henderson Place
Charming Queen Anne-style apartment houses circa 1881-82.
Islamic Cultural Center
Enormous and extraordinary mosque. Bustling on Fridays.
Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center
Artistic and community hub of East Harlem.
Museum of the City of New York
Fascinating exhibitions on life in the big city.
Papaya King
Dishing out damn good dogs since 1932.
Schaller & Weber
A relic of old Yorkville with great German meats.
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
This UES cathedral, built in 1902, remains the center of Russian Orthodoxy in the US.
The Jewish Museum
Over 28,000 artifacts of Jewish culture and history.

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