Apart from retail-lined Broadway and bar-jammed Amsterdam, the Upper West Side boasts several exclusive residential avenues. Similar to East End, York, and Park Avenue on the Upper East, these west side streets maintain a certain level of exclusivity, remain desirable spots to invest in real estate, and continue to be pleasant places to live. Known for spacious co-op apartments, these Upper West Side avenues carry some of the most coveted addresses in New York City and have become viable options for families seeking more square footage.
Beginning at West 72nd Street and running through Upper Manhattan to 181st Street, Riverside Drive boasts a plethora of high-rise prewar apartment buildings as well as some townhomes, which you’ll find primarily on the southern end. Residents face Riverside Park and the Hudson River, and many of the higher floor apartments capture stunning views.
This scenic street passes through the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights, West Harlem and Washington Heights.
Riverside Drive has been the home of composer George Gershwin, writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Krugman, composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, baseball player Babe Ruth, and other big names.
Some of Riverside Drive’s regal apartment buildings have been featured in a variety of film and television programs such as You’ve Got Mail, The Odd Couple, Will & Grace, Mad Men, and 30 Rock, among others.
West End Avenue
Just one block east of Riverside Drive, West End Avenue is home to mostly classic pre-war high-rises and evokes stability and grandness. Beginning at West 59th Street (West End is 11th Avenue between 59th Street and Gansevoort), the street stretches north to 107th and ends at Straus Park.
The southern end of West End contains some commercial spaces, but north of 72nd Street, you’ll find mostly handsome apartment buildings with churches and schools mixed in. The well-known West End Collegiate Church occupies the block between West 77th and 78th Streets and is part of the West End Collegiate Historic District. The Apthorp, one of the most luxurious apartment complexes in the city, is located at 79th and West End.
West End Avenue is one of the few streets in Manhattan with no public transportation. The only exception is the M86 Bus, which runs west on 87th and travels one block between 86th and 87th Streets before heading to the east side of town.
The lack of retail shops, restaurants, and public transit gives the street a more upscale feel than neighboring Broadway, and this avenue tends to be less noisy than Riverside and Central Park West. The closest subway line is the 1/2/3 or red line on Broadway.
Famed residents have included actress/ comedian Tina Fey, singer/songwriter Judy Collins, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, and author Joseph Heller.
Central Park West
CPW has long been a street on which celebrities and public figures have lived. Stretching from 59th Street to 110th, Central Park West is the western boundary of Central Park and the eastern boundary of the Upper West Side neighborhood. The street is recognized for myriad high-profile buildings including The Dakota (home of John Lennon and Yoko Ono), The San Remo, The El Dorado, The Beresford, 15 Central Park West, and others. Famous residents have included Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin, Madonna, Diane Keaton, and Alec Baldwin, to name a few. Many of the apartments on CPW were built in the neo-Italian Renaissance and Art Deco styles.
CPW is the only avenue in the city with two-way traffic and becomes Eighth Avenue south of 59th Street. The street is a designated historic district between 61st and 97th and has been since 1982. Often thought of as the Park Avenue of the west side, real estate prices tend to be higher on CPW than on the other two avenues, partly because the street faces Central Park, making it the most desirable of these three avenues on the Upper West Side.