After living on the East Side of Manhattan for two years, followed by living on the West Side of Manhattan for two years, which side wins the prize?
My years of visiting New York were spent on the West side. However, our first apartment needed to accommodate two cats, a 13-year-old dog, and us. Securing a rental with these four-legged creatures as tenants had its challenges. After the mad search for only three days back in 2007, the best apartment we found just happened to be on the East Side. With requirements more detailed than those needed to get a mortgage in other cities, we were thrilled to be able to live anywhere in Manhattan.
While searching the island for a co-op, we discovered that we loved the West more than the East. Outside of the East Village, there are not many places I would choose to live East of Fifth Avenue. However, if I could either live East, or otherwise live only outside Manhattan, let me be clear. I would live East. Although parts of Brooklyn are pretty darn cool.
For those who do not know the city geographically, Fifth Avenue separates East from West. Uptown, Central Park is in the center of the island. Fifth of course is on the East or “hoity-toity” side, and CPW (Central Park West) is on the West or less “hoity-toity” side.
What’s cool about the West? The neighborhoods are pretty interesting along the entire island. From Harlem to the Upper West Side, to Hells Kitchen and the Garment District, through downtown which includes Chelsea, the West Village, trendy Meatpacking and TriBeCa, options for restaurants and nightlife are endless. Great transportation doesn’t hurt either. With multiple subway lines and New Jersey transit, as well as the Port Authority, Penn Station, GW Bridge, Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, escaping the city is easier as well. Central Park is also technically only on the West, however apartments on Fifth Avenue from 59th to 110th streets do face the park.
Park Avenue, United Nations, Gramercy Park, Bowery, and Chinatown are all on the East Side. There is only one subway line on this side of town and it is the most traveled train in the country. The 4,5,6 is well known to New Yorkers. Packed cars and late trains are regular and just plain hell to the commuter. I rode the train every day for two years. I don’t miss it.
West Siders are notoriously liberal, (although most of Manhattan is), free-spirited, and creative. With Lincoln Center, Broadway, and Columbia U all of the on the West Side, singers, dancers, actors, writers, and professors, have made the West Side their home.
I would say that the majority of the few conservatives that exist in Manhattan, tend to go East,excluding the area south of 14th street. The East Village and Lower East Side is home to some of the most arty residents of New York City.
Perhaps nostalgia encourages my love of the West Side of Manhattan. In my early years here, the majority of my time was spent in Chelsea, the Theater District, Carnegie Hall, Columbus Circle, Lincoln Center and the Upper West Side. These all happen to be on the West side of town. Although most areas are barely recognizable today, bits and pieces still remain. Funny, because even now I find comfort in these areas of the city more than others.
Despite the demise of the old Javits Center, the gentrification of Chelsea, the addition of big box stores through Lincoln Square and even some in my neighborhood, the West Side still takes the prize.
|Brownstones on the Upper West–My Home!|