See one of the most beautiful housing districts in New York
Learn a concise, comprehensive history of architecture
Step back in time with striking images of a farmland past
Learn all the intriguing ways the west side is different
Learn the wealthy residential history around Central Park
About this activity
What's included, what's not
A guided walking tour of the Upper West Side with an English guide
Any snacks or food along the way
What you can expect
The Upper West Side developed very differently from the East Side, mainly due to geography, and the ever-increasing uphill slope to the high windswept plateau of Morningside Heights, The west side got no “through traffic”, why would you go up a big hill just to go down a hill again in the age of horse drawn conveyances. The east side had a railroad from very early on.
The Upper West Side was farm-based villages, genteel country estates and the occasional charitable institution. And what we call Broadway today in this part of town was the Bloomingdale Road, a relatively quiet path through the forest. Transit would bring development, and here the homes would take a turn from the typical New York City brownstone. Springing up along side street blocks west of Central Park were luscious Queen Anne, Romanesque, Georgian and Beaux Arts homes. Along the Avenues were Gilded Age apartment-hotels, French Flats and mansion apartments.
It was in the 1890s that the Avenues were given names: Central Park West, Columbus, Amsterdam, Broadway, West End and Riverside. Each developed to the beat of its own drum, and we'll walk them all in part along the tour.
The Upper West Side can feel like a sleepy early New York City suburb, but it harbors priceless gems and jewels of fairy tale homes.