The Uptown Guide
While downtown admittedly gets a lot of air time at goop—see our guides to the West Village/Soho, East Village/LES, Tribeca and beyond—we have some loyal uptown girls here, and even those of us who you won’t typically find above 34th Street have their beloved spots uptown. If you’re visiting NYC, Uptown is where you head to see so many of the sites that have classically made the city, “the city.” Walking through Central Park, which stretches from 59th Street to 110th, is a non-negotiable activity for tourists (but also one that Manhattan lifers don’t tire of). Uptown is also, of course, home to some of the city’s most iconic museums like the Met; and the relatively quieter city neighborhoods of the UES and UWS have an appreciated family-friend vibe. If you don’t have kids in tote, though, there’s still something to be said about brunching and bar hopping up here where everything feels a bit less scene-y.
Cooper Hewitt2 E. 91st St., Upper East Side | 212.849.8400
Housed in Andrew Carnegie’s former Georgian mansion, the Cooper Hewitt still maintains the original dark wood-lined interiors and imposing staircase. After closing for three years for a major upgrade on the design galleries at the hands of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the Cooper Hewitt had a grand re-opening at the end of 2014 with an expanded exhibition space. There's also an interactive Process Lab where visitors learn about the design process, and an Immersion Room highlighting the museum's expansive wall-covering collection. The museum was already one of the best in the world for design—both contemporary and ancient—so it's no surprise that it's better than ever. Don’t miss their shop, which is incredibly well done.
The Frick Collection1 E. 70th St., Upper East Side | 212.288.0700
Housed in a classic early 20th-century mansion commissioned by the industrialist Henry Clay Frick, the collection boasts iconic works from the Renaissance to the early 19th-century, including pieces by El Greco, Goya, and Rembrandt. We especially love the absolutely over-the-top rococo room with wall-to-wall frescoes by Honoré Fragonard.
The Guggenheim1071 5th Ave., Upper East Side | 212.423.3500
Aside from being one of the most significant buildings of the 20th-century, and the apex of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career, the Guggenheim is a world-class art museum and cultural center, too. No matter the show—usually solid retrospectives—it’s worth the entrance fee just to wind your way through the snail-like building and look down from the top at the mesmerizing view below.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art1000 Fifth Ave., Upper East Side | 212.535.7710
This beloved institution—reigning supreme on NYC’s Upper East Side—has been shepherding millions through its halls since 1880. You’ll find some of the art world’s most iconic pieces, as well as important artifacts from ancient to modern times. It’s also home to the Egyptian Temple of Dendur, which dates back to 15 BC.
Neue Galerie1048 Fifth Ave., Upper East Side | 212.628.6200
Walking into this Upper East Side townhouse is a quick time-warp into the golden age of Vienna, before the first World War. The permanent collection, displayed almost as if it were in an elegant home, includes works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, and many design pieces from Josef Hoffman, Koloman Moser, and Werner Werkstatte. We never tire of visiting the galleries and then heading downstairs for a tea and Linzer Torte at the perfectly achieved turn-of-the-century-style Café Sabarsky, where you dine surrounded by Adolf Loos furniture.
Metropolitan Opera30 Lincoln Center Plaza, Upper West Side | 212.362.6000
Whether it's your first time or you're a season ticket holder, an opera at the Met, with its shimmering gold curtains, monumental Chagall murals, starburst chandeliers, and red carpets, is one of the most unforgettable experiences in New York. From a classic Verdi to a contemporary John Adams opera, the production value, from the singers to the costumes and the sets, is pretty spectacular.
New York City Ballet20 Lincoln Center Plaza, Upper West Side | 212.496.0600
Whether for an opera, a musical, or a ballet, an evening out at the gem-like Lincoln Center always makes for a wonderful, dressed-up night out. This season, we’re especially looking forward to George Balanchine's Firebird (scenery and costumes by painter Marc Chagall) and Swan Lake, and what the always avant-garde choreographers Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky have in store with Wheeldon’s American Rhapsody set to George Gershwin's music, and Ratmansky’s promised premiere in early 2017.