NYC Spotlight: Upper West Side

NYC Spotlight: Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is one of New York City’s most iconic neighborhoods. Located just West of Central Park, it’s primarily residential crowd creates for a very quaint atmosphere, removed from the hustle and bustle of Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.

The UWS is also home to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Beacon Theatre and is often considered the cultural and intellectual hub of New York City.

To follow up our piece about the West Village, we wanted to continue to get you an inside look at NYC’s best neighborhoods. So without further ado, we’re back at it with the hard hitting questions for our second installment of our NYC Spotlight, this time featuring Upper West Side resident and real estate broker, Gabrielle Cangelosi.

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Verdi Square, corner of Broadway and Amsterdam

Q: Can you give us some background on your knowledge and expertise of the Upper West Side?

A: I’ve lived here in the same (rent stabilized) apartment for over 6 years now. Aside from that, I have rented and sold apartments for clients on the UWS as well. I’ve even convinced both of my sisters to move to the neighborhood!

Q: If you were talking to a prospective homeowner, how would you sell them on the neighborhood? What makes it unique?

A: The first person I ever “sold” on the UWS was my boyfriend, Josh. He is born and raised on the Upper East Side, where his family still lives, so needless to say, he was a bit biased about moving into my UWS apartment (which he now loves).

What makes it unique is that it truly feels like a neighborhood, something that can be hard to come by in NYC. It’s the perfect mix of peaceful and quiet while still having great restaurants, entertainment, train access, and especially parks. Riverside Park and Central Park are both within walking distance, and I go to both very often. It’s far enough uptown where you escape the crowds and tourists, but close enough that all of that is still easily accessible should you choose to venture out.

I also appreciate the pre-war architecture: The Dakota building, the Apthorp, The Eldorado, the cool funky townhouses. It’s definitely unique and not something you get in every neighborhood.

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Q: Why do you love living in the Upper West Side?

A: I work in TriBeCa, so I spend the majority of my time running around downtown. And while I love the excitement of that, there’s a level of calm and peacefulness when I get off the 1 train at 86 street and am back in my neighborhood. It’s like a mini escape, but still with all the perks of the city. It’s also really nice to be so close to the water — that’s something I take advantage of a lot.

Q: You can only eat at one restaurant in the UWS for the rest of your life. Which one do you pick and why?

A: Ahh hard question! There are so many to choose from! I would have to go with Polpette, a small Italian restaurant on 83rd and Amsterdam. I’ve had almost everything on the menu and it’s all amazing. Kefi, which is a great Greek place on Columbus, comes in second place, followed by Osteria Cotta, an Italian restaurant next door. I told you this was a hard question.

 Osteria Cotta

Osteria Cotta

Q: What are the best night life spots? Any cool places that appeal to a younger, Millennial crowd?

A: Not as much “night life” per se, but there are definitely some millennial hangout spots. There’s the classic sports bars Jakes Dilemma, Gin Mill and The Dead Poet (a personal favorite of mine) where it’s packed with young people (a lot of college kids) and has great drink specials. There’s also the Beer Shop on 80th and Amsterdam which specializes in craft beers. When the weather is nice, Boat Basin on 79th street gets busy and is super fun. I was just there on Saturday for my brother in law’s birthday. It’s dog friendly, too! All of the bars and restaurants on Amsterdam are always filled up when the weather gets nicer and there’s plenty of places to eat and drink outside.

Q: What are a few things someone who has never been to the UWS needs to do or see to get an authentic experience?

A: Definitely explore Central Park, especially the sights on the west side of the park like Sheep’s Meadow, The Great Lawn, Belvedere Castle, and The Reservoir. Riverside Park is a great hangout spot to sit by the water. Seeing a show at Lincoln Center is always fun, and the Museum of Natural History is great, too. Really though just walking around and sitting outside at any restaurant on Amsterdam gives you an authentic experience. It’s a great place to people watch!

Q: What “type” of people live in/ are moving into the UWS?

A: It’s a mix of all types of people, really: young families who want a change from downtown, couples like myself and my boyfriend, long time residents who have been there for 30 years. That’s whats great about the Upper West Side — I don’t really see there being a “type”, which is ultra special.

Q: What are some fun things to do on the weekend? A family friendly option? A free option?

A: There’s lots! My family just visited and we all went on a walk along the water at Riverside Park with my sister’s dog (free). We then went to JG Melon (one recently opened on 84th Street) which is another one of my all time favorites — very classic. Central Park can be family friendly. You can head to The Great Lawn on any nice day and expect it to be packed with people enjoying themselves. I’ve seen lots of concerts at Beacon Theater which is right in the neighborhood.

 Inside the Beacon Theatre

Inside the Beacon Theatre

It seems like Gabrielle has a lot of positive things about the UWS. If great food, entertainment, LOTS of parks, and an all-around relaxing vibe in New York City is what you’re looking for, it sounds like this might just be the spot for you!

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