Images from New York: Upper East Sider edition.

81st and Columbus, near the Museum of Natural History

Spotted:  two New Yorkers walking towards Central Park, the shorter of the two getting increasingly annoyed at being subjected to overhearing random, inane conversations while the taller one was trying to prevent any random acts of singing or screaming on her companion’s part.  The situation dramatically improved after snickering at some prep-school boys who were surreptitiously sipping illicit drinks in the park itself while trying to not be in the view of any NYPD officer scattered along the paths, however, and made the rest of the walk much more enjoyable.

And with that, I end my Gossip Girl references for this post.

Just a random walk in the park...

You see, I had this idea to go out to Eli’s Manhattan on the Upper East Side to maybe get some provisions for dinner, and Michael suggested taking a walk through the park in order to get there.  It was a solid idea:  we’d get off the subway at Broadway and 79th, walk past the Museum of Natural History and across Central Park and then head directly to 80th and Third Avenue.  We seldom have reason to hang out in the Upper East Side, mainly because it is a bit of a bear to get to, but in the name of exploration I felt like it was time to give it a try.

Before we were disappointed by Eli's Manhattan...

Unfortunately, Eli’s turned out to be a surprising letdown.  While it was hardly shocking that the prices were higher than we normally see in our neck of the woods, it seemed like everything in the produce section was a bit tired in appearance and out of season–especially when they were going for upwards of four or five bucks a pound.  We’re all for paying for quality (as our trips to Whole Foods and Union Square Greenmarket would attest), but in this case, we weren’t convinced that we were getting our money’s worth.  So we quickly made for the exit and started brainstorming on what to do for the evening’s dinner.

The Museum of Natural History with the Rose Center in view

We ended up hopping some subways and went to the UWS Whole Foods, where Michael cleaned out the seafood department of its available squid and we gathered the few things we needed for the evening.  The day was far from being a bust, but it was a good lesson in exploration:  not every journey can be a fully successful one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth giving them a try.  For the time being, the primary lures to that part of the city will be the Met and the Guggenheim, but there’s always another weekend to give it another try.

  1. I kept an apartment in a walk up on 84th between 2nd and 3rd for a couple of years in the 90s (before moving to Europe). We lived in Drexel Hill but I had to be in NYC several days a week. It was cheaper for my company than a hotel room. The Upper East Side was known at one time (and still is to some extent) as Yorkville. It was famous in the 30s and 40s for its dance halls. It’s where my parents met, both having gone up for the evening from Midtown. It was a solidly German ghetto, from the upper 70s, clear to the 86th and Lexington subway stop, surrounded by Russians and Poles. You can still find borcht take out on the Upper East Side.

    Micha and I married in a little restaurant on the corner of 84th and 2nd Avenue. Our cake came from the local conditerei. Traces of Germanness could still be found in the 90s — the only Evanglical Church with a service in German, and of course, Schaller and Weber, the wonderful German butcher shop, which is still there (that might be your reason to go next time – pick up a quarter pound of laxschinken — it is pork filet that has been delicately smoked and wrapped in a thin layer of fat – and a loaf of German bread. The perfect lunch with a Warsteiner).

    I love the Upper East Side, or at least the Upper East Side I left in 1994 – it was still a place where little old ladies walked with tiny spoiled dogs late into the night. I loved walking down to Gracie Mansion, fast walking down to the Queensborough Bridge to our old neighborhood, and then back up.

    • Thanks for the suggestions! That butcher shop alone is worth giving the area another try.

  2. I’ve always wanted to visit New York City. I’m afraid I haven’t done it yet.
    One day!

  3. I love your walking tours of NYC! I can’t wait to be there in August!

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