I often get asked why I live on the Upper West Side while my office is in Tribeca and most of my real estate business is centered downtown. The answer is easy: I have the best of both worlds. Being a native of Los Angeles, for me, the Upper West Side is my happy medium between the fast pace of downtown New York City and the familiar laid-back vibe of the West Coast, all without losing that great "city feel."
I love buzzing around downtown with my clients, among the chic shops and trendy restaurants, how the hustle and bustle of it all gives us that extra boost of energy we may need to see just one more fabulous loft, just restored prewar co-op or awesome new development. At the same time, I also love coming home to the tranquility that is the Upper West Side. While my work and play time are mostly spent downtown, I am always happy to get back to my beautiful one-bedroom uptown apartment — which, incidentally, cost around the same price as most studio apartments downtown.
According to a data search on the Miller Samuel Inc. web site, in the fourth quarter of last year the average price of a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side was a little over $992,000. Downtown — in the "cooler areas" such as Chelsea, West Village, Greenwich Village, Soho, or Tribeca — the average for a one-bedroom was just over $1.5 million, ranging from $1.22 million in Chelsea to a high of $1.855 million in Soho/Tribeca.
The Upper West Side spans from Columbus Circle at W 59th and Broadway, (home to the Time Warner Center) all the way north to 110th Street, and is bounded by the Hudson River on the west and Central Park on the east. In between are some of the city's top cultural institutions including Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, the Beacon Theater and the American Museum of Natural History.
Central Park West is lined with some of the most iconic architecture in Manhattan: The Dakota, the Ansonia, Beresford, San Remo and El Dorado apartment houses are interspersed with churches and tree-lined blocks of brownstones. Not only that, but Columbus Avenue, a block west of Central Park West, has become a shoppers' delight with the recent arrival of luxury boutiques reflective of Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive. On its western edge overlooking the Hudson River are Riverside Park with its red-clay tennis courts, the ironically named Downtown Boathouse, which offers free kayaking on weekends and holidays, and the Hudson River Greenway.
If, come fall, you would like the ability to simply step outside your building or peer out your window to watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (which runs south along Central Park West from 77th Street), you might want to check out the incredible views at Douglas Elliman broker Karen Burman's listing at 20 West 72nd St #1105K, on the market for $700,000.
If you can afford a higher price tag, and would like to live in what is possibly New York City's most famous and exclusive building, the Dakota might suit you perfectly. Made notorious by Roman Polanski's masterpiece “Rosemary's Baby” and well known as the residence of stars such as John Lennon, Judy Garland and Lauren Bacall (whose former apartment sold last fall for $21 million), the Dakota was built in 1884 at 1 West 72nd St. Unit #97, a cheerful one-bedroom apartment with charming dormer windows and plenty of sunlight is currently available for $1.85 million and is listed by Town Residential agents Victoria Terri-Cote and Cristina Cote.
I love having easy access to the excitement, glitz and glamour of New York City's more hip downtown neighborhoods. But if you prefer a calm retreat to come home to in an area of Manhattan where it's still possible to find a one-bedroom apartment for less than $1 million then you may also find the Upper West Side to be the best of both worlds.