Monday, January 5, 2015

A Fine Idea: Time To Realign Upper East Side Boundaries To Make Sense Of It All Once, and For All!

Where does Lenox Hill end and where does Yorkville Begin? Is Lenox Hill's western boundary Park Avenue, or is it Fifth? If Carnegie Hill runs west from Lexington Avenue and Yorkville runs east from Third Avenue, what the heck is in the middle? These are just a few geographical questions that have confounded New Yorkers and those looking for property on the UES for years! A fine idea would be to fix this, put each inch of the UES into a specific neighborhood, and finally bring sanity to our map! Fortunately, I have an easy fix.

Currently, the "Upper East Side" is an area that covers 59th Street to 96th Street, from Fifth Avenue at the West to the river at the East. Inside the Upper East Side are three distinct neighborhoods- Carnegie Hill, Lenox Hill and Yorkville, and 4 nameless areas that are often grouped with an adjacent neighborhood, or sub-grouped into a lesser area, also named the Upper East Side. The result- confusion! Go ahead, search StreetEasy. There are two Upper East Sides- the whole Upper East, and a smaller Upper East Side which is 72nd to 86th west of Third and 72nd to 79th east of Third. Yep, mind numbing!

Here is a map With the current boundaries:
Fortunately, if you work with me here, there are simple answers for us to fix this once and for all! What we need to do is consider the character of each neighborhood, adjust 3 borders, and name one new neighborhood!

Carnegie Hill
First, we move the Carnegie Hill eastern border from Lexington Avenue to Third Avenue. The area between Third Ave and Lexington (86th-96th Street) seems to fit in architecturally better with Carnegie Hill than Yorkville. A good example would be the landmarked houses at 146-156 East 89th Street. Also, by topography, most of Third Avenue between 86th and 96th Street, is still at the top of the Hill, so it just makes sense.

Yorkville
Second, onto Yorkville. There is a gap between Yorkville and Lenox Hill that runs from the East River to Third Avenue between 77th St and 79th St which is another land with no name. Considering that the landmark protected Shively Sanitary Tenements are between the same streets on York Avenue, kick in P.S. 158, and these couple blocks have more of a Yorkville vibe. Hence, move the Yorkville border down from 79th to 77th, from Third Ave East and we have another problem solved.

Lenox Hill
Third, Lenox Hill. Historically, and by most reference material, the nabe runs between 60th and 77th Street, from the River on the east to a western boundary of Park Avenue. While that may be the way we traditionally see it, listing websites, for instance StreetEasy, push the western border to Fifth Avenue. The New York Times does not differentiate the neighborhood at all for sorting purposes. While StreetEasy's logic may be to simplify the search process, history gives us reason to do the same. Lenox Hill was named after James Lenox, a Scottish merchant who cobbled together 30 acres in the area in 1818 (from auction of Archibald Gracie's foreclosed property) and added to his holdings months later through three additional purchases. The tract came to be know as "Lenox Farm", and wouldn't you know it, the tenant farmhouse stood on the hill between 70th and 71st Street just East of Fifth Avenue. I think we have justification to formalize this border and slide it west to Fifth Avenue.

To Be Named Later

This leaves us with only one contiguous box of unnamed space between 77th St and 86th Street west of Third Avenue. It is an extremely wealthy area with the likes of Madonna occupying three combined townhouses between 3rd and Lex (I won't name the street in the interest of privacy), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in all her majesty on Fifth, and the former mansions of the Henry F Sinclair and James B Duke to name a few. I'll post on this new neighborhood idea next blog post, so stay tuned!

In summary, we can do this people!!! With three simple border alignments, we can finally have the map of the Upper East Side make sense, and be perfectly searchable by neighborhood. No more ambiguous unnamed no mans lands. No more missed listings or comps! No more confusion. Together we can stop the insanity......and, here is your new map:









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