Audrey Abroad: Upper East & West Sides, NYC

Writing a column on New York City is all well and good, but I thought it might be handy for you to know a little more about where I’m writing about! The next few columns will give you an insider’s peek into the culture and nightlife of some of the city’s most famous neighbourhoods. And be sure to look them up once you make it to the Big Apple – you won’t be disappointed!


Chanel, Picasso and a mean cucumber Martini – welcome to the Upper East!

If you missed Meredith’s first NYC post, get up to speed here: A BITE FROM THE APPLE – NEW YORK DIARY

Where to eat
A delectable Upper East Side staple (who now have locations worldwide) offering fine Italian cuisine and amazing pizza.

Where to drink
The Mark Hotel
Serving crafted and signature cocktails in surrounds designed by Jacques Grange and specially-made furnishings by Guy de Rougemont and Vladimir Kagan, this Madison Ave lounge bar will take your breath away (and your bank balance.)

What to drink
Cucumber Martini
This clean twist on an old classic makes for a super refreshing summertime sip.

Where to treat
Two Little Red Hens
Words cannot describe how sweet and succulent these cakes are – you’ll just have to come and try for yourself.

Where to Deli
2nd Ave Deli
An old school bonafide good old fashioned Jewish deli – they don’t make ‘em like this no more!

Where to listen
The Carlyle Hotel
Many jazz notables play here regularly, including the one and only Mr Woody Allen & The Eddie Davis New Orleans Jazz Band. This is one hot ticket.

What to see
Museum Mile
Fifth Ave from 106th to 82nd is commonly known as Museum Mile. This scenic strip running alongside Central Park affords you The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, The Museum of the City of New York and more. If you don’t mind elbowing your way through the millions of tourists and are wearing comfortable walking shoes this mile is for you.

Where to have fun
Though affiliated with phenomenal wealth and Gossip Girl-type dreams, there are parts of the Upper East Side which cater to the normal folk as well. Heading away from Park Ave in the direction of the East River you will hit 1st and 2nd Ave’s which play host to a plentiful array of wine lounges, pubs and sports bars. When that inevitable time comes and you elegantly stumble your way out of the Mark Hotel bar, ditch your 6-inch spiked heels and slap on your flip flops, this is where you should head.

What to Wear
The Upper East caters mainly to old money and the Park Ave/Madison Ave sets. If you’re planning on hanging around this ‘hood you best look your best daaaahling. Think Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Valentino and Chanel. Designer threads and sophisticated style walks the streets, so be cool, calm and catwalk. Dress to impress!

Who to Meet
The Upper East is where you go to flash your cash so firstly be sure you have plenty, and then make sure your friends have plenty – prices up this way are not for the faint hearted. Whether you’re shopping with the girls or on a dinner-date be prepared for lots of double-cheeked air kissing. And be sure to hold your head high in this luxurious neighbourhood to keep an eye out for your more high-end celebrities such as Woody Allen, Vera Wang, and possibly a dignitary or two such as Obama or Wills and Harry.


Carb-free food, The Boathouse and World-Class tunes


Where to eat
Per Se
This is fine dining at it utmost. With a menu that changes almost daily to tailor to the freshest produce this is a dining experience like no other, and is definitely worth the out of this world prices you pay for it. More of a once in a lifetime treat than a regular haunt!

Where to drink
The Manhattan Cricket Club
A new twist on the old sportsman’s club of yore this is a sublimely beautiful space with an even more beautiful atmosphere and cocktail list. An elegant glimpse into what the cocktail lounges of Manhattan once were. Spaces like this are often full of couples on romantic dates, so best make it a one-drink pit-stop if you’re on a girls night out.

What to drink
Smoked Cinnamon Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned has had a considerable resurgence on cocktail lists in recent months, and this unique take using High West Double Rye, Smoked Cinnamon Tincture and Old Fashioned Bitters is quite the treat.

Where to treat
Insomnia Cookies
Home of the 12 inch cookie cake AND delivery until 3am… need I say more?!

Where to deli
Barney Greengrass
If you last in NYC for 100 years you’re doing something right
And equally as delectable…

Again, these guys have been around a loooong time and you always leave spending more than intended, so look out!

Where to listen
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center is the pinnacle of performing arts in the city, with orchestral, jazz and swing nights in the summertime and ballet and opera in the winter time. It is sure never to disappoint and offers a world class range of cultural experiences you will never forget.

What to see
Central Park
Arguably the most famous green space in the world Central Park is a natural wonder amid an island of chaos. You can walk, jog, bike, skate, row, eat, drink – the recreational opportunities here are endless. And let’s not forget the many sights in and around the park including the Zoo, Strawberry Fields, The American Museum of Natural History, and of course the Loeb Boathouse which features in numerous films and television shows (I’m sure we all remember the SITC scene where Carrie and Big fall from its balcony into the lake)

Where to have fun
Fine dining and secret speakeasies aside the Upper West Side holds no airs and graces when it comes to fun. Heading down Amsterdam Ave from 86th Street you’ll be overwhelmed with wine bars, cocktail lounges, ale houses and sports bars, all possessing a welcoming charm and a friendly bartender to boot. And if dancing is in order the roof of The Empire Hotel on 63rd and Columbus provides a great view and DJ’s into the night. Word to the wise – if you do end up at The Empire make sure you’re wearing your highest heels and tightest, shortest dress, (as seems to be the uniform of ladies there)

What to Wear
The Upper West Side definitely has a strong European feel to it. There are restaurants, bars and cafes lining the streets – much more so than the Upper East Side – and al fresco dining is abundant during the warmer months. A cool, casual look can be afforded here – not too dressy and not too light, but a good mix of laid back chic will do the trick

Who to Meet
The Upper West Side has something for everyone, from the high end culture of Lincoln Center to the pint clinking ale houses of Amsterdam Ave. Anyone who’s anyone is sure to have a good time here whether it be bar hopping or fine dining – and the area between Columbus Circle and Lincoln Center which encompasses Per Se, Trump Towers and many more five star bars, affords you very good star spotting.

Need to go back a step? ReadA BITE FROM THE APPLE – NEW YORK DIARY



  • Reply Meredith Webb Sunday 3rd August, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Apologies my faraway friends! I recently acquired a day job and it’s taken over my life a little, but I haven’t forgotten you! To answer your questions…

    lovelyloves – Central Park is in the centre of the island that is Manhattan (the park runs from 59th St all the way up to 110th St in Manhattan). The Upper East and West Sides are the areas of Manhattan situated on either side of Central Park (if you’re looking at a map of Manhattan/Central Park, the left side is Upper West and the right side is Upper East). Both of these areas can be expensive as they are more upper class areas, however food in NYC is very cheap and you can always find a great tasting budget option wherever you are!

    yslyenom – Manhattan is an island that is much longer than it is wide. Upper Manhattan is the top of the island (from 59th St upwards), and Lower Manhattan is the bottom of the island (from 14th St downwards), with the section between those two being called Midtown. As far as Streets and Avenues go the whole system is roughly like a grid of squares or a chess board:

    The Streets run horizontally across the island and are numbered from 1st in the South part of Manhattan all the way up to 218th in the North part (the Downtown area is below 1st Street and that area has regular street names like Sydney does).

    The Avenues run vertically up and down the island and are numbered 1st in the East through to 12th in the West. There are also named Avenues like Lexington, Park, Madison and Broadway which run through the center of Manhattan near to Central Park, and these are where the Streets split into East and West (Ie: East 21st St is on the Eastern/right side of Park Avenue, and West 21st Street is on the Western/left side of Park Avenue)

    New York City is comprised of 5 boroughs (suburbs) of which Manhattan is one. The full list of boroughs is:

    Manhattan (the island)
    Brooklyn (the largest borough)
    Queens (just above Brooklyn)
    The Bronx (just above Manhattan)
    Staten Island (a small island situated off the bottom of Manhattan)

    It’s a little tough to explain, but if you take a look at New York City on Google Maps whilst reading the above it might make a little more sense!

  • Reply jessicawheelock Tuesday 29th July, 2014 at 8:32 am

    That dress in the first images looks amazing!

  • Reply BellaB Friday 25th July, 2014 at 9:24 am

    This would be very useful if I was planning a trip anytime soon!

  • Reply lovelyloves Wednesday 23rd July, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Agree with sommy7 great comments but is our New York insider answering questions?

  • Reply lovelyloves Tuesday 22nd July, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Is Manhatten the same as east side?

  • Reply stels Monday 21st July, 2014 at 10:32 am

    SO KEEN to travel now

  • sommy7
    Reply sommy7 Saturday 19th July, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Great comments

  • Reply yslyenom Saturday 19th July, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Also what’s the difference between upper and lower Manhattan?

  • Reply yslyenom Saturday 19th July, 2014 at 12:03 am

    And all the street names in numbers in Manhattan…how do they work?

  • Reply Robyn Watkins Friday 18th July, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Can’t wait to get to NYC in Dec to try everything! May have to get some new clothes as maybe band shirts aren’t the usual style!

  • Reply stels Thursday 17th July, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    WOW so jealous of these places!

  • Reply lovelyloves Thursday 17th July, 2014 at 8:59 am

    What’s the difference between Upper East and West side? And is everything really expensive there including food?

  • Reply amanda6393 Thursday 17th July, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Oh, one day I’ll get there….

  • Reply Natalia B Wednesday 16th July, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    This makes me want to go to new york right away!

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