Welcome to the Upper West Side

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About the neighborhood

The Upper West Side is a Manhattan neighborhood directly west of Central Park. It features the Lincoln Center, with its many notable performing arts institutions, the American Museum of Natural History, as well as some of the borough’s most notable architecture. The neighborhood’s native architecture prominently displays New York-style brownstones, similar to those found in Brooklyn. The Upper West Side is also famous for its coffee shops, and restaurants, especially, on Amsterdam Avenue, one of its central streets.

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Neighborhood history

The Upper West Side was originally settled by the Munsee Native Americans, and the area fell under the rule of Dutch colonists in the 17th century. After several Native rebellions, many of the Dutch settlements were ravaged, leaving only Bloomingdale which would later become the Upper West Side. In the early 18th century, the Dutch used the Upper West Side to produce tobacco and they built a street, also called Bloomingdale, that would later become Broadway. After the British gained control of New York, the once isolated area was settled by wealthy British merchants who built luxurious estates in the neighborhood. During the American Revolution, the Upper West Side played host to a minor battle, and after the end of the war, the Upper West Side attracted even more settlers from Downtown Manhattan. Parts of the neighborhood became more lower class over time. The Hudson River Railroad was also constructed through the Upper West Side in the 19th century, and many businesses were opened in the neighborhood by those hoping to capitalize on the growing reputation of nearby Central Park. Gentrification of the neighborhood began in the late 19th century, and Columbia University was relocated to the Upper West Side in the 1890s. High-rise apartment complexes were constructed in the 1910s, and many hotels were constructed along Broadway. After the construction of Lincoln Center, the Upper West Side continued to modernize and throughout the 20th century even more people came to the Upper West Side from all over the world, as shown in the neighborhood’s diverse array of restaurants, museums, and public parks.

Top attractions

Natural History Museum

American Museum of Natural History is the largest natural history museum in New York City.

American Museum of Natural History

New York Historical Society

The New York Historical Society is an archive detailing the history of New York City.

by Mario, New York Historical Society

The Hayden Planetarium

The Hayden Planetarium is a famous planetarium in the Upper West Side that is known for its many space exhibits.

Hayden Planetarium

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