Hidden Treasures

Lesser Known (but Popular) Places to Visit on the UWS

True, there are a lot of must-see places on the Upper West Side and so many things to do in New York. But did you ever feel like taking in some of the lesser-known places? I lived on the Upper West Side for at least ten years before noticing some of the interesting places below! Like most Manhattanites, I have a speedy gait and move at a clip. But that way, sometimes the good stuff escapes you. Here are some Upper West Side gems you might want to explore. We’ve provided a Self-Guided Walking Tour so you can enjoy many of these sites.

Congregation Shearith Israel

Founded in 1654, this was the first Jewish congregation established in North America. It was also the only Jewish congregation in New York from 1654 until 1825.  Its founders were twenty-three Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin. Included among these were ancestors of US Supreme Court Judge Benjamin Cardozo. If you would like to learn more about the congregation, tours of approximately 45 minutes are provided at 11:00 am on the second Wednesday of each month (Located at 2 W. 70th & Central Park West).

Septuagesimo Uno Park

Slipped into an otherwise typical Upper West Side block of brownstones, schools, and parking garages, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation runs this tiny spot. According to their website, such ‘Vest Pocket Parks’ were developed around the 1960’s. The goal was to introduce some green space into densely populated neighborhoods. Located on 71st Street, this park’s fancy name is Latin for ‘Seventy-One.’ Stop by to rest on one of the benches, enjoy your coffee, chat with a friend, or admire some of the plantings. (Located at W. 71st Street between Amsterdam & West End)

Eleanor Roosevelt Monument

Eleanor Roosevelt was born and died in NYC. This Riverside Park monument was dedicated in October 1996 to recognize the former First Lady’s many human rights achievementsHillary Clinton, then First Lady, was the keynote speaker. The inscription on the surrounding pavement is from Adlai Stevenson’s 1962 eulogy: “She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world” (Located at 72nd Street and Riverside Drive).

Alice’s Tea Cup

Modeled after “Alice in Wonderland,” this charming tea shop has been serving Upper West Siders afternoon tea, scones (naturally!), sandwiches, salads, and desserts since 2001. A separate tea menu lists its over 100 teas.  (Located at 102 W. 73rd Street between Columbus & Amsterdam).

Levain Cookies

Chocolate chip cookie, anyone? Epic. You can’t go wrong (Located at 167 W. 74th Street between Columbus & Amsterdam)

More & More Antiques

This unassuming space has been a valuable source of holiday ornaments, antique furniture, jewelry, gifts, and accessories for three decades. Looking for something unique, unexpected, something to treasure? Worth a visit! (Located at Amsterdam Avenue & 78th Street)

Westsider Books

This used bookstore has rare and interesting finds, CDs, and vinyl. A small space, so bring your energy and patience. Their website details the wide-ranging inventory, which includes “fiction, literature, literary non-fiction, biography, film, Judaica, modern first editions, art, illustrated books, graphic design, comics, graphic novels, children’s books, architecture, antiques & collectibles, American history, Black history, Eastern art, LGBT, environment, philosophy, psychology, prints, ephemera….” (Located at 2246 Broadway between 80th & 81st Streets)

Murray’s Sturgeon

This Upper West Side store has been a fixture since 1946. Patrons of this old-school establishment expect and receive personal service, attention to detail, and a sense of humor! One visit and you’ll be back.  A west side go-to for sturgeon, smoked fish, deli meats, the most incredible tuna salad you can imagine, seasonal soups, herring, dried fruits, desserts, latkes, and gourmet coffee. (Located at 2429 Broadway between 89th & 90th Streets)

Westside Community Garden

Run by volunteers, this community garden has a flower park, a gated vegetable section, a neighborhood compost area, fruit trees, and seating for the public. The garden hosts an Annual Tulip Festival, many concerts, and musical activities. There are also Shakespeare performances and a July 4th potluck. With an estimated 5,000 visitors annually, this beautiful space is free and open daily. (Located at 89th Street between Columbus & Amsterdam)

Claremont Riding Company

Originally the Claremont Stables, Claremont was built in 1892 and permanently closed in 2007. At the time of its opening, horse and carriage was a common mode of transportation in Manhattan. The four-story building was first used to board horses and store carriages.  In 1927, the Stables became a riding school. Over the years, it offered riding lessons and boarding privileges. At its closing, it was the last public stable in Manhattan. A local school purchased the building in 2010. This building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also a New York City Landmark. (Located at 89th Street between Columbus & Amsterdam)

Joan of Arc Statue

There is a lovely plaza and seating area adjacent to this memorial. The bronze equestrian figure at its center depicts Joan of Arc, a Catholic saint and French defender.  Erected in 1915, it was the first statue of a woman in a city park. A female sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington, created this monument. The Riverside Park Conservancy maintains the statue and its surrounding walkways. (Located at Riverside Drive & 93rd Street)

Pomander Walk

This private community is a co-op building on 94th and 95th Streets between Broadway and West End Avenues. It was built in 1921 and modeled after Tudor-style homes in 18th century London. A hidden gem, this gated complex is visible from the street. It was designated a New York City Landmark in 1982.

So next time you’re looking for things to do on the Upper West Side, try out some of these often-overlooked spots.  Depending on your location, travel south-north or vice versa, and have yourself a relaxed walking tour on another perfect New York day!

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