Why the Upper East Side Is the Best Place to See Art in New York

Artspace Article Published: April 3, 2016:

Stretched out alongside the east flank of Central Park like a satisfied cat lying in the sun, the Upper East Side—longtime home to tycoons and celebrities—is still the most luxe neighborhood in New York City, where foreign billionaires plant their money in $100 million manses and ridiculous trend stories (the Glam SAHMs?) spring from the moneyed elite. But such enclaves often harbor secrets, and this one has a big one: the three dozen blocks between 60th Street and 96th Street have become the best place to see art in New York. 

Now, the best place to see new, cutting-edge, boundary-expanding work? That’s still the Lower East Side. But the Upper East Side is your destination if you want to see art in a context that is both up-to-date but not overly besotted with the contemporary, that is delicate and slow, and where you can encounter wise artworks from across both recent and deeper history, like some gauzy cinematic vision of heaven where Plato and Steve Jobs are having a ping-pong match while Kierkegaard takes bets. And, indeed, on a good, bright, clear day, a walk on the Upper East Side’s gallery circuit offers up a present-day dose of Matthew Arnold’s “sweetness and light.” 

Don’t believe me? Here are 16 reasons to give the neighborhood a second look.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *