Neighborhood Boundaries

Upper West Side

Prior to Central Park opening in 1858, from the Bloomingdale Road intercession at West 59th Street (Central Park South) and Eighth Avenue (the Great Circle) and spreading to the Hudson River, was the Bloomingdale district. The separate north-to-south corridors within the Upper West Side, as designated areas, are:

  • Lincoln Square encompasses the West Sixties from Central Park to the Hudson River;
  • Central Park West spans West 60th to 96th Streets along the park and to Columbus Avenue;
  • Riverside-West End spans West 72nd and then continues north to 107th Street, and from Broadway to Riverside Park;
  • Manhattan Valley stretches from West 94th to 110th Streets, between Central Park West and Broadway;
  • Morningside Heights, historically speaking Bloomingdale Village, begins at West 108th to 125th Street, and runs from Amsterdam to Riverside Drive.

Upper East Side

The northernmost point is East 96th Street (with an exception farther along upper Fifth Avenue), the end is at Central Park’s southeastern-most corner, Grand Army Plaza on East 60th Street, and extends from Fifth Avenue to the East River throughout. Indelibly bisected at Third Avenue, the residential neighborhoods, from north to south, are:

  • Carnegie Hill encompasses the northwest quadrant, from East 98th to 86th Street, spanning Fifth to Lexington Avenues.
  • Lenox Hill stretches from East 85th to 71st Street, between Fifth and Third Avenues, which contains the Metropolitan Museum of Art district, between East 84th and 78th Streets along Fifth Avenue, as well as the adjacent blocks to Madison Avenue.
  • The Social Sixties comprises East 70th to 60th Street, east of Central Park and west of Third Avenue, which takes in Tredwell farm, at the East-62nd-to-61st-Street mid-block, running between Second and Third Avenues.
  • And Yorkville, the eastern sector (originally) extending from the mid-East 90s to 77th Streets—nowadays some say, East 72nd, others East 60th Street—and dominates Second Avenue to the East River.

Midtown East

Beginning at East 59th Street with the southernmost point as East 23rd Street, this mid-island part of town runs from Fifth Avenue to the East River throughout. The westernmost portion, specifically, Fifth to Third Avenues is Manhattan’s international retail-shopping and tourist magnet as well as its elite office skyscraper and premier commercial hub.
Indelibly bisected at Third Avenue, the easterly residential neighborhoods, from north to south, are:

  • East Fifties, Sutton and Beekman Place;
  • East Forties, Turtle Bay;
  • East Thirties, Murray Hill, Madison to Third Avenues, and Kips Bay, Third to First Avenues;
  • East Twenties, Madison Square North.

Downtown

Arbitrarily, East 23rd Street, at Madison Square, spanning to East Canal Street has become considered Downtown’s north-and-south borders, and covering Fifth Avenue to the East River. Downtown East encompasses Fifth Avenue to the East River, and below East Eighth Street Broadway separates east from west. Broadway then divides the east and west sides on its due south trajectory. Downtown West runs from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River.

The easterly neighborhood boundaries, from north to south, are:

  • Flatiron, between 23rd to 18th Streets, spanning Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and the block to Sixth Avenue;
  • Union Square, covering 17th to 12th Streets, between Third to Fifth Avenues
  • Gramercy and Stuyvesant Park, runs from East 23rd to 17th Street, and between Park Avenue South to Second Avenue, encompassing Irving Place;
  • East Village, consisting of East 14th to Houston Streets, east of Broadway to the East River, incorporating the Cooper Square area, NoHo, and Alphabet City;
  • Lower East Side, is between Houston and Delancey Streets, spanning The Bowery to Essex Street.

Downtown West neighborhoods, from south to north include;

  • SoHo, bounded by Lafayette to Sixth Avenue, between East Canal and Houston Streets;
  • No-Tribe, is from Sixth Avenue to Varick Street, which is Seventh Avenue South’s extension, and from East Canal to Houston Street;
  • West Village, Houston to West 14th Streets and between the Hudson River and Hudson Street, which is Eighth Avenue’s after Bleecker to West 14th Streets;
  • Village, Houston Street to Greenwich Avenue, and Hudson Street to Sixth Avenue;
  • Chelsea takes in West 14th to 23rd Streets, between the Hudson River and Sixth Avenue.

Midtown West

Midtown West
This is a two-square-mile square. The four sides being Fifth Avenue to the east and the Hudson River on the west; West 23rd in the south to West 59th Street, the northerly borderline. Furthermore, the neighborhoods falling within the ten-block stretches—approximating the West Twenties, Thirties, Forties, and Fifties—are:

  • North Chelsea, laying between West 23rd and 30th Streets, and west of Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River;
  • No-Mad’s western portion between 23rd and 29th Streets spans west of Fifth Avenue to Broadway.
  • Hell’s Kitchen, runs from West 30th to 50th Streets, stretching from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River;
  • Clinton, starting at West 50th to 59th Streets, extending from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River;
  • West Fifties, encompasses The Avenue to Seventh Avenue, and also includes the Fifth-to-Park-Avenues blocks too.

Uptown
Harlem, inclusive of everything between the Hudson and East Rivers, stretches to West 155th Street, the Hamilton Heights and Sugar Hill Historic District northern edge—thereafter Upper Manhattan begins. The southern boundary is ragged, however, as:

Morningside Heights, Cathedral Parkway (West 110th) to 124th Streets, spreading from Amsterdam Avenue west to the Hudson River, and sitting upon a bluff overlooking the Harlem Plains, is the southwest quarter. Its elevation over Harlem, the continuous north-and-south arteries, an intellectual religious and educational tenor, and proximity to the Upper West Side, leave the enclave best explained in Chapter Seven.

South Harlem, is Harlem’s “Magic Triangle,” which encompasses Central Park North to West 124th Street, spanning Manhattan to Madison Avenues, and encompassing on the west, along Morningside Avenue, at the east, from Sixth Avenue or Malcomb X Boulevard to Marcus Garvey Memorial Park. The triangle includes the West 121st to 123rd Street park-facing row houses; and north, along Fifth and Madison Avenues to West 129th Street. (Of particular note is Washington Apartments, at West 122nd Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard: one of four early 1880s multiple-family dwellings, which is strikingly similar to Windermere, on West 57th Street, at Ninth Avenue; and built on a like-scale as the demolished Stuyvesant Flats, at 142 East 18th Street, off Union Square—the city’s first apartment house, designed by Richard Morris Hunt and completed in the early 1870s.)

Central Harlem, Manhattanville, Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (West 125th Street), bridging Amsterdam to Fifth Avenue, continues to West 154th Street. The quarter includes several row house clusters, with stoops intact, interspersed recent row-house restorations, as well as several modern, low-rise, housing developments (some excellently executed, others not).

Hamilton Heights, above West 140th Street, which surrounds the City College of New York campus, from West 141st to 147th Streets, and comprising Edgecombe Avenue, Hamilton Terrace and Convent to Amsterdam Avenue. The Sugar Hill section, above West 149th to 155th Street, encompassing west of Amsterdam and east of Edgecombe Avenues, was once Harlem’s premier neighborhood. Audubon Park’s southern sector which straddles West 155th to 159th Street and at Broadway’s west: the northern Harlem limit.

East Harlem, referred to as El Barrio, encompassing Fifth Avenue to the East River, spreading from East 96th to 143rd Streets, was all but decimated (between 1930 and 1936), to carve out plaza ingresses and egresses for the Robert F. Kennedy (Triborough) Bridge. Moreover, as the island narrows westerly, one easternmost Avenue after another terminates, either as a planted plaza or as a Harlem River Bridge.

Upper Manhattan

The Upper Manhattan neighborhoods are nestled within and around a rocky terrain, set on ridges and cliffs—more typical of Adirondack Mountain Park, 175 miles north. Therefore, the emphatic eastern and western boundaries are quintessential examples of Manhattan’s natural landscape and rugged topography. Moreover, schist protrusions define the open spaces and residential enclaves.

Greater Washington Heights, formerly Fort Tryon, the once-time Fort Washington, encompasses West 155th to 194th Streets, includes distinctive neighborhoods, as:

  • Audubon Park is the southernmost community, to Harlem’s north. It encompasses West 155rd to West 164th Streets, and spreads west from Amsterdam Avenue to Riverside Park, surrounding the Audubon Terrace Historic District and Trinity Cemetery.
  • Morris-Jumel District takes in West 160th to 162nd Street, from the Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Avenues intersection, spreading one block to cliff-hanging Edgecombe Avenue. The diminutive enclave includes the namesake museum, Sylvan Terrace, which climbs the knoll to the 1700s manor house, and Jumel Terrace with a line of town houses.
  • The Heights comprises West 159th to 178th Streets—south of George Washington Bridge and its access highways—from Broadway to the Hudson River.
  • Hudson Heights begins at West 179th and continues to 192nd Streets, both along the Hudson River’s ledge and extending east to include Cabrini Boulevard and Fort Washington Avenue.
  • Fort George, West 163rd to 193rd Streets, at the Harlem River edge, and sprawling west to Broadway.
  • Inwood is not Washington Heights proper. It is an independent community unto itself, starting at West 200th and then winding round the terrain to 222nd Street, the Harlem Creek Canal, spanning the Hudson to Harlem Rivers. In other words: Water-bound, as the island’s northernmost tip.

Lower Manhattan

Beginning at Canal Street, its northernmost major thoroughfare, ending at the Battery, on New York Harbor, the island’s southernmost tip, and extending from the Hudson to East Rivers, this was Manhattan’s earliest settlement site. Scattered below the skyscrapers, the residential neighborhood portions, with a distinctive appeal, are:

  • Northeast, Chinatown
  • Central, Civic Center
  • Easterly, Waterfront
  • South, Financial District
  • Southwest, Battery Park City
  • Westerly, TriBeCa