Named for Andrew Carnegie, the 19th Century Scottish American industrialist known for his extensive expansion of the steel industry, New York City’s Upper East Side Carnegie Hill draws visitors and residents to this serene and calm neighborhood for not only its cultural offerings but for its hometown-like feel.
Carnegie Hill borders Central Park to the east, falling between East 86th & East 96th Streets from the south and north, respectively. Extending east, Carnegie Hill is bound by Fifth & Third Avenues–although it doesn’t include Third Avenue. During the 2000s, Carnegie Hill’s traditional northern boundary crept over East 96th into Spanish Harlem. Consequently, realtors began referring to this extension as Upper Carnegie Hill–which they hope has a mellifluous ring to it to attract new residents to this posh neighborhood.
Carnegie Hill is named for Andrew Carnegie’s 1901 spectacularly opulent Beaux Arts cum Georgian mansion, located on Fifth Avenue and 91st Street. When Carnegie moved into the neighborhood, his status among the elites elevated the Carnegie Hill’s profile among the tony social set. Soon many mansions and lovely town houses were being built making the area a desirable spot to live in the early 19th Century which continues to the present day.
Today, Carnegie’s mansion has been converted into by the Smithsonian Institution into the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, which is a branch of the famed Smithsonian. Adding to the area’s learning museum and rich cultural offerings are the Jewish Museum, the National Academy Museum & School, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum all lining Fifth Avenue.
As technology has largely led to the closing of many brick & mortar bookstores, The Corner Bookstore in Carnegie Hill has withstood the test of time.
Opening in 1978, the homey bookstore at 1313 Madison Avenue at 93rd Street, offers an extensive menu of fiction and nonfiction books. with something for everyone–from children’s books and Young Adult books (YA to those who don’t speak tween) including those for more mature audiences (read: adults!), The Corner Bookstore prides itself on becoming “an instant mecca for a book-hungry Carnegie Hill.” with many fabulous private and public schools in Carnegie Hill, this literary mecca has become a popular hangout for kids of all ages after school.
Special for the kiddies, the privately run shop allows the children to have their own special in-store charge accounts for purchasing their favorite titles. In fact, The Corner Bookstore caters to children by allowing them to get advanced copies of previously unpublished novels–but there is a homework catch: The kids have to write literary reviews on the books to be featured in the store’s spring and fall issues of their newsletter,The COrner Bookstore’s Kids Newsletter, by Kids, for Kids.
And The Corner Bookstore’s annual Open House Christmas Eve Party is open to the whole neighborhood and greets guests with free-flowing champagne and homemade desserts! Just save the bubbly for the adults!
Carnegie Hill is host to a cornucopia of great schools from public schools for gifted and talented students to private renowned private schools. The Lower Lab School–also known as Public School 77–is an elementary school for gifted youngsters. Both Hunter College Elementary and Hunter College High School are publicly financed, but highly selective. Private schools include coed The Trevor Day School, a nursery school through fifth grade and the famous all girls Spence School for kindergartners through seniors in high school.
For those who like the outdoors, Carnegie Hill sits next to the world famous Central Park. Outdoor enthusiasts will also find the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir inside the park. Named for the former first lady in 1994 commemorating her contributions to New York City, her love of jogging lay just below her Fifth Avenue apartment windows. Capable of holding 1,000,000,000 gallons of water, it is now decommissioned but still popular amongst New York City residents and tourists alike. Joggers regularly run the track around the reservoir which is encircled by the park’s bridle trail.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis would surely be honored that her beloved jogging path is still in use today by Carnegie Hill residents and tourists.
Dining and entertainment options for Carnegie Hill residents bolster the sweet neighborhood vibe for which the area is known. Sarabeth’s, a popular Upper East Side brunch spot on the weekends, also has a fabulous dinner and lunch menu and their Pumpkin Waffles are a huge fall hit! For those who favor hearty Italian, there’s Paola’s and Vico Ristorante. A staple of the area since 1985, Island serves up wonderful and healthy American fare, delicious cocktails, seafood. Stop by for a drink or a bite and you’ll feel right at home amongst Carnegie Hill’s neighborly vibe.
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