Neighborhood Review: UES, NYC

I’ve embraced a lot of newness in my life recently: quitting smoking, getting married, and moving uptown. Tell me all you want that I’ve sold out (mostly about moving uptown), but I’m thrilled to meet this new me. I’ve lived a lot of life with NYC. It’s grown with me and continually challenges me, allowing me to take what I want and occasionally dishing out what I really need.

This is why we all came here, right? Well, it’s why I did. I love NYC for so many reasons. The potential to turn a corner and have life change in an instant, to meet the best and brightest people and trip in and out of endless opportunities. That is the way I want to live my life, and it all happens here.

Coming from Nolita, the Upper East Side could almost be another city completely. I hadn’t realized how narrowly I’d folded myself into one small corner of NYC. Truth, I might not have come to this drastic of a move uptown all on my own, but I’m finding out more and more how grateful I am for this shift. NYC is the kind of city that will change you while also changing with you.

Once I settled in uptown, I made like the natives, slapped on my first pair of lululemons, and went exploring. Beyond the obvious wins like being close to Central Park, Museum Mile, and Daniel, here’s what I’ve found:

1) The East Pole212-249-2222 133, East 65th Street btw Park & Lex. There isn’t a wild wonder why I feel so at home here, since this spot brings downtown flavor from the same owners of Fat Radish. Like me, the uptown version is a trifle less lush, but nonetheless delicious. I’m charmed by the cozy, farm table interior and emphasis on local, organic produce. The menu shifts some with the seasons, but when in doubt, the burger is a decent decision. Come here for brunch or a quiet weekday dinner date.

Standout sip: Mexican Standoff (grilled jalapeño-infused tequila, canton ginger, regans’).

2) August212-935-1433, 791 Lexington Avenue btw 61st & 62nd. Another downtown delight grew up and came uptown. August does elevated rustic American fare. Details go far in my book and that’s what makes August more special than it seems initially. We came here with friends, so I got to try a lot off the menu. I’ve seen most of their cocktails before, but they did the trick.

Best bite: Crispy brussel sprouts with honey-sriracha glaze.

3) Bröd | Kitchen212-600-5202, 1201 2nd Avenue (at 63rd). This is not your average neighborhood bakery. I’m usually the plain croissant and coffee type (file under: habits picked up while living in Paris), but I have been seduced by these sandwiches. They are as beautiful as the flavors are balanced, and the bread is freshly baked. Also, the iced coffee is perfect for these 60°F December days. Bröd recently opened up another location near NYU (West 4th & Greene Street). So maybe the UES and downtown aren’t so different, after all.

Brod

I’m still on the search for a yoga studio and a bookstore. Any suggestions?