Upper West Side

January/February 2014

From left: Bar Boulud and Barneys New York
From left: Bar Boulud and Barneys New York

Upscale on the Upper West

High-end retailers and restaurants lure the well-heeled to the nabe

The boom in new retailers on the Upper West Side is proving a boon to one particular type of resident: those with unlimited wads of cash.

Newly arrived chains like clothier Barneys and beauty product hawker L’Occitane En Provence, as well as the Hotel Belleclaire’s planned patisserie and rooftop restaurant, mean residents don’t have to leave the nabe for high-end shopping and eating, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The current wave of upscale retail started in the late aughts, around the time that 15 Central Park West, the priciest condo in the city, arrived at the foot of the neighborhood. The opening of Bar Boulud, by restaurateur Daniel Boulud, across from Lincoln Center in 2008 was a milestone in the area’s culinary transformation, as was the opening of an Apple Store the following year on the tech front. Around that time came an outpost of Whole Foods on Columbus Avenue and West 97th Street.

Since then, the move toward higher-end retail has only intensified. Gone are places like Big Nick’s, a celebrated burger-and-pizza joint that closed after more than 50 years. The restaurant was on the ground floor of the Hotel Belleclaire; the historic Emery Roth–designed building is lobbying the community board so it can redesign its street-level spaces for a French patisserie, the Journal reported. The hotel’s owners also want to build a rooftop restaurant.

Meanwhile, French skincare products company L’Occitane En Provence arrived last year at 76th Street and Columbus with a grand opening featuring a harp player and free champagne. And Barneys got a rebranding and makeover this year, abandoning the less upscale Barneys New York Co-op format it had in the neighborhood.

The hip Chinese fusion restaurant RedFarm opened in October and has been a popular destination on the ground floor of the NYLO New York City hotel.

These days, even the Duane Reade on 76th Street boasts a growler-beer fill-up service.

While some longtime Upper Westsiders lament the neighborhood’s transformation into a “shopping mall,” others are happy with the newcomers. “It’s been slim pickings around here for years,” one area resident told the newspaper in November. –Tom Acitelli

Average November rents

Studio         $2,394
1 bed           $3,147
2 beds         $5,268
3 beds         $10,156
> 3 beds      $17,135

Average November sale prices

Studio         $588,625
1 bed           $790,281
2 beds         $1,474,381
3 beds         $4,255,712
> 3 beds      N/A[/column]

Source: StreetEasy

Opera tickets, football parties and getting cheesy

Price for a front-row ticket at orchestra level for Giacomo Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” which has its season premiere at the Metropolitan Opera on Jan. 16

Types of cheeses—including Manchego, aged Asiago and Fourme d’Ambert—offered at Zabar’s, at West 80th Street and Broadway

Number of Buffalo wings that come in a party platter at Blondie’s, a sports bar at 212 West 79th Street. Sounds good for a Super Bowl party!

Sources: Metropolitan Opera, Zabar’s, Blondie’s

Thanks for sharing

Attention Upper West Side freelancers looking for coworking space: You may be in luck. A large, vacant spread at 43 West 65th Street could become the first such office in the neighborhood. Neighborhood resident Sharon Schanzer—a freelance graphic designer and technology consultant—is leading the charge to launch the space, but there’s something standing in the way: Funding. Lots of it. Between $500,000 and $1 million is needed to get the project on its feet; no investors have stepped forward yet.

Serious building, serious rules

Renters at 15 Central Park West—the tony building home to many boldfaced names—are subject to a list of restrictions. They run the gamut from the regular, like city laws regulating barbecuing, to the strange, like not placing anything on the building’s windowsills. Residents with strollers and skateboards are also restricted to a certain elevator. Another rule—because the building has become a neighborhood attraction—bans tours and exhibitions.

Mind your beeswax

The European Wax Center, which is now in expansion mode, will open two Upper West Side outposts in the coming months. One will be at West 100th Street and Columbus Avenue; the other will be on Broadway between West 88th and West 89th streets. Afraid of getting de-fuzzed? The company says it uses Parisian-made 100 percent natural beeswax, which it claims is “virtually painless.”

Quivers quits the city

Robin Quivers, the sidekick of radio personality Howard Stern, has parted ways with her two-bedroom condo. She bought the home at 200 West End Avenue for nearly $2.5 million in 2008 and ended up selling it for $2.95 million. Quivers now lives in New Jersey.

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