Upper West Side

School is cool on the UWS: Family-friendly nabe sees spike in kindergarten applications

Award-winning P.S. 199
Award-winning P.S. 199

With great public schools, a trove of play spaces, playgrounds and casual eateries — not to mention easy access to two of the city’s top parks — the Upper West Side has long been one of Manhattan’s most family-friendly neighborhoods. And now, it appears that the nabe has become even more desirable. Real estate agents and home sellers on the Upper West Side are suffering from an enviable problem: increased interest in the neighborhood’s elementary schools.

The uptick in interest, which includes an unusually high number of kindergarten applications and requests for school tours, suggests the interest in the Upper West Side is coming not just from newcomers but from families looking to lay down deeper — and more spacious — roots.

P.S. 199 in Lincoln Square, in particular, saw a “massive surge” in kindergarten applications this year, its PTA president Eric Shuffler told DNAinfo. As of February 5 — more than two weeks away from the registration deadline, which was bumped to February 20 just two days before the initial deadline of February 14 — the elementary school had already received 589 applications for 148 kindergarten spots. The school’s waitlist typically has fewer than 100 names, according to DNAinfo; in 2013, for instance, the school waitlisted only 39 children and, in 2012, 45.

The spike lay not only in Upper West Side newcomers and growing families, but in P.S. 199’s recently enhanced reputation: In September, it was the only Manhattan school — and one of just 286 nationwide — to receive the National Blue Ribbon School Award, according to DNAinfo. In addition, some parents say that the Department of Education’s controversial new kindergarten application process contributed to the increase. (This year was the launch of Kindergarten Connect, an online-only application that allows parents to list up to 20 schools as choices .)

Meanwhile, P.S. 452 at 100 West 77th Street is also reporting increased interest — in tours, if not applications. The requests for school tours have been so great recently that the school has not been able to accommodate every request, DNAinfo reported. Real estate agents, keen on knowing more about the elementary school on behalf of clients, are among those requesting tours — and they’re also among the first the school turns away. — Tom Acitelli

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Average January rents

Studio         $2,283
1 bed           $2,936
2 beds         $4,813
3 beds         $8,583
> 3 beds      $14,857[/column]

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Average January sale price

Studio         $495,500
1 bed           $794,278
2 beds         $1,792,642
3 beds         $4,337,967
>3 beds      N/A[/column]

Source: StreetEasy

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