Like almost every other part of the city, there was no clear end or beginning to the masses of people coming and going, only movement; movement on the sidewalks, and in and out of buildings, movement on the streets of headlights going north and south. To say “bustling” would be an understatement and amongst it all I found it hard to believe this area was once rolling farmlands, left largely underdeveloped through most of the nineteenth century. Technically spanning from 59th street (excluding Columbus Circle) to 110th street and from Central Park West to the Hudson River, the Upper West Side (UWS) is a neighborhood of neighborhoods within neighborhoods.
As you would expect, I found that the look and feel of the UWS side was very different from that of areas downtown such as the West Village or TriBeca. However, walking the length of this relatively vast community, I found that just as many differences co-exist within these boundaries as do outside of them. The Upper West Side is no respecter of race, religion, age or color. Evidence of long-time affluence sits neatly throughout its high-rises and brownstones, while just-as-long-lived poverty occupies its footpath and underground. Just as easily, the foreigner lives out his transplanted life of traditions alongside the native who orders “coah-fee” in the morning and buys bread from a shop owned by another foreigner. At the Upper West Side’s southern-most end, I found one of the places where all of these worlds collide, Lincoln Center.
Just one of the many venerable sites that call the this section of the city home, Lincoln Center glows brightly, comfortably, and confidently from 62nd street to 65th street across several city blocks. I started my venture here, as this sort of “Mecca” of the arts, seemed like the best place to gather myself and to go out from. As I exited the subway station at 66th and Lincoln Center, I immediately noticed how the crowds here, seeming to flooding the streets like a dam suddenly broken through, were so very different to those that I would later find near the stop at 86th and Broadway. With each step nearer to my destination, the mass became more and more suitably dressed for a night at the opera. Equaling the number of these only, were the numbers tourists who had come from undisclosed places to have their picture taken on the lit stairs of this iconic building. Here you’d never know that the majority of this New York neighborhood is considered residential. In fact, the beauty of this site begs one to believe that the whole of the city, let alone the rest of the Upper West Side are just as whimsically lit and pristine. I snapped a few photos of the scene in order to hold onto a moment that I wished I had planned better for, if I had, perhaps I might have been sharing it with someone else. But alone as I was, I made a mental note to come back, more prepared and with a date, and moved on.