|The Dakota is an Upper West Side architectural gem. Photo by briannac37.|
Ready to take that lively walk on your own? Follow (and improvise along the way!) this self-guided walking tour and you'll be ready to craft your own day of genuine New York moments the next time you have two hours to spare in Manhattan:
Hop on the IRT subway line (you can pick it up in many locations including Times Square) and take the 2 or 3 Uptown Express. One stop later exit at West 72nd Street. This landmark subway station is known as the Gateway to the Upper West Side. Begin heading north from West 72nd Street toward West 74th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
|A peek at the West 72nd Street subway station and Verdi Park. Photo: J. Zeldman|
In only moments of strolling the area's sidewalks you may begin to realize that while Times Square may be the epicenter of New York to the world, the Upper West Side is the heart of Manhattan to everyone who discovers it or calls it home.
Listen as you stroll between 73rd Street and 74th street - that is the sound of New York quiet: a muted roar interrupted rhythmically by the sound of delivery trucks and cabs bouncing along potholes, their sound magnified into deep, echoing booms by the elegant Florentine Renaissance palazzo landmark building you see to your left, known today as the Apple Bank for Savings, and by the pre-war landmark building standing above you on your right, previously known as The Berkeley.
|The Ansonia - scandal, a rooftop farm, a notorious nightclub are only half the story. Photo: J. Zeldman|
Peek in each storefront you pass. Restaurants. Elegant shops. An old fashioned barber shop. When you reach the original neon sign of a Chinese laundry, recognize that this family-owned business has been a mainstay of this Upper West Side block for decades - its comforting scent of clean, starched steam has billowed onto the sidewalk for over 50 years hinting at neighborhood continuity in a city of constant change.
Make a right turn at West 74th Street to enjoy two Upper West Side delights - sweets eating and stoop sitting - before we move on toward a Central Park adventure, Columbus Avenue sightseeing, the delights of Lincoln Center and...
This is just the start of your lively walking tour - experience it, complete with images, helpful links and directions to a rewarding, scenic grand finale in my post at Ask a New Yorker. Follow me on Twitter for daily city tips, travel photos and "Best of ..." updates. Happy Travels!