Inside New York City's hidden neighbourhood where Wall Street big shots, celebrities, and billionaire heirs mingle

  • New York City’s Upper East Side has a hidden neighbourhood on East End Avenue where many of the city’s richest live.
  • Celebrities like Debra Messing and Ricky Martin reside in the area, dubbed ‘the suburb of the Upper East Side.’
  • Rumour has it the Obamas may be moving in soon.

New York’s Upper East Side has long been synonymous with the city’s moneyed elite, a century before new towers like 15 Central Park West and One57 became en vogue addresses for the world’s millionaires and billionaires.

While Park Avenue and 5th Avenue have always been the most desirable Upper East Side addresses, the neighbourhood has a third coveted street known only to those in the know – East End Avenue.

Only 11 blocks long and nestled against the East River, East End has become a secluded neighbourhood of its own, one that residents call ‘the suburb of the Upper East Side.’

The hidden neighbourhood has been the home of heiresses, celebrities, politicians, and billionaires including New York royalty Vincent Astor, Club Monaco founder Joseph Mimram, singer Ricky Martin, baseball player Johan Santana, hedge-funder Arvind Sanger, and actress Debra Messing.

Rumour has it that Barack and Michelle Obama may be buying an apartment in the former building of heiress Gloria Vanderbilt in the neighbourhood.

Ed Baquero, president of the Corigin Real Estate Group and the developer of the area’s newest building 20 East End, recently gave us a tour of the neighbourhood, which he called “a little hidden gem.”

East End Avenue is an 11-block tree-lined stretch next to the East River on the Upper East Side. The quiet street is lined with buildings from the 1920s and 1930s. “It is one of the last true neighbourhoods in the city,” Baquero said.

Built in 1928, 25 East End Avenue was one of the first buildings on the street. It has only 39 apartments over 15 floors, with sales prices usually ranging between $US2 million and $US5 million.

“The people who live here never sell. If they sell, it’s to upgrade for better views or a bigger apartment,” said Baquero. “They never move out of the area because they feel like they will never find this anywhere else in the city.”

The newest building on the block is Baquero’s recently opened 20 East End, which was designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern, who designed 15 Central Park West, one of the most coveted addresses in New York.

20 East End has been built with inspiration from many of the Gilded Age buildings in the area. Everything in the building is custom-made, like the flooring here, which is Royal Danby marble, the same stone used on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The apartments in the building range from $US10 million to upwards of $US35 million. This 5,000 square-foot five bedroom apartment is selling for $US15.5 million.

20 East End takes much of its inspiration from 120 East End Avenue, a building constructed by billionaire Vincent Astor. The building was the first to cater to the ultra-rich in the neighbourhood. Similar construction followed after 120 East End was completed.

Source: The New York Times

Apartments in 120 East End were typically palatial. One unit on the 15th floor has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and seven servants’ rooms. “The apartments in there are big, big, big,” said Baquero.

One of the most attractive parts about the neighbourhood is its proximity to the East River. Many residents walk their dogs or watch the boats go by on John Finley Walk.

The walk sits above the FDR Drive parkway. According to Baquero, the East River used to extend up to the buildings on the right, many of which had marinas and yacht landings for the residents.

The area is home to some of the most prestigious schools in the city, like The Brearley School, an all-girls prep school. Some of the school’s most famous former students include diplomat Caroline Kennedy, actress Tea Leoni, former publisher of the New York Post Dorothy Schiff, and actress Kyra Sedgewick.

Source: Ranker

One of the area’s most famous buildings is 10 Gracie Square, the one-time home of heiress and fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt (also CNN anchor Anderson Cooper’s mother). Rumour has it that Barack and Michelle Obama have been eyeing an apartment in the building.

Next door to 10 Gracie Square is Carl Schurz Park, a 15-acre park designed by Calvert Vaux who collaborated with Central Park architect Frederick Law Olmstead. It “is a little jewel for the neighbourhood,” said Baquero, who likened it to a “private mini-Central Park.”

The park was once owned by the Dutch East India company, the oldest company in the world. The city first set out to make it a park in 1887 when it earmarked $US1 million to create small parks around the city.

There are a couple of dog runs in the park that seemed to be getting plenty of use when I stopped by.

The other major new construction in the area is 170 East End Avenue, a luxury condo building designed by architect Peter Marino, who is known for designing high-end fashion boutiques. Some of the former and current residents of the building include Club Monaco founder Joseph Mimram, singer Ricky Martin, baseball player Johan Santana, hedge-funder Arvind Sange, and art dealer Dominque Levy.

Source: NY Sun

Gracie Mansion, the home of the mayor of New York City since 1942, sits at the end of East End. Baquero estimated that the mansion would sell for around $US250 million if it was put on the market today.

Henderson Place is a co-op that dates back to 1882. It was built by John C. Henderson, one of New York’s first real estate developers, and housed many artists, writers, and actors in the 1920s. It has since become one of New York’s first landmarked historical districts.

Brearley’s main rival, The Chapin School, is just a few blocks away. The all-girls prep school is also highly ranked. Famous alumni include Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, fashion designer Vera Wang, Ivanka Trump, and actress Sigourney Weaver.

There’s currently a flurry of construction happening on East End Avenue and in the surrounding area, no doubt spurred by the long-awaited opening of the 2nd Avenue subway a few blocks away. This 22-story 139-apartment building is scheduled to open in 2020.

On York Avenue, one block from East End, developer Bonjour Capital spent $US150 million to buy The Hamilton. The company is spending $US20 million to renovate the building and rename it The Serrano.

Source: Curbed NY

Meanwhile, at 40 East End Avenue, highly regarded architect Deborah Berke, the dean of the Yale Architecture School, is designing this 18-story condo building with Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel Architects.

East End Avenue itself is very quiet. The neighbourhood’s restaurants and shops are a block over on the far busier York Avenue.

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