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Upper West Side - Manhattan

This is not your grandma's neighborhood. Whereas the Upper East Side tends to be wealthier, older, socialite types, the Upper West Side is the younger, more artistic but still wealthy (just not quite as filthy rich) neighbor on the other side of Central Park. Most people here are well off but adventurous. Unlike its neighbor to the East, these residents are involved in everything from saving the world to taking care of their own bodies with excellent workouts at gyms that started the rock climbing and spinning crazes. Basically, the Upper West Side is the fun grandchild to the Upper East Side. How could it not be, with celebrities Jerry Seinfeld and Meg Ryan as your neighbors?

The buildings here are old and beautiful, dating back to the turn of the 20th Century, and have been beautifully preserved. Most have high-ceilings and thick walls; the Dakota at 72nd Street is not only one of the most beautiful buildings in this area but is also where John Lennon lived-and died when he was shot just outside his home. Yoko Ono still lives there today.

A couple of places you can't miss when you get hungry is world-famous H&H Bagels, Zabars and of course Tavern On The Green, which is as good as it is famous. The Upper West Side has an excellent neighborhood feel to it, and is great for raising a family. And since you're right by both Riverside and Central Park, you have acres and acres of grass and land at your disposal for jogging, playing baseball, soccer, strolling, walking the dog or the kids or anything else you would want to do. You're also in close proximity to Lincoln Center, as well as museums such as the American Museum of Natural History. The Claremont Riding Stables are also here, which are the oldest stables in New York. The West Side Community Garden is an excellent place to relax and recoup after another busy day.

The Upper West Side wants to stick around as long as the Upper East Side, but it's still trying to define its tastes. Because of this, many shops and boutiques have come and gone, but the residents don't plan on giving up and turning this into another come-and-gone trendy neighborhood. Developers see this as a lasting place to call home and won't let it fall into a has-been so easily.

Basically, the feel of this neighborhood is somewhere between young and retired (30s and 40s, perhaps), wealthy and decidedly unpretentious. The people who live here love their neighborhood and are into worthy causes. They're adventurous and are more likely to be seen walking a Golden Retriever than a poodle. If you've grown out of the gritty scene of the East Village but still have the artistic adventurer in you, this could be an excellent choice for your next home.

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