Above the department stores at 59th Street, between the banks of the East River and the horse-drawn carriages of Central Park, South of East 96th and the gateway to East Harlem… lies an area of New York City expected to maintain a certain level of class. Glamour, allure, style… No- I don’t mean fashion magazines. I’m referring to a highly coveted neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan: The Upper East Side. A step above, if you will. And I will. What other area of NYC currently has a hit CW show based around the propensities of its population? Where else can you find the trendiest martini bar next to a divey Mexican joint, a café founded in 1898 happily sharing a wall with Barnes & Noble… Dolce and Gabbana just 2 blocks West of yet another Gristedes market… (Westerners – this is a grocery chain pronounced “Griss-tee-dees.”)
I have noticed, in my now five months as a resident here, that the only divide in this neighborhood is the way we view ourselves: Properly Stylish? or Stylishly Proper? Lexington Avenue partitions this swanky district, and even seems to guide its population one way or the other in the question of style and properness.
West of the divide, one can find hoards of roadkill- I mean- mink coats on both women and men; diamonds and gold and rubies – oh my; blonde haired babies being pushed in fancy strollers by African au pairs. But most importantly – walking down Madison Avenue, it’s easy to spot that the people here are truly “Properly Stylish.” Pearl necklaces, along with other timeless fashions, guide the style and grace of patrons at Aureole. And don’t even get me started on the fashions these residents’ pooches are sporting. You know that you’ve hit rock bottom when you actually covet the puffy fur-lined vest that that Italian Greyhound is wearing. Can animals wear fur? Between Fifth and Lex, the answer is a firm “yes.”
Now over to my neighborhood – yes, the “Stylishly Proper” area. While maintaining a luxurious air, the residents of the four avenues East of the 4/5/6 subway line rule the streets with a younger, hipper, more realistic approach. Think of a class that realizes the value of money, works hard every day, and takes advantage of a sunny afternoon. Here is where the street vendors thrive… what would I do without $5 pashminas in every color? I actually saw coats on sale for $20 a few days ago. It is clearly evident, perhaps because this side of UES is quite younger, that we are still a little thrifty, but we like to look good. Incorporating a deal of class with the understanding of current trends into the reality of “now.” Stylishly Proper. Of course, the canine fashions are not lacking over here either…
Is it bad to walk through a Petco and ask yourself “Could I maybe fit into that sweater?“