HistoryIn the early 19th century, the construction of the Croton Aqueduct led to a major boom along several busy avenues in the western side of Manhattan. Quite naturally, this important water supply supported the construction of an array of commercial buildings and residential properties. Built in the 1880s with Renaissance Revival and English Victoria elements, the Dakota still stands as one of the most iconic landmarks in the district. This historic property was once home to the legendary musician John Lennon, who tragically lost his life just steps away from his apartment. Besides having lavish homes, the neighbourhood is particularly known for being home to diverse religious denominations, ranging from Reform Judaism and Methodist to Catholic and Episcopal.
SightseeingThe cultural heart and soul of the Upper West Side is the American Museum of Natural History. Established in the 1860s, this world-class museum boasts a growing permanent collection of more than 33 million items. Dinosaur fossils and ancient meteorites are some of the most precious specimens on display. After learning about anthropology and biology, you could head to the New-York Historical Society for some lessons on the Big Apple's history. The Museum of Biblical Art, Nicholas Roerich Museum and Children's Museum of Manhattan are some niche museums that are located in the Upper West Side. Running through most of the neighbourhood, Riverside Park is one of the most visited green spaces in New York City. Opened in the 1860s, this historic park has a prime location along the shores of the Hudson River. The Grant National Memorial is perhaps the most notable attraction in Riverside Park, which is also lined with other smaller monuments that are dedicated to heroic citizens and famous leaders. Of course, no visit to the Upper West Side is complete without a stroll in Central Park, which has plenty of its own attractions.
Entertainment and CultureThe Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts serves as the focal point for entertainment in the Upper West Side. From the Metropolitan Opera and David Geffen Hall to the Alice Tully Hall, there's no shortage of performing arts at this famous complex. If you prefer an intimate setting for live shows, then head to Symphony Space, Merkin Concert Hall or the Beacon Theater. Part of the prestigious Ivy League, Columbia University has also enriched the cultural scene in this part of Manhattan. A tour of the beautiful urban campus will surely inspire you on academic, emotional and spiritual levels. Having a Neoclassical facade with a large dome, the visitor's centre at this university is one of the most prominent architectural landmarks in the entire neighbourhood. It's worth noting that part of the campus is located within the Morningside Heights district.
TransportationThe A, B, C and D lines of the New York City subway conveniently run under Central Park West in the Upper West Side. The 1, 2 and 3 trains serve major parts of the neighbourhood, including the Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. Hailing a taxi or catching a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus shouldn't be difficult in this busy part of the Big Apple. In fact, Broadway runs right through the heart of the Upper West Side.
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