Allow me, if you please, to paint a picture for you. Â This picture will be painted in the pinkest of hues, and the mintiest of greens. Â These colors will burn brightly and they will burn shortly, and their breath-taking incandescence will be a momentary flicker of exalted heavenly light, before it passes into the drab nothingness of urban spleen.
A colleague of mine, who for the moment shall go un-named, and I were leaving the Metropolitan Museum of Art, that veritable and glorious hallowed Upper West Side institution. Â It was about 4:30, and the sun was cozying itself down into the furrowed covers and verdant hills of our great land. Â This associate and I looked across the drab and bustling traffic of 5th Avenue (one of the most unpleasant avenues out there, if you ask me: 4 lanes of screaming homicidal cab drivers and loud buses packed with gaggling tourists like a sardine can. Â Nothing like my beloved CPW on the fairer side of my park) and we saw the pink-marshmallow glow rising of the setting sun rising above the green copper cornices of a taste-less mansion which looked not unlike the frosting on a superfluously saccharine birthday cake for some spoiled-rotten Upper East Side Read more →
I was just walking up Fifth Avenue from The Met with notorious Upper West Sider, Theodore Ward Barrow, when Mr. Barrow exclaimed, “Look at that pink!”Â There was a beautifully intense pink glow on the pail stone buildings extending up the East Side of the Avenue.
We stopped for a moment of appreciation and I took out my camera to take a photo of the pink contrasting with a light green roof.Â Mr. Barrow said, “If you post this on your blog you have to note that the Upper West Side has equally beautiful sunsets.”
Granted the sun sets in the West, and sometimes I have a view from my roof of The Upper West Side backlit by a brilliant glow but I can’t say I’ve ever really been struck by the sun setting while actually on The Upper West Side.Â I’m sure there’s a decent view on the Hudson, but anyway, I’ll have to see it to believe it.Â Therefore I challenge Theodore Ward Barrow to a sunset-off!
Your response to my point has set the tone of the dialogue between the two of us: breezy and sugar-coated yet mordant and vicious. Not unlike a molasses-covered glob of feces shat from the fiery sphincter of Cerberus, the three-headed hound of the Upper East Side. You are a worthy adversary, despite your blue-blood, and your argument, albeit fallacious, was a pleasure to read in its frivolity.
Nonetheless, your words do smite, not in the sense that they bear any semblance to what I and most sane New Yorkers consider to be self-evident truth, but because, feeble as your attempt is, you besmirch my beloved berg, and that I will NOT stand for. No, madame, I do not abide wanton and haphazard insults flung across my dear (Central) Park, insults whose empty meaning bespeaks nothing more than the folly of idle privilege. You see, while we Upper West Siders may revel in watching the sun set over the Hudson river, submerging its golden light behind the grillade of bucolic boughs of Riverside park, enjoying our picnic baskets from Zabar’s, we do not take such insults lightly. As one of our many accolades said in his ode to the (soon to be) Upper West Side, “We prefer to fight you more like a man, and beat you down, with our hands, and body slam you in the Wild Wild West”.
Be that as it may, I will show you the meaning of delicacy and restraint, if not to say modesty. You see, although I’m quite certain that the Upper West Side could beat up the Upper East Side, (who would really win in a fist fight, Jon McEnroe or Brooke Astor?) I choose to take the high road, as is the intellectual tradition of our neighborhood, and keep this beef verbal. Read more →
It has been an exercise in restraint and modesty, leaving this blasphemy unchecked for so long. But my faith in your faith is strong and the truth will out. Mr. Barrow has made a valiant and creative effort in claiming The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park for the West Side, based on their locations West of Fifth Avenue. I do have a soft spot for logic, but his is the logic of a child who takes the few teachings he possesses as literal.
Not everything is so black and white, or East and West. If you ask any “sane” New Yorker, I believe they will tell you that The Met is on the Upper East Side and they will certainly say that Central Park is neither part of the Upper East nor the Upper West Side. Wikipedia, which is becoming an increasingly more accurate reflection of fact as well as general consensus lists The Metropolitan Museum of Art under Landmarks and Cultural Institutions of The Upper East Side.
Although I haven’t taken the trouble to find a document explicitly setting forth Central Park’s neutralness, I challenge Mr. Barrow to find one historical document which specifically supports his claims about The Met and Central Park belonging to The Upper West Side.
In researching my rebuttal I have realized that Mr. Barrow’s argument highlights an ambiguity in the demarcation of our two neighborhoods. I believe this confusion lies in the fact that the terms Upper East Side and Upper West Side actually have nothing to do with the more general terms of East Side and West Side.
East Side and West Side are geographical designations. They extend so far up and down Manhattan that there is no consistent cultural common ground between them.Â However, Read more →
I’ve been all over New York City, which is to say strictly Manhattan, from Battery to Fort Tyron, Clinton to Norfolk, Gay Street to Jay street, and it all pales in comparison to the glorious Upper West Side. Yes, that grid of fantastic beauty that exquisitely stretches from 59th street up to Columbia, dripping with dank gloomy doorman buildings and brownstones that look like they were carved by Praxitiles himself (if he worked in mud and did chintzy ornament on brick), chock full of parks, malls, Sturgeon shops, and universities, this is truly the best neighborhood. Why, without even leaving the West Side, I can buy clothes at Filene’s Basement, an over-priced smoky bagel at H & H, trip out on dinosaurs, and, if I’m feeling hip, just skip over to the Met for the latest, which is to say 16 years old, Damien Hirst sensation.
What’s that? Yeah, that’s right, I said it. I said that I can go over to the Met, which means crossing central park, and not leave my beloved Upper West Side. This may seem like a surprise to most New Yorkers, but I’m not most New Yorkers. Shit, I’m not even any New Yorker, I’m an Upper West Sider, and damn proud of it.
That’s why I’m claiming the Met for the Upper BEST Side. You Upper Yeast Siders don’t even go to the museum, anyway. You can’t be bothered to cross 5th ave, which by the way is the OFFICIAL east/west dividing line, to visit the Met because you know, deep down, that it is a West Side Institution. You see those big blocks of un-carved stone on the top of the four entablatures? Those are actually hide outs for an elite force of militant Upper West Siders, ready at any moment to shower you Snobby East siders with bagels and lox, if ever this inevitable east/west beef really jumps off. Be Read more →