Upper East Side
Explore Upper East Side TV & movie locations!
New York City’s Upper East Side is the neighborhood situated between Central Park and the East River, from 59th to 96th Streets. Once known as the “Silk Stocking” district, the Upper East Side remains one of the most expensive residential neighborhoods in not only New York City, but the whole of the United States. Still farmland in the mid 1800’s, the Upper East Side’s transformation into a residential neighborhood began in the late 19th century. Wealthy families built luxury mansions and townhouses along Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park, but stayed away from the dark and dirty Park Avenue, which was still consumed by the railroad trench. Once the train line was covered in 1910, however, Park Avenue became just as exclusive an address as Fifth Avenue. The first apartment building to replace a private mansion along Fifth Avenue was 907 Fifth Avenue, at 72nd Street, in 1916. The last remaining suburban villa in the neighborhood is Gracie Mansion, which became the home of New York City’s mayor in 1942.
Famous families who have spent generations on the Upper East Side include the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, the Roosevelts, the Whitneys, the Carnegies, the Astors and the Dukes.
The string of museums along Fifth Avenue is often referred to as “Museum Mile.” Museums included here are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, el Museo del Barrio and the Jewish Museum among others.
On Location Tours’ Gossip Girl Sites Tour explores this very exclusive neighborhood. “Hello, Upper East Siders!” is Gossip Girl’s opening line to every episode and on the Gossip Girl Tour you’ll feel like she’s talking directly to you! Experience a day in the life as one of Manhattan’s elite.
What’s morning like in the Bass household? Begin the tour in the courtyard at the luxurious New York Palace Hotel, owned by Bass Industries on the show, where Chuck Bass and his “adopted” family, the van der Woodsens, wake up every morning to a fully catered breakfast from the Palace’s unparalleled service professionals. Ranked as one of the top 100 hotels in the world and celebrated for its luxurious accommodations, the New York Palace is an icon of Manhattan splendor.
Inside the Palace is not only the home of two of Gossip Girl’s elite families, but also the location of many a Gossip Girl intrigue. Gilt, the fine dining restaurant on the ground floor of the Palace, is where the Bass brunch took place, was the site of the first “reunion” of Serena and Blair after Serena’s mysterious disappearance and where Dan picks up Serena’s dropped cell phone, as well as where the lascivious Chuck tried to win Serena’s affection with a special-ordered grilled cheese sandwich with truffles.
And just like Chuck, Serena and Eric every school day, head up to the Constance Billard School for Girls and the St. Jude School for Boys. Both are located on the Upper East Side at a fictional address in the middle of the East River! But on the tour you’ll be visiting the locations where all the school scenes are shot.
Continue down Fifth Avenue towards Blair Waldorf’s apartment building. Located in the Carnegie Hill section of the Upper East Side, this handsome “pre-war” apartment house built in 1925 with private elevator landings in each apartment is considered one of Carnegie Hill’s finest. Apartments are listed here from $4million to $7million.
Around the corner from Blair’s is the other location used for Constance Billard/St. Jude’s, a landmark building known as the Baker Mansion (Baker was the Vice President of First National Bank, now CitiBank, and moved into the mansion in 1928, commissioning several wings be added to the original 1917 construction) and is currently owned by The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, to whom it was gifted in 1958. Only a block away is the real inspiration behind The Constance Billard School for Girls, The Nightingale-Bamford School. An elite Upper East Side school for girls, Nightingale is where Cecily von Ziegesar, the author of the Gossip Girl books on which the TV show is based, attended until her high school graduation (tuition at The Nightingale-Bamford School runs around $35,000/year).
And only 1 more block away is the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, located in the former Andrew Carnegie Mansion, the site of the Bass/van der Woodsen wedding. And further down Museum Mile you will find the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on the steps of which sit many a “Queen B” lunch crew. In real life, these steps are often frequented by the girls from the Marymount School, another elite Upper East Side school for girls.
But the Upper East Side isn’t just about NYC’s elite homes and schools, it’s also about where many an Upper East Sider eats and shops! The Upper East Side is home to countless unforgettable restaurants. And high end designer boutiques abound along Madison Avenue in the Upper East Side.
Sette Mezzo is a simple Italian restaurant that caters to a number of financial- and social-elite families from the neighborhood where regulars include Martin Scorcese, Mike Nichols, George Soros, the Ferragamos, and the Lauders. Sette Mezzo does not take credit cards as most patrons have a “house account” or monthly tab and a typical meal for four can easily run upwards of $500. Other elite restaurants to check out on Manhattan’s Upper East Side include Daniel, Aureole, Le Cirque, Vico, Geisha and Café Bouloud; and for a less expensive yet very classy meal, check out Elio’s, Café D’Alsace, Sushi Seki, Donguri, Erminia and JoJo.
A stroll down Madison Avenue in Manhattan’s Upper East Side will bring you past such famous designer boutiques as Polo/Ralph Lauren (who also lives on the Upper East Side), Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Calvin Klein, Christian Louboutin, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Jimmy Choo, Oscar de la Renta (who lives on the Upper East Side as well!), Roberto Cavalli, Valentino and Vera Wang. Upper East Side department stores include Bloomingdale’s, Henri Bendel, and the very high end Barney’s New York. Celebrity inhabitants of the Upper East Side have frequented these shops through the years, including Audrey Hepburn, Bill Murray, Brooke Shields, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, Francis Ford Coppola, Frank Sinatra, Jacqueline Kennedy, Marlene Dietrich, Naomi Campbell, Robert Redford and Sigourney Weaver.
Rich with history, New York City’s Upper East Side has served as backdrop for many television shows and movies. Among some of the productions filmed in Manhattan’s Upper East Side that On Location Tours do not cover include Manhattan Murder Mystery, Men in Black, 25th Hour, The Nanny Diaries, The Real Housewives of New York City and “The Nanny.” Come explore this fabulous NYC neighborhood with On Location Tours’ Gossip Girl Sites Tour!