The Upper West Side
The "Upper West Side" is the name for a Manhattan neighborhood on a rugged plateau bounded to the north by 125th street, to the east by Central Park, to the south by 59th street, and to the west by the Hudson River. On the other side of the Hudson is New Jersey.
In the 1680s the area was called Bloemendaal (flowering valley) by Dutch and Flemish settlers. In the early 19th century small villages were formed and were interspersed with the estates of wealthy merchants and professionals. In 1867 Bloomingdale Road (now Broadway) was converted into a broad, tree-lined boulevard that encouraged development throughout the area. The advent of mass transit with the 9th Avenue elevated train in 1879 (long defunct) and the IRT subway in 1904 (still running) spurred the development of apartment buildings and rapid growth in the area.
The Upper West Side is still primarily brownstone buildings (3-5 floors) with a few medium and high rise apartment buildings (especially on the avenues - which run north-south). However, the area has become one of the most desirable and expensive in the city, leading to a significant amount of redevelopment and replacement of the area's colorful architectural legacy.