Photo by Sarah Ackerman.

The Upper West Side made the AARP’s list of top neighborhoods in the country for people 50 and over, coming in second to some neighborhood in Wisconsin no one’s ever heard of or cares about anyway.

The Upper West Side was credited for its “Great restaurants, world-class culture, easy access to gyms and Central Park jogging paths. Expensive housing, but a walkable neighborhood with cheap and convenient mass transit. Multigenerational community.”

Fair enough. All of this sets the neighborhood apart, and makes the Upper West Side a great place to grow old(er). About 22% of Upper West Siders are 60 or over, versus 17% citywide. But the most innovative aspect of the Upper West Side for the 50-plus crowd may be the community groups that have sprung up to help seniors form their own self-sustaining communities within the big city. Some of them are called NORCs for naturally occurring retirement communities. The Times has more on them here.

Project Open at Lincoln Towers offers services and classes, and groups like Bloomingdale Aging in Place have connected large groups of people, creating multi-generational communities that act as a social network and lifeline — all while allowing seniors to stay in their homes as they age.

So take note AARP. We deserve to be Number 1.

NEWS | 57 comments | permalink
    1. Elmer Casaphicten says:

      Remove Central Park from the UWS and what have you got?

      • Diego says:

        Riverside Park

      • Kevin says:

        Not the upper west side.

        Trying to imagine what Manhattan would be like without central park is nearly impossible. The park existed before the upper west side really grew into any semblance of its current form.

        • Diego says:

          if we’re using that logic, then yeah, central park isnt the upper west side either

          • Eric says:

            As far as I’m concerned the West Side begins on the west side of Fifth Avenue … Central Park is ours !

      • Jonathan says:

        David Copperfield can remove Central Park from the UWS? that would be a neat trick!!

    2. Concern says:

      “So take note AARP. We deserve to be Number 1.”

      yeah, like there’s like no like crime here at all, like.















      we certainly deserve the #1 spot!!
      oh, if “where’s the most crime” is the question.


      • AnD says:

        If you’re that uncomfortable here, figure out what the #1 spot is and move there – I’m sure per capita crime rates are much much lower, just like everywhere else off our island and outside the City.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          actually, per capita crime rates on the UWS are extremely low… as they are in NYC as a whole. much lower than most major cities though perhaps not Madison, Wisc.

      • Harriet says:

        Ironic that better communication with social media makes it seem as if there is much more crime than there is, per capita. Wonder how many crimes of this type there were in a similar period during the crack epidemic, 1991-1992? (What some of WSR readers like to think of as the “good old days.”) Someone smarter than I am should be able to access that statistic. What if those crimes to which you provided links were all the potentially violent crimes that happened during that time period on the entire UWS? WSR does report MOST of them, I think. Fewer than 20 crimes against persons (as opposed to property) in 7 months for a population of what, 220,000 people. That’s pretty great. I still feel much safer here than I do in most of the places that I visit where there is NO ONE walking on the streets ever.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          Harriet, here are some stats, 2014 vs 1990, for the 24th Precinct.

          Murders: down 94.4% (2014: 1; 1990: 18)
          Rape: down 61.8%
          Robbery: down 88.9%
          Felonious assault: down 53.3%
          Burglary: down 89.3%

          and so on.

          • harriet says:

            Thank you. Point made.

          • Jack says:

            Thank You. This can’t be said enough. The “Fear Factor” so prevalent in our social network and media does make one “feel” like the crime rate in NYC and the UWS has skyrocketed since the nineties. The opposite is true, and the facts back it up.

      • DMH says:

        you forgot the state cop who fired his gun at his drinking buddies outside a bar on Amsterdam, and the couple who snatched the purse of a 92-year-old woman at Fairway. Total scum. I hope that couple rots in jail.

        Other than that, don’t forget Nana on her way to Chemical Bank! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PO8C4Q2RS3Q

    3. Erica says:

      I am 25 and I love living here for those same reasons… “Great restaurants, world-class culture, easy access to gyms and Central Park jogging paths.. walkable neighborhood with cheap and convenient mass transit.” But doesn’t that also kinda describe the whole city?

    4. Mike says:

      Is AARP trying to get the word out to the hoards of young criminals (de Blasio’s Army) that there are easy pickings on the UWS?
      I for one, fear for the safety of any blue hair that sets foot outside their apartment while Bill continues to smoke dope in Gracie Mansion. The cops don’t respect him and won’t protect the walking dead from the gangs that are descending upon the UWS.

      • Dennis says:

        Mitch, relax. It will be over soon enough.

      • B.W. says:

        Proving once again that you are completely out of touch with reality. How about you just move from this city that you think is so awful. Your broken record responses are just dull.

      • Steen says:

        Is this a synopsis of “The Warriors” script?

    5. bucky badger says:


    6. Ron shapley says:

      Can seniors afford to live UWS.?? AARP how about a study on that. ‘..

    7. DMH says:

      This is cool news. I love the NORCs on the Upper West Side! Big concern for me though is safe streets for our seniors. A 76-year-old woman was just killed by a turning taxi driver who ran into her while she was in the crosswalk at 60th and Madison on Saturday afternoon. Since driving naturally gets harder and harder as we age, a walkable transit-rich place is a great place for seniors.

    8. Dennis says:

      That town in Wisconsin that’s so great? The only reason is because all of their yupsters ages 20-50 have moved to Brooklyn.

    9. Raymond Marble says:

      “some neighborhood in Wisconsin no one’s ever heard of or cares about anyway”

      I’m happy for our UWS, but that quote seems unnecessarily harsh.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        … especially since that neighborhood is in Madison, Wisc.

        • john says:

          Many good points that are true here and in many neighborhoods nationwide…that said, they didn’t address air pollution. high particulate matter leads to inflammation which increases risk of heart disease, etc. we are not China, but this something real for seniors to consider. also, ambulance response times lag.

    10. jules says:

      also we have something Wisconson doesnt have….Bruce Bernstein: the UWS own fountain of misinformation

      • UWS-er says:

        Also, NYC has bizarre people fixated on Bruce Bernstein, who post twice under different names.

    11. w92 says:

      This list has no credibility — Downtown Crossing in Boston is 3rd on the list.

    12. shlomo tal says:

      And don’t forget the UWS has Bruce Bernstein.. our own resident fountain of misinformation.

      • bruce Bernstein says:

        i wonder if there’s some way i can monetize my popularity on this site? 🙂

        btw, when i cite statistics, i try to always document the source. if only some others did the same.

      • UWS-er says:

        Also, NYC has bizarre people fixated on Bruce Bernstein, who post twice under different names.

    13. Born And Raised In Madison, WI says:

      “The Upper West Side made the AARP’s list of top neighborhoods in the country for people 50 and over, coming in second to some neighborhood in Wisconsin no one’s ever heard of or cares about anyway.”

      I was born and raised in Madison wisconsin before moving to NYC, I work and spend a LOT of time on the UWS…thank you for completely disrespecting where me and my family are from. It feels great and I truly appreciate it!

      • West Sider says:

        As I hope you know, we were trying to be cute and funny. Also poking fun at New Yorkers who think we live at the center of the universe. WSR

      • B.W. says:

        Maybe you should move back. You clearly don’t have thick enough skin to live here.

      • Erica says:

        Born and Raised …. I took that as a dig at NYC arrogance (and envy that we’re not #1), not at Madison.

    14. Eric says:

      Guess “supermarkets” aren’t required to be a “top neighborhood” for seniors.

      • Harriet says:

        I don’t understand all the hoopla about the lack of supermarkets. Supermarkets as you remember them in the “good old days” are a thing of the past. Dirty old Red Apple is not coming back to a corner near you. For people on a budget, you can’t beat Trader Joe’s. Of course, I wish they would open a few more in Manhattan. Every time I go there I’m amazed at the low prices. Granted I have to time my trips for the slow periods, like 9:30 AM. But, thankfully many seniors can do that. For people not on a budget the UWS is filled with gourmet food shopping options. The drug stores on every corner have replaced supermarkets for non-perishable items, one of several reasons why supermarkets have closed. The profit margin in traditional supermarkets was always very slim, less than 1% according to some industry folk. It’s MUCH easier for seniors to get food here than driving to and navigating the huge suburban supermarkets. AND, they can get their groceries delivered to their door, a service you can’t get in the suburbs.

        • PG says:

          Agreed. The huge benefit of NYC is the transportation. Seniors do not have to drive, and there is no stigma associated with that. There is so much to do here, and so much is accessible, even for someone who is disabled.

          Similarly, we have a son with learning disabilities who will probably never be a driver, but in NYC he can be an “independent traveler” just like everyone else. It is a wonderful thing.

    15. Christina says:

      All’s great except for the rents!!! How many retirees on a fixed income can really afford to live here??? It’s a nice idealistic view though.

    16. cathy carron says:

      it makes the UWS seem like Wheezerville – LOL

      • PG says:

        Which makes Madison Geezerville?

        It’s true though, except for the rents, the UWS is a great place to grow old. If you can afford it!

    17. Jan van Cort says:

      Outside the winters, what is there to do in Wisconsin? Moving to the far Upper Westside from New Jersey is saving me about $ 4000 per year and I do not have to mow the lawn or shovel the snow.

    18. Linda says:

      Your article which links to discussion about Project Open cites Janice Hohenstein’s involvement. It is true she was
      a founder and hard worker until about a year ago when she passed away.

    19. Pat says:

      That “some neighborhood in Wisconsin” happens to be in Madison – a great city in what used to be a great state – Boo, Walker!

    20. Elle J says:

      I love the humor and truth in the statement, “some neighborhood in Wisconsin no one’s ever heard of or cares about anyway.” LOL!

    21. Red Raleigh says:

      Huh? According to TimeOut NY the Upper West Side doesn’t even exist!

    22. Fran Seigel says:

      I think readers of your article have to seriously consider the dire issue of “generic-fication” of the UWS with our unique small businesses being priced out of their leases one after another. Witness the empty storefronts on Columbus Ave from 75th on up and their actual and probable replacement by entire blocks of banks, Duane Reades and chains. We all need to speak up in the media and also support Borough President Gale Brewer’s recent report and upcoming legislation. (If you get Crains NY Business, check out the discussion in the May 4 th and next weeks issue.)

    23. Frank Southworth says:

      It may be a bit premature to congratulate ourselves on what a great place the UWS is to live in, until we take a good look at those who are not doing so well. Even though the majority of the population consists of (upper) middle–class whites, we have a number of minorities, poor and homeless people, unemployed/underemployed, and handicapped people. When we are able to share the blessings of our community with those people, then we will have a right to feel good about it.

      • Christina says:

        Also lower middle class and plain ole middle class- which is diminishing by the day.

    24. G says:

      Mifflin, AARP’s number 1, is described as follows:

      As of the census of 2000, there were 617 people, 201 households, and 163 families residing in the town. The population density was 12.2 people per square mile (4.7/km²). There were 209 housing units at an average density of 4.1 per square mile (1.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.51% White, 0.16% African American, and 0.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.49% of the population. Etc., etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mifflin,_Wisconsin.

      And check out the restaurants nearby: https://www.google.com/? gws_rd=ssl#q=west+mifflin+restaurants&rflfq=1&tbm=lcl

    25. Wanda Hoff says:

      …then you’ve never been to Madison.

    26. LAndK says:

      I have been a West Sider for over 60 years: In the area between 72nd & 96th St/West End. So I can speak with a little experience. Before we go around patting ourselves on the back let us take a long hard long at the changes to my neighborhood in the last 15 years.

      Where are all the small boutiques, shops, used book stores, antique stores etc etc that I loved so well. Where has the heterogeneity gone that made the neighborhood so spontaneous and so much fun? The artists, writers, middle class families (definition annual family income under $100,000 using current dollars).

      One clarifiying word: Gentrification.

      Get out of this neighborhood: Go uptown above 125th on Broadway, Astoria, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens and many other 5 borough areas. That is where you will now find vibrancy, and the ‘real’ New York. On my West Side I am now living in a homogeneous world of pricey everything (restaurants, apartments, stores etc etc.). Either pricy or a bank/Duane Reade. Not much fun!

      And I am not being nostalgic: I do remember the 70’s so very well: Needle point park, the muggings, the live cats being thrown out of the 7th floor SRO’s, the after hours street fear But there was a point in the late 80;s when the neighborhood because just wonderful. When it had that only-in-New York mix of rich and poor; artists and office workers. — BUT then it was ‘found’ and tipped to the point that it is now oriented to the well advantaged and has become for the most part taken over by the essentially self satisfied and the very well to do..

      And if you think that in the future the area will not become even more so, — a home for only wall streeters, bankers and highly leveraged retirees — think again. I love change -Change is what makes us grow. But neighborhood change that exclusively benefits only the well-heeled is not a very good thing

      So to repeat — Don’t congratulate ourselves until we really take a cold and realistic assessment of our current environment. It no longer provides that great mix of bohemianism and middle class that I remember and really enjoyed.

      So much for my sour grapes, but unrealistic promotions like this make me want to scream.