NY: The West 70’s – Manhattan’s Suburbs

Manhattan's West 70'sWHEN Paul Kahn was growing up on the Upper West Side in the 1980s, he recalled recently, it was pleasant and livable but a neighborhood that might seem surprising in hindsight. There were some blocks his parents didn’t let him walk on; many children, himself included, went to private school; and his Little League, which drew from both the Upper West Side and Harlem, still felt uncrowded.

He has been away from the area a while — he and his wife, Star, now live in a studio on 14th Street in the East Village. But they are expecting a baby next month and are hoping to move to a two-bedroom apartment on Riverside Drive before then. (A contract, for $600,000 to $700,000, has been signed, and they are awaiting co-op board approval.)

Their anticipated new home in the West 70s evokes the Upper West Side of Mr. Kahn’s youth in many ways, with Central Park on one side, Riverside Park on the other, and blocks of brownstones and prewar apartments in between. But given its new status as one of the most desirable parts of Manhattan it is different, too: New buildings are taller; storefronts are brighter and often occupied by retail chains. Notably, there are far more children.

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