NYC's Upper, Lower, and mid- East Sides

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 7 17:10:09 UTC 2013

I was about to write substantially the same thing as Michael.

"Lenox Hill"also belongs on the list of neighborhoods. I've always assumed
it to be in the 70s, east of 5th Avenue.  "Yorktown" is east of Fifth
Avenue in the 80s and lower 90s: in my youth it was also called

Any theoretical "*middle East Side" is just a nondescript subsection of

I believe, though, that "Lower West Side" was also in use. If so, it
alluded to the grim warehouse and (IIRC) slaughterhouse district down by
the North River (oops! "Hudson River") docks on Eleventh and Twelfth
Avenues, West (and North) of Greenwich Village (or "The West Village" as it
came to be called in the 1960s).

"Hell's Kitchen" was the slum area west of Broadway more or less in the 30s
and 40s.



On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 11:56 AM, Michael Newman
<michael.newman at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Michael Newman <michael.newman at QC.CUNY.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: NYC's Upper, Lower, and mid- East Sides
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> For me:
> The Upper East Side is from 60th to 96th. Above that is East Harlem. East
> Side is just a vague way of saying east of 5th Avenue above Washington
> Square and Bway below it. There is no neighborhood called "The East Side"
> The Lower East Side is ambiguous. Some days it's below 14th St, but other
> days the East Village gets in the way, and in that case, it's below Houston
> and east more or less of Allen. The question is whether I consider the East
> Village part of the LES, which is a variable for me. Actually, Kara Becker
> has a great discussion of this in her 2010 NYU Diss, which I hope she
> publishes one day. The basic idea is that the whole East Village area was
> once part of the LES until real estate interests promoted the name East
> Village during the late 60s if I remember right. As far as I know the Upper
> East Side hasn't changed in my lifetime.
> There is no Mid East Side. There is talk now of Midtown East, but that
> seems recent to me. Traditional names are Turtle Bay, Gramercy Park, and
> Murray Hill, all of which are distinct neighborhoods, all of which are in
> what might be thought of generally as Midtown East.
> BTW, the Upper West Side goes right up to about 110st, and of course there
> is no Lower West Side.
> Michael Newman
> Associate Professor of Linguistics
> Queens College/CUNY
> michael.newman at
> On Jan 7, 2013, at 5:18 PM, "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> > Subject:      NYC's Upper, Lower, and mid- East Sides
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Where did New Yorkers use to place, and where do they now place --
> >
> > the Upper East Side?  Do I correctly remember a definition of "above
> > 96th Street"?
> >
> > the Lower East Side?  Below what?
> >
> > the mid East Side?  And what term is used for that region?  (Aside
> > from "the fashionable East Side".)
> >
> > Joel
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society -
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