New York City’s downtown neighborhoods may get lots of buzz, but the Upper West Side is, according to The New York Times, holding up its end of the conversation. Let’s take a look at what downtown NYC has to offer in a variety of categories, and how the Upper West Side counters in each.

Culture

The cultural institutions of downtown NYC tend to be a more niche affair: The New York City Police Museum, The Skyscraper Museum, The Museum of Jewish Heritage. These are all wonderfully compelling places, but they don’t necessarily bring in the crowds that the Upper West Side does with the likes of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, New York Historical Society, and the American Museum of Natural History. Then, of course, there are the galleries: art is something the Upper West Side excels at, winning hands down with the likes of the American Folk Art Museum and the Museum of Arts and Design. Skip across Central Park (half of which the UWS also claims as its own), and you’ll also find such impressive treasures as the Frick and the Guggenheim.

Eating and Drinking

Traditionally, downtown is considered one of New York City’s best foodie spots, and who are we to argue? It has, after all, brought the city the traditional eateries of Little Italy and Chinatown as well as a deluge of other fine international restaurants. In short, it’s helped make New York what it is. But the Upper West Side is holding its own these days, with more and more exciting eateries popping up here. Take, for instance, Vietnamese restaurant Saiguette, which prepares some of the best pho in Manhattan, or Jacob’s Pickles, which has earned a reputation for its prized over-sized biscuit sandwiches. These new establishments nestle up against some very old and renowned dining establishments such as Jewish deli Barney Greengrass, which has been serving up its famous whitefish dishes for a century. For these reasons and many more, whoever says they don’t go uptown to nosh down is missing out.

Schools

Education is top-notch in Manhattan, and it’s fair to say that both downtown NYC and the Upper West Side are home to well-respected institutions of learning. Downtown may have Léman Manhattan Preparatory School (formerly Claremont Prep) and Friends Seminary, but the Upper West Side answers swiftly with Collegiate School (one of the best boys’ schools in the country), Professional Children’s School, and Trinity School.

Living

Luxury apartments and penthouses are springing up all over New York, and downtown is becoming an exciting corner of uber-desirable condos – many of them new builds shooting high into the sky. Areas that have had “reputations” for years are now coveted NYC real estate. The Upper West Side has been desirable for much longer, however, and has many chic new builds too. It is also a haven of tastefully developed vintage condos such as The Astor. Commissioned by William Waldorf Astor in 1901,The Astor has been transformed for the 21st-century luxury homeowner by design firm Pembrooke & Ives and now houses some of the finest penthouses in Manhattan. Add The Astor to all the other things we’ve told you about the Upper West Side, and it’s easy to see why so many downtowners in the market for new condos are now looking “up.”