Edith Wharton captured the elegance of the Upper East Side in the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Age of Innocence; today, the area maintains its signature affluence with stately homes, fine restaurants and dozens of designer boutiques dotting Madison Avenue. Along Central Park, Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th is fondly known as "Museum Mile" and home to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Neue Galerie, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among other renowned cultural organizations. In the midst of these, planners will find several posh hotels and Upper East Side venues to accommodate their parties.
Bordered by Central Park and the East River, and 59th and 96th Street, the Upper East Side is a relatively short distance from New York's three major airports: LaGuardia Airport (3.8 miles), Newark Liberty International Airport (13 miles) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (13 miles). Travel to and from this part of the city is convenient with a steady flow of taxis and with MTA subway stations and bus stops in close proximity.
A few miles away are the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Piers 92/94, the largest meeting venues in New York City. The Upper East Side boasts a number of attractive venues for group functions, including historic Gracie Mansion, featuring the Susan E. Wagner Wing, which includes a grand ballroom and two reception rooms. Dedicated to promoting education and cultural exchanges between the United States and Poland, the Kosciuszko Foundation provides an intimate setting for cultural, corporate and private events with a reception room that accommodates up to 120 and a gallery, ideal for parties of 60 to 80 persons. Designed by architectural firm Delano & Aldrich, 583 Park Avenue provides a striking setting for 800 guests.
Organizing memorable meals won't be too hard; Upper East Side venues comprise a vast selection of restaurants serving cuisine from every corner of the globe. Aureole, L'Absinthe Brasserie, 212 Restaurant & Bar and Isle of Capri are just a few of the dining establishments that will gladly welcome group reservations.
As for finding a place to stay, the Upper East Side has several luxury hotels, including the Bentley Hotel New York, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Loews Regency Hotel, The Lowell Hotel and The Pierre, A Taj Hotel. (Affordable possibilities include the Affinia Gardens Hotel, Bristol Plaza and the Courtyard New York Manhattan/Upper East Side.)
Downtime is fun time on the Upper East Side. The Central Park Zoo, Bloomingdale's flagship location and the charming, antiques-filled restaurant Serendipity III are some of the diversions that have garnered quite the following over the years.