Real estate is a hot commodity in New York City, and for a good reason. With buildings dating back to the 18th century, older homes in New York offer a sense of history and grandeur. You may prefer a more ornate style or a stripped-down facade with little decoration. No matter your preference, there’s no shortage of beautiful architecture in New York City, especially when looking at Upper East Side homes for sale.
Brownstone & limestone
When you picture a classic NYC scene, you likely envision a busy Times Square, a peaceful stroll through Central Park, or a jaunt up the steps of a beautiful brownstone. Brownstones are typically three-story townhouses with elegant bay windows offering a classic, affluent feel.
Constructed of brick in the mid-1800s, the term “brownstone” is a slight misnomer, as only their facade is made of brownstone. The porous, flaky nature of the stone meant that many of the homes had to be renovated with limestone facades to retain their beauty. Despite this, they’re beloved by New Yorkers and a true gem if you find one on a list of Upper East Side homes for sale.
Brownstones bring together the mid-19th century values of industrial progress and romantic classicism. They feature a variety of architectural styles, from the symmetrical Neo-Grecian brownstones to the more ornate Queen Annes with gabled roofs and rounded windows. Built in long rows, brownstones represented resourcefulness and efficiency while retaining a sense of beauty in their shape and construction. They symbolize wealth and are considered a classic New York home.
Beaux-Arts townhomes in the Upper East Side have been known to sell for as little as $4 million, with some closing at prices as high as $30 million. If you’re interested in investing in a prime piece of New York real estate, Beaux-Arts townhomes are second to none.
The Neo-Italian style was most popular between 1840 and 1870 and featured in many brownstones throughout New York’s Upper East Side. Though symmetrical and somewhat understated in design, these breathtaking homes can be distinguished by tall stoops and deep, porch-like doorways. The final touches that tell you it's a Neo-Italian home are the peaked pediments and numerous acanthus brackets flanking the windows and doors.
Securing a home in the Neo-Italian style will run you a minimum of $1-2 million. Stand-alone properties are often listed for more but may come with extra design features, like stately Roman-inspired columns.
Georgian & Neo-Georgian
The Georgian style is reminiscent of a property found in New England and features light window trim contrasted by red or brown bricks. Neo-Georgian homes are symmetrical and minimally decorated, with flat facades and conservative, matching window adornments.
A response to the more ornate Beaux-Arts and Queen Anne styles of the late 18th century, Neo-Georgian homes came into fashion in the early 1900s. They take the mathematical precision of Ancient Greek and Roman styles but strip down the more decorative elements. These homes are sleek and understated, with a high emphasis on uniformity.
If you find a Georgian or Neo-Georgian home for sale in New York’s Upper East Side, you can expect it to fall between $1.7 million and $3 million. At the higher end, homes near the river can sell for $4 million and $7 million, with one seven-bedroom mansion off Park Avenue listing as high as $26 million.
Recently, Upper East Side real estate in this style was listed in the $1-2 million range. It’s not uncommon, however, to find ones listed higher than that! In 2019, a five-story, eight-bedroom Federal townhouse near Central Park sold for $17 million.
Many Upper East Side homes for sale in the Art Deco style are larger condos or high-rise apartment buildings. It’s not uncommon for individual apartments to sell for over $2 million.