Uptown Manhattan, stretching from 59th Street right up to 110th Street (cue closing scene from Tarantino's Jackie Brown), is the most well-off part of the island, with private residences worth millions and the highest concentration of 5* hotels on the island. It is split by the lungs of the city, Central Park, into the Upper East Side (UES) and the Upper West Side (UWS), each with their own group of museums, entertainment venues and landmark buildings. The area also has high-end shopping and dining. Most tourists never go beyond Museum Mile on the UES aside from within the park where there are several attractions worth visiting.
Uptown Manhattan is the home to Museum Mile on the Upper East Side, although there are other museums in the area too as well as some over on the Upper West Side. Arguably the most famous is the incredible Metropolitan Museum of Art which has over 3 million exhibits. Other must sees are the Guggenheim Museum which showcases modern art, the Frick Collection which was the former residence of a coke magnate and houses his unrivalled private art collection, the Whitney Museum, which focuses on American art, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the Neue Galeire New York (German art), The Cloisters (medieval art), the Jewish Museum and the American Museum of Natural History. If you have the time (and energy!) after all of this then pop into the stunning Temple Emanu-El syangogue. A couple of buildings of note to look at from the outside are the Dakota Building (John Lennno's former home and place of assassination) and The San Remo (another, two-tower co-op building).
The very first thing you should do in Uptown is head to Central Park, perhaps the most famous in the world, and take in the ambiance of the walkers, runners, roller bladers, performers and eccentric characters who all intermingle in this vast green space that is the envy of many a major city around the world. There are plenty of attractions within the parl such as the ponds, lakes and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, the baseball fields, the zoo, the John Lennon memorial and Fort Clinton. Other things to to shilst you are in Uptown are to go and see a show at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts where dance, music and theatre all have an important place and also to do a spot of shopping if your budget allows (this is the Manhattan of the prestigious brands).
+ The peace
+ Central Park : a beautiful setting and a real "breath of fresh air"
If the prices of many goods and some services seem too good to be true, this is probably the case. Remember that sales tax is not included in the labelled price in shops and is only added at the till. Still, even with sales tax, there are many products which are great value, so don't be too disheartened. When eating out, taking a cab or staying in a hotel, remember that tipping is the norm and that you should always leave extra, even if you are not blown away by the service. 15%-18% is expected in restaurants, 15% is normal for taxi drivers and a few dollars is the general gesture for chamber maids.
Americans, even those in New York who appear to be more liberal than the rest, are quite conservative, so you should avoid entering into potentially controversial topics of conversation such as religion or politics, and you should never talk openly about money and salaries. Americans are also very conscious about their personal space so make sure you don't get too close to people you have just met. If possible, stick to getting around in cabs and the subway as driving in Manhattan is a nightmare!
New York doesn't really have its own typical cuisine, unless it's the food sold in one of its many delis, such as bagels, or perhaps pizza, although Italians may have something to say about that. However, you won't find many fast food places here in Uptown Manhattan. The food scene here is rather high end, with top class restaurants, including those found in the 5* hotels that dominate the scene. Certainly value for money, they are nonetheless very pricey. If you feel that you cannot stretch that far then wait until New York Restaurant Week which is held at the end of January/beginning of February and then again at the end of July/beginning of August when many of the restaurants offer fixed-price menus at 4.07 for lunch and 5 for dinner.
To bring back
Unless you have a huge budget and/or are incredibly generous, there is very little that you could bring back for yourself or friends from Uptown. The main shopping is very high end and there are not many touristy type shops where you can buy regular souvenirs. Your best bet is to peruse the gift shops of the museums along museum mile where you'll find all sorts of suitable presents for people back home.
United States of America : Discover the cities