A Day in Carnegie Hill

The history of Carnegie Hill is so astounding – so much so that you marvel at the sheer fact that you get a chance to call this NYC neighborhood home. For starters, Carnegie Hill has the largest contingent of museums than any other part of the Northeast. Two Carnegie Hill mansions have garnered national recognition, and there’s also a school here credited with having created a new wave of educational practices.

Three Guys

Three Guys is a Carnegie Hill throwback in the era of high-end restaurants, and the folks at the old-school eatery do it well. The menu isn’t about fancy bites and originality, but rather about some good ole French toast and pancakes. Or simply eggs and bacon. For the New Yorker on the run, their quick service is also a welcome circumstance.


Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

A snippet of the Smithsonian is within your grasp. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum isn’t close to having the same publicity as the larger museums – many longtime residents may not have even visited the establishment – but the design museum houses some excellent exhibits. There’s a chair that was used by Abraham Lincoln when he visited Cooper Union, an impressive array of objects donated from the Palace of Fountainbleau, and a Rolls-Royce that was owned by the Beatles was once on display. There’s also a huge collection of metal that showcases historic ironwork and grillwork that is not found today. The collection stretches to display various matchbooks, shopping bags, and porcelain from the Soviet Union.


Andrew Carnegie Mansion

The ever-so-large presence of history pervades the neighborhood, the fact clearly illustrated by the Andrew Carnegie Mansion. The former steel mogul, one of the richest people in the world in his time, lived at the mansion until his death in 1946. The mansion is now part of the campus of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and is one of the most perfect examples of the Gilded Era architecture. The structure is a marvel to discover, with its brick and stone facade and Georgian Revival design, while the mansion’s garden has become a destination for residents and tourists to take a break from work. The Carnegie mansion was also the setting for the movie “Godspell,” so tuck that bit of trivia away for later.


Hardenbergh/Rhinelander Historic District

The history lessons in Carnegie Hill continue as you make your way to Hardenbergh/Rhinelander Historic District. The tiny stretch, located on Lexington Avenue between 89th and 90th streets, consists of six brick, brownstone and terra cotta buildings that harken back to Europe. The design of the brownstones is considered Northern Renaissance Revival, and one of the buildings has such a heavy European flair that is known as “French Flats.” Come with a camera and inspect the landmarked structures (the buildings were all built in 1888 and 1889) in full detail. There’s nothing like them in the city.

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The Dalton School

One of the most decorated and important educational institutions in New York City is within walking distance of your apartment. The Dalton School, founded in 1919, was originally established during an era of educational reform. The school transformed into an extremely influential blueprint with a progressive approach to teaching: more hands-on and independence for the children. The school is one of the most recognized private schools in the country, and the Dalton model has been adopted around the world. The storied school boasts some impressive alumni, including Anderson Cooper, Andrew Zimmern, and Christian Slater.


Sarabeth’s East

You will be saving your best eats for later this evening, but for now the food at Sarabeth’s East is a viable option. The small city-based bakery is a quaint and classic contemporary American eatery. The spot offers a solid lunch, with an amazing Maine Lobster Roll and three types of eggs benedicts (crab cake, salmon and classic), and if you are planning on some small bites, there’s the avocado and burrata toast.


Museum Mile

Possibly the most exciting part of living in Carnegie Hill is living so close to Museum Mile, New York City’s version of Washington D.C.’s Mall. The 5th Avenue stretch is home to an array of spectacular museums like El Museo del Barrio, The Jewish Museum of New York, The Museum of the City of New York, National Academy of Design, and Manhattan House. There mile includes smaller museums like Society of Illustrators, Irish Gerogian Society and the Henry Clay Frick House.


Otto H. Kahn House

At first glance, the Otto H. Kahn House appears to be out of place. With its distinct neo-Italian renaissance style, the mansion appears to belong in Rome. No wonder: the building was modeled after the Palazzo della Cancelleria of the Papal Chancellery in Rome. The building is so authentically Italian that Architectural Review called the mansion a perfect example of buildings constructed in early 16th century in Italy. The house, which was the home of a senior partner at an investment bank, has 80 rooms and took 4 years to build. Finished in 1914, the mansion had been considered one of the finest homes in the country.

A Night in Carnegie Hill


Table d’Hote

Your first major meal in your new surroundings presents some tough choices. Carnegie Hill’s great eateries include Vico, Paola’s and Island, but dinner tonight will be at Table d’Hote. The French spot offers some of the best traditional French cuisine. There’s the country style terrine or the foie gras torchon to get your palate started. Following the glorious intro, you will be presented choices such as braised short ribs (served with celery root puree and wild mushrooms) and perfectly-cooked duck confit (prepared with braised white beans, bacon and romaine).

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Kaia Wine Bar

The presence of craft cocktail bars isn’t exactly what Carnegie Hill is known for, but that doesn’t mean your nightlife is a bust! Among the original spots is Kaia Wine Bar, not exactly your ordinary wine bar. Kaia’s is a South African-inspired wine bar – all the wines and food are South African – and you may not have heard of many of the grapes, with the best being Pinotage. If you feel like going for something different, it’s safe to say you have found your new regular spot.

Words by Arte Vincent

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Erik Serras
Erik Serras
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