White glove-buildings, designer boutiques, Museum Mile and ladies who lunch are some of the images associated with Manhattan’s Upper East Side (UES).
Originally divided into the smaller neighborhoods of Lenox Hill, named after a wealthy landowner, Yorkville, a predominantly German enclave, and Carnegie Hill, for the esteemed philanthropist, the boundaries have faded over the last century though each retains a distinct personality and iconic landmarks. Statistically, the majority of the population on the Upper East Side is older and wealthier relative to the the rest of New York City, but not everyone is in the top tax bracket; many UES residents live in rent-controlled apartments.
After years of construction and inconvenience, the new 2nd Avenue subway line now links the furthest reaches of the Upper East Side to the rest of Manhattan making the neighborhood even more desirable. While some longtime residents are fighting the development boom and lament the disappearance of family-run businesses being replaced by modern hi-rises and chain stores, a younger, more diverse population is moving in for the quiet residential feel, good schools and beautiful parks. This series depicts a microcosm of life on the Upper East Side in NY City.
About Alain Schroeder
I first came to New York in 1979 to shoot the US Open tennis tournament and have been back just about every year since. I always spend most of my visits on the Upper East Side and have been thinking about photographing its residents for several years now. There is a certain vibe that is unique to the neighborhood. When I decided to start shooting the story, friends introduced me to their friends and to my surprise, the project took off quickly through word of mouth.
I was astounded by the kindness and openness I encountered no matter the social status and by the attachement many hold for the neighborhood. Most of the subjects have lived here for years and would not dream of leaving. When asked how they wanted to be photographed, the responses were astonishing: naked, dressed like a maharaja, in bed, etc. People wanted to have fun!
I tried to incorporate every request and I’m certain it enhanced each shot. The experience was very rewarding not only for the images but for the interpersonal relationships. [Official Website]