MANHATTAN — The stark differences that once divided the Upper East Side and East Harlem at East 96th Street have softened over the last decade, according to 2010 Census data.
Over the past 10 years, the Upper East Side — traditionally an overwhelmingly white neighborhood — has become more diverse, and the neighborhoods to its north have seen increasing numbers of white residents.
“The dividing line has been about race as well as income,” said Steven Romalewski, of the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center, which created interactive block-by-block maps of Census data showing the city’s demographic changes.
“I don't have detailed income data yet from the Census,” he said. “But as far as the race/ethnicity data, the line is either moving north, or at least has become blurred.”
News that the demographics in East Harlem and the Upper East Side have changed in the past decade will come as no surprise to many in the neighborhood, who have remarked on the changes on both sides of the dividing line.
At one time, only the stately apartment buildings on Fifth and Madison avenues north of that invisible border would have “passed” as belonging to part of the Upper East Side.
Now reviewers on the online review site Yelp refer to the new restaurant Earl’s Beer & Cheese on Park Avenue between 97th and 98th streets — which makes its mac & cheese with goat cheese, rosemary and shredded chicken and a grilled cheese with New York State cheddar, pork belly, kimchi and a fried egg — as an Upper East Side spot.
“Long communal tables, animal heads on the walls, good music and, most importantly, amazing beer and cheese!,” Sarah J., of Virginia, posted on Yelp. “Earl's was the highlight of my most recent trip to the UES.”
The Upper East Side, indicated on the Census map as the portion of Manhattan along the east of Central Park to Third Avenue from 59th Street to 96th Street, saw its population of white residents decline by nearly 3,800 people — or seven percent — over the last 10 years, according to the data highlighted by the Center for Urban Research.
Meanwhile, the area's Latino population grew by 19 percent, or 450 people, and its Asian population increased 29 percent, or by 682 people.
Yorkville, which is separate from the Upper East Side on the Census map — from Third Avenue to the East River, between 72nd and 96th streets — saw its white population decline by 2,200 people — or four percent — and a 17.5 percent increase of Latinos (1,000 people) and 14 percent increase in Asians (2,100 people).
The area just north of 96th Street saw a 55 percent increase in the population of white residents, Romalewski pointed out.
He scrolled over the Center’s map and looked at the Census blocks just north and south of 96th Street to zoom in on detailed population counts.
“To me, the most interesting statistics were a few blocks north of 96th,” he said. “For example, on either side of 102nd Street, almost each block showed white increases of several dozen to several hundred people.”
Though the Census data doesn’t interpret the causes of the shifts, Romalewski ventured a guess.
“I would expect that as far as the drop in white population in the Upper East Side and white increases just north of 96th Street, this is likely due to real estate pressure,” he said. “Rents going up below 96th and the promise of more affordable housing north of 96th.”
Romalewski was less sure about what was behind the Latino and Asian increases on the Upper East Side, but because of these changes, some blocks whose proportion of the white population hovered in the 70 to 90 percent range now may be in the 50 to 70 percent range, he pointed out.