Lovers of the Upper East Side know that beauty comes in miniature streetscapes. We don’t have the panoramic vistas of the Grand Canyon (although Park Avenue does offer a splendid long view) . What we do have is great beauty, culture and peace in contained areas. The block of East 70th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues, is one such gem.
First of all, stop by the Asia Society on the northeast corner of Park Avenue. The society dedicates itself to sharing Asian insights on the arts, business, culture, education, and policy.
Asia Society a respite from the noise
The current exhibit is In Focus: An Assembly of Gods — Chinese pantheon painting from the early 19th Century. But while there, also visit the permanent gallery on the third floor: The Masterpieces from the Asia Society Museum Collection is a small yet carefully curated selection of Asian art.
We suggest going there on a weekday to soak in the peace. And if it’s around lunch time, stop by Asia Society’s Garden Court Café for a civilized meal. And, finally, don’t miss its high-quality gift shop.
Around lunch time, stop by Asia Society’s Garden Court Café for a civilized meal”
New York School for Interior Design in a 1902 limestone manse
Heading east, you will encounter the New York School for Interior Design. According to its vision statement, the school “is a global leader in interior design education.”
The casual passerby, however, might not want to pass by the school’s stunning limestone home. The building is a most noteworthy example of Renaissance Revival (1902). The New York School for Interior Design, itself 100 years old, opens to the public for talks and exhibitions. Check out the events on its Facebook page.
The almost Parisian Corrado, home of fabulous pastries
At the Lexington Avenue end is Corrado Bread & Pastry Café, an elegant stop for coffee and pastries. The bakery is busy for a good reason, and, happily, it is well-staffed. We are especially partial to the pecan thumbling. It is pictured at top of this post (with a cup of home-brewed green tea made in a lovely pot from the Asia Society gift shop).
Corrado turns East 70th Street at Lexington Avenue into (almost) a corner of Paris. On a mild afternoon, its outdoor café lends a leisurely air found in few Manhattan neighborhoods.
In conclusion, go explore for yourself. We haven’t even mentioned the charming shops along this short stretch of pavement. This is one very special Upper East Side block, as you will discover — that is, if you don’t already know.