Must-See Upper West Side
by nycgo.com staff, 12/02/2014
Shops at Columbus Circle. Photo: Marley White
Broadway, Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue are all busy commercial strips. Zabar's, on Broadway, opened in 1934 as a single market counter selling smoked fish. Today it's an Upper West Side institution where folks stop by to stock up on coffee, bagels, homemade soups, knishes and, of course, the fish that started it all. Bookworms should head across the street to Westsider Rare and Used Books, a reader's paradise with two levels of floor-to-ceiling titles, including some rare selections. The place is so packed with great finds that the staircase from the first to the second floor is lined with VHS tapes and books on each step (and the entire establishment has that comforting old-book smell). Upstairs, there's an extensive selection of old Mad magazine issues. Crafty types can let loose at yarn shop Knitty City. Owner Pearl Chin is almost always on hand to help customers choose the perfect tools for their project, and the selection beats that of any standard craft store. Beginner knitters can sign up for a class to get acquainted with the medium. On Sundays, the schoolyard (and school) between 76th and 77th Streets at Columbus Avenue transforms into GreenFlea, an indoor-outdoor market selling rugs, jewelry, clothing, furniture, collectibles and food. The market is open year-round, rain or shine. The 79th Street Greenmarket, across from the American Museum of Natural History, is where locals stock up on fresh produce. Meanwhile, the Time Warner Center offers the Shops at Columbus Circle, which has name brands like Coach, J. Crew and Williams-Sonoma.