The Upper West Side has been attracting New York City celebs seeking anonymity for as long as we can remember. The streets and corners west of Central Park provide its residents with a slower pace of life and a tranquil atmosphere that’s difficult to find anywhere else in the city. The celebrities that do live here prefer to lead private lives and we can more often than not spot them around the neighborhood without a paparazzi in sight. The Upper West Side has been welcoming artists and entertainers for decades but a select few of them set a trend that others would soon follow. Take a look at some of the celebrities of years past that used to call the UWS their home.
Glamorous actress Lauren Bacall was born in New York City in 1924. She started out as a young model and quickly found success in her first film role for “To Have and Have Not” where so co-starred with fellow New Yorker and future husband-to-be Humphrey Bogart. Bacall went on to find enormous commercial stardom with roles in “How to Marry a Millionaire” and “The Big Sleep”. She also found critical acclaim in Broadway for the musical “Applause” which proceeded to garner her a Tony Award for Best Actress. During her time on the Upper West Side, Bacall lived in the famed The Dakota building (as did many past celebrities) for 54 years.
Talented jazz musician and trumpeter Miles Davis was born in Illinois in 1926. He moved to New York after graduating from high school in order to study at the Julliard School of Music. In 1958, Davis became the first African-American to buy a brownstone on the Upper West Side. He lived at 312 West 77th Street for twenty five years and produced some of his best work there. He would practice with pianist Bill Evans for hours and come up with well known songs such as “Kind of Blue”. Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 and has been recognized since as one of the symbolic figures of the jazz movement.
Actress Rosalind Russell was born in Connecticut in 1907 and is best known for her role as Hildy Johnson in the comedy “His Girl Friday”. Russell was a masterful comedian and won five Golden Globes, an impressive feat that only Meryl Streep has been able to surpass. During her stay on the Upper West Side, she lived in the quaint Pomander Walk. This sort of village-inside-the-
The immensely talented Judy Garland was born in Minnesota in 1922. She got her start in show business at the tender age of 13 but it was her role in the film “The Wizard of Oz” that catapulted her to stardom. Garland was the lead of various musicals including the remake of “A Star is Born” in 1954 which earned her an Oscar nomination. Even though she resided at The Dakota, Garland remains a symbol of the decade of splendor Hollywood underwent during the 1950’s. She has received many other notable awards such as the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and is fondly remembered to this day for the incredible collection of work she left behind.
Folklore singer and talented songwriter Judy Collins was born in Seattle and quickly rose to fame with the song “Both Sides, Now”. She moved to New York in the 1960’s which enabled her to become an important icon of the folk and rock scene overnight. Collins lived at 845 West End Avenue. She continued finding breakout fame thanks to her recording sessions with Bob Dylan on her universally loved album Judy Collins #3 for which she received a Grammy nomination. Collins was also a prominent social activist who helped African Americans register to vote in the South and identified with the Yippie movement.