The vast open avenues that run north of the Queensboro Bridge enjoy an uninterrupted run that few other stretches experience anywhere else in the city. For example, First, Second and Third Avenues are able exist without without so much as a park or a detour getting in the way for over 120 blocks, before they all terminate around Houston Street. As a result, with the exception of the bridge, you can see clear down the streets here.
Thanks to the lack of any Subway connections and abysmal bus service the Upper East Side has remained a mostly-residential part of town for the duration of its existence. The combination of these large, midtown-like streets and the family-friendly neighborhood vibe create for an interesting dichotomy. You'd normally expect to see large office buildings lining these blocks, but instead you have drug stores, cafes and bodegas. The chains have certainly made themselves at home with Chase and Duane Reade making their presence quite well-known, but classics like Goldberger's Pharmacy seem to have held their ground.
A generic high-end apartment building known as The Laurel went up in the past year right next to a beautiful church. My first reaction was that it felt wrong and unfortunate. But really, isn't this what New York is about? The old and the new living together, regardless of style or intent? It may not be widely appreciated, but I think there's a lot to be said for the fact that the church is still here.