Ever since I moved to the Upper East Side, I've realized what it's like to live in a real neighborhood.
It's much nicer coming home to an apartment where there are people around all the time, and I really like the fact that the Upper East Side doesn't become a ghost town at night and on the weekends. Because the Financial District is less residential, a lot of the restaurants are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Upper East Side also suits me better because I have way more friends and family uptown or in midtown so that makes things more convenient than when I lived downtown.
On the other hand, it has been an adjustment getting used to the fact that I now live a bit farther from the subway.
When I lived in the Financial District, I was near so many different subway lines (the 1, 2/3, R, 4/5) that it was easy getting from place to place quickly. I'm now in the East 80s, between First and Second Avenue -- 10 minutes from the 4/5/6, so I have to always remember to add that extra time to my schedule when I'm traveling anywhere by subway.
On the other hand, I have so much more within my neighborhood now that I don't need to rely on the subway nearly as much as I did before.
I love the cafes and shops in my new neighborhood, including Poke, a BYOB sushi spot on 85th Street. It's a hidden gem. Pintaile's Pizza on 83rd Street and York Avenue is amazing thin-crust pizza. I love Maz Mezcal for Mexican, 16 Handles Frozen Yogurt and, of course, Fairway, on 86th Street between Second and Third Avenues.
In FiDi, it was mostly lunch and pizza places, whereas the Upper East Side has every restaurant imaginable within a few blocks.
The way I live is so much different now, too. When I lived downtown, I shared an apartment in a high-rise building with an elevator. I'm now in a fourth floor walkup, which is something else to take into account when shopping, bringing bags upstairs, etc. But I live by myself.
The main things I miss about downtown is the fact that the Whole Foods was one subway stop away in Tribeca. I also miss the views of the Hudson River and Battery Park.
What I don't miss are the prices. I find that things cost less on the Upper East Side.
The only super close grocery store before was Gristede's where everything was very pricey---prices are much more reasonable at bigger stores like Fairway.
With more options of stores to choose from, you can also be more picky about where you choose to shop. I truly wish I had made the move sooner.