Heir Pollution: Upper East Side Is New York's Filthiest Neighborhood

by BILLY GRAY · December 16, 2009

Turns out Upper East Siders aren't breathing such rarefied air after all. The neighborhood, arguably New York's snobbiest, is also its smoggiest.

The Daily News writes that the Health Department's inaugural Community Air Survey turned up a "shocking" result: the UES has the worst air quality in the city. The report lumps the posh Manhattan neighborhood together with fellow underperformers like hooker-laden Hunts Point and ethnic-musical-inspiring  Washington Heights. And in the biggest embarrassment to the area since Bernie Madoff, the Upper East Side actually finishes behind communities in Queens and Staten Island in something other than free school lunch recipients.

Locals were justly horrified. "That's one more thing to worry about," a resident grumbled, the other presumably being how big a tip to leave the doormen. People were particularly surprised since UESers "have Central Park." Mary Beth Alderson was stunned, saying she "would have thought downtown would have it a lot worse than we do." Who wouldn't have!?

UES PollutionEven quintessential Upper East Sider Michael Bloomberg chimed in. Speaking from the climate change summit in Copenhagen (he flew there on a private jet), the mayor said that "There are wealthy neighborhoods where the map is really surprising."

It seems that once the dust settles (or doesn't), residents might want to think twice before sticking their noses up in the air.