Cultural Immigrant Initiative


BEYOND THE BRICKS shines a light on the vibrant small shops of the Upper East Side, in the form of a self-guided gallery walk and exhibit that explores the history of each building and the stories of the current proprietors. Many of the spaces are further enlivened with the work of contemporary artists.

It is the small, century-old buildings, and the shops within them, that create a grounding sense of place on our side streets and avenues. Through original research, writing, photography, and work by local artists, this project aims to document the history of our shared built environment and spark conversations about what makes a community “beyond the bricks.” The interactive map below details the businesses and sites included as part of the project. Together, they tap into the intangible character of our neighborhood.

The in-person exhibit can be seen at 966 Lexington Avenue from November 2022 through mid January 2023. Original art is on display in stores and vacant spaces in the neighborhood during same time.

This project is a collaboration between FRIENDS OF THE UPPER EAST SIDE, MANHATTAN SIDEWAYS, and ART ON THE AVE.

Original art is on display in businesses around the neighborhood. The exhibition is on display at 966 Lexington Avenue, by appointment, until mid-January.

Our interactive map documents the locations of art throughout the exhibition with links to stories of many local small businesses and the histories of their buildings below.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.



These locations have business profiles and business histories.

These locations have business profiles, business histories, as well as original art.

These locations have original art only.


FRIENDS of the Upper East Side 2020