Washington Heights, a hilly neighborhood on Manhattan’s northern tip known for its affordable apartments, preserved pre-war buildings, and Dominican food. Some would argue that it's a hidden gem and one of Manhattan's last neighborhoods that has retained its culture. The large swath of land is bordered by Inwood to the north along Dyckman Street, by Harlem to the South along 155th Street, by the Harlem River to the east, and the Hudson River to the West. It is the highest natural point on the Island of Manhattan.
Despite its high residential density, Washington Heights and Inwood have not seen modern housing construction in more than a decade other than relatively small housing units. Midtown Manhattan, Battery Park, TriBeCa, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen, on the other hand, have seen an increase in building. Most of the high rise construction belongs to hospitals such as New York Presbyterian, Columbia University Medical Center, and educational institutions like Yeshiva University and Boricua College.
Washington Heights has access to amazing green spaces like The Cloisters, Fort Washington Park, Highbridge Park and Fort Tryon Park. There is no shortage of historical landmarks either. Remember General George Washington set up his camp in Washington Heights during the Revolutionary War. He used the elevated neighborhood to his tactical advantage to spot the Redcoats. As history would have it, his plan didn’t work out so well and the British occupied New York for seven years.
You can’t go to Washington Heights without visiting the Cloisters, aka, the MET Cloisters. The grounds are gorgeous with trails and sweeping views of the Hudson River. The Medieval museum, nestled in the four acre Fort Tryon Park, is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a must see attraction for medieval art and architecture buffs. The building incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters and other monastic sites throughout France.
United Palace - is the Apollo Theatre of Washington Heights. The terra-cotta facade borrows from many styles of architecture. Quite frankly, the best way to appreciate it is to stand in front of it. The aesthetic is a mish-mash of sorts and borrows from the Alhambra in Spain, The Kailasa in India, Temples from Thailand, and honeycomb stone work seen in some mosques. Besides the building's funky look, United Palace has fantastic dance, stage and music performances.
Bodega Pizza - The locals say it's the best place to drink a beer and enjoy a few slices of authentic New York City Pizza. It’s worth the journey. If not for the pizza then go for the open Mic on Friday nights.
What You Might See
The George Washington Bridge, ethnic restaurants, steep hills, landmarked sites, and historical buildings. Mom and pop stores and bodega’s are especially popular near Broadway.
What You Might Not Know
The George Washington Bridge is one of the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridges. It takes more cars into Manhattan per day than the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels combined.
And for you Spiderman fans, Marvel comic genius Stan Lee lived in a 1 bedroom apartment on Ft Washington Avenue in 1920.
It was also the home of Fort George Amusement Park, circa 1895. Complete with ferris wheels, roller coasters, salons, hotels and shooting galleries. The park was destroyed in a fire and never rebuilt.
What We Love
Besides Its two rivers, the world’s busiest bridge, and its rich history, we love the food cultures represented in Washington Heights. Dominican, Italian, Puerto Rican, Irish, or Mexican, you name it, it's here. We also love the overall vibe of the neighborhood. Vibrant, lively, and diverse.