Shhh… It just might be one of New York City’s best kept secrets. It’s got a little more space and some affordability. It offers multiple parks, river views, great ethnic restaurants and according to residents, a sense of community.
Hudson Heights, an enclave of Washington Heights sits on a plateau atop a bluff overlooking the Hudson River. It’s inhabited by resident locals who have lived in the neighborhood for decades as well as artists, actors, young families and the newly arrived, all searching for more bang for their buck.
Like many neighborhoods in New York City, this section of Washington Heights was renamed by real estate brokers looking to attract a variety of people and distinguish the area from the greater Washington Heights neighborhood. Hudson Heights is bounded by the Hudson River to the west, Broadway to the east, 173rd Street to the south, and Fort Tryon Park to the north.
Walk through the neighborhood's tree-lined streets and you’ll quickly see its prewar charm that dots the neighborhood. Architectural details like Gargoyles, turrets and Gothic style aesthetic are on full display. And we can’t forget the healthy mix of Art Deco and European Tudor Revival either. It’s like a case study in 20’s, 30’s and 40’s architecture right before your eyes.
From parks to foodie experiences, there are a lot of things to do in this part of town.
Bennett Park - What can we say? When you get this far north in Manhattan, parks and green spaces can trump a hot new restaurant or museum attraction. Bennett Park is one of those places you have to visit. It’s located in the middle of Hudson Heights and it’s the highest natural point of Manhattan Island. 265.05 feet above sea level to be exact. That height brings you to about the height of Lady Liberty’s torch holding arm.
Saggio NYC - Hudson Heights is a culinary hot bed these days. All types of cuisines are represented in this neighborhood. Locally owned Saggio NYC, offers mouth-watering Sicilian food including handmade pasta and a tasty wine selection. The garden patio is truly an oasis and offers not one, but two bocce ball courts. It might be the only Italian joint in New York City with its own bocce court. Fun!
Little Red Lighthouse - Manhattan’s last remaining lighthouse. On the rocky shore of Fort Washington Park sits Jeffrey's Hook Light, AKA, Little Red Lighthouse. Back in the early 1920’s it was just a few candles on a hook that warned ships of the treacherous waters.It was later renovated to a full lighthouse with fog horn but was decommissioned in 1930 when the George Washington Bridge was completed. Although it's not a functional lighthouse, the 40-foot structure is a fabulous place to visit and take photos of the last lighthouse.
What You Might See
Rocky bluffs, turn of the century architecture, the George Washington Bridge. You might come across outdoor staircases, which is something you don’t see in Manhattan every day. They connect the streets that are at different heights due to the hilly terrain. It’s a great leg workout. Especially the stairs near 187th Street between Overland Terrace and Fort Washington Avenue because It has over 125 steps. Feel the burn!
Near 181st Street you’ll find a lively thoroughfare of businesses. It’s the perfect place to stop and recharge. Besides Dominican food, you’ll find Chinese, Russian, Irish and Mediterranean food. It represents the melting pot of New York City. You’ll also see a lot of mom and pop stores selling all types of things.
What You Don’t Know
At one point in New York City history, Hudson Heights was nicknamed Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson. After World War II, many German and Austrian Jews settled in what is now Hudson Heights. The enclave thrived and eventually Armenian, Greek, Cuban, African-American, Puerto Rican, and Dominican enclaves called Hudson Heights home and the neighborhood changed.