Washington Heights is the brilliantly colorful upper Manhattan neighborhood that’s managed to maintain its diverse vibe while seamlessly integrating the many newcomers flocking to the area. While it hasn’t gone through the gentrification experienced throughout other parts of the city, it’s enjoyed its own form of urban renewal, and the neighborhood is a great option for people in search of more space.
Where It Is
Washington Heights is a narrow expanse of Upper Manhattan bordered by Harlem, Inwood, and the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. The Heights has its own distinct subregions, notably Hudson Heights, Fort Tryon, and Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson. The neighborhood is pretty hilly, offering spine-tingling views of New Jersey and the rest of Manhattan from different vantage points.
How to Get There
The A and C trains stop at the 155th Street, Amsterdam Avenue/163rd Street, and 168th Street stations. Once you’re on the train, it’s can be a solid 30-minute ride to midtown. Plenty of buses service the area as well, including the M2, M3, M4 and the M5.
The Community Feel
Washington Heights is often celebrated for its strong sense of community. If you’re looking for a close-knit neighborhood that manages to feel both connected to and yet separate from the rest of NYC, this area might be ideal for you. Once notoriously crime-ridden, Washington Heights has transformed into one of the safest neighborhoods in New York City. The area is chock-full of mom-and-pop shops, bargain shops, street vendors hawking every knickknack you could ever need, all contributing to its unique small-town-in-the-big-city vibe. People here are passionate about growing the community while taking care to preserve its identity. For example, when a pop-up bookstore made its debut, the community rallied to keep it open, underscoring the residents’ passion for coming together to bring and keep good things in this neighborhood.
The Housing Stock
The affordable housing stock is one of the area’s biggest draws, luring people with its attractive, livable housing options that don’t break the wallet. You can easily find two bedrooms for $2000 per month and less. Pre-war architecture lines Riverside Drive and other areas west of Broadway, while new buildings have sprung up throughout the area offering great amenities. If you want to see vintage architecture that will truly blow your mind and make you feel as if you’ve walked into the other side of the looking glass, check out the quaint, whisk-you-back-in-time mews of Sylvan Terrace, originally a carriage path that led to the famed Morris-Jumel Mansion.
Things to Do
The incredibly beautiful and architecturally stunning Cloisters museum is here, in Fort Tryon Park, offering residents and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy great art in a bucolic setting. Bennett Park is also here, the highest natural point in NYC. Grab a slice or three from George’s Pizza on your way home from work, and show off Manhattan’s oldest house to your parents when they’re in town.
Image Source: Flickr/Julia Manzerova
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