Referred to by The New Yorker as, “the tapering neck of northern Manhattan”, Washington Heights is bordered by Inwood to the north, the Hudson River to the west, Harlem to the south and the Harlem River and Coogan’s Bluff to the east. The area is home to the Fort Washington Armory, excellent dining establishments, spacious apartments, beautiful parks, one of the lowest crime rates in the City, and the oldest house in Manhattan. Oh, and let’s not forget that Washington Heights has also been home to a handful of American professional sports clubs including the New York Mets, Yankees, Giants and Jets. Here’s everything you need to know before moving to Washington Heights.
Then & Now
Washington Heights received its name from President George Washington, after he was pushed out by the British forces during the American Revolutionary War. Fort Washington was built at the highest point on the island of Manhattan, which is now known as Bennett Park.
Fast forward to the early 2000s, gentrification of Washington Heights has begun after years of being plagued by a drug epidemic and the violence that came with it. By 2011, it was considered the 4th safest neighborhood in Manhattan, well above Greenwich Village, which ranked 68th.
Today, Washington Heights currently has two sub-neighborhoods: Hudson Heights and Fort George. The former extends as far as east Broadway, and the latter runs from Broadway east to the Harlem River, and from West 181st Street north to Dyckman Street. Fort George is home to Yeshiva University.
The Little Red Lighthouse
Located in Fort Washington Park, this is the only lighthouse on the island of Manhattan and the subject of the children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde Swift and illustrated by Lynd Ward.
This Irish pub is known for bringing together groups of friends and families for delicious Irish meals including Shepherd’s Pie and Bangers and Mash.
La Casa Del Mofongo
Washington Heights is filled to the brim with delicious Latin cuisine options. La Casa Del Mofongo remains one of the more popular spots with exquisite plantains, Mexican style tacos and other Caribbean entrees to enjoy.
Buddha Beer Bar
26 drafts on tap and a large selection of bourbons and scotch, plus plenty of delectable eats.
67 acres of greenery landscaped to appear as the grounds of a high-end country estate, Fort Tyron was created by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., the son of the man that created Central Park. The park eventually gives way to The Cloisters- a breathtaking museum created from the stones of five medieval French cloisters.
Built in 1775 for the purpose of British New York governor Roger Morris’ summer villa, this is the oldest personal residence in Manhattan. George Washington used the home as his headquarters during the Revolutionary War.
Home to the highest natural point on the island, Bennett Park is 265.05 feet above sea level. It served as the site of Fort Washington.
Neighborhood Coffee Shops
Two local favorite coffee shops are Taszo Espresso Bar and Café Buunni. Café Buunni is a fair-trade, organic Ethiopian coffee shop where owner Elias Gurmu (along with his wife Sarina) personally chooses the roast selection.
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