Uptown Manhattan

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Refers to the collection of neighborhoods above 59th Street, right where Central Park begins all the way up to the northern tip of Manhattan.

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Upper Manhattan Neighborhoods

Refers to the neighborhoods at the northern most tip of Manhattan down to about one third of the northern most part of Central Park (above 95th St). It’s primarily a residential area characterized with pockets of severe to moderate urban blight, but it also has some gentrified blocks as well. New Yorkers and tourists alike pay scant attention to the area and treat it with close to the same disdain as they would an outer borough because of its distance from Midtown. Neighborhoods include: Marble Hill, Inwood, Washington Heights, Hudson Heights, Harlem (including Sugar Hill and Hamilton Heights), Morningside Heights, and Manhattan Valley.

Marble Hill

Location: Mainland near the Bronx

Is actually located on the mainland in the Bronx, but politically counted as part of Manhattan. A tiny sliver in the urban blight, its main street is called Broadway which is skirted by some retail shops.

Inwood

Location: above Dyckman St

At the very northern tip of Manhattan and in the shadow of the Washington Bridge, lies this blighted neighborhood. Rotting with urban decay, industrial facilities skirt the waterfront with bus and sanitation depots while used car lots and auto body shops dot the streets. Dominated by immigrants from the Dominican Republic, most of Inwood is residential with the common buildings being no more than 5-story dreary pre-war walk-ups. The exception to this is the housing project at Dyckman Houses.

Chat Rooms: Dyckman Houses

Washington Heights

Location: W155 to Dyckman St

Crags of bedrock rise in clusters around this area which is the highest point in Manhattan and create a sharp contrast of highs and lows in the landscape and population. Lower points of this largely Dominican neighborhood are blighted with half crumbled abandoned housing projects that the government hasn't bothered renovating. They have since made the perfect flats for tweekers and are literally honeycombed with thousands rooms of people flopped out on lice ridden mattresses. Immigrants new from Spanish-speaking points of the Caribbean flock to the neighborhood for the cheap rents and the accessibility to good paying jobs in downtown where they join the struggle to climb up and out of the bleak squalor amid the drug addicts, whores, and pimps. Overlooking the squalid conditions is the area of Washington Heights dubbed, by those seeking to turn a profit, Hudson Heights.

Hudson Heights

Location: W173 to Fort Tryon Park; B-way to the river

Lording over the blighted lower crags of Washington Heights are hills crowned with neatly manicured parks and renovated buildings and with step streets racing up and down the granite slopes. Here gentrification has taken hold in earnest and creates tension in the neighborhood over all. Struggling artists and young professionals of all types seeking bigger spaces with lower rents have been attracted to the beautiful buildings in a myriad of styles such as: Art deco, gothic, Tudor, Art Nouveau, Neo-Classical. Parks and squares complete the picturesque enclave and are lined with little tasteful bistros and shops. The centerpiece of which is Fort Tryon Park where the Metropolitan Museum of Art annex known as the Cloisters is located.

Chat Rooms: The Cloisters

Uptown restored gentrifiedblock.jpg

Harlem

Location: E96-141 (east), W110-155 (central), W125-155 (west)

Considered by many the capital of Black America, Harlem is a large area which begins at the northern end of Central Park) and runs all the way up to Washington Heights. Long plagued by decay and poverty, the area has seen pockets of gentrification spring up as its historic buildings have lured professionals and artists from different ethnic backgrounds back to the area. Now there is a vibrant artistic revival taking hold over Harlem. Crime has decreased substantially and a fierce pride is shared by its residents. The neighborhood is divided into three districts with sub-neighborhoods in each.

West Harlem Neighborhoods

Location: W125-155; St. Nick to the river

Hamilton Heights (W135-155; St. Nick to the river) – Renovated brownstones and spacious turn of the century apartment buildings line the leafy residential streets of this traditionally black upper-class neighborhood. The neighborhood has its share of parks and squares with the most notable being Riverside Park which skirts along the Hudson. The neighborhood is diverse with a large Hispanic, black and Caribbean population. The area has been heavily gentrified with many non-hispanic whites now living in the area. Many prominent artists, teachers, professionals, and actors now call Hamilton Heights home.

Chat Rooms: Riverside Park, Trinity Cemetery & Mausoleum

Manhattanville (W125-135; St. Nick to the river) – Once was a valley in colonial times. Now it is an industrialized area nestled between Morningside Heights and Hamilton Heights and bordered by the Hudson River. Gentrification assaults the neighborhood due to the expansion of Columbia University facilities into the area and the ravenous thirst for housing presented by that institution’s growing student body. The neighborhood is distinguished by an impressive elevated subway stop at 125th and its newly established greenway dubbed the West Harlem Piers.

Chat Rooms: West Harlem Piers

Morningside Heights, SoHa (W96-125; Columbus to Riverside) – Affectionately referred to as the Academic Acropolis because it is the home to numerous higher education institutions and sits atop one of the city’s higher points, Morningside Heights is a vibrant community filled with students and educators from all over the world. It’s home to Columbia University which has been a major force in gentrifying the area since the 1960s which led to a massive protest in 1968. Recently, Morningside Heights has been called by younger residents SoHa as many consider it part of the Upper West Side and too far south to be considered part of Harlem proper. Notable educational institutions are as follows: Barnard College, Union Theological Seminary, New York Theological Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Manhattan School of Music, Teachers College, Bank Street College of Education, St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's School, The School at Columbia University, Bank Street School for Children, The Cathedral School, New York. Historical landmarks of note are as follows: Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine and Grant's Tomb.

Chat Rooms: Tom's Restaurant, Columbia University, The Steps @ Columbia University, West End Bar

Central Harlem Neighborhoods

Location: E110-155; Park to St. Nick

Marcus Garvey Park and Mount Morris Park Historic District (E120-124; Madison to 5th) – Clusters of historic row houses and brownstones line the streets in this neighborhood which features the charming Marcus Garvey Park at the center. The houses that cover this historic district are designed in the late 19th and early 20th century residential row houses and church architecture. There are several unaltered streetscapes. Romanesque Revival, neo-Greco, Queen Anne, and 1893's World Columbian Exposition in Chicago were among the influences that created the eclectic style from the Gilded Age. They have inspired the local African American community to gather and form the Mount Morris Park Community Association which is dedicated to protecting and preserving historical treasures in Harlem and to promote the black cultural identity of Harlem. With the exquisite architecture preserved and the attractive amenities of the park, affluent black professionals make up the bulk of the residents. Shops and restaurants lining the streets cater to this ethnic group bustling with pride and ambition enough to reignite another Harlem Renaissance.

Chat Rooms: Marcus Garvey Park

Le Petit Senegal (W. 116; East of Morningside Park) – A rapidly growing neighborhood made up of West African immigrants, Le Petit Senegal is a colorful and vibrant community. All manner of African shops and restaurants line its narrow streets – bistros, art galleries, African imports, music shops, apothecaries, and grocers are but a few of the retailers found here. French and several African languages echo excitedly over the bustling little community that swells in number each day as it rapidly expands to engulf Harlem with refugees seeking to escape their war torn and poor native countries.

Sugar Hill (W125-155; Edgecombe Ave to Amsterdam) – Another affluent sub-neighborhood of Harlem, Sugar Hill has mostly emerged from the gentrification of Harlem in the mid-1990s unscathed. This is because Sugar Hill, with its tidy tree-lined streets of row houses and brownstones has historically been the seat of New York City’s African American elite. The heyday of the neighborhood was during the Harlem Renaissance when nationally prominent African Americans such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Duke Ellington were counted among its residents. Named to identify the “sweet life” life in Harlem, Sugar Hill is still associated with prominent black Americans and is a highly sought after neighborhood to live in even to this day.

Harlem pre-gentrifiedbuilding.jpg

East Harlem

Location: E96-141; the river to 5th

Nicknamed “El Barrio”, Spanish Harlem has the largest concentration of Puerto Rican residents of any neighborhood in New York City. It’s a poor neighborhood, littered with dilapidated and overcrowded public housing projects. Quality of life is harsh in East Harlem as the lack of fresh grocers and a severe drug epidemic affects the health of the residents both young and old. Cubans and Dominicans also make up a good portion of the Hispanic population though because of a shared cultural experience, other Hispanic nationalities can also be found in "El Barrio". There are busy streets where business activity takes place. They tend to be lined with retail spaces displaying impossibly loud signs for ethnic grocers, bakers, shops, nightclubs, restaurants and cafes which are colorfully decorated in a cacophony of gaudy sensations that assault the senses.

Upper East Side

Location: E59-96; the river to 5th

The Upper East Side of Manhattan is the most exclusive neighborhood in New York City. The neighborhood is filled with sleek, modern office towers right next to stately Victorian majestic hotels, mansions, apartment buildings, and early turn of the century skyscrapers. Home to such famous shopping names as Tiffany, Trump Towers, and Park Avenue, the Upper East Side is the most socially exclusive area within Gotham. Social clubs that have been in existence since practically the founding of the city dot the carefully manicured streets and sidewalks.

Even more pricey than the Upper West Side, the East Side comes with the same amenities common on the other side of Central Park and then some as most apartment buildings come complete with breathtaking views and a steady team of doormen to see to their residents' every need. Fine restaurants, shops, and hotels also have a virtual army of employees to see to a client's every whim.

The residents here are among the most elite social sets New York City has to offer. They are often of commercial and business backgrounds and predominantly white.

Chat Rooms: The Plaza, Hamilton's, Central Park

Upper East Side Neighborhoods

Yorkville (E79-96; the river to 3rd (centered at E86 and 3rd)) – Originally settled by Irish and German immigrants, Yorkville is a sleepy residential neighborhood in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Neat upper middle class apartments and row houses line the quiet streets. Picturesque little playgrounds, parks and squares offer well-to-do families plenty of civic amenities around which to gather.

Chat Rooms: Gracie Mansion

Carnegie Hill (E86-98; 3rd to 5th (centered at E91 and Park)) – Carnegie Hill is easily the most prestigious neighborhood within the Upper East Side. It is lined with historic mansions, townhomes, co-ops, condos and apartments. Exclusive shopping and dining is located on Park Ave. while on the adjacent streets architectural marvels that were once homes to names like Carnegie and Rockefeller loom majestically. However, ironically the northern most section borders one of the poorest neighborhoods in Manhattan, East Harlem. This creates an awkward and stark contrast, but still the buildings near 96th are some of the most beautiful and therefore are highly prized despite the proximity to “El Barrio”.

Chat Rooms: Museum Mile, The Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Upper West Side

Location: W59-110; Central Park W to the river

Being a traditionally culturally rich district of Manhattan, the Upper West Side offers the same features of the Upper East Side at a more affordable rate with hipper and less stuffy shops, restaurants, and community amenities. For this reason it is sought after by young creative professionals working in Manhattan's theaters, galleries, television studios, media companies, and creative agencies.

The area offers rows of picturesque historical brownstones in charming, quiet narrow streets as well as some of the most luxurious high rise apartment buildings the city has to offer, complete with breathtaking views and a steady team of doormen to see to their residents' every need. Fine restaurants and hotels also dot the Upper West Side along Columbus Avenue and Broadway.

They neighborhood was not always so. In the 1960s it was a poster of urban blight and the inspiration for West Side Story. However, in the 1980s a large gay population settled there and gentrification began. Now the area is quite heavily renovated with only isolated blighted areas near some of the district's many public housing projects.

The Upper West Side also has a large, affluent Jewish and Orthodox Jewish population which settled in the area during WWII. The population has flourished and has become an integral part of New York City's artistic and intellectual patronage tradition.

Chat Rooms: Central Park

Upper West Side Neighborhoods

Manhattan Valley (W96-110; Central Park W to B-way) – A recently gentrified ghetto comprising a mix of row houses, brownstones, and public tenements, Manhattan Valley has an eclectic mix of residents. Hispanics make up the bulk of the population at 44%, African Americans 32%, Asians 24% and the remaining are Caucasian. Yuppies have flocked there over the years, seeking housing on Manhattan at a more affordable rate. However, many of the poor and ethnic residents still live in the area. Because of that racial tensions in the neighborhood can run high.

Lincoln Square (W65-66; Columbus to B-way) – Is a neighborhood on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that borders Hell’s Kitchen and Columbus Circle. The focal point is a square at the intersection of Broadway and Columbus Ave between 65th and 66th Streets. This is ground zero for the performing arts in the city. In this little area one can find ABC television studios, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Julliard School of Music, The Metropolitan Opera, and so many other cultural powerhouses. The neighborhood itself is a mix of blight and gentrified housing options. West of Columbus Ave, much of the area remains industrial, gritty and littered with public housing projects. However, heading east towards Broadway and Central Park, the neighborhood has been gentrified with luxurious high-rises and renovated pre-war buildings.

Chat Rooms: Lincoln Center

Related Pages

Chat Room Index, Manhattan Neighborhoods Map

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