The Arts

Hudson Heights is home to many of the city’s professional performing artists, and plenty of amateurs too. They share their talents in the neighborhood through performance groups including the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company. which hosts professionals and teaches students through its summer festivals and weekend classes. Daniel shares his sense of humor online, such as in this video of “Barn Dance with Bernie,” from Sen. Sanders’ viral photo in mittens and a parka at the Biden inauguration. To see more than a gif, take a look through the company’s dance films.
     Musicians invite you to their performances too. The Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra performs in the autumn and spring, while the best choral music ever written comes alive through the voices of the Cornerstone Chorale, whose holiday concerts have become a neighborhood tradition.
     Classical and contemporary blend in the performances of the Hudson Heights Duo. Former professors who now play professionally, the harp and woodwind pair specializes in Celtic music.
The Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, here performing “Puzzle,” makes its home in Hudson Heights.

     The lively arts abound outdoors in Upper Manhattan. One troupe, Pied Piper, focuses on children. Another, Up Theater, features Equity performers in new productions, while the People’s Theatre Project is open to aspiring actors. For a different approach, try the Broadway Haven Players (formerly the Bard Hall Players), who are medical students at Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons. Sadly, the pandemic seems to have set the medical troupers on hiatus; they haven’t produced a play since spring 2021.

     The music scene reflects the city’s eclectic tastes. On Broadway at 175th Street is the United Palace Theatre—originally one of three Loew’s Wonder Theatres in New York—the Washington Heights venue for off-beat and popular music. It went mainstream in 2023 when it played host to the Tony Awards.

The Men’s Smoking Lounge in the United Palace may convince you that cigarettes and cigars still have their place.
Meryl Streep and Selena Gomez on the United Palace grand staircase after shooting “Only Murders in the Building.”

     The interior architecture has become a favorite of directors. The cast of Only Murders in the Building spent six weeks in spring 2023 shooting season three in the theater. The films Christmas With You (2022) and Annie (2014) include scenes in the ornate foyer.


     Musical acts take advantage of the setting to. For Mary J. Blige’s performance, she recorded this interview on the stage of the theater. Highlights from the last several years include a five-night stand of Wilco performing the full album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Less expansive but equally creative performances include Ghosts of the Forest, Iggy Pop, Lorde, Kraftwerk, Miike Snow,  the String Cheese Incident, and several performers and bands from the Caribbean.


     The building itself is an over-the-top confection. “Byzantine-Romanesque-Indo-Hindu-Sino-Moorish-Persian-Eclectic-Rococo-Deco” is the description of the theater’s architectural aesthetics from David W. Dunlap in On Broadway: A Journey Uptown Over Time. Take a look at the interior décor here. You won’t believe it’s in Washington Heights.

     The theater also shows movies with a New York connection on occasional Sunday afternoons. To find out what’s going on this week, visit this list of cultural events at museums, galleries and parks in Hudson Heights, Fort George, Sherman Creek, Inwood, and Audubon Park. It includes college sports, too. Do you have kids? Try this list of events for the younger set.

Painting and sculpture are on occasional display at the American Academy of Arts and Letters on Audubon Terrace.

     To the south, in a Washington Heights neighborhood called Audubon Park, is the American Academy of Arts and Letters, whose purpose “is to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by identifying and encouraging individual artists.” Founded in 1898, the academy has 250 members. You can visit its grand Beaux Arts buildings, on Audubon Terrace, west of Broadway between West 155th and 156th Streets, for its two annual exhibitions and occasional presentations and discussions, above.

     The Academy shares space on Audubon Terrace with the Hispanic Society of America. Its museum and research library, which include treasures from Spain and Portugal, are usually free and open to the public. The museum opens this year after an extensive renovation. The plaza includes monumental statues of Don Quixote, El Cid, and Boabdil.

     Its museum holds more paintings by Goya than any institution outside Spain, and a first edition of Don Quixote. “The collections of the Hispanic Society are unparalleled in their scope and quality outside the Iberian Peninsula,” the Society says. Underscoring that point is the 2017 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, awarded by Spain.


     The neighborhoods of Washington Heights are featured in In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about a young man whose dreams are bigger than the bodega he runs. For the 2021 debut of the filmed version, the city published this guide of the best of Latino culture.

Fox sparrow, painted by Espy dpt/znc, at the WaHi Expeditionary School in Fort George on 182nd Street.

     Look closely and you’ll see dozens of birds perched on doors, walls, and security gates throughout WaHi, in murals sponsored by Audubon. Its namesake, John James Audubon, had a home in what’s now Lower WaHi, and his legacy of painting birds lives on.

     The murals draw attention to the risk climate change poses to both birds and people. More than 135 species have been painted in 100 Uptown murals. Take a walk from Audubon Park to Fort George, using this list, and see how many you can spot. No binoculars needed.

     Trinity Cemetery lies one block south of Audubon Terrace at Broadway between West 154th and 155th Streets. In 1824 Trinity Parish bought the land from John James Audubon, the naturalist. He is buried here, along with Clement Clarke Moore, a professor of Classics at Union Theological Seminary who is best known for writing A Visit From Saint Nicholas (1822). Most people recognize the poem as ’Twas The Night Before Christmas., and each December on an Advent afternoon the church hosts a reading of the poem and a visit to Moore’s tomb.

     Other notables are buried there. The tomb of Charles Dickens’ son, Alfred Tennyson Dickens, is here, and many members of the Astor family lie here as well, including John Jacob Astor, who died in the sinking of the Titanic. The cemetery was declared a historic landmark in 1969.


     A short introduction to a handful of cultural spots in Lower WaHi comes from a 2023 installment by Hidden City.


      Among the things WaHi is famous for is the noise. Lots of it!

      During the pandemic and the isolation it brought, the streets sounded eerily quiet. To help New Yorkers unaccustomed to the silence, there was a solution.

      The New York Public Library dropped an online album: Missing Sounds of New York. It didn’t win any Grammys, but each track uses a combination of sounds to create familiar canvases on which mini stories are placed: a glass breaking in a bar, a dance performance on the subway, an overly enthusiastic baseball fan.

      It’s free and it’s available from the library. (No need for a library card!)



The Parks

Children play and seniors gather in Bennett Park, the highest spot on the island and the historic site of Fort Washington.
Atop Manhattan, in Bennett Park.

Residents fill the neighborhood’s green spaces. The closest is Bennett Park, with a children’s playground and the distinction of being the highest natural point in Manhattan, at 265’ 5” above sea level (left). The park is the locus for children’s events, including the Fall Harvest Festival and the Hudson Heights Halloween parade.

     The city replaced the grass in the center of the park — which would wear out before summer starts because the park is so popular — with artificial turf, and is now upgrading the surface in a million-dollar project. It should be completed by April. Back in 2012, the city completed a $2 million renovation to the park, improving its sidewalks, lawn, and creating a ball field.

    Historically, it was the location of Fort Washington when the British attacked Manhattan in 1776. It is from this spot that the Continental Army retreated north after the Battle of Fort Washington in November 1776. The borders of the soldiers’ star-shaped fort are outlined in the center of the park by bricks.


     The Revolutionary War hero Margaret Cochran Corbin defended of northern Manhattan in the Battle of Fort Washington. She became the first woman soldier in the war, after taking over her husband’s position at a cannon battling the British troops at Fort Tryon, an outpost of Fort Washington (today’s Bennett Park). In 1909, a monument was erected in her honor at the site of the fort, and in 1935, it was incorporated into Fort Tryon Park. In the 1970s, Fort Tryon Park’s Margaret Corbin Circle and Margaret Corbin Drive were named in her honor. Read more history here.


     The little park’s namesake, James Gordon Bennett, lived nearby, and was the Scotsman who founded, published, and edited The New York Herald in the nineteenth century. He was also an arch-conservative who used his newspaper to support slavery, denigrate President Lincoln, and demean Blacks in racist terms. The Parks Department announced in June 2021 that it was considering new names for the park in this notice, which lists Bennett Park under Staten Island.


     All these hills make Upper Manhattan, its parks and its streets a haven for bicyclists looking for a challenge. An urban trail is Fort Washington Avenue, which starts near Audubon Terrace and ends at Fort Tryon Park, where riders can enjoy open spaces and expansive views. Here’s a description of rides bikers take around the neighborhood and across the Hudson.

     Fort Washington Park begins where Riverside Park ends, with a bike trail from Hudson Heights to the Battery. Like Bennett Park, it has a connection to the Revolutionary War. These days, the park is home to peregrine falcons, the monarch butterfly, tennis courts, basketball courts, and the Little Red Lighthouse, perched on Jeffrey’s Hook, of  storybook fame. The lighthouse is the focal point of an annual children’s festival. It’s also opened occasionally on summer weekends; check our Kids’ Events page for the next chance to climb to the top.

Our two most famous landmarks in Fort Washington Park: the Little Red Lighthouse and the GWB.

     Watch the shore as you head south from Jeffery’s Hook and you’re likely to come across a sculpture garden of stalagmites. It’s the “Garden of Sisyphus,” by Uliks Gryka. It changes as people add to it, or knock pieces over. You can see it here, and listen to Gryka explain it.


    Fort Tryon Park’s commanding views were key to both sides during the Revolutionary War, with cannons placed along its promontories. When you visit today, you’ll be in the happiest spot in Manhattan, researchers in New England say. Village Voice named Fort Tryon the best park in the city in 2013.


     The park turned 85 years old in October 2020, when the pandemic canceled in-person celebrations. Instead, enjoy this anniversary video showing many of the park’s most striking vistas.

     A century ago the millionaire Cornelius Billings kept a Victorian pastry of a country estate in the park, which had its own 1,600-foot driveway. These days, the spot provides unmatched views of the Hudson River and the Palisades on the New Jersey shore. The park is also the site of the annual historical re-enactment of the Battle of Fort Washington (which actually stood in the present-day Bennett Park).

Sledding on Billings Lawn in Fort Tryon Park.

     There’s plenty more there today than a battle site. The New York City Parks Department ranks it as a Flagship Park, entitling it to greater resources. Among the benefits is the Heather Garden, where amateur botanists join park professionals in keeping the plantings resplendent year-round.


     Nestled inside a Depression-era home is space for a restaurant, which closed during the pandemic and has not re-opened. (Yet—want to run the place? Apply here.) You can get a peak at the restaurant’s patio in a Matt Damon and Emily Blunt film, The Adjustment Bureau. There’s even a ping pong table, with free paddles and balls, for anyone’s use in the spot called Fort Washington Terrace (it’s just east of the upper entrance to the 190th Street “A” Train Station).


     Dog owners love Sir William’s Dog Run, and not only because it’s the largest in Manhattan. A pet owners’ website, The Dodo, named it No. 1 for its $300,000 renovation, the monthly coffee meet-ups, and the Halloween costume contest.

     There’s plenty more there today than a battle site. The New York City Parks Department ranks it as a Flagship Park, entitling it to greater resources. Among the benefits is the Heather Garden, where amateur botanists join park professionals in keeping the plantings resplendent year-round.  There’s even a ping pong table, with free paddles and balls, for anyone’s use in the spot called Fort Washington Terrace (it’s just east of the upper entrance to the 190th Street “A” Train Station).

Devoted to sonic experiences, the Cloisters hosts dj’s playing electronic dance music in addition to Renaissance classics.

     Time Out ranked Fort Tryon Park as the city’s most under-rated park (it calls the High Line the most over-rated), thanks in part to The Cloisters Museum, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. The park’s Javits Playground, at Margaret Corbin Circle, got a rave from Curbed thanks to its view. The online real estate site includes it in its list of the eleven best playgrounds in town (and one of the seven best in Manhattan).


     Summing it all up, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Inwood resident wrote this appreciation of the park. Fans of medieval and Renaissance music enjoy the concerts, and parents take their children to the weekend events geared to the young.

A dolphin fountain entertains infants and toddlers.

     The Dolphin Park is a children’s park two short blocks from our front door. Properly called the George Washington Bridge Park, its familiar name comes from the life-size dolphin sprinkler inside. This sliver of a park is limited to young children and their care-givers, and also offers a sandbox and swing set.


     It is open from mid-spring through mid-autumn and is always staffed by volunteers from the West 181 Street Beautification Project. You will find the entrance on Cabrini Boulevard at 180th Street. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey owns the park and upgraded it in late 2014 to improve safety and accessibility.

The dog run in J. Hood Wright Park attracts plenty of pets.

     The nearest dog run is in J. Hood Wright Park, on Fort Washington Avenue between West 176th and 174th Streets. Located at the west end of the park, the run allows dogs to spend some time off the leash. A group of dog owners runs the J. Hood Wright Canine Club, which sponsors events and promotes the improvement of the park.

   The area of Wright Park for humans unveiled a “mini” soccer field in autumn 2019. The park also includes handball, volleyball, and basketball courts, restrooms, a children’s playground with a giant model of the George Washington Bridge, and a “tot lot” playground just for toddlers.

     Find out more about neighborhood dogs at Inwoof, covering Inwood. In Fort Tryon Park, Sir William’s Dog Run is maintained by FtDOG.


      Perhaps you’re more into bicycling than pets, and mountain biking in particular. Highbridge Park is where bikers go for a vigorous ride. Here’s a map and elevation chart of the course, Upper Rough Ryder, which is for advanced riders. You can find updates on competitions, training events and more from the New York City Mountain Bike Association.

Crossing the Harlem River on the High Bridge, with the water tower rising 179 feet above Highbridge Park.

     The park’s hills also offer spectacular views of the Harlem River Valley. And since the High Bridge reopened in 2015, you can retrace the steps of generations of New Yorkers: it’s the borough’s oldest bridge. The 179-foot-tall water tower can be seen for mile from the park, located east of Academy Street between Trinity Cemetery and Sherman Creek, and after a $5 million renovation project that started in 2018 you can climb the stairs to its top to enjoy the best views of the Hudson Vally. The city is investing in other areas of the park, too: A playground near Edgecomb Avenue and 164th Street received a $30 million upgrade in late 2020.


     Historically, the upper portion of Highbridge Park was home to the Fort George Amusement Park, described at the time as Harlem’s Coney Island. The amusement park opened in 1895, before much of Upper Manhattan had been developed for the middle classes. At its peak it featured two Ferris wheels, a short-line scenic railroad, a hotel, and even a casino.


     As the park grew in attractions it grew in visitors. The Schenk Brothers managed the operation and opened a set of thrill rides in 1906 in what they called Paradise Park, charging 10¢ to ride them. (That’s almost $3 today.) Thanks in part to the Third Avenue Trolley Line having its terminus near

Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University

the park, visitors topped 70,000 people on summer Sundays in 1905, according to The New York Sun (whose article includes a photo of that rather terrifying roller coaster on the right in the postcard image, above).


     When the area began transforming from a park in Fort George to the Fort George residential neighborhood, the newcomers disliked the crowds and the noise they brought. Some of the park-goers were of the less savory type, according to The Sun, including “highwaymen” and palm readers, groups whom the police attempted to disperse. The police also enforced segregation in the park.


     The fun and games ended in June 1913, when a suspicious fire, with flames shooting up “more than one hundred feet,” The Tmes reported, decimated the amusement park. It was condemned, torn down, and incorporated into Highbridge Park. Today the Fort George Playground is at the park’s site.

Homes on Sylvan Terrace, near the Morris-Jumel Mansion.

    Not far from lower Highbridge Park is Sylvan Terrace, a narrow street of historic homes that leads to Manhattan’s oldest house. The Morris-Jumel Mansion was completed in 1765. Sited on the borough’s second-highest spot, its owner, Col. Roger Morris of the British army, had views of New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York Harbor. George Washington stayed here after the war and hosted his famous cabinet dinner in the dining room.

”11 miles from N. York,” says a milestone.

     Some people say that Eliza Jumel, who died in 1865, still haunts it. Watch a paranormal investigator’s explanation, and watch for the chance to join a paranormal investigation yourself one night.

     Today you can tour it, listen to concerts there and take a yoga class indoors or out, in Roger Morris Park. That’s where you’ll find one of only two remaining milestones from old New York — or “N. York,” as the marker puts it. Identifying the city as 11 miles away, it points out the winding nature of roads centuries ago.

Shorakkopoch Rock, perhaps the site where Manhattan changed hands.

     To the north of Hudson Heights is Inwood Hill Park, the only natural forest left on Manhattan. It's an excellent spot for birding and hikes, and for the sports-minded offers tennis courts.

     The park is also the location, according to legend, of the purchase of Manhattan. In 1626, the story goes, Peter Minuit, a Dutchman, visited the principal Indian village on the island and bought Manhattan for goods worth about 60 guilders.

     A gathering on Thanksgiving mornings honors the people  who originally called Manhttan their home.

     You can visit Shorakkopoch Rock today by following a path that runs along the water. Directions are here.

The Dyckman’s Dutch Colonial style farmhouse was built around 1784.

     The only remaining farm house in Manhattan is on land owned by the Dyckman family. They started acquiring land in Northern Manhattan in the 1660s and continued to increase their holdings until the mid-19th-century. 

     The Dyckmans were continually buying and selling property so the boundaries changed depending on the year. Today it’s on Broadway and 204th Street and open to visitors.

     And if the name sounds familiar from TV, yes, Peter Campbell is a Dyckman. Pete is a fictional character on Mad Men whose mother is described as a direct descendant of the family. When Pete is in Los Angeles and meets a titled Frenchman, he introduces himself as Peter Dyckman Campbell.

Swindler Cove, in Sherman Creek Park, is a highlight of Sherman Creek.

     If you like the a quiet spot on the water, Swindler Cove provides peaceful walks, gardens and views of the Harlem River. Rowers know it for the Peter J. Sharp Boathouse, and preservationists know it for the New York Resto-ration Project, the group founded by Bette Midler to clean up overlooked public spaces in the city. The cove is located in Sherman Creek Park, just north of Fort George.

     Row New York holds classes in the boathouse and on the Harlem in the spring and summer (photo, below). All ages and skill levels are welcome, from kids to experienced competitors, as well as those who use para-rowing techniques to navigate the waters. It’s all part of what you can do in the waters off the island where we live.

Take rowing lessons from the Peter J. Sharp Boathouse, off Swindler Cove in the Harlem River.


     It’s all accessible by the A Train, which runs express from Midtown. J. Hood Wright Park is at the 175th Street stop; Bennett Park at 181st, Fort Tryon Park at 190th, and Inwood Hill Park at the end of the line, at 207th Street.


Schools, colleges, universities

Education takes pride of place here too. In Fort George, the Yeshiva University High School for Boys was named the eighth-best all-boys’ high school in the city by Niche in 2021, and the seventh-best Jewish high school.


     University education includes the Fort George campus of Yeshiva University, which is where its storied basketball team competes. You can also find a branch of City University called CUNY in the Heights—which despite its name is actually in Inwood. Boricua College, on Audubon Terrace, prides itself on education for Caribbean immigrants.


     Also in Lower WaHi, the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons makes its home at the New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, which also houses Columbia’s schools of dentistry, nursing, public health, and social work.


Restaurants, Retail and Relaxation

Relaxing over a meal at Saggio, on West 181st Street.

More and more options for spending time, and money, in the neighborhood keep opening. Thanks in part to the attention from In The Heights, Uptown is getting its due as a destination for food.


     The PBS show Roadfood featured WaHi eateries in 2022, highlighting the neighborhood’s Dominican treats. Try Aroma, the family-operated food truck in Fort George, for its Dominican twist on burgers and hot dogs. It’s on 185th Street between St. Nicholas and Audubon Avenues.


     Newcomers from other parts of Manhattan bring their fare with them, with the result of recommendations from the Michelin Guide for Saggio, here in Hudson Heights, and Marcha Cocina, on 171st in Lower WaHi.


     Pizza is everywhere, of course, but Fresco’s, on 187th Street in Hudson Heights, has the distinction of being the pizzeria with more delivery orders through Grubhub than any other in the United States. That’s amore!


     In Inwood, the wine bar Tannat made a list of the city’s top 25. The Times reviewed Rusty Mackerel positively, a restaurant on Pinehust Avenue, while The New Yorker described the Monkey Room, a Hudson Heights bar, as a boîte where the scent of apple hookah fills the air for a clientele that includes “police and hustlers to men and their mistreses.”

     The CitiBikes program is in the neighborhood too. The station with the best views is at Lafayette Plaza, at the west end of 181st Street, left, overlooking the Hudson. Bennett Park hosts another, on Fort Washington at 183rd, and another directly across the street from the Pinehurst, on 180th. Depending on demand and supply, most stations have regular and electric bikes for you to check out and enjoy.


     If you plan to travel further, you’re covered. A car-sharing pick-up and drop-off spot is just behind the Pinehurst, on Cabrini Boulevard between 180th and 181st Streets. It’s one of a dozen new spots Uptown, including two in Fort George, three in Inwood, and six in Lower WaHi. Find those locations here, and learn more about the program here.

Ring 5A for the secret skate shop in Fort George.

     Lively retail activity on 181st and 187th Streets includes several restaurants (northern Italian, sushi, and Irish, among others), a wine bar, and a Pilates studio. A specialty skateboard shop in Fort George is open by appointment only, in its owners apartment. Even more stores line Broadway and St. Nicholas Avenue, retail activity that is supplemented by the overhaul of shops at the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal. The renovation cost around $200 million and created 120,000 square feet of retail space.

Royal Connections

Left, Queen Litizia of Spain (at right) at an elementary school in Fort George in 2014. Right, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the Morris-Jumel Mansion on Jumel Terrace in 1976.

While New Yorkers from outside Upper Manhattan rarely think of WaHi as a place worth their visit, royalty doesn’t seem to mind.
   Queen Litizia of Spain visited Dos Puentes Elementary School in Fort George in 2014. She was there to announce that the dual-language school had received membership in the International Spanish Academies.
     Years earlier, during the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations,
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip made a trip to Jumel Terrace to visit the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the oldest house in Manhattan and the temporary quarters of George Washington.
      And you don’t have to be a historian to recall that the George in Fort George referred to the Hanoverian monarchs of Britain in the eighteenth century, in whose territory the Colonists lived, and against whom they rebelled when George III was king.

In Literature

Upper Manhattan’s residents create one of the most vibrant—some would say soulful—streets in the city, inspiring writers and other story-tellers.

     The study of Audubon Park’s origins, maturation, and disappearance is at root the study of a rural society evolving into an urban community. The historian Mathew Spady, a resident of the neighborhood between Harlem and Lower WaHi, examines the relationship between people and the land they inhabit in his study of the lives of two prominent families who had a hand in the development of Upper Manhattan, though that wasn’t their plan.

     When John James Audubon bought fourteen acres of northern Manhattan farmland in 1841, he set in motion a chain of events that moved forward inexorably to the streetscape that emerged seven decades later. The story of how that happened makes up the pages of The Neighborhood Manhattan Forgot: Audubon Park and the Families Who Shaped It.

     Published in 2022 by Fordham University Press.

Learn about the people and places of our neighborhood.

     For one photographer, who's lived here for more than two decades, the people are his inspiration. Northern Manhattan as Muse is Mike Fitelson’s tribute to the the old-timers, newcomers, visitors and everyone else who makes Inwood and the neighborhoods of Washington Heights so fascin-ating. It was published in 2011 by Blurb.


     The busiest bridge in the world crosses the Hudson River. In 2017, about 43 million vehicles crossed the steel structure. Built in 1931, it even has a minor role in Citizen Kane. Le Corbusier called it “the only seat of grace in the disordered city.” But remarkably little has been written about until now, with The George Washington Bridge: Poetry in Steel. Michael Aaron Rockland traces its history from the planning stage (when it was “The Bridge from Fort Washington to Fort Lee,” reflecting an earlier name for our neighborhood and no name for the GWB) to the post-9/11 mentality. It was published in 2008 by Rutgers University Press.


     A look at how WaHi became Quisqueya Heights is examined in Crossing Broadway: Washington Heights and the Promise of New York City, which traces the neighbohood’s history since the Great Depression. Written by Robert W. Snyder, who grew up in WaHi in the 1980’s, the book tells how “disparate groups overcame their mutual suspicions to rehabilitate house, build new schools, restore parts, and work with the police to bring safety to streets racked by crime and fear.” Snyder is now a professor of American studies at Rutgers. Cornell University Press published the book in 2014.


     An exhaustive collection of photographs of upper Manhattan has been put together in Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill, a pictorial history edited by James Renner. Images of architectural sites, parks, historical markers, and aerial views are described by Renner, a member of the Washington Heights-Inwood Historical Society who lives in the area. (He also wrote the entry about Trinity Cemetery that's linked to above.) Published in 2007, you can order it from Arcadia Publishing.


     For a scholarly study on the demographics of Washington Heights, read Frankfurt on the Hudson: The German Jewish Community of Washington Heights, 1933–82, Its Structure and Culture, above right. The author, Prof. Stephen M. Lowenstein, grew up in Hudson Heights when it was known as Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson. His book traces the area’s changes, from the time it was known as Fort Tryon through the twilight of German influence. It was published in 1989 by Wayne State University Press.


Fictional accounts cover crime, the immigrant experience, meeting a new friend and telling your own tale.

     The neighborhood also attracts novelists and storytellers. One is Linda Fairstein, who in her seventeenth Alexandra Cooper thriller takes readers to Manhattan’s waterfront and magnificent vistas of the Statue of Liberty and the George Washington Bridge, the world’s busiest span for motor vehicles. In Devil’s Bridge, Detective Mike Chapman will discover the peril that lurks along this seemingly benign expanse. Published in 2015 by Dutton.


     Junot Díaz wrote a novel about an overweight computer nerd who lives in New Jersey, Washington Heights, and the Dominican Republic. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao tells the story of a young Dominicano who is an aspiring science fiction writer, which garnered a Pulitzer Price for Fiction in 2008. It was published in 2007 by Riverhead Books.


    A children’s classic, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge tells the story of an important little guy whose purpose is eliminated when a massive steel structure, festooned with lights, is built above it. Jeffrey’s Hook is the setting, and (spoiler alert!) the George Washington Bridge becomes the lighthouse’s friend. By Hildegarde H. Swift with the memorable illustrations of Lynd Ward. It is published by Harcourt Children’s Books.


     A children’s book tells how a girl in Upper Manhattan, with the help of her aunt and some new friends, finds a place where she can tell her story. Produced entirely by a volunteer collective in Lower WaHi, Home at Word Up: A Story of a Bookshop in Washington Heights is a tale of finding and building community anywhere you live. You can even visit the bookstore where the story began. Published in 2016.

In Film

     The most famous, most popular, and most upbeat depiction of Uptown life comes from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights. It started as a muscial, became a Broadway sensation, and is now a hugely successful movie, and it was filmed here in WaHi. The scene above, at 175th and Audubon Avenue, is a ten-minute walk from our building. (For another take on the film’s musical paeon to the neighborhood, enjoy this spoof made by students of the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.)


     The neighhorhoods of Washington Heights have appeared in plenty of other films too, sometimes to demonstrate the city’s grit and others to show of its beauty. Here’s a growing list:


The Adjustment Bureau In this 2011 sci-fi take on predestination versus free will, the characters of Matt Damon and Emily Blunt have a date in Fort Tryon Park at the New Leaf Café, which (in real life) was one of WaHi’s few restaurants to be listed in the prestigious Michelin guide. The realism shatters, at least for locals, when in the next scene the two lovers casually stroll from the park to the South Street Seaport, over 12 miles away. 


Annie In the 2014 version, not only did Jamie Foxx (as Will Stacks, the Daddy Warbucks character) and Quvenzhané Wallis (as the Little Orphan) film in WaHi, they filmed inside the United Palace’s Grand Foyer, which was the setting for a movie premiere that Stacks takes Annie to.


Christmas With You When she feels burned out by her music career in the big city, Angelina (Aimee Garcia) takes a fan’s advice to change pace in a small town. There she meets a handsome suitor (Freddie Prince, Jr.), whose wooing sparks her inspiration. She gives a concert in the United Palace, with scenes in the Grand Foyer and in the auditorium. Released in 2022.


Citizen Kane Orsen Welles’ first feature film is considered the greatest American movie ever made. Toward the end of the 1941 classic, when Kane visits a former colleague in a sanitarium, the building sits near Jeffrey’s Hook, directly under the George Washington Bridge. No such building was ever there. The shot with the GWB lasts mere seconds, so keep your eyes open.


Coogan’s Bluff An Arizona sheriff, played by Clint Eastwood, heads to the big city to extradite a criminal. Released in 1968, the drama covers a lot of ground in Manhattan, including Fort Tryon Park’s vistas of the Cloisters and a motorcycle chase along its paths.


Frances Ha The story of Greta Gerwig’s under-employed dancer who’s between youth and adulthood comes to a happy ending in a Fort George apartment all her own, on Audubon Avenue, proving once again that dreams do come true in Uptown. Directed by Noah Baumbach in 2012.


The Greatest Beer Run Ever In 1967, an Inwood native was drinking with friends in the Inwood bar Doc Fiddler’s, which later went by the name The Red Barrel, when one of them suggested taking beers and good cheer to their buddies fighting in Vietnam. John Donohue took the idea and ran with it. Zac Efron stars in the 2022 film as Donohue; with Russell Crowe and Bill Murray.


John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum In the third iteration of the tale of the reluctant assassin, Keany Reeves takes on and casts aside a vast array of impediments. The 2019 film includes a scene filmed at the United Palace. 


Mad Hot Ballroom The 2005 documentary is a local favorite. It stars fifth-grade students from three city schools, including P.S. 115 in Lower WaHi, whose students are primarily Dominican and grew up a world away from the staid traditions of the ballroom dancing. Through effort and talent, they charm their way to the championship.


Spider Man: No Way Home The latest in the series shows all manner of explosions and other Uptown pyrotechnics. In the 2021 release, Spidey jumps over cars’ roofs on the Henry Hudson, with the exit for 181st Street and the GWB in the background.


Trouble in the Heights WaHi local Jonathan Ullman serves up a raw, up-close-and-personal vision of the sometimes mean streets of the neighborhood. This 2011 movie may have held the record for devoting the most screen time to the neighborhood until In the Heights. The film’s well-attended premiere at the United Palace played an outsized role in launching Movies at the Palace.


Uptown at 7 p.m. memorializes the selflessnesss of healthcare workers during Covid-19. Each night at 7 during spring 2020 people would open their windows and bang pots, or clap, or cheer to give thanks to the women and men who braved the pandemic to take care of the ill.


West Side Story Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake of the tension between the Sharks and the Jets features the Cloisters as the setting of the first date of star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria.


We Were so Beloved The 1986 documentary by Manfred Kirchheimer interviews WaHi Jews who escaped Germany before the Holocaust, settling in Uptown. Several exterior scenes show what was once known as Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson, today called Hudson Heights.


The Wrong Man A scene so short that if you blink, you miss it: On a sinisterly foggy night, a man and woman exit a car on 178th Street at Fort Washington Avenue and enter an apartment building as the George Washington Bridge looms in the background. Alfred Hitchcock directed the 1956 thriller.
     Have we missed one? Send a message!

On the Small Screen

As WaHi grows in popularity, so does the neighborhood as a shooting location for streaming shows. The cast of Only Murders in the Building spent six weeks in spring 2023 shooting season three in the theater.

Justina Machado as Dolores Roach.

     Another show does more than use an Uptown feature. The Horror of Dolores Roach makes the most of its Lower WaHi setting to the great misfortune of Uptowners. Taking inspiration from Sweeney Todd’s dastardly deeds, Dolores Roach, at left in the photo, finds a grisly method of helping her friend economize on fillings at his empanada shop. The show’s writer, Aaron Mark, lived in Lower WaHi and enjoyed eating at Empanadas Monumental, near 157th and Broadway. (The restaurant, in contrast with the one he invents for the show, passed health inspections.) The show streams on Amazon.


WaHi Beyond WaHi

     Even an ocean away you could find Washington Heights.

     After World War II the U.S. Army built housing in Tokyo for soldiers and their families who were stationed there to help Japan rebuild the country. The base was named Washington Heights and included a golf course, school, churches, and even a post exchange called the Washington Heights station.

     On a map, left, it even looks a bit like Upper Manhattan, doesn’t it?

     The military neighborhood was used by Americans until 1964, when the Olympic Games arrived in Tokyo and the site was rebuilt for swimming competitions and some of the homes were converted to the athletes’ village.

     A short documetary about the Tokyo Washington Heights is here.


One of the nation’s most respected teaching hospitals is down Fort Washington Avenue at 168th Street. The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons is among the medical faculties at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center. Columbia’s School of Dentristry runs clinics in the neighborhood for its residents.

     Find out current information from The Pinehurst’s Events page, and our neighborhood weekly newspaper, The Manhattan Times, which is published in English and Spanish. Its reporting on neighborhood restaurants is essential for the curious gourmet.

     Teach your children pedestrian safety and bike safety at Safety City, a program sponsored by the New York City Department of Transportation. Free classes are available for children aged 5 through 14 at 672 W. 158 Street in Lower WaHi.


     And once they have learned to ride a bike, you can store it safely in our basement, where the tires won’t track on your floors.

The George Washington Bridge "is the only seat of grace in the disordered city." So said Le Corbusier.

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447 Ft. Washington Owners’ Corp.
447 Ft. Washington Ave, Apt. 68
New York, NY 10033
(212) 896-8600

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