Hudson Heights by Christopher Rizzo
Hudson Heights is not an official New York City neighborhood, but in a few years it probably will be. This enclave in Northern Manhattan has become extraordinarily popular with students, artists and young families that are priced out of other areas of the City. For these “Manhattan refugees,” Hudson Heights offers a chance to maintain an urban lifestyle with somewhat saner prices. It also offers stunning river views and a small-town feel.
Hudson Heights has relatively precise geographic boundaries. It includes the area from 179th Street north of the George Washington Bridge all the way to the northern tip of Fort Tryon Park. Its extends from the Hudson River on the west to Broadway on the East. To the north is the neighborhood of Inwood, parts of which are certifiably cool these days. To the east is Fort George and to the south is Washington Heights; both areas continue to suffer from a fair amount of urban blight and crime, although both are light years ahead of where they were in the early 1990s. To the west is the river.
The neighborhood’s chief attractions include the spectacular Hudson River Park, with a riverside bike trail that heads all the way downtown, and Fort Tryon Park, which includes the Cloisters Museum and a public garden. The local school, P.S. 187, receives relatively high marks in annual city assessments and is one of the rare neighborhood schools with grades K through 8. Although the cultural amenities won’t stack up to those available in your average hip Brooklyn neighborhood (take your pick), there are now at least a dozen cool bars and restaurants in the area.
There are several drawbacks to Hudson Heights. First, it is an enclave, and that means isolation. You’ll have to become best friends with the A Train, which is the primary link to the rest of the City and runs express until about 10:30 p.m. each evening. Second, the neighborhood lacks a gym, high on the list of neighborhood complaints. Third, crime is a persistent issue. It comes mostly in the form of car break-ins and the occasional mugging near Broadway. Fourth, the neighborhood’s eastern boundary, Broadway, is dismal. Fortunately, some smart real estate developers and restaurant owners are interested in the strip.
For more information, including some suggested links for learning more about life in mountainous northern Manhattan, check out Christopher’s blog Hudson Heights Gazette.