Washington Heights - Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists

Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists (2016)

Map 23. Washington Heights



Neighborhood Overview


Map 23

Washington Heights is a veritable United Nations of immigrant stories. Irish settlers moved up north in the 1900s. After World War I, European Jews called this hilly stretch of Manhattan home. Now, the ‘hood swings to an undeniable merengue beat. The largely Dominican sliver of northern Manhattan probably claims more authenticity than any Punta Cana all-inclusive. Street vendors whip up delectable chimichurris, a sort of Dominican hamburger. Broadway houses a seemingly limitless number of chicken-and-rice eateries. English almost feels like a second language. As with all of Manhattan, this swath of delis and pollerias sees change in the future. Hipsters searching for cheap rent keep hiking uptown, and higher end Dominican fusion eateries are breaking into the restaurant scene. It looks like everyone knows that all you have to do is take the A train even farther than Harlem.

Some of Manhattan’s most storied buildings live far uptown, and The Heights are no exception. Most notable is the Morris-Jumel Mansion, a hilltop home that looks like it belongs in Gone With the Wind, not Gotham. British Colonel Roger Morris built the abode in 1765, but George Washington famously stationed his headquarters here in the fall of 1776. After the Revolutionary War, Morris left the estate, which stretched up from Harlem. If that’s not impressive enough, note that Washington also took John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams to dine there in 1790. The museum is open for visits, but beware: There have been rumors of hauntings. For a less ghostly architecture tour, check out the two-block historic district of Sylvan Terrace. This stretch of wooden row-houses line the skinny street leading up to the mansion. Although the turn-of-the-century homes underwent a few incarnations—from wooden to faux brick to stucco—they are now largely restored to their original facades. Another turn of the century creation, the New York Armory, had a similar rebirth. The armory first served as a training center for the National Guard in 1909. It rose to fame as a center for track and field competitions until the 1980s, when it became a homeless shelter. Now, the armory has been restored and functions as a track and field center.

This skinny expanse of Manhattan boasts some of the country’s top transportation accomplishments. Construction began in 1948 for the Cross-Bronx Expressway, one of the country’s first highways to forge through such a densely populated urban area; suffice it to say, “first” does not necessary mean “best.” Heading west into Fort Lee, NJ, the George Washington Bridge is the only 14-lane suspension crossing in the country. Hikers, bikers, and skaters can skip the pricey tolls and enjoy views of Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey. The best part about the bridge: The Little Red Lighthouse that rests underneath. The charmingly out-of-place tower only operated between 1921 and 1948, but it earned fame from the 1942 children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, by Hildegarde Swift and Lynd Ward.

Duck into Coogan’s or Le Chéile for a pint. When the live music itch strikes, the shabby but grand United Palace hosts a bevy of artists.

Washington Heights


Map 23

image Landmarks

✵ The Armory ✵

216 Fort Washington Ave [W 169th St]


World class running facility houses Track & Field Hall of Fame.

✵ Cross Bronx Expressway ✵

Cross Bronx Expressway [Ittner Pl]

Worst. Highway. Ever.

✵ George Washington Bridge ✵

W 178th St [Henry Hudson Pkwy]

Try to see it when it’s lit up. Drive down from Riverdale on the Henry Hudson at night and you’ll understand.

✵ George Washington Bridge Bus Station ✵ 4211 Broadway [178th St]


Nervi’s bus masterpiece connecting Washington Heights with the world.

✵ High Bridge Water Tower ✵ Highbridge Park

Defunct but cool water tower; tours inside are worth the hassle.

✵ The Little Red Lighthouse ✵

Fort Washington Park [W 178th St]

Enter from 181st Street. It’s there, really!

✵ Morris-Jumel Mansion ✵

65 Jumel Terrace [W 162nd St]


The oldest building in New York, at least until someone changes it again.

✵ Sylvan Terrace ✵

b/n Jumel Ter & St Nicholas Ave

The most un-Manhattanlike place in all the world.

✵ United Palace Theater ✵

4140 Broadway [W 175th St]


Movie theater, then church, now rock venue. Gorgeous inside.

image Coffee

✵ Dunkin’ Donuts ✵

1416 St Nicholas Ave [W 181st St]


Decent coffee served in gigantic Styrofoam cups.

✵ Jou Jou ✵ 603 W 168th St [Broadway]


Open 24 hours!

✵ Jou Jou Café ✵ 3959 Broadway [W 166th St]


Serving your soup, sandwich, and espresso needs all day and night.

✵ Starbucks ✵

803 W 181st St [Ft Washington Ave]


Fuel up and take a break from 181st.

✵ X Caffe ✵ 3952 Broadway [W 165th St]


Hip and comfortable.

Dominican eats dominate the food scene up here; Margot Restaurant is easily one of the best. Hit up Malecon for unsurpassed roast chicken. When variety beckons Sushi Yu dishes up a tasty alternative and Saggio is a pleasant Italian trattoria. And good luck choosing from the massive Hudson View menu (though we’re sorry to report that there is not much of a view).

image Farmers Markets

✵ 175th Street Greenmarket ✵

Broadway & W 175th St

Thurs, 8 am-4 pm, June-Nov

image Nightlife

✵ Coogan’s ✵ 4015 Broadway [W 169th St]


Join doctors, professors, and off-duty cops for a cold one.

✵ Le Chéile ✵ 839 W 181st St [Cabrini Blvd]


Nice-looking Irish bar with good beer & food.

image Restaurants

✵ 181 Cabrini ✵ 854 W 181st St [Cabrini Blvd]

212-923-2233 $$

Seasonal American bistro.

✵ Antika ✵ 3924 Broadway [W 165th St]

212-781-9100 $$

It’s all about the grandma-style pizza.

✵ Aqua Marina ✵ 4060 Broadway [W 171st St]

212-928-0070 $

OK Uptown Italian.

✵ Carrot Top Pastries ✵

3931 Broadway [W 165th St]

212-927-4800 $

Baked goods and coffee too!

✵ Coogan’s ✵ 4015 Broadway [W 169th St]

212-928-1234 $$

Where med students and cops go.

✵ Dallas BBQ ✵ 3956 Broadway [W 166th St]

212-568-3700 $$

When you can’t get to Virgil’s.

✵ El Conde ✵ 4139 Broadway [W 175th St]

212-781-3231 $$$

Big slabs of MEAT.

✵ El Galicia ✵ 4083 Broadway [W 172nd St]

212-568-0163 $$

A humble taste of the Spanish sea. And tapas.

✵ Empire Szechuan Noodle House ✵

4041 Broadway [W 170th St]

212-568-1600 $$

Take a guess at what they serve.

✵ Flaco’s Pizza ✵ 3876 Broadway [W 162nd St]

212-923-3733 $

Chowing on this cheap, delish pizza won’t keep you flaco.

✵ Hudson View Restaurant ✵

770 W 181st St [Fort Washington Ave]

212-781-0303 $$

Ch- ch- ch- choices.

✵ Malecon ✵ 4141 Broadway [W 175th St]

212-927-3812 $

Fabulous roast chicken.

✵ Manolo Tapas ✵ 4165 Broadway [W 176th St]

212-923-9100 $$$

Uptown portal to Spain with rustic cuisine and ambiance.

✵ Marcha Cocina ✵ 4055 Broadway [W 171st]

212-928-8272 $$$

Tasty trifecta of tapas, brunch, and cocktails.

✵ Parrilla Steakhouse ✵

3920 Broadway [W 164th St]

212-543-9500 $$

Argentine with cool-ass grill.

✵ Reme Restaurant ✵

4021 Broadway [W 169th St]

212-923-5452 $

New York comfort food at this typical diner.

✵ Saggio Restaurant ✵

829 W 181st St [Cabrini Blvd]

212-795-3080 $$$

Every good neighborhood needs a solid Italian trattoria.

✵ Silver Palace Chinese Restaurant ✵

3846 Broadway [W 160th St]

212-927-8300 $$

Standard storefront Chinese fare.

✵ Sushi Yu II ✵ 827 W 181st St [Pinehurst Ave]

212-781-8833 $

Raw fish for when you need to take a plantain break.

✵ University Deli ✵ 603 W 168th St [Broadway]

212-568-3838 $

Standard deli fare, with a large doctor clientele.

Broadway’s chaos anchors this nabe’s shopping options. Stroll the street for a mind-boggling number of hardware stores, check out oodles of vendors at La Plaza de las Americas, and score free delivery on groceries at Liberato. Find a decent selection of wine and liquor at Columbia Wine. For a taste of Russia, check out Moscow on the Hudson. It’s all here.

image Shopping

✵ 3841 Hardware ✵ 3841 Broadway [W 160th St]


No name required at this classic, Broadway tool supply shop.

✵ Baskin-Robbins ✵

728 W 181st St [Colonel Robert Magaw Pl]


31 flavors and other frozen treats.

✵ Bravo Supermarket ✵

1331 St Nicholas Ave [W 177th St]


Clean and well-supplied.

✵ Carrot Top Pastries ✵

3931 Broadway [W 165th St]


Top carrot cake, muffins, chocolate cake, rugalach, and more.

✵ The Children’s Place ✵

600 W 181st St [St Nicholas Ave]


Cute clothes for little ones.

✵ Columbia Wine ✵ 4038 Broadway [169th St]


Well-appointed, non-plexiglass wine & liquor store.

✵ Fort Washington Bakery & Deli ✵

808 W 181st St [Fort Washington Ave]


Damn good looking cookies.

✵ Goodwill Thrift Store ✵

512 W 181st St [Amsterdam Ave]


Everything and anything for cheaper.

✵ Jumel Terrace Books ✵

426 W 160th St [Jumel Terrace]


African-American and mostly out of print books.

✵ La Bella Nails & Spa ✵

4033 Broadway [W 169th St]


Time for that bi-weekly pedicure.

✵ La Plaza de Las Americas ✵

Broadway & W 175th St

Outdoor street vendor market.

✵ Liberato Grocery ✵

3900 Broadway [W 163rd St]


Get your fruits and veggies delivered—free!

✵ Modell’s ✵ 606 W 181st St [St Nicholas Ave]


Lots and lots of sporting goods.

✵ Moscow on the Hudson ✵

801 W 181st St [Fort Washington Ave]


Comrades, this place is Russian culinary heaven.

✵ Nunez Hardware ✵

4147 Broadway [W 175th St]


Scavenge for tools at this old-school, stocked-to-bursting shop.

✵ Pet Fashion ✵ 4263 Broadway [W 181st St]



✵ Santana Banana ✵

661 W 181st St [Wadsworth Ave]


Leather shoes for men and women who are into leather.

✵ Spoiled Brats ✵ 4 Bennett Ave [W 181st St]


Because your pet can never have enough toys.

✵ Total Beauty Supplies ✵

650 W 181st St [Wadsworth Ave]


Bad hair days are over.

✵ Vargas Liquor Store ✵

114 Audubon Ave [W 171st St]


Convenient for paper-bag-drinking in Highbridge Park, if that’s your thing.

✵ Victor’s Bike Repair ✵

4125 Broadway [174th St]


Sales, service, repairs, and rentals.