Bohemia Blog by Agent Daniel E Cohen
by Dan Cohen
Several years ago, I found myself unexpectedly moving back to NYC after three years away at graduate school in Seattle. Though I had lived in NYC for seven years prior to going back to school, Seattle threw off my economy of scale - I was able to live in a 3 bedroom house in a vibrant neighborhood for around $1200 per month. I had no idea where in New York I would be able to find an affordable apartment in a quiet, clean area with a mix of eclectic, interesting people, good proximity to restaurants, nightlife and cafes, and quick access to the bustle of downtown.
After staying at a friend’s place in Sugar Hill, Harlem for a couple of months, I got a lead on a very affordable studio on the border of Hudson and Washington Heights. Like many other apartment seekers who make their first journey north of 145th St., I was skeptical . . . but with no other options, I hopped the A train to 177th. When I emerged from the station I found myself literally at the doorstep of the building, and immediately smiled. The address I was headed to was a beautiful prewar building with an elevator, laundry and tons of architectural charm. In fact, the whole neighborhood dripped with elegance. The studio was great. It had a large separate kitchen, a foyer with arched entrances and plenty of big closets, but what ultimately sold me on it was the walk I later took around the neighborhood.
Many people are aware of the great deals on space and amenities like elevators and on-site laundry available in the apartments in Washington Heights, but there is also an amazing selection of restaurants, bars and cafes, access to some of the most beautiful parks in the city, and an exciting mix of artists, professionals and families that give it a real sense of community. While there may not be the breadth of options you find in the heart of the Village or Upper West Side, there are more than enough to provide a variety of night out possibilities within a few blocks of your affordable, giant, prewar gem of an apartment. Plus, for those nights when you want more of a night out on the town, the A express will get you to Midtown in twenty minutes and the Village in half an hour flat…door to door! When taken all together - the incredible rent prices, the beautiful prewar architecture, the unbeatable parks, the proximity to express transportation, the community and the availability of fantastic restaurants, cafes, and bars - it is my firm belief that Hudson Heights is one of the most livable neighborhoods in all of Manhattan.
For those unfamiliar with the area, here are some of my favorite drinking, dining and shopping options for Hudson Heights and Inwood (just north of Hudson Heights):
Le Cheile; 831 West 181st St, NY, NY; lecheilenyc.com. A great bar, restaurant, hangout. Delicious menu, great beer selection, and they feature live music, game nights and other community events.
Cabrini Wines and Liquors; 831 West 181st st, NY, NY; cabriniwines.com. Unbeatable selection of wines and liquors from around the world. Incredible selection, and very knowledgeable staff.
Bleu Evolution; 808 West 187th, NY, NY; bleuevolutionnyc.com. Delicious brunch with a beautiful garden in the back. Very cool and artistic décor.
107 West; 811 West 187th st, NY, NY; 107west.com. Elegant dining in a lounge-like environment. Very eclectic menu. Delicious!
Franks Gourmet Market; 807 West 17th st, NY, NY; franksmarket.net. Excellent, high end gourmet grocery. Plenty of oganic produce, specialty brands and delicious deli selections.
Sushi Yu 2; 827 West 181st st, NY, NY; sushiyuii.com; Fantastic sushi in the Heights!
New Leaf Restaurant and Bar; 1 Margaret Corbin Dr., NY, NY; newleafrestaurant.com; World class dining in Ft. Tryon Park. Unbeatable location next to the Cloisters and an incredible dining experience. Also great place to stop off and have a drink after a day in the park or at the museum.
Indian Road Café; 600 West 218th st, NY, NY; indianroadcafe.com. One of the jewels of Northern Manhattan. Great café/bar/restaurant with trivia nights, live music and an incredible location just off of Inwood Hill Park.
Piper’s Kilt; 4946 Broadway, NY, NY; piperskiltofinwood.com. Awesome neighborhood Irish pub. Great place to watch the game, grab a burger and beer, have a fun night out with friends.
This is only a small taste of the options nearby. If you choose to move north I hope you have as much fun as I did exploring the many possibilities for dining, drinking and socializing in your new neighborhood!