Washington Heights runs from 155th Street to 181st Street from river to river. Washington Heights got its name from the military fort, Fort Washington, which was stationed in modern day Hudson Heights, during the American Revolutionary War. The neighborhood is connected to Fort Lee, New Jersey across the George Washington Bridge, and is also connected to the Bronx via the Cross-Bronx Expressway. Locals affectionately refer to Washington Heights as The Heights, El Alto (Spanish for the highest), Wash-Heights, and the twitter favorite, Whin, which refers to and represents solidarity between Washington Heights and Inwood as the most northern neighborhoods of Manhattan.
CULTURE AND HISTORY
There are many historical landmarks tucked away for you to discover in Washington Heights. Tranquil walks through Trinity Church Cemetery at 155th Street and Broadway will reveal the final resting place of some of New York’s most interesting artists, politicians, and socialites. Next door at 155th Street and Broadway you’ll find the Hispanic Society of America, a free museum and reference library for the study of the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.
Up at 162nd Street and Edgecombe, take a tour of The Morris-Jumel Mansion, former headquarters for General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. Landmarked Sylvan Terrace is right around the corner — you may recognize the street from HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” Further north, you’ll find The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center on Broadway and 165th Street, an event and banquet hall that is home to the most extensive collection of information, memorabilia, documents, photos, and video materials about the life, thought and times of Malcolm X. Feel like seeing a show? The United Palace Theater at 175th and Broadway was originally built in 1930 as a movie theater, and now functions as a church and a 3,000 seat capacity live music venue. Past acts include, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, the Black Crowes, and Modest Mouse among others. Across the way from United Palace you will find the Word Up Bookshop, a co-op that hosts events from live readings by local authors, to live music, to creative writing workshops. Originally intended as a pop-up for a few months, this bookstore is definitely becoming a mainstay.
If pounding the pavement has your shoes looking weathered, take them to Columbia Shoe Repair at 169th Street and Broadway. Serving the community for over 25 years the owners are super friendly and professional. In need of a little home repair? Look no further than NHS Hardware at Amsterdam and 158th Street. They have just about everything you need for home repairs from locks, to hinges, to plungers, to wood, to plexi-glass; they even have a large selection of paints to help you get your inner home decorator going.
Laundromats and dry cleaners are to Washington Heights what Duane Reade’s are to New York City. To wash and mend your threads, look along Broadway, St. Nicholas, Amsterdam, and Audubon from 155th to 181st and you will find one that works for you. Drop off services are almost always available, as well as coin service.
TO MARKET, TO MARKET!
If you rather stay home, there are various options for your culinary needs. You can buy your groceries at standard supermarkets like Gristedes on 170th and Broadway, Bravo Supermarket at 175th and Broadway, C-Town at 161st and Saint Nicholas, Fine Fare at 172nd and Saint Nicholas, or Associated Supermarkets at 162nd Street and Broadway.
Specialty Markets, Street Vendors, and Greenmarkets
For your health food needs, check out Sano Health Food at Broadway and 172. They have a large selection of vitamins, teas, and frozen food, and have a juice bar in the back. If you’ve got a penchant for produce, you’ll enjoy some great deals from street fruit vendors along the Broadway corridor. Depending on the season, vendors offer exotic tropical fruits like guavas, mangos, and papayas. You can also enjoy fresh fruits and veggies from local farmers at the following green markets: United Palace Greenmarket (175th Street and Broadway Thursday 8am-3pm July-Nov) and Columbia Presbyterian Greenmarket (168th Street and Fort Washington Tuesday 8am-3pm Jun-Nov).
For a fresh ocean catch, check out the following fish markets: Brother Fish Market at 160th and Broadway, Mar Atlantic Fish Market at 175th Street and Broadway, C.K. Fish Market at 178th Street and St. Nicholas, and Discount Fish Market at 181st Street and Broadway.
You can pick up wine and other spirits at various vinotecas around the area. Down at 160th and Amsterdam you’ll find Patagonia, featuring a large selection and a knowledgeable staff. Other great spots are Columbia Wine Company at 170th and Broadway and Guadalupe and Barbara Wines at 171st Street and Broadway, offering well-priced wine and spirits with friendly service.
After a long day’s work, Washington Heights offers many places for you to relax and/or get your party on. Coogan’s Bar at 169th and Broadway is definitely Washington Height’s version of Cheers. With a super friendly staff, this is a great place to be a regular — they’ll learn your name and preferred drink. If you like karaoke, hang out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; they also feature a $5 drink special on weekdays.
After dinner on the weekends, Columbia Social’s 168 th and Broadway location turns into what locals affectionately call “CoSo,” a neighborhood party spot with DJs, dancing, and hookah. The music is great and the drinks are on point. Further uptown at 177 th street and Broadway, Tipico Dominicano goes through a similar transformation, and they serve their full menu of food through bodies dancing to the latest merengue and latin music hits. Newly opened wine bar Kazza at 177th and Fort Washington offers a great selection of wine, sangria, and draft beers (with a wider selection sure to come). A little further up on Bennett and 181 st Street check out The Red Room Lounge , a stylish bar that showcases local flavor, great artwork and has a diverse group of patrons. They feature hookas and also carry a great selection of wine and beer; thought they don’t have a kitchen, their BYOF policy makes up for it. The Red Room Lounge reserves their DJ-ing and dancing for the weekends, which makes it a great palace to just sit and pour libations during the week.
The Harlem Tavern has a sister in Washington Heights called Heights Tavern between 164th and 163rd on Broadway. With 285 seats, they serve a mean brunch, lunch and dinner. WIth fried green tomatoes and pulled pork sandwhiches, you’ll want to check it out for yourself.
Washington Heights features an abundance of Dominican restaurants. Cuter than a Dominican grandma knitting a doily is the homey neighborhood favorite Margot’s Restaurant on Broadway at 159th street. The atmosphere is intimate, friendly, and the value can’t be beat. A little further up on 165th and Broadway you’ll find El Presidente, a 24hr hot spot that gives you what you want, when you want it – like a salmon fillet at 9am! They also pack a mean Tres Golpe, which is the Dominican breakfast equivalent of a full country breakfast. If you take a little twist to the east, you’ll find La Nueva España at 173rd Street and St. Nicholas, known for their tapas and for catering to groups. You can feed a party of four, beers and all, for under $45. At 175th Street and Broadway you’ll find El Malecon, famous for their Tres Leche cake, rotisserie chicken and mofongo. The atmosphere is vibrant and many have likened it to a “Dominican family diner.” Across the street from El Malecon is El Conde. Known for their churrasco steak, El Conde is a down to earth neighborhood joint that’s always bustling and friendly. A little further up at 177th and Broadway, you’ll find Tipico Dominicano. With a relaxed, friendly, and professional ambiance, Tipico’s menu offers an explosion of different flavors with generous portions and great prices. Across the street from Tipico is El Mambi, a neighborhood favorite for over 25 years, that offers great take out service and is known for their stews and soups.
If Dominican isn’t your thing but you’re still jonesing for some Latin food, Floridita at 176th and Broadway features Cuban food and dominates the Washington Heights Cuban sandwich scene. For Latin/America fusion, look no further than Coral Restaurant at 158th Street and Broadway, known for their delicious burgers, french fries, pancakes and grits. And for some good ol’ Mexican cuisine look no further than Q&Q Taco at St Nicholas Ave and 163rd street. They boast fast delivery, great prices and large portions.
If you’re looking for some gastronomic adventures outside of the Caribbean Latin Creole diaspora all together, The Heights has you covered. For a taste of authentic Iberian Spanish cuisine, check out Manolo Tapas, at Broadway and 176th Street. With excellent service, a fantastic wine/beer list, incredible tapas, and full dinner menu, this place features a homey yet sensual experience especially on nights when they have live music. If Italian is what you’re craving, the cozy Aqua Marina at 171st Street and Broadway is your haunt. They have a super affordable lunch menu and good early dinner deals too — and their Penne Vodka is out of this world. Pizza lovers should try Antika on Broadway and 165th St. New to the neighborhood, it’s a cozy, family style specialty pizzeria offering warm and friendly service, exceptional food, wine, beer, cocktails and desserts. If you would rather keep your pizza classic and simple, look no further than Como Pizza at 170th and Broadway. With over 30 years in the neighborhood, Como Pizza has had time to perfect their formula . . .the sauce, cheese, and baking methods behind this pizza make it undeniably one of the best places to grab a slice in Washington Heights.
If you’re in the mood for Eastern fare, look no farther. For Korean food that rivals K-Town’s, Go Go-Gi at 164th and Broadway is the place. And let’s not forget New York and Washington Heights staples, with 25+ years of service in the neighborhood: Empire Szechuan Noodle House at 170th Street and Broadway and La Dinastia II up the block at 171s Street and Broadway. The names may sound familiar – both have sister restaurants on the Upper West Side. Empire Szechuan offers great take out with a sushi menu and a cozy eat-in restaurant, and La Dinastia II (Spanish for The Dynasty) is Chinese American-Cuban and probably the only place in New York where you can order General Tso’s Chicken and Chicharon De Pollo in Chinese, English, or Spanish.
Coogan’s on 169th and Broadway is the place to eat for classic Americana fare. With over 30 years of service in the neighborhood, the owner is hands on and can often be found greeting people at their tables. Coogan’s menu is top notch and they are known for their burgers and brunch. Next door to Coogan’s is Columbia Social Café, which offers an American fusion lunch, brunch and dinner menu as well as an extensive wine/beer list. Their weekend brunch features mimosas, fresh squeezed orange juice, and a main course for under $20. Catering to the healthy and speedy is newcomer Pick-N-Eat at 177th and Broadway, offering healthy food with natural ingredients and options for all tastes, veggie and meat lover alike. Pick-N-Eat has a wide range of smoothies and natural juices that they make fresh in house, and their upstairs seating is great for eating with friends or catching up on work. For a classic, small town American diner experience, try Reme Food Incorporated at 169th Street and Broadway. Service is friendly and accommodating and prices are easy on the pocket – for a generous serving of three pancakes and sausage with coffee, you’re out less than $10. Another favorite is George’s Coffee Shop, serving up a traditional American full country breakfast at easy prices.
If you’re looking for some deep friend comfort food, snacks, and munchies you can hit up various food trucks scattered around the Amsterdam, Audubon, and St. Nicholas corridors between 155th street to 181st street. Serving up the best chimis, tacos, and hot dogs these trucks are quick, cheap, and guaranteed to satisfy your cravings. For a more definitive location notable spots include uptown franchise Wimpy’s III at 172rd street and St. Nicholas and Boca Chica at 180th Street and Broadway.
COFFEE SHOPS & BAKERIES
For a quick pick me up, sweet snack, or continental breakfast, The Heights offers a good mix of coffee shops and bakeries to satisfy your cravings. There are two Starbucks in the neighborhood at 168th Street and Broadway, and 181st Street and Fort Washington. There are also Dunkin Donuts franchises at 163rd and Broadway, 167th and Amsterdam, 178th and Broadway, 181st and Magaw Place, and 181st and St. Nicholas.
If mom and pop is more your style you can enjoy Coral Restaurant’s downstairs pastry shop at 158th Street and Broadway where the popular cheese cakes are made in house. Another favorite uptown classic (25+ years of service) is Carrot Top Bakery at 165th Street and Broadway. Offering cakes and cookies, they make a mean cup of coffee along with super friendly service. Diagonally across the way from Carrot Top you’ll find Caffe X, a great little outpost offering espressos and Paninis. Further up and off Broadway at 168th street is Jou Jou Cafe, open almost 24/7 (they close for a couple of hours daily in the wee hours of the morning to freshen up.) Jou Jou Caffe is a great place to grab food on the run or sit down and enjoy a book. The staff is friendly, the deserts are tasty, and they have free WiFi! A neighborhood favorite since the early nineties is El Manantial Bakery at 171st Street and Broadway, offering fresh baked European influenced Dominican pastries and breads. Their pan dulce (sweet bread) is delicious and their pan de maiz (corn bread) is super tasty. You’ll find similar deliciousness at 179th and St. Nicholas at El Panadero, along with hot pressed cheese and deli meats sandwiches made on their fresh baked bread, and at Esmeraldo Bakery at 181st and Audubon.
Trains: The 1 train runs along Broadway and stops at 157th and 168th Streets, then veers east and stops at 181st and Saint Nicholas Ave. The A express train stops at 168th and Broadway, 175th and Fort Washington (George Washington Bus Terminal), and 181st and Fort Washington. Along the same line the C line runs local and stops at 155th and Saint Nicholas, and also at 163rd St and Amsterdam.
Buses: Several buses connect the city to the Bronx at 181st including the Bx36, Bx3, Bx11, Bx13, and the Bx35. The M4 Bus runs along Broadway and then cuts over to Fort Washington at 165th and runs all the way to Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters. The M100 bus runs along Broadway north of 168th St and along Amsterdam south of 163rd St. The Bx7 starts at 168th St and heads north along Broadway. The M101 bus heads north and south on Amsterdam. The M5 bus heads north and south along Broadway and makes its last stop at the George Washington Bus terminal at 178th and Broadway. The Bx6 bus connects the city to the Bronx at 155th and heads west all the way to Riverside Drive. The M2 bus runs along 155th St, Edgecombe Ave, and 165th St and makes its last stop at Columbia Hospital. The M3 bus runs up and down Saint Nicholas. Black livery cabs are also available for pick-ups at home and on the street. Neighborhood favorites include Riverside (212-923-1111), New Bennett Radio Dispatcher Inc (changing name to Family Car Service; 212 927-1500), and Premium Car Service (212 694-6200.)