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The highest point on Manhattan is in Bennett Park in Washington Heights. The inset at bottom left magnifies the plaque at right.
In the 18th century, only the southern portion of the island was settled by Europeans, leaving the rest of Manhattan largely untouched. Among the many unspoiled tracts of land was the highest spot on the island, which provided unsurpassed views of what would become the New York metropolitan area.
When the Revolutionary War came to New York, the British had the upper hand. General George Washington and troops from his Continental Army camped on the high ground, calling it Fort Washington, to monitor the advancing Regulars. The Continental Army retreated from its location after their defeat on November 16, 1776, in the Battle of Fort Washington. The British took the position and renamed it Fort Knyphausen in honor of Wilhelm von Knyphausen, the leader of the Hessians, who had taken a major part in the British victory. Their location was in the spot now called Bennett Park. Fort Washington had been established as an offensive position to prevent British vessels from sailing north on the Hudson River. Fort Lee, across the river, was its twin, built to assist in the defense of the Hudson Valley. The progress of the battle is marked by a series of bronze plaques along Broadway.
Not far from the fort was the Blue Bell Tavern, located on an intersection of Kingsbridge Road, where Broadway and West 181st Street intersect today, on the southeastern corner of modern-day Hudson Heights. On July 9, 1776, when New York's Provincial Congress assented to the Declaration of Independence, "A rowdy crowd of soldiers and civilians ('no decent people' were present, one witness said later) ... marched down Broadway to Bowling Green, where they toppled the statue of George III erected in 1770. The head was put on a spike at the Blue Bell Tavern ... "
The tavern was later used by Washington and his staff when the British evacuated New York, standing in front of it as they watched the American troops march south to retake New York.
By 1856 the first recorded home had been built on the site of Fort Washington. The Moorewood residence was there until the 1880s. The property was purchased by Richard Carman and sold to James Gordon Bennett Sr. for a summer estate in 1871. Bennett's descendants later gave the land to the city to build a park honoring the Revolutionary War encampment. Bennett Park is a portion of that land. Lucius Chittenden, a New Orleans merchant, built a home on land he bought in 1846 west of what is now Cabrini Boulevard and West 187th Street. It was known as the Chittenden estate by 1864. C. P. Bucking named his home Pinehurst on land near the Hudson, a title that survives as Pinehurst Avenue.
The series of ridges overlooking the Hudson were sites of villas in the 19th century, including the extensive property of John James Audubon.
At the turn of the 20th century the woods started being chopped down to make way for homes. The cliffs that are now Fort Tryon Park held the mansion of Cornelius Kingsley Garrison Billings, a retired president of the Chicago Coke and Gas Company. He purchased 25 acres (100,000 m2) and constructed Tryon Hall, a Louis XIV-style home designed by Gus Lowell. It had a galleried entranceway from the Henry Hudson Parkway that was 50 feet (15 m) high and made of Maine granite. In 1917, Billings sold the land to John D. Rockefeller Jr. for $35,000 per acre. Tryon Hall was destroyed by fire in 1925. The estate was the basis for the book "The Dragon Murder Case" by S. S. Van Dine, in which detective Philo Vance had to solve a murder on the grounds of the estate, where a dragon was supposed to have lived.
In the early 1900s, Irish immigrants moved to Washington Heights. European Jews went to Washington Heights to escape Nazism during the 1930s and the 1940s.Greeks started moving to Washington Heights in the 1920s, and the community was referred to as the "Astoria of Manhattan" by the 1950s and 1960s.Dominican immigrants began arriving shortly after and by the 1980s, Washington Heights was the epicenter of the Dominican diaspora in the United States.
During World War I, immigrants from Hungary and Poland moved in next to the Irish. Then, as Nazism grew in Germany, Jews fled. By the late 1930s, more than 20,000 refugees from Germany had settled in Washington Heights.
The beginning of this section of Washington Heights as a neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood seems to have started around this time, in the years before World War II. One scholar refers to the area in 1940 as "Fort Tryon" and "the Fort Tryon area." In 1989, Steven M. Lowenstein wrote, "The greatest social distance was to be found between the area in the northwest, just south of Fort Tryon Park, which was, and remains, the most prestigious section ... This difference was already remarked in 1940, continued unabated in 1970 and was still noticeable even in 1980..." Lowenstein considered Fort Tryon to be the area west of Broadway, east of the Hudson, north of West 181st Street, and south of Dyckman Street, which includes Fort Tryon Park. He writes, "Within the core area of Washington Heights (between 155th Street and Dyckman Street) there was a considerable internal difference as well. The further north and west one went, the more prestigious the neighborhood..."
Fort Washington Collegiate Church
In the years after World War II, the neighborhood was referred to as Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson due to the dense population of German Jews who had settled there. A disproportionately large number of Germans who settled there had come from Frankfurt-am-Main, possibly giving rise to the new name. No other neighborhood in the city was home to so many German Jews, who had created their own central German world in the 1930s.
In 1934 members of the German-Jewish Club of New York started Aufbau, a newsletter for its members that grew into a newspaper. Its offices were nearby on Broadway. The newspaper became known as a "prominent intellectual voice and a main forum for Germanic Jewry in the United States", according to the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. "It featured the work of great prominent writers and intellectuals such as Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein, Stefan Zweig, and Hannah Arendt. It was one of the only newspapers to report on the atrocities of the Holocaust during World War II."
In 1941, it published the Aufbau Almanac, a guide to living in the United States that explained the American political system, education, insurance law, the post office and sports. After the war, Aufbau helped families that had been scattered by European battles to reconnect by listing survivors' names.Aufbaus offices eventually moved to the Upper West Side. The paper nearly went bankrupt in 2006, but was purchased by Jewish Media AG, and exists today as a monthly news magazine. Its editorial offices are now in Berlin, but it keeps a correspondent in New York City.
When the children of the Jewish immigrants to the Hudson Heights area grew up, they tended to leave the neighborhood, and sometimes, the city itself. By 1960 German Jews accounted for only 16% of the population in Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson. The neighborhood became less overtly Jewish into the 1970s as Soviet immigrants moved there. After the Soviet immigration, families from the Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, made it their home. So many Dominicans live in Washington Heights that candidates for the presidency of the Dominican Republic campaign in parades in the neighborhood. African-Americans began to move there in the 1980s, followed shortly by other groups. "Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson" no longer described the neighborhood.
Late 20th and early 21st centuries
1980s crime and drug epidemic
By 2011, Washington Heights had among the lowest reported crime rates within neighborhoods in Manhattan, though matters were once very different.
In the 1980s, the Heights were severely affected by the crack cocaine epidemic, as was the rest of New York City. This was due, in part, to the neighborhood crack gang, known as the Wild Cowboys or the Red Top Gang, who were associated with Santiago Luis Polanco Rodríguez. The Wild Cowboys were responsible for the higher number of crimes, especially murders, during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Robert Jackall wrote a book, Wild Cowboys: Urban Marauders and the Forces of Order, describing the events that took place during that period of lawlessness. Homelessness was rampant. Washington Heights had become the 2nd largest drug distribution center in the Northeastern United States during that time (2nd only to Harlem). In 1989, the New York Times called the neighborhood, "the crack capital of America" .
Former 30th Precinct House on 152nd Street, a NYC Landmark
On October 18, 1988, 24-year-old NYPD Police Officer Michael J. Buczek was murdered by drug dealers in Washington Heights. The killers fled to the Dominican Republic, where one - Daniel Mirambeaux, the alleged shooter - died in police custody in June 1989 after plunging to his death under mysterious circumstances, and a second was apprehended by U.S. Marshals in 2000. The third suspect was apprehended in the Dominican Republic in May 2002, after which Pablo Almonte, 51, and Jose Fernandez, 52, received maximum 25-years-to-life prison sentences for their roles in the murder of Officer Buczek. In the ensuing years, the Buczek family founded the Police Officer Michael J. Buczek Foundation. There is a street, an elementary school, and a little league baseball field named in honor of Officer Buczek. The Police Officer Michael J. Buczek Little League, the nation's only program operated by police officers, hosts 30 teams with over 350 boys and girls, who are coached by officers from the NYPD and community members.
Urban renewal, gentrification, and lower crime rates
As the crack trade dwindled, crime fell in the subsequent years. The arrest of police officers involved in drug dealing changed the neighborhood dramatically. People were also being stopped for quality of life crimes. This removed many visible, low-level street dealers, but the big dealers changed the way they operated. As the big dealers kept their businesses going, drug delivery services became the norm  The southern part of Washington Heights was split into a new precinct, the 33rd Precinct, in order to reduce case load and patrol duties for the overburdened 34th Precinct. Today, its crime rate, along with that of neighboring Harlem, is much lower. In 2018, the two precincts saw a combined 2 murders. Crime has declined from over 10,000 reported incidents in the 34th Precinct in 1990, to just over 2,000 total incidents across the two precincts in 2018. By comparison, Harlem's 28th and 32nd Precincts had a combined 5 murders and 2,000 total incidents in 2018, down from 107 murders and 8,000 total incidents in 1990.
By the 2000s, after decades of thriving narcotics activity, gentrification began. The demographics of the neighborhood also began to change as many Dominicans began moving to other parts of the Northeast in search for cheaper housing while their exodus began making room for other Hispanic communities, such as Ecuadorians and Mexicans, and pockets of urban white professionals.
In 2011, Washington Heights was the fourth-safest neighborhood in Manhattan, according to one analysis of police records. Its "Crime and Safety Report", which ranks every neighborhood in the five boroughs, found that the drop in crime in Upper Manhattan led the neighborhood nearly to the top; Inwood ranked third, while Greenwich Village ranked 68th. Nevertheless, in 2016, the New York Post listed one part of the neighborhood – the block of Frederick Douglass Boulevard between West 155th Street and the Harlem River Drive – as one of "the most dangerous blocks in the city" because police crime statistics for 2015 showed that 18 robberies had been reported there, more than for any other city block.
In a sign of Washington Heights' continuing gentrification, ground was broken in November 2018 for the Radio Tower & Hotel at 2420 Amsterdam Avenue between West 180th and 181st Streets. The tower, designed by MVRDV, will be a 22-story multi-use tower with office space, retail and a 221-room hotel, and is the first major mixed-use development to be built in Washington Heights in nearly five decades. When completed, it will be one of the tallest buildings in the neighborhood.
Washington Heights is on the high ridge in Upper Manhattan that rises steeply north of the narrow valley that carries 133rd Street to the former ferry landing on the Hudson River that served the village of Manhattanville. Though the neighborhood was once considered to run as far south as 133rd Street, modern usage defines the neighborhood as running north from Hamilton Heights at 155th Street to Inwood, topping out at just below Hillside Avenue or Dyckman Street, depending on the source.
The US postal ZIP codes for Washington Heights are 10032, 10033, and 10040.
Location of Manhattan's highest point
In the Hudson Heights subsection of Washington Heights, near Pinehurst Avenue and West 183rd Street in Bennett Park, is a plaque marking Manhattan's highest natural elevation, 265 feet (81 m) above sea level, at what was the location of Fort Washington, the Revolutionary War camp of General George Washington and his troops, from whom Washington Heights takes its name.
Hudson Heights is generally considered to extend as far east as Broadway, although others shrink it to the blocks between Fort Washington Avenue and the Hudson River. The name seems to have stuck starting in the 1990s, when neighborhood real estate brokers and activists started using it.
Neighborhood activists formed a group in late 1992 to help promote the neighborhood and after considering several names, settled on the one that became part of their organization's name: Hudson Heights Owners' Coalition. According to one of the group's founders, real estate brokers didn't start using the name until after the group was formed. Elizabeth Ritter, the president of the owners' group, said that they "didn't set out to change the name of the neighborhood, but [they] were careful in how [they] selected the name of the organization." "Hudson Heights" actually began to be used as a name for a section of the neighborhood a year later.
The new name replaced the outdated reference to German heritage, which some have criticized, even though the German-speaking population is negligible at best. Although many Russian speakers still live there, Spanish-speakers vastly outnumber the Russophones, and English remains the lingua franca.
Historically, Fort George runs from Broadway east to the Harlem River, and from West 181st Street north to Dyckman Street. The largest institution in Fort George is Yeshiva University, whose main campus sits east of Amsterdam Avenue in Highbridge Park. A branch of the Young Men's & Women's Hebrew Association is in the neighborhood, and George Washington High School sits on the site of the original Fort George. Fort George Presbyterian Church is on St. Nicholas Avenue. One of Manhattan's rare semi-private streets is also there. Washington Terrace runs south of West 186th Street for a half-block between Audubon and Amsterdam Avenues. The single-family homes there were built for middle-class families but some have been unoccupied for years. The M3 and M101 bus routes serve the area.
Stairs running from the end of Pinehurst Avenue down to West 181st Street
Because of their abrupt, hilly topography, pedestrian navigation, particularly in Upper Manhattan and the West Bronx, is facilitated by many step streets. The longest of these in Washington Heights, at approximately 130 stairs and with an elevation gain of approximately 65 feet, connects Fort Washington Avenue and Overlook Terrace at 187th Street.
Pedestrians can use the elevators at the 181st Street subway station, with entrances on Overlook Terrace and Fort Washington Avenue at 184th Street and, similarly, at the 190th Street to make the large elevation change. Only the 184th Street pedestrian connection is handicap accessible. When originally built, fare control for both of these stations was in the station house, outside the elevators, which meant that they could only be used by paying a subway fare, but both had fare control moved down to the mezzanine level in 1957, making the elevators free for neighborhood residents to use, and providing easier pedestrian connection between Hudson Heights and the rest of Washington Heights. There is also a pedestrian tunnel and free elevator connection at the 191st IRT station,
For census purposes, the New York City government classifies Washington Heights as part of two neighborhood tabulation areas called Washington Heights North and Washington Heights South. Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Washington Heights was 151,574, a change of -15,554 (-10.3%) from the 167,128 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 1,058.91 acres (428.53 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 143.1 inhabitants per acre (91,600/sq mi; 35,400/km2). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 17.7% (26,806) White, 7.6% (11,565) African American, 0.1% (180) Native American, 2.6% (4,004) Asian, 0% (15) Pacific Islander, 0.3% (517) from other races, and 1% (1,546) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 70.6% (106,941) of the population.
The entirety of Community District 12, which comprises Washington Heights and Inwood, had 195,830 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 81.4 years.:2, 20 This is about the same as the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods.:53 (PDF p. 84) Most inhabitants are children and middle-aged adults: 33% are between the ages of 25-44, while 25% are between 45-64, and 19% are between 0-17. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 10% and 13% respectively.:2
As of 2017, the median household income in Community District 12 was $56,382, though the median income in Washington Heights individually was $45,316. In 2018, an estimated 20% of Washington Heights and Inwood residents lived in poverty, compared to 14% in all of Manhattan and 20% in all of New York City. One in eight residents (12%) were unemployed, compared to 7% in Manhattan and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 53% in Washington Heights and Inwood, compared to the boroughwide and citywide rates of 45% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018[update], Washington Heights and Inwood are considered to be gentrifying.:7
Artwork in the pedestrian tunnel at the 191st Street station
The Art Stroll is an annual festival of the arts that highlights local artists. Public places in Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill host impromptu galleries, readings, performances and markets over several weeks each summer.
Bennett Park is the location of the highest natural point in Manhattan, as well as a commemoration on the west side of the park of the walls of Fort Washington, which are marked in the ground by stones with an inscription that reads: "Fort Washington Built And Defended By The American Army 1776." Land for the park was donated by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the publisher of the New York Herald. His father, James Gordon Bennett, Sr., bought the land and was previously the Herald's publisher. Bennett Park hosts an annual Harvest Festival in September and a children's Halloween Parade - with trick-or-treating afterwards - on Halloween.
In contrast to other neighborhoods in Manhattan, several of the north-south thoroughfares are mostly residential with few street-level businesses, including Fort Washington Avenue, Cabrini Boulevard, Overlook Terrace, Bennett Avenue, Sherman Avenue, and Wadsworth Avenue. However, many small shops are located on 181st Street and along Broadway, as well as St. Nicholas Avenue and Audubon Avenue. Nagle Avenue, near the northern end of Washington Heights, has a YM and YWHA (Jewish Community Center). There is a small shopping area at West 187th Street between Cabrini Boulevard and Fort Washington Avenue in the Hudson Heights sub-neighborhood. The area around New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center has many restaurants and businesses.
Today the majority of the neighborhood's population is of Dominican birth or descent (the area is sometimes referred to as "Quisqueya Heights"), and Spanish is frequently heard spoken on the streets. Washington Heights has been the most important base for Dominican accomplishment in political, non-profit, cultural, and athletic arenas in the United States since the 1960s. Most of the neighborhood businesses are locally owned. Many Dominican immigrants come to network and live with family members. Bishop Gerard Walsh, former long-time pastor of St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church in Washington Heights, said that many residents go to the neighborhood for "cheap housing", to obtain jobs "downtown", to receive a "good education", and "hopefully" to leave the neighborhood.
Before the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in 2001, according to an article in The Guardian, the flight had "something of a cult status in Washington Heights." A woman quoted in the newspaper said "Every Dominican in New York has either taken that flight or knows someone who has. It gets you there early. At home there are songs about it." After the crash occurred, makeshift memorials appeared in Washington Heights.
Historically the home of many Irish Americans as well as German Jews, the neighborhood also has a sizable Orthodox Jewish population. In the decade to 2011, the Orthodox community in Washington Heights and neighboring Inwood grew by more than 140%, from about 9,500 to nearly 24,000, the largest growth of any neighborhood identified in the Jewish Community Study, an increase largely fueled by an influx of young Orthodox Jews.
Heralding the arts scene north of Central Park is the annual Uptown Arts Stroll, in which artists from Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill are featured in public locations throughout upper Manhattan each summer for several weeks. As of 2008, the Uptown Art Stroll is run by Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance.
The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA), led by Executive Director Sandra A. García Betancourt, was founded in 2007 to support artists and arts organizations in Washington Heights and Inwood. Their stated mission is to cultivate, support and promote the work of artists and arts organizations in Northern Manhattan. In 2008, NoMAA awarded $50,000 in grants to seven arts organizations and 33 artists in the Washington Heights/Inwood art community. NoMAA sponsors community arts events and publishes an email newsletter of all art events in Washington Heights and Inwood.
Sports and leisure
Fort Washington Armory
Five clubs in American professional sports played in the Washington Heights area: the New York Giants baseball club, the New York Mets, the New York Yankees, and the New York Giants and New York Jets football teams. The baseball Giants played at the Polo Grounds at West 155th Street and Eighth Avenue from 1911-1957, the Yankees played there from 1913-1922, and the New York Mets played their first two seasons (1962 and 1963) there as well as the football Giants (1925-1955) and New York Jets (1960-1963). The Mets and Jets both began play at the Polo Grounds while their future home, Shea Stadium in Queens, was under construction.
Before the Yankees played at the Polo Grounds, they played in Hilltop Park on Broadway between 165th and 168th from 1903-1912; at the time they were known as the New York Highlanders. On May 15, 1912, after being heckled for several innings, the great Ty Cobb leaped the fence and attacked his tormentor. He was suspended indefinitely by league president Ban Johnson, but his suspension was eventually reduced to 10 days and $50. One of the most amazing pitching performances of all time took place at Hilltop Park; on September 4, 1908, 20-year-old Walter Johnson shut out New York three times in a three-game series. The park is now the Columbia University Medical Center, a major hospital complex, which opened on that location in 1928.
Washington Heights was the birthplace of former Yankee star Alex Rodriguez. Slugger Manny Ramírez grew up in the neighborhood, moving there from the Dominican Republic when he was 13 years old and attending George Washington High School, where he was one of the nation's top prospects. Hall-of-Fame infielder Rod Carew, a perennial batting champion in the 1970s, also grew up in Washington Heights, having emigrated with his family from Panama at the age of fourteen. The New York Yankee's Lou Gehrig grew up on 173rd and Amsterdam. He attended the elementary school P.S. 132 at 185 Wadsworth Avenue between West 182nd and 183rd Streets. The Yankee captain lived in Washington Heights for most of his life.
The New Balance Track and Field Center, located in the Fort Washington Avenue Armory, maintains an Olympic-caliber track that is one of the fastest in the world. Starting in January 2012, the Millrose Games have been held there, after having been held at the second, third, and fourth Madison Square Gardens from 1914 to 2011. Other activities meet at the Armory as well. High schools and colleges hold meets at the 2,300-seat auditorium at the Armory regularly, and it is open to the public for training, for a fee. Also at the Armory is the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, along with the Charles B. Rangel Technology & Learning Center for children and students in middle school and high school; the facility is operated by the Armory Foundation, which was created in 1993. The Armory is the starting point for an annual road race, the Coogan's Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K, which was founded by Peter M. Walsh and is run in March and sanctioned by the New York Road Runners.
Mountain bike races take place in Highbridge Park in the spring and summer. Sponsored by the New York City Mountain Bike Association, the races are held on alternate Thursdays and are open to professional competitors and amateurs. Participating in these races is free, but the All-City Cross Country Classic requires a registration fee because prize money is awarded. The bike path along the Hudson River draws cyclists from along the West Side and elsewhere. Connection to the George Washington Bridge means Manhattan cyclists have easy access to biking up the New Jersey Palisades and northward along 9W.
Extreme swimmers take part in the Little Red Lighthouse Swim, a 5.85-mile (9.41 km) swim in the Hudson River from Clinton Cove (Pier 96) to Jeffrey's Hook, the location of the Little Red Lighthouse. The annual race, sponsored by the Manhattan Island Foundation, attracts more than 200 competitors. The course records for men and women were both set in 1998. Jeffrey Jotz, then a 28-year-old from Rahway, New Jersey, finished in 1 hour, 7 minutes, and 36 seconds, while then-31-year-old Julie Walsh-Arlis, of New York, finished in 1 hour, 12 minutes, and 45 seconds.
At the Hudson's shore, in Fort Washington Park stands the Little Red Lighthouse, a small lighthouse located at the tip of Jeffrey's Hook at the base of the eastern pier of the George Washington Bridge that was made famous by a 1942 children's book. It is the site of a namesake festival in the late summer. A 5.85-mile (9.41 km) recreational swim finishes there in early autumn. It's also a popular place to watch for peregrine falcons.
The United Palace, made a landmark in 2016, hosts a number of cultural and performing arts. Originally a theater, it was bought by Reverend Ike and became a church for the United Church Science of Living Institute.
The Manhattan Times is the bilingual community newspaper serving Washington Heights and Inwood. The newspaper is published every Wednesday and is distributed primarily through black street boxes. The Manhattan Times is also available for subscription. The sections of each edition reflect the interests of the community: Uptown Dining, Real Estate, Health & Fitness, Green Times, and more. Its annual restaurant guide, highlights the area's burgeoning restaurant scene. Events are also listed in the Washington Heights & Inwood Online calendar.
The Manhattan Times has created numerous partnerships over the years with local institutions and organizations. The print version is distributed free on Wednesdays in street boxes, local businesses, nonprofits and residential buildings. While the newspaper is only published weekly, news is updated daily on the Manhattan Times website for the local community.
Police and crime
NYPD Precincts Serving Washington Heights
33rd Precinct, serving Washington Heights South
34th Precinct, serving Washington Heights North
Washington Heights is patrolled by two precincts of the NYPD. The area north of 179th Street is served by 34th Precinct, located at 4295 Broadway, while the area south of 179th Street is patrolled by the 33rd Precinct, located at 2207 Amsterdam Avenue. The 34th Precinct ranked 23rd safest out of 69 patrol areas for per-capita crime in 2010, while the 33rd Precinct ranked 24th safest. The precincts were split in 1994 in order to increase the amount of police presence in Washington Heights, due to the high crime rate at the time, but crimes have fallen drastically since then. With a non-fatal assault rate of 43 per 100,000 people, Washington Heights and Inwood's rate of violent crimes per capita is less than that of the city as a whole. The incarceration rate of 482 per 100,000 people is higher than that of the city as a whole.:8
The 34th Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 86.3% between 1990 and 2018. Crime in the 34th Precinct has fallen by 37.9% since 1998, after the 33rd and 34th precincts were split. The precinct saw 1 murder, 27 rapes, 200 robberies, 315 felony assaults, 155 burglaries, 592 grand larcenies, and 87 grand larcenies auto in 2018. Crime in the 33rd Precinct peaked in 1998, but has fallen by 57.5% since then. The precinct saw 1 murder, 17 rapes, 111 robberies, 204 felony assaults, 67 burglaries, 271 grand larcenies, and 37 grand larcenies auto in 2018.
Preterm births in Washington Heights and Inwood are lower than the city average, though teenage births are higher. In Washington Heights and Inwood, there were 73 preterm births per 1,000 live births (compared to 87 per 1,000 citywide), and 23.3 teenage births per 1,000 live births (compared to 19.3 per 1,000 citywide).:11 Washington Heights and Inwood have a low population of residents who are uninsured. In 2018, this population of uninsured residents was estimated to be 14%, more than the citywide rate of 12%.:14
The concentration of fine particulate matter, the deadliest type of air pollutant, in Washington Heights and Inwood is 0.0078 milligrams per cubic metre (7.8×10-9 oz/cu ft), more than the city average.:9 Thirteen percent of Washington Heights and Inwood residents are smokers, which is slightly less than the city average of 14% of residents being smokers.:13 In Washington Heights and Inwood, 26% of residents are obese, 13% are diabetic, and 28% have high blood pressure--compared to the citywide averages of 24%, 11%, and 28% respectively.:16 In addition, 24% of children are obese, compared to the citywide average of 20%.:12
Eighty-one percent of residents eat some fruits and vegetables every day, which is less than the city's average of 87%. In 2018, 68% of residents described their health as "good," "very good," or "excellent," less than the city's average of 78%.:13 For every supermarket in Washington Heights and Inwood, there are 13 bodegas.:10
Washington Heights is located in three ZIP Codes. From north to south, they are 10032 (north of 155th Street to south of 173rd Street), 10033 (between 173rd and 187th Streets) and 10040 (north of 187th Street to the south of Dyckman Street). The United States Postal Service operates three post offices near Washington Heights:
Ft Washington Station - 556 West 158th Street
Washington Bridge Station - 518 West 181st Street
Washington Heights and Inwood generally have a higher rate of college-educated residents than the rest of the city. While 38% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 29% have less than a high school education and 33% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 64% of Manhattan residents and 43% of city residents have a college education or higher.:6 The percentage of Washington Heights and Inwood students excelling in math rose from 27% in 2000 to 48% in 2011, though reading achievement decreased from 34% to 31% during the same time period.
Washington Heights and Inwood's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is similar to the rest of New York City. In Washington Heights and Inwood, 19% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, about the same as the citywide average of 20%.:24 (PDF p. 55):6 Additionally, 68% of high school students in Washington Heights and Inwood graduate on time, less than the citywide average of 75%.:6
Public primary and secondary schools are assigned to schools in the New York City Department of Education. Washington Heights is part of District 6 in New York City, along with Inwood and parts of Hamilton Heights.
Zoned public elementary or elementary/middle schools include:
The Equity Project is a charter school serving 480 students in grades 5-8 that Opened in September 2009.Success Academy Charter Schools also has a location in Hudson Heights, in the former Mother Cabrini High School building.
The Trans-Manhattan Expressway, a portion of Interstate 95, proceeds for 0.8 miles (1.3 km) from the George Washington Bridge in a trench between 178th and 179th Streets. To the east, the highway leads to the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, completed in 1963 across the Harlem River to connect the GWB to the Bronx and the Cross Bronx Expressway. The Washington Bridge crosses the Harlem River just north of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge. High Bridge is the oldest bridge in New York City still in existence, crossing the river just south of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge at 175th Street in Manhattan. Completed in 1848, it originally carried the Croton Aqueduct as part of the New York City water system and later functioned as a pedestrian bridge that had been closed to the public since the 1970s; In the late 1920s, several of the stone piers were replaced with a steel arch that spanned the river to allow ships to more easily navigate under the bridge. In June 2015 the High Bridge reopened as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.
The 190th Street station contains the subway's only entrance in the Gothic style, although when originally built, it was a plain brick building; the stone facade was added later to bring the building into harmony with the entrance to Fort Tryon Park just across Margaret Corbin Circle. The station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The 190th Street station, along with the 191st Street station, has the distinction of being one of the deepest in the entire subway system by distance to ground level. Therefore, the IND 181st Street and 190th Street stations provide elevator connections between Hudson Heights, on the top of the ridge, and the Broadway valley of Washington Heights below. The IRT 191st Street station also has elevators to street level.
Entrance to the 175th Street station at 175th St. and Ft. Washington Avenue
Entrance to the 181st Street IND station at 184th Street and Ft. Washington Avenue
Other entrance to the 181st Street IND station on Overlook Terrace at 184th Street
Entrance to 190th Street station on Bennett Avenue
Other entrance to 190th Street station on Ft. Washington Avenue, adjacent to Fort Tryon Park
Entrance to the 191st Street station at 191st Street and Broadway
CSI: NY Season 2 Episode 16 ("Cool Hunter") features a man found dead in a playground in Washington Heights. Many CSI: NY episodes were filmed in the neighborhood, but located in other neighborhoods in the episodes.
The 2008 film Pride and Glory takes place in the yet-to-be gentrified streets of Washington Heights.
The film Mad Hot Ballroom features students from a school in Washington Heights.
The film How to Marry a Millionaire features the George Washington Bridge entering into Washington Heights when Waldo Brewster, a grumpy businessman (Fred Clark), and Loco Dempsey (Betty Grable), driving back into Manhattan from the "Elks Lodge", are pulled over by motorcycle cops so the bridge commission can recognize "the lucky couple" as the occupants of the bridge's 50th millionth vehicle.
The 2002 movie Washington Heights starring Manny Perez is the story of a young illustrator trying to escape to the cultural barriers of the Latino neighborhood of Washington heights.
The film The Brave One, with Jodie Foster, was filmed in some sections of Washington Heights; she and her boyfriend are attacked in a scene filmed in Fort Tryon Park, and the final scene with Terrence Howard was filmed on Elwood Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue.
The film Get Rich or Die Tryin', with rapper/actor Curtis Jackson, includes scenes filmed in Inwood/Washington Heights, including the scenes that featured "young 50 Cent" filmed in and around 207th street as well as 159th and Riverside.
In the song "Broadway Baby" from the musical Follies, aging chorus girl Hattie wishes she could be a star all over Manhattan, "from Battery Park to Washington Heights!"
In the song "Shiksa Goddess" from the musical The Last Five Years, Jewish romantic lead Jamie Wellerstein states that he had "Shabbas dinners on Friday nights with every Shapiro in Washington Heights!"
^Van Dine, S.S. The Dragon Murder Case. New York: Charles Scribner's, 1934.
^Fernandez, Manny. "New Winds at an Island Outpost", The New York Times, March 4, 2007. Accessed July 14, 2016. "The Irish arrived in the early 1900s. European Jews, among them the family of Henry Kissinger, flocked there to escape the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s, around the time that affluent African-Americans like the jazz musician Count Basie migrated up from Harlem. By the 1950s and 1960s, so many Greeks lived in Washington Heights that the neighborhood was known as the Astoria of Manhattan. Even as that label gained currency, Cubans and Puerto Ricans were beginning to move in. The '80s and the '90s, however, belonged to the Dominicans."
^Staff. "Little League Coached By NYPD Officers To Honor Fallen Cops Kicks Off Opening Day", WCBS-TV, April 18, 2015. Accessed April 27, 2016. "The league goes beyond baseball as the only Little League organization in the country run by a slain cop's family and coached by a police officers. The league is dedicated to honoring the memory of fallen NYPD officers and committed to building community relations. It began as a tribute by the family of Michael Buczek, killed in the line of duty on Oct. 18, 1988."
^ abNguyen, Pauline and Sanchez, Josephine. "Ethnic Communities in New York City: Dominicans in Washington Heights", New York University. Accessed May 21, 2007. "Washington Heights stretches roughly thirty-five blocks across the northern tip of Manhattan island. It encompasses a broad tract of land, taking in 160th Street to about 189th Street and all that lies between the wide avenues of Broadway, St. Nicholas Boulevard, and Fort Washington Avenue. The majority of its occupants are the smiling, chestnut-skinned immigrants of the Dominican Republic, whose steady arrival accounts for 7 percent of New York City's total population, and makes up its highest immigrant group."
^Home Page, Hudson Heights Owners Coalition. Accessed April 27, 2016. "We are an association of owner occupied residential properties located in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Hudson Heights. Our boundaries are between J. Hood Wright Park (173rd Street) and Fort Tryon Park (Margaret Corbin Circle at 192nd Street), west of Broadway."
^ abWelcome, Uptown Arts Stroll. Accessed April 27, 2016. "Call for artists: Visual artists, singers, musicians, dancers, poets, theater groups, performance artists, etc., in Washington Heights, Inwood and West Harlem, are invited to participate in the 2016 Uptown Arts Stroll."
^Fernandez, Manny. "New Winds at an Island Outpost". The New York Times, March 4, 2007. Accessed April 28, 2016. "Dominicans, in fact, increased as a percentage of the total population in Washington Heights and Inwood, from 43 percent in 1990 to 53 percent in 2005."
^Armstrong, Lindsay. "Washington Heights' Jewish Population Thriving After Lean Years"Archived August 19, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, DNAinfo.com, November 4, 2013. Accessed June 26, 2016. "In the past decade, the number of people living in Jewish households in Washington Heights grew 144 percent -- from approximately 9,500 in 2002 to almost 24,000 in 2011, according to the most recent Jewish Community Study, released by the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York in January 2013. This increase was the largest growth rate of any neighborhood in New York City or its suburbs, even in Orthodox Brooklyn, according to the study -- which is done every decade."
^Hogan, Lawrence. "Hilltop Park was Home to Great Pitching Feats"Archived August 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, The National Pastime Museum, October 29, 2013. Accessed April 27, 2016. "In September of 1908, in one of his most brilliant accomplishments, 20-year-old Washington ace Walter Johnson shut out the New York Highlanders in three consecutive games."
^About Us, Columbia University Medical Center. Accessed April 27, 2016. "In 1928, Columbia University created the country's first academic medical center (CUMC) at its current location in Washington Heights in an alliance with Presbyterian Hospital.... CUMC was built in the 1920s on the former site of Hilltop Park, the one-time home stadium of the New York Yankees."
^Dunlap, David W. "A Medical Center Works on Its Health", The New York Times, October 4, 1998. Accessed July 15, 2018. "Audubon park surrounds a real park, Mitchel Square, a triangular patch cleaving Broadway from St. Nicholas Avenue.... The project includes the conservation of the Washington Heights-Inwood War Memorial, a poignant sculptural grouping of three soldiers created in 1923 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who later founded the Whitney Museum of American Art."
^Boland Jr., Ed. "F.Y.I.", The New York Times, December 8, 2002. Accessed November 16, 2017. "On April 30, 1903, Hilltop Park opened in what is now Washington Heights on a hill over looking the Hudson River. It stretched from 165th Street to 168th Street between Broadway and Fort Washington Avenue.... Hilltop Park was demolished in 1914, and Columbia Presbyterian was built on the site in the 1920s."
^Smith, Sarah Harrison. "A Gothic Haven for Saints and Unicorns", The New York Times, December 14, 2012. Accessed July 14, 2016. "In 1925, Rockefeller, who owned property there, gave the Metropolitan Museum of Art money to buy the Barnard Cloisters for $600,000 -- the first in a series of gifts that included the park, financing to build a larger Cloisters at its northern end, 700 acres across the Hudson River (to protect the view) and the extraordinary Unicorn Tapestries, which Rockefeller presented just before the new Cloisters opened in 1938."
^Philosophy, The Equity Project Charter School. Accessed April 28, 2016. "The Equity Project (TEP) Charter School opened in September 2009 in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. Currently a 480-seat 5th through 8th grade middle school, TEP is expanding to elementary school and will open a 120 seat Kindergarten in August of 2016."
^AboutArchived July 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Fort Tryon Jewish Center. Accessed August 23, 2015. "Welcome to Fort Tryon Jewish Center, an independent synagogue in Northern Manhattan with an original approach to tradition."
^About Us, Hebrew Tabernacle Congregation. Accessed August 23, 2015. "We are a Reform congregation, founded in 1906, in our present beautiful location in residential Washington Heights, since 1973."
^Abouts Us, Mount Sinai Jewish Center. Accessed August 23, 2015. "Mount Sinai Jewish Center is a vibrant Modern Orthodox synagogue with a rich history spanning more than 100 years in Washington Heights."
^Home Page, Congregation Shaare Hatikvah. Accessed August 23, 2015. "Congregation Shaare Hatikvah, Ahavath Torah V'Tikvoh Chadoshoh Inc. is a German-Orthodox synagogue located just across the street from the busy George Washingtom Bridge Bus Terminal."
^Chiwaya, Nigel. "Uptown Jewish Congregation Selling Synagogue After 43 Years"Archived September 23, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, DNAinfo, May 12, 2014. Accessed August 23, 2015. "The Washington Heights Congregation is moving north again. The Modern Orthodox Jewish congregation, nicknamed the 'Bridge Shul,' has sold its 179th Street synagogue after 43 years, the group announced. The 100-member WHC will move near 187th Street, to a smaller space on the lower level of the Mt. Sinai Jewish Center at 135 Bennett Ave. after selling the temple near Pinehurst Avenue at 815 W. 179th St."
^Lawless, Wendy. Heart of Glass: A Memoir, p. 98. Simon & Schuster, 2016. ISBN9781476749846. Accessed April 25, 2016. "A few days later, I read for the producers of Ryan's Hope, an ABC daytime show about a large Catholic, Irish American family who run a bar and live in Washington Heights."
^Zanzoni, Carla. "Angelina Jolie's Film 'Salt' Also Stars Washington Heights"Archived June 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, DNAinfo.com, July 23, 2010. Accessed April 30, 2016. "WASHINGTON HEIGHTS -- The neighborhood is now officially a Hollywood star. In anticipation of the opening of Angelina Jolie's spy flick "Salt" on Friday, Sony Pictures released outtakes of the superstar scaling the wall of the 12-story Riviera, a 1910 Beaux-Arts style co-op on 157th Street and Riverside."
^Carr, Jay. "Force of Evil (1949)", Turner Classic Movies. Accessed April 28, 2016. "The film builds to a jackhammer climax, preceded by a brilliant coup de cinema when Joe and Pearson's good girl in a series of long and medium shots go down, down, down, from the Washington Bridge, zigzagging their way through a descent on stone steps to the rocks at the Hudson River, where Joe finds Leo dead."
^Isherwood, Charles. "The View From Uptown: American Dreaming to a Latin Beat", The New York Times, March 10, 2008. Accessed April 28, 2016. "Mr. Miranda, as the owner of a corner bodega who dispenses good cheer along with café con leche by the gallon, is not just the brightly glowing star of In the Heights. He also wrote all the ebullient songs for this panoramic portrait of a New York neighborhood -- Washington Heights -- filled with Spanish-speaking dreamers of American dreams, nervously eyeing their futures from a city block on the cusp of change."
^Staff. "Filming at a School Displeases Cortines", The New York Times, June 9, 1995. Accessed April 30, 2016. " The Mayor's office and the New York City Schools Chancellor, ever at odds, now have new grounds for disagreement: the fact that a city public school was used as the site of a terrorist bomb scene in a new film, Die Hard With a Vengeance. The scene was filmed last summer at Public School 115 on West 177th Street in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan."
^Nelson, Amy K. "Alvarez following in some famous footsteps", ESPN.com, June 3, 2008. Accessed June 10, 2008. "In just a few days, Montas and the entire Washington Heights community anticipate that their native son, Pedro Alvarez, a star third baseman for Vanderbilt University, will be the highest player ever drafted from the upper Manhattan neighborhood of New York City."
^Staff. "Hudson Heights delivers", New York Daily News, March 7, 2008. Accessed March 20, 2008. "Hudson Heights continues to deliver on big space, river views and affordable apartments. And celebrities. Actor Laurence Fishburne lives in historic Castle Village overlooking the Hudson."
^Weiss, Dick. "Flores, from Dominican Republic, takes unusual journey."[dead link], New York Daily News, March 20, 2004. Accessed June 7, 2007. "Luis Flores never figured his future would be in basketball when he was growing up in San Pedro de Marcos, a Dominican Republic hotbed for major league baseball prospects.... But all that changed when his parents sent him from that sun-drenched Caribbean island to live with his grandparents Basilio and Juanita Flores in Washington Heights when he was just 8 years old. "
^Martin, Justin. "Greenspan: The Man Behind the Money", Perseus Publishing. Accessed June 7, 2007. "A few years prior to the great stock market crash of 1929, Alan Greenspan's parents moved into an apartment in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan."
^Jacon K. Javits Playground, accessed December 27, 2006. "Jacob Javits was born on the Lower East Side to Russian Jewish parents. He lived variously in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including this neighborhood, on West 192nd Street, when he was 15."
^Morse, Stephen S. "Joshua Lederberg (1925-2008)", Science (magazine), March 7, 2008, vol 319, p. 1351.
^Broad, William J. "Joshua Lederberg, 82, a Nobel Winner, Dies", The New York Times, February 5, 2008. Accessed April 28, 2016. "Dr. Lederberg was born May 23, 1925, in Montclair, N.J., to Zvi Hirsch Lederberg, a rabbi, and the former Esther Goldenbaum, who had emigrated from what is now Israel two years earlier. His family moved to the Washington Heights section of Manhattan when he was 6 months old."
^Sanneh, Kelefa. "In Search of New York at a Hip-Hop Summit", The New York Times, June 5, 2007. Accessed June 7, 2007. "Sometime around 6:30 the Washington Heights-raised rapper Mims ? better known as the 'This Is Why I'm Hot? guy' hit the stage to tell the crowd why he is hot. (It's related somehow to his flyness.)"
^Andy Mineo, Reach Records. Accessed April 28, 2016. "A Syracuse native, Mineo is now more known as the kid from Washington Heights, New York City who is selling out major performance venues all over America and across the pond in Europe."
^Rankin website bioArchived December 4, 2000, at the Wayback Machine, Accessed August 4, 2011. "Growing up in the multicultural hotbed of New York's Washington Heights neighborhood, he absorbed a broad array of musical influences, from AfroCuban to Top 40 to Jazz to Brazilian."
^Sandomir, Richard. "Daffy Days of Brooklyn Return for Vin Scully", The New York Times, October 5, 2006. Accessed April 28, 2016. "Scully's lyrical voice has belonged to Los Angeles for so long that only older fans can recall Scully's time with the Dodgers in Brooklyn from 1950 to 1957 after growing up in the Bronx and in Washington Heights. His last known address in New York was 869 West 180th Street; he took the subway to Ebbets Field during his first Dodgers season."
^Boland Jr., Ed. "F.Y.I.", The New York Times, June 15, 2003. Accessed April 28, 2016. "An article about TAKI 183, which appeared in The New York Times on July 21, 1971, revealed that he was a 17-year-old who lived on 183rd Street in Washington Heights."
^Dr. Ruth: The Private Parts, accessed December 27, 2006. "Dr. Ruth and her husband, Fred Westheimer, still reside in the same three-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights where they raised their two children."
^A Brief Biography of Guy Williams, The Guy Williams Webshrine. Accessed April 30, 2016. "Guy was born Armando Catalano to Italian immigrant parents on 14 January 1924 in the Bronx, New York, USA. He grew up in the Washington Heights area of Manhattan."