Inwood, Manhattan


Inwood, Manhattan

Inwood is the northernmost neighborhood on Manhattan Island in the New York City borough of Manhattan.

Geography

Inwood is physically bounded by the Harlem River to the north and east, and the Hudson River to the west. It extends southward to Fort Tryon Park and Dyckman St. Inwood is almost entirely defined by the 10034 postal ZIP code (One block of Broadway/Vermilyea/Dyckman/Academy falls within the Fort George 10040 code).

Notably, while Inwood is the northernmost neighborhood on the "island" of Manhattan, it is not the northernmost neighborhood of the entire "borough" of Manhattan. That distinction is held by Marble Hill, a Manhattan neighborhood situated directly to the north of the island of Manhattan on the North American mainland. It was isolated from the rest of Manhattan only in the 20th century when the route of the Harlem River was altered by the Harlem River Ship Canal.

Because of the hilly geography and the interruption of the street grid (Broadway is the only local street that continues into Inwood), the neighborhood can seem somewhat disconnected from the rest of Manhattan. It is also often mistaken by non-residents as a sub-section of the larger and better-known Washington Heights area to the south, or simply combined with it as "Washington Heights-Inwood".

Inwood's main local thoroughfare is Broadway, which is also designated US 9 at this point. Highway access to the area is via the Henry Hudson Parkway to the west, the Harlem River Drive/FDR Drive to the southeast and the Major Deegan Expressway over the Harlem River to the east. Inwood's main commercial shopping streets are Broadway, Dyckman Street and West 207th St.

History

The first and, some would say, best real estate deal ever made in New York happened here on May 24, 1626. On that date Peter Minuit, the director general of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, bought the island from the Lenape Indians for 60 Dutch guilders and, the story goes, some trinkets. ["Peter Minuit," Britannica Online. [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9052900/Peter-Minuit] ] On the southern tip of the island Minuit founded New Amsterdam. A plaque marking what's believed to be the spot of the sale is in Inwood Hill Park, the only natural forest left in Manhattan.

Inwood was a rural section of Manhattan well into the early 20th century. Once the IRT subway reached Inwood in 1906, speculative developers constructed numerous apartment buildings on the east side of Broadway. A subsequent construction boom occurred after 1933 on the west side of Broadway , when the IND subway reached 207th Street along Broadway. Many of Inwood's impressive Art Deco apartment buildings were constructed during this period.

Today, Inwood is a residential neighborhood of primarily five-to-eight story prewar buildings, along with some of the few remaining detached houses on Manhattan island. Buildings are evenly mixed between elevator and walk-ups. Most of Inwood's co-op buildings are located west of Broadway, while rentals dominate on the east side of Broadway. Parks include the very large and old-growth Inwood Hill Park, Fort Tryon Park, and Isham Park along with numerous other green spaces. Institutions include the Allen Pavilion (an annex of New York-Presbyterian Hospital) and several churches and schools. Inwood also includes Dyckman House, the last remaining Dutch colonial-era farmhouse in Manhattan.

Land use

Industrial uses, including subway, bus and sanitation depots, exist primarily along "Sherman Creek", bordered by the Harlem River, Dyckman Street to the south, Tenth Avenue to the west, and 207th Street to the north. There has been an initiative among politicians over the last few years to re-zone this area for residential and commercial use, and to create public access to the waterfront. [http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/sherman_creek/index.shtml "Sherman Creek initiative at nyc.gov"] ] Currently, Con Ed and the City of New York own some of the property in this area.

Adjacent to Sherman Creek is Inwood's primary public housing development known as the Dyckman Houses (not to be confused with the Dyckman House museum). This complex was constructed in 1951 and consists of seven 14 story residential buildings on 14 acres. The development also contains a basketball court which is very popular among New York City streetball enthusiasts. Basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar grew up in the complex. Before the construction of this complex, the site contained a stadium called the Dyckman Oval, with a capacity of 4500 spectators, which hosted football games, boxing matches, and
Negro League baseball games.

Demographics

The residents of Inwood were mostly of Irish and Jewish descent for much of the 20th century. The neighborhood exhibited a strong Irish identity with many Irish shops, pubs, and even a Gaelic football field in Inwood Hill Park. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, many Irish moved out of Inwood to the outer boroughs and suburbs. During the same period that Irish were leaving Inwood, there was a dramatic rise in the number of immigrants from the Dominican Republic.

Today, Inwood has a predominantly Dominican population, particularly in the majority of the neighborhood which lies east of Broadway. The combination of less expensive housing, extensive wild parks and access to the water has also attracted a number of artists, students and musicians to the neighborhood.

Inwood appeals to many who seek lower housing costs and, in places, a more serene setting, without actually leaving Manhattan and its subway connections. As evidence of the growing real-estate value of the Inwood brand, listings in Fort George and even Marble Hill will sometimes describe themselves as being in Inwood. Real estate values have risen in recent years as the neighborhood has drawn residents priced out of other parts of Manhattan. Whether this leads to any actual gentrification of Inwood remains to be seen, though the western portion of the neighborhood is certainly (and perhaps always has been) a likely candidate.

Parks

Inwood Hill Park, on the Hudson River, is a largely wooded city park that contains caves that were used by the Lenape before Europeans arrived, and the last salt marsh in Manhattan. Birdwatchers come to the park to see waterbirds, raptors, and a wide variety of migratory birds. The wooded section features the last natural forest standing on Manhattan Island.

Inwood Hill Park includes ballfields that are heavily used by local leagues. Tennis courts, playgrounds, a waterfront promenade and extensive hiking trails are also prominent components of the park. The park also includes a nature center and hosts many events organized by the Parks Department.

Other green spaces in Inwood are Isham Park and Columbia University's athletic fields along W218th Street. Parts of Fort Tryon Park and Highbridge Park lie along Inwood's southern border.

Education

Area schools include:
* [http://www.muscota.org The Muscota New School, PS 314] , is a New York City public "school of choice" that serves the Washington Heights, Inwood, and Harlem neighborhoods. Muscota uses a progressive educational approach, rather than follow the standard New York City public elementary curriculum. Admission is based on lottery.
* Other public schools serving Inwood include [http://schools.nyc.gov/schoolportals/06/M098 P.S. 98] and [http://schools.nyc.gov/schoolportals/06/M052 I.S. 52, P.S. 5, P.S. 152, P.S. 311, I.S. 218] , as well as George Washington High School.
* Private schools include Good Shepherd, a Catholic School on Isham Street, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, a Catholic School on Arden Street, [http://www.mcanyc.org/ Manhattan Christian Academy] on 205th Street, Northeastern Academy on 215th Street, and Saint Judes School on 204th Street

Institutions and Landmarks

The best known cultural site and tourist attraction is The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. This branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is devoted to Medieval art and culture, and is located in a medieval-style building, portions of which were purchased in Europe, brought to the United States, and reassembled. The Henry Hudson Bridge and Broadway Bridge are prominent landmarks in the northern stretches of Inwood.

From Inwood Hill Park, one can view a 100-foot-tall Columbia "C" painted on the face of a rock outcropping across the Harlem River on the Bronx shore. It is a local challenge to swim to "C-Rock" and back to the Manhattan shore. Columbia's athletic facilities are directly opposite the C.

Looking west from Inwood Hill Park across the Hudson River, one can view the New Jersey Palisades. Views of The Cloisters museum, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in nearby Fort Tryon Park, dominate the area near Dyckman Street, while the former NYU campus, now Bronx Community College, towers above the Bronx end of the 207th Street Bridge.

The local hospital in Inwood is the Allen Pavilion, a satellite facility of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

The best known building in Inwood is the Dyckman House, the oldest farmhouse in Manhattan, on Broadway at 204th Street.

A farmers' market takes place on Isham St on Saturdays, year-round.

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Inwood include:
*Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1947-), former NBA basketball star, grew up in the Dyckman Houses as Lew Alcindor.
*Jim Carroll (1950-), author of The Basketball Diaries, an autobiography set in 1960s Inwood which was adapted into a film in 1995 starring Leonardo DiCaprio. [ Entertainment Weekly. [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,297854,00.html] . "Jim Carroll Cool Poet." Accessed March 24, 2008. ]
*Kevin P. Duignan (1949-), Vice President for Institutional Advancement, St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, NY.
* Thomas Wm. Hamilton (1939-), child actor, astronomer and political figure, lived on Seaman Avenue in Inwood from the age of 3 until leaving college.
*Wynn Handman (1922-), Artistic Director of The American Place Theatre. [Ryzik, Melena. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/nyregion/20wynn.html?_r=1&oref=slogin "Nearly 60 Years and Counting, Working on the Art of Theater"] , "The New York Times", May 20, 2007. "He grew up in Inwood, on a dirt road, fishing for crabs off a dock on Dyckman Street. “I had a country boyhood in Upper Manhattan,” he said."]
*Bess Houdini (1876-1943), wife of magician and stunt performer Harry Houdini lived on Payson Avenue after his death. [ "Reports Message of Houdini Decoded." The New York Times, January 9, 1929. ]
*William McIntosh (1935-), former Adjutant General of The State of New York. [Pg 347, The Legislative Manual New York, 1986-87 and Section 13, Military Law, State of New York "The Adjutant General of The State" 1987.]
*Lin-Manuel Miranda (1980-), actor and writer of the Broadway musical In the Heights. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/14/theater/14heig.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=inwood&st=nyt&oref=slogin] Melena Ryzik. "Heights before Broadway." The New York Times. Accessed March 24, 2008. ]
*Henry Stern (1935-), longtime former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. [Bumiller, Elisabeth. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CEEDF113FF930A15754C0A963958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=3 "Guarding the Turf, Stepping on Toes; Henry Stern, Passionate and Blunt, Champions the City Parks"] , "The New York Times", July 23, 1995. Accessed October 28, 2007. "There are a few other key things that define Mr. Stern. He grew up in Inwood, a mixture of Jewish, Irish and Greek immigrants several generations ago but now a largely Dominican neighborhood."]
*Isidor Straus (1845-1912), owner of Macy's department store, owned a country estate that was located in present-day Inwood Hill Park [ NYC Parks Department. [http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/inwoodhillpark] . Accessed March 24, 2008.]

References

External links

* [http://www.uppermanhattanexperience.org/ The Upper Manhattan Experience]
* [http://www.washington-heights.us/ Washington Heights and Inwood Online]
* [http://www.inwoodite.com/ Inwoodite]
* [http://outside.in/Inwood_Manhattan_NY/ Outside.in: Inwood]


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