Washington Heights & Inwood
Washington Heights is a New York City neighborhood of over 150,000 inhabitants (2010) in the northern reaches of the borough of Manhattan. It is named for Fort Washington, a fortification constructed at the highest point on Manhattan island by Continental Army troops during the American Revolutionary War, to defend the area from the British forces. Washington Heights is bordered by Harlem to the south, along 155th street, Inwood to the north along Hillside Avenue, the Hudson River to the west and the Harlem River and Coogan’s Bluff to the east.
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 just below Hillside Avenue.
The wooded slopes of Washington Heights seen from a sandy cove on the Hudson as they were about 1845 are illustrated in a canvas by John James Audubon’s son, Victor Clifford Audubon, conserved by the Museum of the City of New York.
Washington Heights is connected to Fort Lee, New Jersey across the Hudson River via the Othmar Ammann-designed George Washington Bridge, the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge. The Pier Luigi Nervi-designed George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal is located at the Manhattan end of the bridge. The Trans-Manhattan Expressway, a portion of Interstate 95, proceeds from the George Washington Bridge in a trench between 178th and 179th Streets. To the east, the Highway leads to the Alexander Hamilton Bridge across the Harlem River to the Bronx and the Cross-Bronx Expressway. The Washington Bridge crosses the Harlem River just north of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge.
The best known cultural site and tourist attraction in Washington Heights is The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park at the northern end of the neighborhood, with spectacular views across the Hudson to the New Jersey Palisades. 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.
Heralding the arts scene north of Central Park is the annual Uptown Arts Stroll. 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.