Inwood, Manhattan, New York City
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Inwood is the northernmost neighborhood on Manhattan Island in the New York City borough of Manhattan and New York State's County of New York. It is physically bounded by the Harlem River to the north and east, and the Hudson River to the west. It extends southward a little ways below Dyckman Street, with Fairview Avenue often cited as its southern border. Inwood includes all of the 10034 postal ZIP code, and a portion of 10040.
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.
While Inwood is sometimes thought to be a sub-section of Washington Heights (the larger and better-known neighborhood to its south), most people residing in, or familiar with, Upper Manhattan consider Inwood to be a separate and distinct neighborhood in its own right.
Inwood's main local thoroughfare is Broadway (which is also designated US 9 at this point), while its main highways are the Henry Hudson Parkway and the Harlem River Drive. Inwood's main shopping areas are Dyckman Street, Broadway and West 207th Street.
Compared to the rest of Manhattan, Inwood is often deemed a rather remote, even obscure, locale, and enjoys (even savors) no worldwide renown, unlike many other Manhattan neighborhoods. In fact, Inwood's location places it technically closer to suburban Westchester County, New York than to Midtown Manhattan.
Inwood was a rural section of Manhattan until the expansion of the IRT reached Inwood in 1906. The subway allowed people to live in Inwood as it made it easy to travel into downtown Manhattan. Today, Inwood is a largely residential neighborhood, consisting mostly of apartment houses and parkland. It also houses an aboveground subway yard, a bus depot, a Sanitation Department facility, Columbia University's athletic fields, and the Allen Pavilion (an annex of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell). Inwood also boasts the last remaining colonial farmhouse in Manhattan, known as the Dyckman House, or the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum. This building remained in the Dyckman family until 1910, when it was turned over to the City.
From Inwood Hill Park and Baker Field, 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. Looking west from Inwood Hill Park across the Hudson River, one can view the majestic New Jersey Palisades. Views of The Cloisters museum, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in Fort Tryon Park, dominate the area near Dyckman Street.
While the neighborhood is mostly residential, there is an area of Inwood which has been zoned for industrial use. The area, known as Sherman Creek, borders the Harlem River, Dyckman street to the south, 10th 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 give residents access to the waterfront. Currently, Con Ed and the City of New York own some property in Sherman Creek. The rest of the land is privately owned.
Adjacent to Sherman Creek is Inwood's primary public housing development known as the Dyckman Houses (not to be confused with the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, better known as just Dyckman House). This complex was constructed in 1951 and consists of seven 14 story residential buildings which encompass 14 acres. The development also contains a basketball court which is very popular among New York City streetball enthusiasts. In fact, basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar grew up in the complex.
The residents of Inwood were mostly of Irish descent for much of the 20th century. Many of the Irish were employed as transit workers. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, many Irish moved out of Inwood to the outer boroughs and suburbs, a phenomenon known as white flight. Today, the neighborhood is mainly Dominican, particularly in the portion of the neighborhood east of Broadway. As many New Yorkers have recently "discovered" Inwood, one of the last reasonably affordable neighborhoods in Manhattan, real estate prices have risen dramatically. Inwood appeals to many who want lower housing costs and a more serene, outer borough-like setting (with the flavor and feel of a smaller city, rather than the round-the-clock hubbub, commotion and busyness of an international metropolis), without actually leaving Manhattan and its prestigious "212" area code and "New York, NY" postal address (which is only available in Manhattan). These attributes perennially lead some to forecast widespread and inevitable gentrification in Inwood's near future.
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 legendary purchase of Manhattan Island from the Lenape by Peter Minuit took place in what is now Inwood Hill Park.
Inwood is one of the few neighborhoods on Manhattan Island that still has a few detached houses (as opposed to the apartment houses, brownstones and townhouses that predominate in other residential areas of Manhattan). There are also a few detached homes in Washington Heights.
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