Inwood – New York, NY

Occupying the northern tip of Manhattan and secluded from the hustle and bustle of downtown, Inwood provides a friendly neighborhood feel with access to sprawling green spaces and outdoor activities. Bound by the Harlem River, the Hudson River and Fairview Avenue, it lies north of Washington Heights and south of the Bronx. Inwood features historic buildings, a hilly topography and, in Fort Tryon Park, the last remaining original forest on the island of Manhattan. A diverse set of residents populates the neighborhood, with many families drawn to the area by its numerous schools and a slower pace of life. Professionals of all types live in the neighborhood too, particularly those who work in the Bronx or enjoy a more suburban feel in the midst of an urban metropolis. The community’s walkable streets, relatively affordable rents and increasingly diverse arts scene also attract residents.

Schools in Inwood

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Inwood has a reputation for lacking in the dining department, but residents who know where to look find plenty to satisfy. Broadway acts as the major thoroughfare and features many of the best restaurant finds. The area’s sleepy character means night owls have fewer options, though they can look forward to returning to quiet streets after a night out on the town. Beloved by area residents, food truck Patacon Pisao on West 202nd Street serves authentic, on-the-go Venezuelan cuisine at a low price. The star of the show at this hugely popular dining option is the patacon, a green plantain sandwich filled with your meat of choice, but locals also recommend the sweet corn cakes known as cachapas. Whatever you order, make sure to take the opportunity to meet some neighbors while waiting in line. A few blocks west on Broadway, café and wine bar Beans and Vines takes casual dining up a notch. The options run the gamut from weekend brunch to afternoon coffee to a romantic dinner of tapas and wine. Beans and Vines fans swear by the yuca fries, which can accompany any dish, from Grilled Fish Tacos to Australian Baby Lamb Chops. A little later on in the day, head to Piper’s Kilt near the Inwood subway station. A certified neighborhood favorite, this bar and grill draws crowds to weekly trivia nights, music performances and karaoke. Regulars swear by the Kilt Burgers, with the Bronx Bomber Burger served with BBQ sauce, Swiss and grilled onions, leading the pack.

History & Culture

Many historians believe that in 1626, Dutch colonists purchased the island of Manhattan from Native Americans at a spot that sits in Inwood Hill Park. Though this may have been the geographical birthplace of New York City, the area remained rural farmland for centuries afterward. During the Revolutionary War, Hessian troops maintained an encampment between 201st and 204th streets, which remained lost to history until an archaeologist discovered related artifacts in 1914. By 1906, the first of New York City’s subway lines had reached the neighborhood, and residential construction began in earnest. Many of the area’s Art Deco-inspired buildings rose during the 1930s. Throughout the rest of the century, Inwood remained a middle- and lower-middle class stronghold, flying under the radar of more desirable downtown neighborhoods. The Cloisters museum and gardens represent the most well-known cultural institution in Inwood. A wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters occupy a corner of Fort Tryon Park and feature more than 2,000 works of art from the 12th through the 15th centuries.

Transportation

Although you could happily spend the majority of your waking hours in Inwood while running errands on foot to fulfill all of your daily needs, extensive and reliable mass transit systems make for easy access to the rest of the city. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA, operates a 24-hour subway system, and the 1 and A trains run through the heart of the neighborhood. Commuters also have access to numerous bus routes, including express lines to the city center that depart from Broadway. Given these options, commuters to midtown Manhattan can often make the journey in 45 minutes or less. In warmer months, bicycles prove popular, and bikers compete with less traffic than in other Manhattan neighborhoods. Over in Fort Tryon Park, a paved path connects all the way south to the Hudson River Park Bikeway, the busiest such bikeway in the United States. Car owners can find street parking more easily than in areas downtown farther south, but competition is steep. Also, weekly street cleaning means you cannot leave your car unattended for long. Parking garages also exist for those willing to pay. For commuters who work a fair distance away, Inwood offers easy access to major thoroughfares, including the Henry Hudson Parkway, I-87 and I-95. Taxis generally stay farther south of Inwood, and any sort of car service, including Uber, sets you back more than $25 if you travel to midtown.

Cost

The cost of living in Inwood skews a bit lower than New York City at large due to its distance from the city center. Renters can find one-bedroom apartments for as low as $1,100, though rents increase exponentially from there. A sharp divide exists between the streets west of Broadway, which feature pricier homes, and east of Broadway, where rents are cheaper. The relative isolation of the neighborhood and stable rents keep prices for groceries and other everyday items reasonable relative to Manhattan at large. In addition, residents point out the walkability of the neighborhood cuts back on transportation costs, and the convenience of amenities is priceless.

Shopping

Though not a shopping destination for those outside the neighborhood, Inwood has a few businesses of note. With a few exceptions, small retailers have the upper hand against larger chain stores, and residents cherish their independent options. One such option is Dichter Pharmacy on Broadway, a neighborhood institution since the early 1900s. Dichter has the endless inventory of household supplies you expect from a drugstore, while also serving old-fashioned egg creams and malts. Over on 9th Avenue, Flair Beverages wows thrifty shoppers with a one-of-a-kind destination. A sort of Costco for beer, wine and spirits, Flair Beverages supplies most of the retailers in the area, meaning you cut out the middle man. It carries everything from industrial beers, such as Miller, to craft brews, such as Dogfish Head. Just make sure to bring cash; Flair Beverages does not accept credit cards. Residents seeking groceries and everyday items find various options, including chains such as Fine Fare. Food lovers in search of farm-fresh fare should mark their calendars for the Inwood Greenmarket, held Saturdays year-round on Isham Street.

Parks

City planners dedicated a large portion of Inwood to green space, and the resulting world-class parks, with no charge for admission, attract new residents and visitors alike. At the far northern border of the neighborhood, Inwood Hill Park contains the last remaining old-growth forest in Manhattan. Add to that extensive athletic facilities, running and biking trails and a barbecue area, and you have a recipe for a real community gem. Just to the east, Isham Park features flora grown in a semi-wild manner and exposed marble outcroppings, making it a popular destination for geologists. Fort Tryon Park to the south stuns visitors with its majestic trees looming over the Hudson River and its extensive gardens maintained by The Cloisters. Both Inwood Hill Park and Fort Tryon Park offer dog runs, helping make Inwood one of the most dog-friendly neighborhoods in the city. Each year during the early summer, Inwood Hill Park plays host to Drums Along the Hudson, a Native American festival and celebration of culture. Attendees watch traditional dance, visit storytelling tents and listen to vocal performances by award-winning artists.
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