Manhattan’s Hamilton Heights is something of a mystery to most New Yorkers, but don’t let the obscurity fool you; the neighborhood is rich in history and beautiful architecture. The primarily residential area is somewhat hidden by its out of the way location – it includes the Manhattanville neighborhood and runs from West 125th Street to West 155th between the Hudson River and Edgecomb Avenue. The quiet spot is principally known for City College on 137th Street, which is notable for its remarkable gothic architecture and academic excellence. This charming neighborhood has many angled streets that disrupt the grid and smaller buildings that give many sections an open, spacious feel not found in many other Manhattan neighborhoods.
The majority of the predominantly Dominican residents live in walk-ups that are usually around five or six-stories tall. There are also many beautiful brownstones in the Sugar Hill area of the West 140s, a few mid-rise co-ops and a handful of converted condos. Rent stabilization is prevalent, and the longevity of the tenants gives the Heights a lot of continuity between past and present and a lasting sense of community. Most of the buildings date back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and since the rent is considerably cheaper than most Manhattan neighborhoods, Hamilton Heights is a haven for students, artists, actors, and professionals looking for affordable, spacious apartments. The stability of Hamilton Heights is converging with the future though. Columbia University is extending their campus into Manhattanville, which will bring even more young people and professionals into Hamilton Heights and create demand for new restaurants and retail stores. It won’t be too long until this hidden gem starts to get the attention it deserves.