Inwood, viewed from Inwood Hill Park
Location in New York City
|City||New York City|
|Community District||Manhattan 12|
|• Total||3.22 km2 (1.245 sq mi)|
|• Density||18,000/km2 (47,000/sq mi)|
|• Median income||$49,131|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Area code||212, 332, 646, and 917|
Inwood is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, at the northern tip of Manhattan Island, in the U.S. state of New York. It is bounded by the Hudson River to the west, Spuyten Duyvil Creek and Marble Hill to the north, the Harlem River to the east, and Washington Heights to the south.
- 1 History
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Land use and terrain
- 4 Institutions and landmarks
- 5 Parks
- 6 Police and crime
- 7 Fire safety
- 8 Health
- 9 Post offices and ZIP codes
- 10 Education
- 11 Transportation
- 12 Notable residents
- 13 References
- 14 External links
On May 24, 1626, according to legend, 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. On the southern tip of the island Minuit founded New Amsterdam. A plaque (on a rock) marking what is believed to be the spot of the sale is in Inwood Hill Park, the only natural forest left in Manhattan.
During the British occupation of Manhattan in the American Revolutionary War, there was an encampment containing more than sixty huts occupied by Hessian troops between 201st and 204th Streets along Payson Avenue. The camp was discovered in 1914 by local archeologist and historian Reginald Bolton after a series of digs around the neighborhood.
The area between 190th and 192nd Streets was occupied by the Fort George Amusement Park, a trolley park/amusement park, from 1895 to 1914. Its site is now a seating area in Highbridge Park, which itself was laid out in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Inwood was a very rural section of Manhattan well into the early 20th century. Once the New York City Subway's IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line, the modern 1 train, reached Inwood in 1906, speculative developers constructed numerous apartment buildings on the east side of Broadway. Construction continued into the 1930s, when the IND Eighth Avenue Line, the modern A train, reached Dyckman and 207th Streets along Broadway and the large estates west of Broadway (Seaman, Dyckman, Isham, etc.) were sold off and developed. Many of Inwood's impressive Art Deco apartment buildings were constructed during this period. The area around Dyckman Street and 10th Avenue formerly contained a stadium called the Dyckman Oval, with a capacity of 4,500 spectators, which hosted football games, boxing matches, and Negro League baseball games until it was replaced by public housing in the 1950s.
For census purposes, the New York City government classifies Inwood as part of a larger neighborhood tabulation area called Inwood and Marble Hill. Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Inwood and Marble Hill was 46,746, a change of -2,341 (-5%) from the 49,087 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 405.79 acres (164.22 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 115.2 inhabitants per acre (73,700/sq mi; 28,500/km2). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 15.1% (7,060) White, 9.1% (4,239) African American, 0.1% (64) Native American, 1.9% (884) Asian, 0% (5) Pacific Islander, 0.4% (179) from other races, and 1% (458) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 72.4% (33,857) of the population.
The entirety of Community District 12, which comprises Inwood and Washington Heights, had 195,830 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 81.4 years.:2, 20 This is about the same as the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods.:53 (PDF p. 84) Most inhabitants are children and middle-aged adults: 33% are between the ages of 25–44, while 25% are between 45–64, and 19% are between 0–17. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 10% and 13% respectively.:2
As of 2019, the median household income in Community District 12 was $42,000, compared to $73,000 in Manhattan and $53,000 in the entire city. In 2019, an estimated 25% of Inwood and Washington Heights residents lived in poverty, compared to 18% in all of Manhattan and 21% in all of New York City. One in eight residents (12%) were unemployed, compared to 7% in Manhattan and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 53% in Inwood and Washington Heights, compared to the boroughwide and citywide rates of 45% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018[update], Inwood and Washington Heights are considered to be gentrifying.:7
The residents of Inwood were substantially of Irish 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. The second-largest group during this time was Jewish, an extension of the large Jewish population of Washington Heights. However, in the 1960s through the 1980s, many Irish and Jewish residents moved out to the outer boroughs (for example, Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx) and the suburbs, in a pattern consistent with overall trends in the city at that time. During the same period, there was a rise in the number of Dominican immigrants to the area.
Today, Inwood has a predominantly Dominican population, especially in the areas east of Broadway; it has the highest concentration of residents of Dominican descent in New York City. Hispanic residents make up 74 percent of Inwood's population as a whole, according to census data. Nearly half of the residents were born outside the US. A few of Irish descent remain in the blocks near the Church of the Good Shepherd at Isham Street, though even its Mass services are now offered in Spanish nearly as often as in English. The YMHA remains, but the former synagogues have now been converted to churches and other uses.
Land use and terrain
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 alternatively Dyckman Street or Fairview Avenue farther south, depending on the source.
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 neighborhood situated just north of Inwood, on what is properly the North American mainland bordering the Bronx. Marble Hill was isolated from Inwood and the rest of Manhattan in 1895 when the route of the Harlem River was altered by the construction of the Harlem River Ship Canal.
Because of its water boundary on three sides, its hilly geography, and its limited local street connections (only Broadway and Fort George Hill connect to the rest of the Manhattan street grid), the neighborhood can feel somewhat physically detached from the rest of the borough. The W.P.A. Guide to New York City, published in the 1930s, described Inwood with "rivers and hills insulate a suburban community that is as separate an entity as any in Manhattan."
Inwood marble, a soft, white, metamorphic rock found in northern Manhattan, takes its name after the neighborhood. From the mid-17th to the late 18th century, commercial quarries dotted the area as the material was used for building construction. However, due to its susceptibility to erosion, builders eventually used alternate construction materials. Inwood marble was quarried for government buildings in lower Manhattan and Washington, D.C. Small pieces of marble can still be seen in the stone retaining walls around Isham Park.
The development of Inwood in the early 20th century resulted in the demolition of many rock outcroppings. However, several outcroppings still exist, including on Cooper Street between 204th and 207th Streets; at Broadway and West 216th Street; and in the garden of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at Seaman Avenue and Cumming Street. The rock on Cooper Street contains a garden maintained by a nearby housing cooperative at 60 Cooper Street, which owns half of the rock.
Commercial retail uses are mainly located along Broadway, Dyckman Street and West 207th Street. In recent years Dyckman Street west of Broadway has become a popular entertainment district with many restaurants and lounges. Offices are typically located on second floors over retail, or in the neighborhood's sole office building (a converted telephone building) at Broadway and West 215th Street. Inwood also contains one of Manhattan's few remaining C-8 zoning districts, which concentrates automotive uses on the northern stretches of Broadway.
Industrial uses, including depots for subway (207th Street Yard), bus (Kingsbridge Bus Depot), and sanitation (Manhattan North), exist primarily along Sherman Creek, an inlet of the Harlem River. The creek and surrounding industrial area is bounded by 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. Utility company Consolidated Edison and the City of New York own some of the property in this area.
The major residential land use in Inwood is multifamily five- to eight-story prewar apartment buildings. New construction is rare. Most of the remaining detached and semi-detached houses on Manhattan Island are located in Inwood, nestled between apartment buildings. Adjacent to Sherman Creek is Inwood's public housing development, known as the Dyckman Houses and constructed in 1951.
Inwood's real estate rents and values are sharply bifurcated between east and west. According to Manhattan Community Board 12, the districts east of Broadway are predominantly lower-income. This area is also more industrial and commercial and has fewer parks and street trees. Real estate values and rents are correspondingly lower than the area west of Broadway. Almost all of Inwood's co-ops and all of the private houses are located on the west side of Broadway. According to one study in 2019, Inwood had the lowest average rents in Manhattan.
In 2015, New York City began soliciting community comments on a major rezoning proposal for Inwood. The New York City Economic Development Corporation proposed to alter the area's 50-year-old current zoning plan by dividing Inwood into five sub-districts called "the tip of Manhattan", "Upland Wedge", "Upland Core", "Commercial U" and "Sherman Creek". Some of these sub-districts would be rezoned to encourage the construction of new commercial space and housing. A resident recalls being told by a city planner, "Don't think you can keep this nice neighborhood all to yourselves." The rezoning proposal has triggered much feedback from the community, including a sleep-in at Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez's office. In August 2018, the New York City Council approved a measure to rezone the neighborhood. The rezoning of Inwood allows for the construction of buildings twice as tall as the previous maximum height. Following the rezoning, over $610 million in real estate was purchased.
Institutions and landmarks
The area's best known cultural 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. Whether the museum itself is actually located in Inwood depends on one's definition of the neighborhood boundaries but its tower dominates the skyline of the area and the museum can be easily accessed via steep pathways leading up from Dyckman Street.
From Inwood Hill Park, one can view a 100-foot (30 m)-tall Columbia "C" painted on the face of a rock cut across the Harlem River on the Bronx shore. This collegiate logo has been in place for approximately a half-century, though it is not clear who exactly maintains the painted letter in the present day. Looking west from Inwood Hill Park across the Hudson River, one can view the New Jersey Palisades. Looking east from Inwood, the former NYU campus in University Heights, Bronx, now Bronx Community College, towers above the east end of the University Heights Bridge.
Bridges spanning Spuyten Duyvil Creek include the Henry Hudson Bridge, the longest fixed arch bridge in the world when built in 1936, and the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge, a railroad swing bridge reconstructed numerous times since originally opening in 1849. Road bridges are the Broadway Bridge and the University Heights Bridge, both important local structures.
The oldest building in Inwood is the Dyckman House, the oldest farmhouse in Manhattan, on Broadway at 204th Street. It is a designated New York City landmark. Inwood has one small historic district, designated in 2018, clustered around the Park Terrace West-West 217th Street area.
A farmers' market takes place on Isham Street on Saturdays, year-round.
The Seaman-Drake Arch, located on Broadway at 216th Street, is one of only two free-standing arches in Manhattan, the other being the Washington Square Arch. The Seaman-Drake Arch was built in 1855 of local Inwood marble. It is the last remaining structure of the mansion that formerly stood there.
At the North Cove at 207th Street and the Harlem River, both the shoreline and the water just off it have been rehabilitated from their former derelict polluted state by James Cataldi (also known as the "Birdman of Inwood") into a flourishing wetland teeming with geese, ducks, and other varieties of fowl.
NYC Parks facilities
Inwood Hill Park, on the Hudson River, is a very large and old-growth forested city park. It is known for its caves that were used by the Lenape before Europeans arrived, and the last salt marsh in Manhattan.:34–35 Birdwatchers come to the park to see waterbirds, raptors, and a wide variety of migratory birds. The wooded section, consisting mostly of abandoned former summer estates, features the last natural forest standing on Manhattan Island. Tennis courts, three playgrounds, a waterfront promenade and ten miles of hiking trails are also prominent components of the park. The ballfields at 214th Street, surrounded by the land that comprises Inwood Hill Park, are considered to be part of neighboring Isham Park
Isham Park sits roughly between Broadway, Isham Street, Seaman Avenue, and West 214th and 215th Streets. The park once extended to the Harlem River, but after the creation of Inwood Hill Park and the reconfiguration of area streets, the northwest boundary became, for the most part, Seaman Avenue. The extent of the current park now equals that of the original Isham estate. The Isham mansion, which originally came with the park gift, was torn down in the 1940s due to its deteriorating condition.
Columbia University's 23-acre (93,000 m2) athletic fields have been located in Inwood since the 1920s. They are known today as the Baker Athletics Complex, though locals still use the historical name of "Baker Field". The football stadium within the complex, officially Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium, can accommodate 17,000 fans and was noted by Sports Illustrated as "one of the most beautiful places in the country to watch a football game" due to the scenic views of the Henry Hudson Bridge and the New Jersey Palisades from the home stands.
In January 2014, a new one-acre park called Muscota Marsh opened to the public between Inwood Hill Park and Baker Field as part of an agreement with the city for the development of the Campbell Athletic Center at West 218th Street and Broadway. This waterfront park was built by Columbia and is jointly administered by the city parks department and the university.
The Inwood waterfront is also home to Columbia University's Boathouse - the "1929 Boathouse" which stands next to the "Gould-Remmer Boathouse" which was originally constructed in 1895 as the Gould Boathouse at 116th Street on the Hudson River and was relocated here in 1989. This new structure now houses the Ivy League school's Crew team and hosts inter-collegiate rowing competitions. In July 2018, a harbor seal nicknamed "Sealy" started showing up by the structure, garnering media attention.
The Lt. William Tighe Triangle, aka the Riverside-Inwood Neighborhood Garden (RING), is the northernmost piece of Ft. Tryon Park and lies at the confluence of Riverside Drive, Dyckman Street, Broadway, and Seaman Avenue. It is Inwood's oldest community garden, having been founded in 1984. Bruce's Garden is another notable community garden, located in the northeast corner of Isham Park.
Police and crime
Inwood, along with northern Washington Heights, is patrolled by the 34th Precinct of the NYPD, located at 4295 Broadway. The 34th Precinct ranked 23rd safest out of 69 patrol areas for per-capita crime in 2010. At one time, it was among New York City's most dangerous police precincts. However, since the 1990s, increased gang arrests have led to steep declines in car thefts, burglaries, shooting incidents and murders. Certain types of crimes have increased: for example, muggings and other attacks near Isham Park and area subway stations increased from 2009 to 2010. With a non-fatal assault rate of 43 per 100,000 people, Washington Heights and Inwood's rate of violent crimes per capita is less than that of the city as a whole. The incarceration rate of 482 per 100,000 people is higher than that of the city as a whole.:8
The 34th Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 86.3% between 1990 and 2018. The precinct saw 1 murder, 27 rapes, 200 robberies, 315 felony assaults, 155 burglaries, 592 grand larcenies, and 87 grand larcenies auto in 2018.
Preterm births in Inwood and Washington Heights are lower than the city average, though teenage births are higher. In Inwood and Washington Heights, there were 73 preterm births per 1,000 live births (compared to 87 per 1,000 citywide), and 23.3 teenage births per 1,000 live births (compared to 19.3 per 1,000 citywide).:11 Inwood and Washington Heights have a low population of residents who are uninsured. In 2018, this population of uninsured residents was estimated to be 14%, more than the citywide rate of 12%.:14
The concentration of fine particulate matter, the deadliest type of air pollutant, in Inwood and Washington Heights is 0.0078 milligrams per cubic metre (7.8×10−9 oz/cu ft), more than the city average.:9 Thirteen percent of Inwood and Washington Heights residents are smokers, which is slightly less than the city average of 14% of residents being smokers.:13 In Inwood and Washington Heights, 26% of residents are obese, 13% are diabetic, and 28% have high blood pressure—compared to the citywide averages of 24%, 11%, and 28% respectively.:16 In addition, 24% of children are obese, compared to the citywide average of 20%.:12
Eighty-one percent of residents eat some fruits and vegetables every day, which is less than the city's average of 87%. In 2018, 68% of residents described their health as "good," "very good," or "excellent," less than the city's average of 78%.:13 For every supermarket in Inwood and Washington Heights, there are 13 bodegas.:10
Post offices and ZIP codes
Inwood is located in two ZIP Codes. The area south of Dyckman Street is in 10040 while the area north of Dyckman Street is in 10034. The United States Postal Service operates two post offices near Inwood: the Inwood Station at 90 Vermilyea Avenue and the Ft George Station at 4558 Broadway.
Inwood and Washington Heights generally have a higher rate of college-educated residents than the rest of the city. While 38% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 29% have less than a high school education and 33% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 64% of Manhattan residents and 43% of city residents have a college education or higher.:6 The percentage of Inwood and Washington Heights students excelling in math rose from 27% in 2000 to 48% in 2011, though reading achievement decreased from 34% to 31% during the same time period.
Inwood and Washington Heights's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is similar to the rest of New York City. In Inwood and Washington Heights, 19% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, about the same as the citywide average of 20%.:24 (PDF p. 55):6 Additionally, 68% of high school students in Inwood and Washington Heights graduate on time, less than the citywide average of 75%.:6
Inwood (and Fort George, depending on how one considers neighborhood boundaries) hosts various public schools:
- PS 5 The Ellen Lurie School, a K–5 public school
- PS/IS 18 Park Terrace, a K–8 public school
- PS 98 Shorac Kappock, a K–5 public school
- PS 152 Dyckman Valley, a K–5 public school
- PS 178 Juan Bosch School, a K–2 public school (expanding to Grade 5)
- IS 52 Inwood JHS, a 6–8 public school
- The Paula Hedbavny School, a K–8 public school
- MS 322], a 6–8 public school
- High School for Excellence and Innovation, a 9–12 public specialty school
- Three public schools are "schools of choice" for District 6 and admit by lottery:
- Muscota New School, a K–5 progressive public school
- PS/IS 311 Amistad Dual Language School, a K–8 English/Spanish dual language public school
- PS 366 Washington Heights Academy, a K–8 public school
- There is one public charter school located in Inwood: Inwood Academy for Leadership Charter School, a 5–9 public charter school (expanding each year)
There are several private religious schools in Inwood:
- Good Shepherd School, a PK–8 Roman Catholic school
- Manhattan Christian Academy, a PK–8 nondenominational Christian school
- Northeastern Academy, a 9–12 Seventh Day Adventist high school
- Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School, a PK–8 Roman Catholic school
There is one higher-education classroom campus in Inwood:
The New York Public Library (NYPL) operates the Inwood branch at 4790 Broadway. The first library in Inwood opened in 1902 as a partnership between NYPL and the Dyckman Library, and the NYPL opened several small branches in Inwood in 1923. These branches were consolidated with the opening of the current three-story branch in 1952. The Inwood branch was renovated in 2001. In 2017, it was announced that a 14-story, 175-unit residential structure with a larger library would be built on the site of the Inwood branch.
Inwood's main local thoroughfare is Broadway, which is co-designated US 9 at this point. Highway access to the area is via the Henry Hudson Parkway to the west, the Harlem River Drive to the southeast (ending at Dyckman Street), and the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River from the Trans-Manhattan Expressway to the Cross Bronx Expressway (both of which carry I-95 and U.S. 1). Other bridges to the area include the Washington Bridge at 181st Street, crossing the Harlem River to the Bronx; the University Heights Bridge, from 207th Street in Manhattan across the Harlem River to Fordham Road in the Bronx; the Broadway Bridge, across the Spuyten Duyvil Creek north to Marble Hill; and the Henry Hudson Bridge across Spuyten Duyvil Creek to the Bronx. Inwood's main commercial shopping streets are Broadway, Dyckman Street, and West 207th Street. Manhattan's first Slow Zone was installed on the side streets west of Broadway in 2012; it is similar to other Slow Zones citywide installed as part of Vision Zero, an initiative commenced by mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014.
There are two New York City Subway corridors in the neighborhood. The IND Eighth Avenue Line (A train) stops at the Inwood–207th Street and Dyckman Street station along Broadway, the former of which is a subway terminus and ADA accessible. The neighborhood also is served by the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line (1 train) at the Dyckman Street, 207th Street, or 215th Street stations along Tenth Avenue.
Bike infrastructure in Inwood is limited. Painted lanes are located on Seaman Avenue and the far eastern portion of Dyckman Street. West 218th Street is marked with sharrows (shared lane markings). The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway can be accessed from Inwood on both the Hudson and Harlem River sides; in addition, a 0.75-mile (1.21 km) dead-end stub along the Hudson waterfront below Dyckman Street was added in 2014. Technically, there is a ban on bicycles in Inwood Hill Park except for its western edge and the Henry Hudson Bridge. The Broadway Bridge requires cyclists to use the steel-grate roadway, making cycling connections to the Bronx difficult.
Notable current and former residents of Inwood include:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born 1947), former NBA basketball star, grew up in the Dyckman Houses as Lew Alcindor.
- Jim Carroll (1950–2009), author of The Basketball Diaries, an autobiography set in 1960s Inwood which was adapted into a film in 1995 starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
- Astronomer, planetarium director and author Thomas Wm. Hamilton (born 1939) lived on Seaman Avenue from 1942 to 1968. Noted as the namesake of asteroid 4897 Tomhamilton.
- Wynn Handman (born 1922), Artistic Director of The American Place Theatre.
- Bess Houdini (1876–1943), wife of magician and stunt performer Harry Houdini lived at 67 Payson Avenue and conducted seances to contact him after his death.
- Brian Lehrer (born 1952), radio host on WNYC.
- Lionel Mapleson (1865–1937), violinist and librarian of the Metropolitan Opera House for nearly 50 years. Creator of the Mapleson Cylinders, one of the earliest recordings of live classical music. Mapleson lived on Park Terrace East at the time of his death.
- Anthony Marx, current president and CEO of the New York Public Library.
- Will McIntosh (born 1962), Winner of the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda (born 1980), actor and writer of the Broadway musicals In the Heights and Hamilton.
- Paul Stanley (born 1952), musician and co-founder of the American rock band Kiss, was born in Inwood and lived in the neighborhood until age 8.
- Henry Stern (born 1935), longtime former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
- Isidor Straus (1845–1912), owner of Macy's department store, owned a country estate that was located in present-day Inwood Hill Park
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