Upper Manhattan is above 110th St on the West Side and 96th St on the East Side. Everyone is mixing together now, but the region is traditionally Black, Latin and Jewish.
- Harlem is New York City’s legendary African American neighborhood.
- East Harlem “El Barrio” is traditionally Puerto Rican.
- Washington Heights is traditionally Dominican.
Columbia University is also in Upper Manhattan. It has pretty much taken over Morningside Heights and is spreading across Harlem.
Fifth Avenue is the traditional dividing line between Black and Latin Harlem. Duke Ellington Circle on Fifth Avenue and 110th St connects Tito Puente Way to Harlem. Latin musicians including Tito Puente used to cross Fifth Avenue to listen to jazz in Harlem. Black musicians used to cross the other way to listen to Latin jazz in El Barrio.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hit “In the Heights” (2005) is about the Latin culture of Washington Heights.
Upper Manhattan Neighborhoods
It’s Another World Entirely
The Indigenous Lenape, New York City’s First Nation, settled in the most tranquil spot on the island. Mannahatta’s principle Lenape town was just to the left of the marsh in this picture from what is now Inwood Hill Park. There are still “Indian Caves” up in the hills.
The Shorakkopoch Rock marks the spot where legend says that Dutchman Peter Minuit “bought” Manhattan from the Lenape. It was a bad deal. Indigenous Americans didn’t believe in property rights. All land was held in common for all humanity.
The “purchase” was a typical betrayal of the rights of our First Nations. This kind of thing continues to this day. Colonizers, miners and ranchers use a piece of paper and armed forces to force Indigenous people off the land they have lived on, cultivated and managed for countless generations.
Anyway, Upper Manhattan is beautiful and peaceful. It’s a little hard to believe that you are in Manhattan.