Washington Heights

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Washington Heights, affectionately known as "The Heights", is a New York City neighborhood. Located in Upper Manhattan, it is named for Fort Washington, a fortification held by American troops during the American Revolution and which was captured by the British on November 16, 1776. It should not be confused with Washingtonville, a town in Orange County.

Washington Heights is bounded on the south by Harlem and on the north by Inwood. It runs from 155th Street to Fairview Avenue. Coogan's Bluff lies in its southeast corner. It is connected to Fort Lee, New Jersey via the George Washington Bridge.

One of the Heights now-vanished riverfront estates was Minnie's Land, the home of artist John James Audubon, who is buried in the churchyard of the neighborhood's Church of the Intercession, a masterpiece by architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. At Audubon Terrace is a cluster of five underused Beaux Arts museum buildings of distinguished architecture. Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, perhaps the most widely known institution in the neighborhood, occupies the former site of Hilltop Park, the home of the New York Highlanders (now known as the New York Yankees) from 1903 to 1912.

The Cloisters
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The Cloisters

The best known cultural site and tourist attraction in Washington Heights 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 medieval buildings that were purchased in Europe, brought to the United States, and reassembled. Another major museum, though little visited, is The Hispanic Society of America (http://www.hispanicsociety.org/), which reportedly has the largest collection of El Grecos and Goyas outside of the Museo del Prado, including one of Goya's famous paintings of Cayetana, Duchess of Alba.

Manhanttan's oldest remaining house, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, is located in the landmarked Jumel Terrace Historic District, located between West 160th and West 162nd Street, just east of St. Nicholas Avenue. An AAM-accredited historic house museum, the Mansion interprets the colonial era, the period when General George Washington occupied it during the American Revolution, and the early 19th century in New York.

The neighborhood has a large Dominican population (because of this, the area is sometimes called "Quisqueya Heights"), and Spanish is commonly heard on the streets. Since the 1980s, the neighborhood has been the United State's most important base for Dominican empowerment in the political, non-profit, cultural, and athletic arenas.

There is also a significant Jewish population, particularly in the more upscale Hudson Heights subsection, descended from a previous wave of immigration, as well as students (and recent graduates) of the neighborhood's Yeshiva University. The German-Jewish population is based around Khal Adath Yeshurun, a direct continuation of the pre-war Jewish community of Frankfurt am Main, colloquially called "Breuer's" after Rabbi Dr. Joseph Breuer, founder and first rabbi of the congregation. Washington Heights is also served by a number of smaller orthodox synagogues, as well as the Hebrew Tabernacle, a reformed congregation.

The neighborhood was severely impacted by the crack cocaine epidemic which began in the mid-1980s, and today its crime rate is only marginally lower than that of neighboring Harlem.

External Link(s)

fr:Washington Heights

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