Located in northern Manhattan, Harlem and Washington Heights are home to some iconic New York City landmarks and some fabulous – yet undiscovered – restaurants.
Yet, the majority of travellers in the Big Apple fail to explore these hidden gems... Which is why NYC & Company has announced that these two diverse neighbourhoods are being featured in its ‘Neighbourhood x Neighbourhood’ initiative.
Neighbourhood x Neighbourhood aims to encourage travellers to explore beyond the traditional tourist trails to discover the eclectic neighbourhoods that lie across all five boroughs.
No trip to New York City is truly complete without some time in the vibrant and historic neighbourhoods of Harlem and Washington Heights. This is the northern part of the island of Manhattan, where you can stand where George Washington led his troops into battle during the American Revolution; where you can visit the neighbourhoods that gave way to the rebirth of African Americans in the Harlem Renaissance; and where you can feel the warmth and friendliness of the Dominican people and culture.
This is what New York City is made of: its history, its people and its struggles. That’s what makes the neighbourhoods of Harlem and Washington Heights prime locations in which to get a real life experience of what it takes to be a native New Yorker.
These communities have rich cultural legacies that continue to thrive. From the iconic stage of Harlem’s Apollo Theater to the old-world ambience of Washington Height’s Cloisters Museum and Gardens, the arts organizations in these neighbourhoods provide extraordinary opportunities for travellers to engage with a wide range of unique cultural activities.
In Harlem, the legendary Apollo Theater is famous for its ‘Amateur Night’, which kick-started the careers of greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Today the venue hosts concerts, performing arts shows and community outreach programs.
A destination for all things jazz, The National Jazz Museum in Harlem pays tribute to the neighbourhood’s jazz community. Popular events include the Jazz in the Parks and Harlem Swings concert series.
Check out the gourmet soul food in Billie’s Black or the traditional pork and brisket plates in Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. And if you’re lucky enough to be in town in August, you can enjoy the free concerts, seminars and festivities during Harlem Week.
Alternatively, in Washington Heights you’ll discover The Cloisters Museum and Gardens, which is devoted to medieval art and architecture. In addition to the collection of approximately 2,000 works of art, the building and gardens have been designed to emulate medieval European abbeys.
Travellers can also step back in time at the 18th-century Morris-Jumel Mansion. Originally a country retreat, the mansion was transformed into George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War.
In Washington Heights you can dive into classic American comfort food and Italian-American specialities at Coogan’s restaurant and karaoke bar, check out the live hip-hop and jazz in Apt. 78 café, bar and lounge, or yet your teeth around the ‘best burger in town’ at the neighbourhood institution that is Piper’s Kilt.