Washington Heights (pt. II)

I went back up to Washington Heights today to fill in the blocks of 156th St. - 168th St. (about 7 miles).

Today's walk

Today's walk

Washington Heights a neighborhood in northern Manhattan, bounded by 155th St. to the south and Dyckman St. to the north.  Like many parts of Manhattan, Washington Heights has a history as an immigrant neighborhood.  Today the area is mostly Dominican, but during the 20th century it had been Irish (early 1900's), Jewish (1930's / 1940's) and Greek (1950's - 1960's).

The neighborhood was named for Fort Washington, a fort built by the Continental Army on the highest point of the island.  Along with it's partner fort, Fort Lee, it was intended to prevent British ships from moving up the Hudson River.  Unfortunately, it fell to the British in November 1776 after Washington's defeat at the Battle of Long Island (in Brooklyn) in August.

One of the landmarks from that era still stands in the neighborhood is the Morris-Jumel Mansion.  Built by British colonel Roger Morris in 1765 (making it the oldest home in Manhattan), the house was abandoned when the Revolutionary War broke out.  After his retreat from Brooklyn, George Washington occupied the mansion and it served as his headquarters for about a month, including during his victory at the Battle of Harlem Heights (to the south).  It was later home to Aaron Burr (third Vice President / dueling gold medalist) during his brief marriage to his second wife, Eliza Jumel.

Other landmarks include Columbia University Medical Center / NY Presbyterian Hospital, which occupies most of the area between 165th St. and 169th St. west of Broadway.  Fun fact - the hospital sits on the former site of Hilltop Park, the original home of the New York Yankees (back when they were called the Highlanders).  In 1913 the team officially changed it's name and moved to the Polo Grounds, a much larger park that sat below the bluff at 155th St.  Here's a picture of the Polo Grounds from the 1913 World Series (you can see the Morris-Jumel Mansion to the right of the water tower).