Close Up On: Inwood


Portions of this article have been updated.

What Manhattan neighborhood offers six miles of hiking trails through primeval forest of oak, tulip, maple, and hickory? Inwood does, as well as the area’s only remaining salt marsh. In less than 20 minutes, the A train will whisk you from midtown to this hilly green swath set between rivers at the northern tip of Manhattan. Legend has it that here, in 1626, Peter Minuit bought the island from the Canarsie Indians for $24. Real estate’s still a bargain. Artists, musicians, theater people, and yuppies priced out of Park Slope are flocking north, mostly to the art deco apartment buildings on the blocks west of Broadway, where they mix with remnants of this old Irish enclave and up-and-comers from Latino, black, and Asian communities. To the east of Broadway lies a bustling Latino neighborhood, mostly Dominican, of large families residing in walk-ups, thriving bargain stores, south-of-the-border cafés, and exotic street food. But rents are getting steeper, said Homer Young-Kennedy III, late director of the Inwood Community Coalition, “now that the world has discovered, ‘Oh my god, I can get this two-bedroom apartment for $1500 in Manhattan!’ ”

Boundaries: Fairview Avenue to the south, Dyckman Street to the west, and the Harlem River to the north and east (Inwood is bisected by Broadway).

Transportation: Take the A train express to Dyckman or 207th Street, or the 1 train to Dyckman, 207th, or 215th.

Main Drags: Broadway, Dyckman Street, 207th Street.

Average Price to Rent: West of Broadway: studio, $900 to $1000 ($800 to $1000); one-bedroom, $1,050 and up ($950 to $1250); two-bedroom, $1,400 and up ($1450 to $1800). East of Broadway: studio, $850 and up ($700 to $750); one-bedroom, $950 and up ($800 to $900); two-bedroom, $1,000 and up ($950 to $1400).

Average Price to Buy: West of Broadway only: studio, $189,000 and up ($75,000 to $105,000); one-bedroom, $279,000 to $339,000 ($140,000 to $190,000), two-bedroom, $379,000 to $425,000 ($210,000 to $300,000).

Landmarks: Columbia University’s Lawrence A. Wien Stadium at Baker Field (218th Street and Broadway); Dyckman Street Marina (Dyckman Street at the Hudson River)

Community Organizations: The Inwood Community Coalition fosters intercultural cooperation between the ethnic groups that use Inwood Hill Park. The New York Restoration Project worked towards creating the Swinder’s Cove Boat House at Spuyten Duyvil, the first new rowboat house in New York in 100 years. Inwood Community Services provides drug- and alcohol-abuse programs and counseling for disadvantaged teens.

Local Arts Scene: The Moosehall Theater Company, which presents the Inwood Shakespeare Festival in the summer; the Lyric Opera of New York; and the Pied Piper Children’s Theater (20 Cumming Street)

Cultural Institutions: Dyckman Farmhouse Museum (4881 Broadway): a 1785 Dutch-style farmhouse with period rooms displaying 18th- and 19th-century American furniture. The museum itself is currently closed but the grounds remain open to the public.

Green Space: In the nearly 200 acres of cliff and forest in Inwood Hill Park (Dyckman Street to Spuyten Duyvil), you can make yourself believe you are in the Adirondacks. The four bald eaglets raised there in spring of 2002 have flown away, but look for a new brood next season. Isham Park (Isham Street to 214th Street, Broadway to Seaman) lays out splendidly civilized gardens, walks, and playgrounds.

Famous Residents: Harry Houdini once lived on Payson Street; Jim Henson was a resident; and, of course, the Dyckman family, which donated their farmstead to the city.

Notable Events: The Shad Festival in May (celebrating the fish’s swim up the Hudson to spawn); Drums Along the Hudson, a Native American cultural festival, also in May. All take place in Inwood Hill Park.

Best Restaurant: Hoppin’ Jalapeños Bar & Grill (597 West 207th Street) serves up spicy shrimp jalapeños and huge-to-bursting burritos in a casual bar atmosphere.

Best Bar: The Piper’s Kilt, an Irish pub, serves hearty burgers and offers a host of brews on tap, including Guinness, Double Diamond Ale, and Harp Lager (4944 Broadway).

Politicians: Councilman Miguel Martinez, Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, State Senator José M. Serrano, Congressman Charles B. Rangel—all Democrats

Crime Stats: The 34th Precinct serves Inwood and Washington Heights north of West 179th Street. As of September 4 2005, it reported 6 murders, 16 rapes, 198 robberies, 152 felony assaults, and 187 burglaries. (The 34th Precinct serves Inwood and Washington Heights north of West 179th Street. As of September 29, it reported 6 murders, compared to 7 last year; 27 rapes, compared to 23; 226 robberies, down from 239; 189 felony assaults, down from 204; and 276 burglaries, compared to 286.)