If you’re looking into buying a house on the Upper West Side, you may be interested in the Morningside Heights neighborhood. Let’s take a virtual visit to this quiet neighborhood.
Morningside Heights is a mainly residential neighborhood on the north side of Manhattan. It is one of the three neighborhoods that make up West Harlem and is bounded by the Upper West Side to the south. Today, Morningside Heights has a population of 40,937 with a large portion of the residents being college students and in their early to late 20s.
The neighborhood has a unique geography as it is on a high plateau. Around it, there are parks on two sides and a steep valley on the other. Morningside Park is on its eastern side while Riverside Park is on its west. To the north of the neighborhood lies the Manhattanville Fault, which could have some earthquake activity.
The Morningside Heights area was originally known as Vanderwater Heights after the original landowner in the 17th century. However, the name was changed to “Morningside” because it is one of the best locations to watch the sunrise. This is due to its location next to the Hudson River.
The neighborhood was originally part of the Bloomingdale District until the late 19th century. Then starting in the 1890s, academic and cultural institutions were being built in the area. It wasn’t until the 1900s where Morningside Heights started developing into a residential neighborhood after a subway line was built there. By the 1930s, the area was mostly developed.
Living in Morningside Heights, Manhattan
Whether you’re a college student, recent graduate, or just someone who wants to live in a cozy neighborhood, Morningside Heights has much to offer. Let’s check out what surprises the neighborhood has in store and what it would be like to live in the area!
Transportation to and from Morningside Heights
There are various transportation options to and from the neighborhood. The NYC subway system and the 1 train serves the area. These subway stations are one of the original stations built and were opened in 1904. The NYC bus service is also available in the area. This includes the M4, M5, M11, and M60 routes.
Architecture in Morningside Heights
Within the Morningside Heights neighborhood, you can find religious institutions, academic buildings, and high-rise apartment buildings. There are also various ground-floor stores at the base of these apartment buildings. Many of the neighborhood’s apartment buildings are from the early 20th century.
In fact, some of the original five to seven bedroom apartment units still remain. A few notable apartment buildings include The Colosseum, which has a curved facade and a marble lobby. There is also The Paterno that has a curved facade, marble lobby, and stained-glass ceiling.
However, the majority of the neighborhood’s apartments consist of the Grant Houses and Morningside Gardens. These are large residential complexes with multiple buildings. The Grant Houses is made up of 9 buildings and is a public housing development. Morningside Gardens has 6 buildings and are co-op apartment spaces.
Notable locations in Morningside Heights
There are various notable locations you should check out when living or visiting the neighborhood. This includes not just interesting spots, but also famous landmarks.
One interesting spot in Morningside Heights is the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. It is actually the largest cathedral in the world. Here you can find several tours to learn about the cathedral’s architecture and history. The cathedral also has gardens that are home to three peacocks that walk freely.
Another notable location in the neighborhood is Sakura Park. It is a wonderful place to visit especially during the springtime. This is because there are more than 2,000 cherry blossom trees that fill the park. These trees were a gift from Japan 100 years ago and are a beautiful sight any time of year.
The third must-see in Morningside Heights is the Columbia Greenmarket. This market opens on Thursdays and Sundays and is home to various vendors. Here you can find anything from food, fresh vegetables and fruits to gadgets, jewelry, and tapestries.
Lastly, a notable location in the area you should check out is Riverside Park. This park is one of Manhattan’s waterfront parks as it overlooks the Hudson River. During the winter you can come to the park for some sledding on the hills. During warmer seasons, the park is a great place for a walk or picnic with friends. Even better, the park features beautiful views and is a great place to watch the sunset.
Morningside Heights is home to Columbia University. This is an ivy league research university and takes up a large portion of the neighborhood. It is also one of the world’s most important centers of research. The university was originally founded in 1754 as a King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. Currently, it is the oldest academic institution in New York and the fifth oldest in the U.S.
Within the campus, there are various academic buildings that are either a city or national landmark. This includes the Low Memorial Library and St. Paul’s Chapel.. The campus is also home to Philosophy Hall where the FM radio was invented and Pupin Hall where the first experiments on the fissions of uranium were conducted.
Washington Heights vs, Morningside Heights
Buying a house in Manhattan comes with lots of decision making. This is because there are many wonderful neighborhoods to choose from. Washington Heights is another neighborhood located in Upper Manhattan. So which is better for you: Washington Heights or Morningside Heights?
Both neighborhoods are located at a high point. For instance Morningside Heights is on a plateau and Washington Height was built on the highest natural point on Manhattan Island. However, Washington Heights is on a higher elevation. This means its geography includes abrupt, hilly topography.
If you don’t enjoy walking up and down hills or have trouble navigating stairs, then Washington Heights may not be the best pick for you. Instead, Morningside Heights is a better option. You are still able to get the benefits of living in an elevated neighborhood, such as beautiful views, without the killer pedestrian navigation.
Additionally, the culture of both neighborhoods are different. In Morningside Heights you can find mainly cultural, religious, and academic institutions along with its green spaces and cozy neighborhood spots. In addition, with it being home to Columbia University, many college students and young professionals reside in the area.
Washington Heights’ neighborhood culture contains many historical spots and events. They also have plenty of local art events and cultural institutions. Additionally, Washington Heights has a history with sports and is still home to various sporting events and centers.
Both neighborhoods have their own charm and plenty to offer its residents. So which area fits your lifestyle the best? Localize has many listings in both neighborhoods for you to check out. With our insights, you can determine the area that is best for you and your family.
Moving to Morningside Heights, NYC
Has the Morningside Heights neighborhood caught your attention? If so, there are plenty of houses for sale in Morningside Heights you might be interested in. Here are just a few:
- 501 West 123 Street, #16E ($240,000) – studio, 1 bath
- 615 West 113 Street, #6 ($485,000) – 1 bed, 1 bath
- 80 La Salle Street, #3/13G ($749,000) – 2 beds, 1 bath
- 380 Riverside Drive, #1/2U ($1,350,000) – 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,300 sqft
Morningside Heights is a wonderful neighborhood in Manhattan that borders the Upper West Side.
Now that you know all that the area has to offer you, Localize has plenty of listings for you to check out in Morningside Heights.