Must-See Washington Heights
by Laura Kusnyer, 07/31/2013
The Cloisters. Photo: Will Steacy
Turn a corner in Washington Heights and you could find yourself suddenly looking down on a massive engineering marvel rising straight up from the Hudson River. It's the George Washington Bridge—one of the many striking visuals that make this skinny stretch of northern Manhattan a photographer's dream. Boulders jut out of the lush greenery surrounding The Cloisters Museum and Gardens, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's uptown outpost for its Medieval European collection. The United Palace Theatre, a big-ticket music venue with small-town appeal, holds another kind of visual charm—whimsically disordered architectural details cover the walls, inside and out. (For years the sign out front has read, "Come on in or smile as you pass.") That's not even to mention the allure generated by the artists who play its stage, including luminaries like Bob Dylan and Beck.
By day, Dominican locals sway their hips to bachata on the neighborhood's sidewalks. By night, their kids, now fashionable twentysomethings creating a hipper version of the Washington Heights their parents grew up in, join non-Spanish-speaking newcomers at bars that make up the burgeoning nightlife scene. Washington Heights is certainly a neighborhood in motion. Out-of-towners will delight in attractions like The Cloisters and sweeping views of the Hudson from waterfront restaurant La Marina; downtowners will find $5 beers, beautiful green spaces and talented DJs equally refreshing. For more on what to see and do, read on.