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  • Local Expert 72 points
  • Review 1
  • Questions 0
  • Answers 0
  • Discussions 0


2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
Just now

"I was born and raised here and know it like the palm of my hand"

I have seen the neighborhood go from a a lower middle class family oriented, ethnically mixed neighborhood in the 60s, to a "third world" country in the 80s. Crime was cleaned up a bit thanks to Guiliani in the 90s, but you still have gangs, poor immigrants mostly from the Dominican Republic, (but lots of Mexicans moving in), noise, - cars blasting merengue music at all times. Only white college students who want to live here for a couple years are moving here for cheap rents. The don't last long. There is an attempt at gentrification, and rapacious landlords want to take it over but generally, it's not the place to raise healthy kids-- - the schools are tough. George Washington High School is tough and the only Catholic high school mother cabrinin closed. Schools are mostly immigrant population so if you're white kid, you'll feel left out ( though whites living in the Heights send their kids to schools away from the neighborhood for some strange reason). It's basically an inner city neighborhood with pockets of buildings tjat charge you an arm and a leg considering the inner city neighborhood you're in. There are of junk stores, dozens of people selling fruit on the street, food without a license, it's a disaster. The "Jewish sections" are now called "Hudson heights" in an attempt of real estate people to distance it from the inner city poverty of the rest of the Heights. (And don't buy that stupid musical either). Hipsters may think it's cool to move up here, but we WaHi smell gentrification usually resent them. Most move out soon anyway, they can't take it. They're just "blanquitos" searching for cheap manhattan apartments. The Heights has a fascinating history - -most immigrants are unaware of it; it played a huge role during the American revolution. I am writing a book on it. At one time there were more communists in the heights than anywhere else in the USA . By the urban decay of the 70s things changed with the "white flight" of the 70s and crack epidemic of the 80s affected the neighborhood. I was dying to get out - the noise, crime, cat calling, poverty, drug addiction, teenage pregnancy. Inner city life. Not healthy. But now the landlords are buying every piece of land they can to build condos. Many residents resent it. Though most of us born lament what it's become, and look forward to moving out to safer, healthier places to live, we resent gentrification. WaHi was always lower middle class, not impoverished as it is now, not for the rich!

The only people who think Washington heights is cool are real estate and yeshiva university or Columbia students from out of state who did not live the 50 years of urban decay that many of us did. It was like surviving a plane crash. It still dangerous at night- if you can sleep. Summertime is hell with people taking their radios to the sidewalks. Regeton, merengue blasting at all hours. Can't sleep for the noise. Car alarms. Gangs. Rats everywhere because there is garbage from food everywhere. Illegal fruit vendors and food vendors leave a feast for rats every night. Forget the cops- they're too busy fighting drug dealers to deal with things like noise. Dirty streets, many roach infested building especially the older ones. Bodegas with cats (I.e. Mice); Starbucks? In "Hudson Heights" and those who live by Colombia Presbyterian which took over that area through eminent domain.

181street is hell hole, overpopulated, illegal street vendors, noise...the #1 - train stop us a descent (literally) into another dangerous hell hole. Subway stop.

Despite what the real estate agents say, do what my dad always recommends: visit the area at night. Then you'll get a sense of WaHi.
  • It's history
  • Rats and garbage
  • Noise noise noise
  • Depressing poverty
  • Crime rates continue to be a problem
  • terrible grocery stores
  • Can be dangerous
  • Not much nightlife
  • Helpful (2)
  • Comment (1)
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johndoe1 This review was terrible ESPECIALLY for someone who claimed to have lived here for as long as you say you have. First off as a born and raised resident myself, NO ONE calls this place WaHi - where are you getting this from?. 181st is not a Hell hole. Yea it can be crowded but it's a shopping area a lot like fortsam road in the Bronx, 125th in Harlem or time square even. Being crowded is typical for any major city so I suggest using better class of words just because you don't like It. "Hell Hole" is definitely not the way anyone would describe it other than you. 181st is actually very convinent. All of the main teams in Washington Heights (1,A,C) stop in this area. You can find everything from Mcdonalds to Starbucks, a gym, modells and footlocker, plenty of shopping for great prices from clothes to furniture and home appliances. Many street vendors selling toys, electronics and food trucks. It's a one stop shop especially for someone new to the neighborhood.

Mentioning what it was in the 80's is just redundant. This area is far from that now. Barely any crime at all. The smell of marijuana lingers here and there and you will find many urban youth but crime is ground upon especially theft, domestic violence etc. Sadly the cat calling issue is true but it's not as exaggerated as people make it seem. Most women run into the same group of guys that do it but tell it like it's a epidemic on every corner. It's not!

There is a lot of culture and character here. A Passion for the arts and a vibrant atmosphere. Many children and nice places for them to play. There's even dog parks now. The 34th precent has a strong handle on the neighborhood and cameras on every single corner. There is a huge police presence as well which is normal with New York being a police state. There is no gang presence here. At least nothing organized. Back in the 90's it was an issue and during the early 2000's there were many clicks within different streets, blocks and avenues but that type of influence is gone.

Summer time is NOT HELL unless you mean the heat. Honestly I think you just hate it here, haha. I will admit it's not for everyone. The summer here can be nostalgic and memorable. There is nothing like a New York summer. The avenues become alive, family's set out to give their blocks life with music and BBQ's, the kids play sports outside and there are events to look forward to that are both good for adults and kids. This neighborhood is definitely great for exploring and if you are lucky enough to have access to a roof, the view is prettt beutiful especially if you are from out of town, so take it all in.
Yes it can be loud but need I remind you that it is the city! The one that never sleeps... we earned that name.

The night can seem shady, but common sense go's a long way as I'm sure it would in any big city. again as plenty people mention, it's the 3rd safest place in manhattan and that's not day time stats only.

Gentrification is slowly creeping in but it is bringing some really nice places to the neighborhood. Not all the natives like it but most people are very ambitious here, getting the right jobs to be able to enjoy the changes rather than wine about it.

Bodegas are a staple here and on a late night this will be a haven for a late snack or bare necessities etc... most are 24/7 which is great. Men- there is a barber shop on every block, lady's - there is a salon or nail shop right next to them.

Rats - yes, welcome to NEW YORK.

In conclusion this is one of the most convinient places to live for so many reasons and for a first timer in the city you can really make the most of your humble beginning here with friends or new ones you will make along the journey.

This is my Home and I welcome you to it! Good Luck.
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