One of the most eclectic neighborhoods in New York City is the upper section of Manhattan known as Washington Heights. As a neighborhood it truly is unique; it remains one of the only Manhattan areas not affected by gentrification.
However, that might change soon. Tonight, MTV will debut their new reality series, Washington Heights. The show will tell the story of nine Washington Heights natives who are trying to thrive in their respective fields, from hip-hop to art.
We’re based in New York City, so we know a lot about Washington Heights. To get you prepped for tonight’s show, here’s the 411 on the real Washington Heights.
Dominicans run the Heights
There are many types of ethnicities living in Washington Heights, but let’s be clear here: Dominicans run the neighborhood. It’s been like that ever since the ’80s, when thousands of Dominican immigrants flocked to the Heights and portions of the Bronx.
In fact, just walking around, you would think that English is the second language, with the first being Spanish.
The neighborhood is proud of its Dominican culture and you’ll see it best if you visit the NYC Hispanic Museum, or if you head to festivities that go down during the Dominican Day Parade in June.
There’s great nightlife in the Heights
Basically, in Washington Heights the party never really stops. Again, the Heights are proud of its Hispanic culture, so expect a lot of dancing, beautiful Dominican woman and delicious glutinous food wherever you go. Popular stops include Mamajuana Cafe and the Caña y Cafe.
It’s at the highest point in Manhattan, so it’s basically natural disaster-proof
Heights are called the heights for a reason. Hurricane Sandy essentially shut down all of lower Manhattan. Millions lost power while thousands of people (especially those living in Tribeca) experienced heavy flooding. You know who didn’t have any of these problems? People who were living in the Heights.
Washington Heights is a bargain compared to other neighborhoods in Manhattan
Even though not the cheapest neighborhood in Manhattan (that would be Inwood) the Heights is a steal compared to most areas of NYC. The average rent in the West Village for a studio is about $2200, while the average rent in the Heights for a studio is a little over a stack.
Washington Heights is pretty safe
The Heights has a bad rep from the ’80s and ’90s. During that time period, known as the Crack Era in NYC, the Heights was one of the most dangerous places to live. A lot has changed since. It’s a relatively safe place now. In fact, over the last couple of years, the Heights was actually a safer place to live than Greenwich Village.
The Heights has the best pot
We couldn’t find any studies to back this claim up…but trust us when we say it’s true. 😉