Inwood: Green Space and Budget-Friendly Apartments

With a 196-acre park and reasonably priced housing, this northern Manhattan neighborhood has seen an influx of new residents in recent years.

Comments: 62

  1. This article, which gets updated every 4 years, requires context coming as it does on the eve of the earth-shaking rezoning.

    - The theoretical new population unlocked by the rezoning is 46,000, a doubling of the current population. The city thinks this will only be 14,000, but they have been wrong before. The new zoning allows buildings up to 30 stories in places, at densities not found north of Central Park.

    - Inwood has large parks, yes, but the rezoning does not add any new ones. The narrow waterfront segments will be disconnected segments from nowhere to nowhere even after several decades.

    - Rent stabilized apartments, as mentioned in the article, are at risk under the pressures that will be created in the rezoning (since 70% to 80% of new development would be market rate). Yes, there are protections, but if your 5 story building gets rezoned to 11 or 14 stories, as is proposed, a way will be found to clear the site.

    - Inwood remains as multicultural as it has always been. To claim otherwise requires evidence. There have been no recent co-op conversions. People have been moving from the Upper West Side for a century and income patterns have been stable at least since the WPA guide of the 1930s.

    - The rezoning adds no new schools despite the added population.

    The rezoning is aggressive and driven by politics instead of planning. The city has been unwilling to modify it to improve rather than harm Inwood. Future NY Times articles may not be so glowing.

  2. I'll also add the context that we live in a city with a major housing shortage and we need to create ways -- in all neighborhoods -- to meet the demand for housing in our ever-growing city. Aggressive changes are needed and, while changes may cause some short-term headaches, future residents will appreciate living in a city with modern, more affordable housing stock.

  3. Quit telling people about Inwood. We don't want the hipsters. Instead call it "upstate Manhattan" that should keep the trendsetters from moving here

  4. My sentiments EXACTLY, neighbor.
    Folks will move here, get sick of how much the A train is down, then move and leave high rents in their wake.

  5. I lived in Inwood for awhile, it was a nice enough hood. Now I live in the big apartment complex atop the hill that is prominently featured in the first picture of the article. It's in the Bronx and well worth crossing the river for. Housing here is less than half of Inwood's, I have the D and the 4 close by and I could walk to Inwood in 5 minutes if I cared to.

  6. I was just going to say the same thing--Inwood is great but it's not that different from many parts of the Bronx. You can save 50% by crossing the river.

  7. I wonder if the Dichter pharmacy which I am sure adds a nice touch to the neighborhood owns or rents its space because I have a feeling, it won't last long if renting and the lease is being renewed soon. These unique places get pushed out and replaced by guess what, another Starbucks. The owner, Manny Ramirez, sounds like an affable character, a true spirit of the neighborhood which I am afraid very soon will be just a memory.

  8. The property is owned by a corporation or person called 'LYGIA' with a Yonkers mailing address. That could be Dichter or some other person/corporation. Property taxes are $57,126 / year.

  9. Even NYC has limits to what it's infrastructure can handle.

  10. Dichter Pharmacy rents, as do many if not most of the vibrant and necessary small businesses in the area. You are correct in your guess that they will be forced out if the rezoning is approved, just as residential rental tenants can expect. This is not idle speculation: it has happened already with the rezoning of East Harlem.

    There is indeed a need for more housing--but not the kind of upscale housing rezoning is likely to bring. (And certainly not at water level, as proposed--a disaster in the making.) Income levels being used as its basis are far above that of the majority of neighborhood residents. There are many other things wrong with the rezoning plan, especially environmentally and business-wise. Infrastructure improvements needed to support any new development have been ignored. A group of concerned local citizens has been working not only to point out these errors and omissions, but to offer counter suggestions. They have been involved at every possible public comment stage, from that on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to this week's City Council Subcommittee on Zoning & Franchises. They have presented pages upon pages of well-researched documentation countering the false claims of EDC, and continue to supply facts to our Council member. Now we can only hope that the Council will pay attention and do what is right for uptown citizens.

  11. In addition to placing immense pressure on rent regulated tenants-- many of whom would be pushed out by the revocation of "preferential rent" agreements to keep them in below-code apartments until gentrification renders the neighborhood lucrative enough to force them out--the rezoning proposal would spell the end of small businesses like Dichter on Broadway to make way for big box stores.

    The parks aren't going anywhere, but they'll be surrounded by the likes of TD Bank and Starbucks galore in a few years. Ydanis Rodriguez solution of beefing up legal aid budgets to fight tenant harassment belies any sort of understanding of the time intensive and risky process tenants face when they take landlords to court.

    I'm not entirely sure how the young couple's mentioned are affording these down payments, but I suggest that none of us forget that these great deals come with the cost of displacing current tenants and businesses. Rezoning this neighborhood deals a blow against good in the ever running battle for the soul of the city.

  12. What we really want is a follow-up article - featuring a young, hip couple who - after reading this article - decided to move up there and now live in--

    "A Cozy pre-war 1-bedroom, overlooking a big cement stairway (not safe after dark) with an expansive and magnificent view of Co-Op City in the distance" --

    Can't wait to read that article --

    For those of us who lived in the Washington Heights and Inwood neighborhoods for many years - as well as for those who still do -- we know better...

  13. That expansive and magnificent view has Fordham Hill Oval in the distance.

  14. If it's true that you lived there for many years, you really should know that that's not Co-op city. In fact, Co-op city is miles away.

  15. The stairway in the photo has been widened, repaired and planted for several years with improved lighting bright enough for safety. Alternatives to these stairs (which I wouldn't prefer when snowy and icy) are walking the hill along 218th St, or south along Seaman Avenue to one of its cross streets.

    The apartments in the distance of first photo are not Co-Op City, rather they are Fordham Hill Co-ops in University Heights next to Fordham Road / Webb Avenue - quite a nice place with reasonable prices, big apartments and expansive views.

    I grew up in Washington Heights, and visit Inwood regularly; it's still amongst the most beautiful of Manhattan's neighborhoods. My main criticism is it's increasingly expensive, which brings generic chain retail and dilutes the character.

  16. We looked hard at upper Manhattan and came to the same conclusion the realtor in this article points out:

    “the neighborhood is becoming ‘more trendy’ and ‘really cool,’ with an influx of co-op buyers who prefer coffeehouses and cocktails to pubs and bodegas.”

    That’s why we nixed it, and moved instead to a terminally unhip part of Western Queens that is swimming in pubs, bakeries, florists, hardware stores and the cuisines of dozens of nations.

    We know we’re not safe here: homogenization is coming for every inch of this city. But we found a great little hideout and consider ourselves lucky to be able to continue experiencing the kind of urban fabric we came to NYC for in the first place.

  17. I lived there somewhat recently and the commute to Manhattan was not as the realtors claim (ask them if they live there). You are lucky to get the A on time and the 1 is terribly crowded and both take way longer than a half hour to get to Midtown. Not something I would want to do again. Inwood is not nearly as convenient to get to Manhattan as are places like Astoria or Sunnyside.

  18. By "Manhattan," I assume you mean midtown? Because Inwood is most definitely *in* Manhattan.

  19. I frequented that area years ago very often. My brother and a friend lived up there. Rats or o.k. rodents, hills, long commute but yeah, you can get a sunken livingroom and if you are lucky it can look out over trees. More affordable than Manhattan but that's not necessarily affordable.

  20. More affordable than Manhattan? Inwood is in Manhattan...

  21. The mentions of La Marina in the article as a "performance venue" are interesting, since that is exactly what they have been denying they are for six years. Their contract with Parks strictly forbids concerts, but they have hosted 40+ concerts every summer in breach of contract anyway, causing all sorts of issues for the neighborhood in terms of noise, traffic and late-night crowds. Nervous Parks officials have tried to tell public meetings that these performances are not concerts, and that the word "concerts" is not legally defined, while NYPD have looked the other way at the seizure of public streets for illegal valet parking. The Times themselves reported on this in 2013, and you can look up "Restore Dyckman Marina" for more information. So if you are reading this article for the real estate advice do your research before moving near Dyckman Street.

  22. Breaking news: La Marina was just closed by the Health Department for food sanitation violations (31 points, including three "critical" violations). Nearby residents are cheering, even though the closure is probably only temporary.

  23. Ok, here is my version of Inwood - I moved here 4 years ago with my partner and our kids:

    - not much crime but drugs, definitively. A major heroin packaging operation was dismantled a few years ago, in a family building, with small kids playing in the park just across the street. You find evidence of use of hard drugs all around in the parks.

    - Inwoood Hill Park is big but it is overtaken by large crowds as soon as the weather is nice. Large sound systems are lugged into the park, intense barbecuing and partying every Friday, Saturday and Sunday as soon as it gets hot.

    - The trash is rarely picked up in the park, especially after over crowded week-ends and you find yourself walking among garbage of all sorts. Extremely depressing after several days.

    - The mentioning of La Marina and other restaurants on Dyckman street is laughable, as that block is again overcrowded every Friday and Saturday, usually with a heavy police presence. There was a drive-by shooting a few years ago on Dyckman.

    - The noise is terrible in certain parts of the neighborhood. You have the elevated train all night, we also have a garage where mechanics work late and blast music all day during the weekend.

    - Commuting : the A is unreliable, everybody knows that. The 1 is already over capacity. The morning commute can be a nightmare, esp. after 125th street going downtown.

    - Good schools are rare and too small. Families are fighting for spots for their kids.

    In short - not worth it IMO.

  24. It's amazing how the NYT sells these 'Living In' neighborhoods. Everyplace is just wonderful.

    The 34 Precinct has had 93 robberies to date this year, 201 robberies in all of 2017. The 19 Precinct (East 70s area) has had 78 robberies so far this year and 125 robberies in all of 2017. I can't believe that Inwood had only 76 more robberies in 2017 than one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city.

  25. And just like that, with less than 1500 rent will now go up 15%. Thank you for solidifying the status quo and betraying low income folks since your inception.

  26. This article is nice and glossy in that in mentioning the LaMarina and other restaurants as well as the park it leaves out the excessive noise it glosses over that Inwood has the city highest noise complaints.
    The Inwood Hill Park is replete with hookah smokers occupying the scant park benches and the stench of marijuana smoke everywhere!!
    La Marina cannot be enjoyed by the residents and their children because it’s a club scene on weekends.
    I attempted to barbecue with my family in the large area designated for that 3 weeks ago and was barraged by another family’s extremely loud music 70 feet away.
    I’m happy to report that not everyone cares to share and be considerate of their neighbors in this “tightly knit” neigbhood.
    The use and enjoyment of our limited and precious outdoor space is invaluable and when that experience is ruined and threatened by those “long time” residents who view noise complaints as racism then it’s time to revisit the values here.
    I have a lovely 2 bedroom convertible to a three for anyone willing to move!!

  27. The drug use isn’t that bad. Lots of hookah and weed. The guy complaining about heroin is a baby.
    The littering is more detrimental to the area. It’s pretty gross.

    Inwood is tiny and the 1 and A are crowded as is, so I’m genuinely frightened of all the new construction and what that will do to the commute. Trains running smoothly is more crucial up here since it’s a longer trek down.

    There’s definitely way more young 20 something white people in the neighborhood now.

    But the rezoning thing is going to be a disaster. The construction will create chaos. They took away a couple lanes of the bridge to Marble hill in order to work on the 1 train....and all of the inwood streets were bumper to bumper parking lot.

  28. $600K for two bedrooms is "affordable"?

  29. in TriBeCa, it's 2 million cheapest (more like 3-4million). By that comparison, it's affordable.

  30. Inwood has some serious quality of life problems: bars and restaurants along Dyckman that have loud music well into the night, and the traffic and crowds that come for La Marina. If you're planning to move to Inwood, visit on several Friday and Saturday nights during warm weather, and you will see for yourself.

  31. "The A train, an express with stops at Dyckman and West 207th Streets, takes about 30 minutes to reach Midtown." Please. If the moon and the planets align, and you find a four-leaf clover growing out of a horseshoe, yeah it's 30 minutes to Columbus Circle. Out of ten weekly commutes to and from midtown, you're lucky if you get three 30-minute rides. At least half the trips will take closer to an hour and that's just to CC. Good luck if you have to travel any further south.

  32. OMG. I just (and I mean at 10am, Friday) took the A train downtown. Waited 14 minutes for a train to pull into the station (using the MTA countdown clock), then sat on the train for five minutes before it left. At 145 St it was announced that the train would be making local stops to 125 where I got off to switch to a local train to 81st. Arrived at 81st to transfer to a crosstown bus. It took 50 minutes from the time I entered the 207th Station until I exited 81st. Inwood is nice, but the commute downtown (and coming back home) easily takes an hour or more. Added hassles include jam packed trains and short tempered passengers. That's the reality of the Inwood/MTA experience.

  33. Yeah the idea that it's "5 more minutes on the subway" is laughable.

  34. Not only do these prices not seem "budget-friendly," but I am also wondering how a high school teacher and guidance counselor, just a few years out of college and grad school, can afford a $635,000 co-op.

  35. Especially when the renovated huge two-bedroom below mine in a beautiful landmarked building just went for $340,000 just across the Harlem River in the South Bronx.

  36. Not that it would explain it, but what is conspicuously absent from these sale prices are the monthly maintenance, or carrying charges. In contrast to the high property taxes on apartments (and private homes) in Nassau and Westchester counties, and in northern NJ high density suburbs, carrying charges on NYC properties are often hundreds of dollars lower. That savings is imaginary of course, since every $500 saved in monthly maintenance/tax expenses translates into another $100K into the asking price.

    What you point to though is something that the NYT needs to start addressing, which is the manner in which the financial services sector (and overseas buyer investment) is doing to NYC real estate what big tech companies have done to San Francisco real estate.

  37. NYT ought to be investigating the shenanigans behind the zoning change push, the players and their water carriers...elected and hired.

    "An extensive rezoning proposal approved by the City Planning Commission last month would allow residential and commercial development in an area east of 10th Avenue that is now mostly industrial, and new buildings elsewhere."

    a closer look at "elsewhere" might be worth serious journalistic (as opposed to this promotional) effort.

    the neighborhood, the community, will not be "joined" by the new arrivals but eradicated as the new zoning leads to rents that will price current residents out of the market (the lease breaking ploys await like snakes in the inwood park grass)...and just wait until the "elsewhere" buildings rise over the "community," burying its spirit (and its library) below grade level.

    loft dwellers in the way west village has the same kind of preferred shops and eateries, all erased as the neighborhood became "soho"...and those who got out, moving west toward the river, were soon "tribeccarated."

    changes happen, but this one, it says here, is getting a shove from behind the scenes.

  38. Our family fled Inwood when NYC became Fun City under Mayor Lindsay and the A Train was known as the Mugger's Express.
    I occasionally visit the old neighborhood and have seen signs of improvement although I don't think ferry service to New Jersey from Dyckman Street will be coming back any time soon.

  39. I lived in Washington Heights between 1981 to 1986. First at 9 Broadway Terrace for one two years, then, at 21 Broadway Terrace for 3 years. (off 190th Street and Broadway). I used to take A train to then changed Trains to get off at Grand Central. My rent at the first place was $210.00 per month, at 21 Broadway Terrace I paid $300.00 per month. After two year, I think in 1985 or 86, my rent was raised to $350.00 a month. Fortunately, I never mugged or robbed while I was living in Washington Heights. I was mugged, twice in 1980 when I was living in Jackson Heights. I have been living in in the great state of Tennessee for the past 32 years, and life has been good in the South.

  40. well said. glad you never mugged when living there. probably in your new paradise the last 32 years you never lynched or prevented children from attending school, or adults from voting, either!

    try to think, it won't hurt, even if you have to let some historical details in that work against your premise (or premises, as the case may be) that that neighborhood was not so good, but your chosen one is just such a wonderful place and always has been.

    happy life, transplanted New Yorker to the South. Dream on.

  41. From the way Inwood is presented, it sounds like a neighborhood that attracts families that value culture and education. So why are the percentages of school kids meeting state standards so dismal and why does only one school in four perform better than the city-wide averages?

  42. The school-age population is mainly east of Broadway in the rentals. The non-school-age population is mainly west of Broadway in the co-ops. And I would guess that whatever school-age population does live west of Broadway does not mainly attend the local public schools....

  43. @Barbara Pines those aren't the only public schools in the area. There is also Muscota and Amistad and Dos Puentes among others. Not sure why they chose to highlight these two.

  44. Overpriced. I grew up there as a teenager with different populations. Still there is noisy loud music at night according to people who tried to move back after moving away , very old buildings with walkups and fire escapes and bed bugs violations, yes there are still muggings or rapes in Inwood hill park but no signs of gangs. La marina was once plain old docks and boats waterfronts. I have photos Commercially it squeezed gorgeous vistas of the palisades and public space by a club that shoots videos.

  45. Having lived there decades ago and know people who tried to move back, I would give it a thumbs down for aging buildings, night noise, and overpriced.

  46. How about a sincere, investigative piece about the proposed zoning changes and the effects on the local community, and lack of affordable housing, rather than a puff-piece pro-gentrification Realtor advert?

  47. @Clive Outstanding!!

  48. My entire childhood was spent in Inwood--on Broadway right next to Isham Park. My elementary school, PS 98, had wonderful teachers, and there were children my age everywhere. I passed by my old apartment house last year after not seeing it for several decades and it looked the same from the outside! W. 215 St--city steps have been renovated. My friends and I used to hang out there. I do remember the Telephone Company building where there was an explosion with a number of casualties. But for the most part happy memories.

  49. It looks like the Brooklyn I grew up in. A trip to the Cloisters was a rare treat.
    And who could imagine that a Brooklyn college graduate with a degree in Art History would end up living in Mt. Dora, Florida for the winter and Aegina, Greece for the summer?

  50. My family lived in the Bronx and for 4 years I ran up the steps at 215th street. Every morning of the school year found me sprinting up the steps to the Academy of the Sacred Heart of Mary, making it in the door before 8:30.
    The school was on Park Terrace ,the convent and the school backed up to Islam Park. The stairs never looked this good in the late 60’s.
    My Mother worked for Ma Bell on Dyckman st. We kept a small boat at a marina on the river(the guys that ran it were friends of my father) the best thing was and is how close we were to the Cloisters.

  51. @Mary
    I read your comments with nostalgic delight. In the late 1960s, I too ran up those same stairs to SHM. Many a wonderful walk through the park was a treat at the end of the day. The neighborhood was a true community and the lessons I learned from the people on those streets were as valuable as the wonderful education I got at SHM.

  52. After 14 years I left Inwood two years ago.

    Yes, Inwood Hill Park is terrific except on weekends when the trash strewn around the open areas became intolerable. My nicest times in the park were long walks on the trails in the dead of winter when the trees, birds and other wildlife were a sight to see.

    Otherwise, horrible street noise, over-priced trendy restaurants which pushed out the neighborhood joints, mice and roaches in the building (and I was in a "good" building on Seaman Avenue) a wildly over-priced greenmarket on Saturdays and a terrible commute. Quality of life issues that would never be tolerated in other parts of Manhattan proliferated unchecked in Inwood.

    Ultimately, the park wasn't enough.

  53. The Inwood rezoning plan being railroaded through will destroy some of the most splendid and unique qualities of this neighborhood: the "Big Sky" that each day and night, every dawn and dusk, is a living force in this neighborhood of low-rise buildings; the natural habitat and flight zones of the abundant wild life; the absolute silence of a winter's night; the streetscape of independent businesses owned and operated by residents of the neighborhood. Be warned that bumper-to-bumper traffic and fully-saturated streets and sidewalks already make summers here close to unlivable. The infrastructure does not exist to sustain the sudden mammoth growth rezoning would artificially impose.

  54. I grew up on Thayer Street, one block south of Dyckman Street, and when I was asked where I lived, I confidently said, "Inwood", to be followed by, "No, it's not the Bronx, it's Manhattan". I think your author needs to extend her definition of Inwood south by a few blocks to include the area as far south at least to the intersection of Nagle Ave and Broadway as being classified as Inwood.

  55. You’re right . Since when was Dykman Street the neighborhoods southern boundary?

  56. Quite right. I grew up on Ellwood Street, three blocks south of Thayer, and I'll say that as far south as that intersection of Broadway and Nagle it's definitely not Washington Heights; it's low ground.

  57. Like New York used to be before the city became homogenized by the rich and very rich.
    Nothing kills the soul of a city - or a person - like luxury.

  58. Not having ever lived there, I just can't believe what's considered reasonable housing prices in NYC. What do normal people make there? Do secretaries make $150,000 a year? How can people pay $250,000 to live in 300 sq. ft? I have an 1100 sf, one-bedroom condo, that looks out at a beautiful green belt and have deer walking by my deck. It's treed, green and beautiful and only minutes from town. I paid $172,000, and at the time I made $68,000. My mortgage is $600/month. Lots of places in the country are vibrant with artists and writers, great restaurants, music, art and theater. What is so great that NYC offers that keeps people there?

  59. @Ms. Pea: My spouse lived in Seattle for 3 years. It's a nice place, except it RAINS so much of the time, which makes it dreary and quite depressing. How do normal people live there without suffering from depression?

    Seattle stands in my mind as a place so depressing one would have to be on Prozac to cope, and where a car is critical to going anywhere or doing anything.

    As to what's so great about NYC, I can only say it's my home town and I've never visited anyplace else that has this kind of energy & vitality, and where people of all races, backgrounds & beliefs get along together because of the great leveler: public transit!

    On top of that, Seattle can't touch NYC for depth & breadth of museums, theater, opera, etc. culturally. And we don't live in a near-permanent soggy gray climate - here, we get all 4 seasons with their varying pleasures & colors. We also have lots of parks.

    While it's true that "lots of places" have "great restaurants," most of those places don't have nearly the variety we have in NYC, with many cuisines available by walking just a block or two in any direction. And what's considered a "great" local restaurant in lots of places would be just one more regular restaurant in NYC. We are spoiled for choice!

    As for the deer walking by your deck, sorry, but my only thought is "Lyme Disease"!

    I doubt you'll ever know why people prefer to live in NYC, and that's OK! I'd never willingly live in Seattle, and you won't understand that, which is also OK.

  60. Regarding the money— yes, most jobs pay more here because the cost of living is so high, but they do not pay enough more to make up for the exorbitant prices. Most of us pay a higher percentage of our income towards rent and very few people can afford to buy a home here. I don’t know why I stay, but I love NYC. I tell myself it’s some kind of siren song that keeps me here. I am a midwest transplant, and there is plenty of culture and excitement to be had in many other cities, but New York for some reason has held my fascination. I think one reason is that it is so big with the Burroughs so different form each other that I can wander and move to a new section of the city, and it is like starting over in an entirely new town without even having to leave my job or start over.

  61. @Ms. Pea I grew up in Seattle and love the city, but have lived in NYC for the last 26 years. When I talk to my friends who live in Seattle now, it is astounding how the cost of housing has shot up there in recent years. $800k for a 2-bedroom bungalow? which is far more than I paid for my 2 bedroom apartment of similar size in Washington Heights. People live where they live and they make it work. I love the city and all it offers culturally, and my career is here. It has its trade offs, but I wouldn't put price as a big separator between Seattle and NYC these days.

  62. I lived on the Upper West Side on CPW back in the 1980s so I "get" the lure of Manhattan. Now? I live in a leafy, artsy, progressive section of Northwest Philadelphia where $307K buys a 2,400 sq ft, two story house with 4 bedrooms, two baths, off street parking and a nice yard. My neighbors are musicians, writers, artists, academics. I've got all the "energy" I need.