Welcome to the website of the Harlem & the Heights Historical Society,
your gateway to Upper Manhattan.
Upper Manhattan is New York’s best kept secret. It contains the neighborhood of Harlem, the world’s most renowned black community, which brought us the Harlem Renaissance, that flowering of African-American culture and intellectual life through art, music, poetry, theatre, literature and political thinking.
North of Harlem we find the neighborhood of Washington Heights, the world’s biggest Dominican community outside the Dominican Republic. Washington Heights is home to Manhattan’s oldest house, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, from where George Washington planned his strategies in the Revolutionary War. The neighborhood shelters the well-hidden Little Red Lighthouse, that would star in the children’s book The Little Red Light House and Great Gray Bridge and that captivated the hearts of thousands. Washington Heights also houses the Hispanic Society of America, and the Cloisters: a medieval structure you wouldn’t expect in New York City (or the US, even), and home of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s extensive medieval collection.
North of Washington Heights lies Inwood – formally Inwood on the Hudson - where we find Inwood Hill Park, the location where Henry Hudson first set foot on Manhattan in 1609, and where that most famous sale of sales occurred: the Dutch buying the island of Manhattan from the Native Americans for 60 guilders in goods. The park offers overlook views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades. It is almost identical to what the pioneers must have seen back in 1609 and gives you an idea of the rough natural richness the island of Mannahatta once possessed.
Last but not least we have the neighborhood of Marble Hill, with its steep and winding roads filled with mansions from yesteryear. You wouldn’t believe you’re still in New York City.
But no matter where you are in Upper Manhattan, every neighborhood offers that vibrant mix of cultures, that unique blend of food, music, clothing and attitudes from the corners of the world that one came to expect from New York City. Upper Manhattan contains the hustle and bustle of Downtown and Midtown without the streamlined abundance of chain stores and commercialism and adds an impressive amount of nature and river views to the mix. It makes you wonder why most New York City tourist guides and maps cut off everything north of Central Park.
The Harlem & the Heights Historical Society (H&HHS) has as mission to research and record the history of Upper Manhattan and to promote everything its neighborhoods have to offer, from museum to live venue, from high end restaurant to outdoor activity. In order to reach it goals, the H&HHS works closely together with renowned uptown institutes like Columbia University and The Hispanic Society of America to continuously create projects to stimulate interest and investment in the neighborhoods, to get Upper Manhattan on the map.
On this website we give a sampling of what we have done since our humble beginnings in 1923. Next to historical information we offer service information for anyone planning a visit.
See you soon in Upper Manhattan.
Enjoy your stay!