Exploring New York City’s Morningside Heights: A Walk Through a Lively, Historic NYC Neighborhood

The following is a post from Patrick G. Mackaronis. Patrick is the Director of Business Development for New York City-based social network Brabble. In this post, Patrick wants to speak about some places where we can take a morning walk Through in the Historic NYC. Patrick can be best reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Outdoor Living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Riverside Park, with its sweeping views of the Hudson River, is one of the city’s great outdoor spaces and serves as the neighborhood’s much-loved back yard. Dog owners let their pets run free in its many dog runs, couples watch the setting sun color the Hudson, Columbia students park themselves on the grass to study, and small children run and climb in the many playgrounds known as “Tot Lots” on the upper boulevard.

Bicyclists and walkers enjoy the waterfront esplanade that runs for four miles directly along the river from 158th Street to 59th Street, where it connects with another path that leads to Battery Park at Manhattan’s southern tip. Soccer and baseball fields, a skateboard park, a boat basin, kayak launches, and tennis courts are all found within Riverside Park. There is also a small wildlife area, “Forever Wild,” with footpaths for exploring. At the northern end of the area, just north of Grant’s Tomb, is the small and charming Amiable Child Monument.

 

Columbia University, New York’s Ivy League

Founded in 1754 by royal charter from King George III, Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus covers more than 30 acres and six city blocks. The impressive wrought-iron gates at Broadway and 116th Street lead to a classic Ivy League campus filled with nineteenth century Beaux Arts buildings.

College Walk takes the visitor straight through the campus, from Broadway to Amsterdam Avenue. Notable sights along the way include Low Memorial Library, a National Historic Landmark, with its enormous bronze statue of a seated woman, Alma Mater.

The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Also Called Saint John the Unfinished

A massive Gothic structure overlooking the cliffs of Morningside Park, Saint John the Divine is the seat of the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Located on Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street, Saint John’s was originally intended to be Romanesque in style. In 1909, the plans were altered to create the imposing High Gothic edifice that exists today.

Open to the public, the cathedral is an active participant in the life of the neighborhood with church services, outreach programs, a fine school, and a lively arts program. Its motto, “A House of Prayer for All People,” reflects the cathedral’s commitment to a diverse population.

The grounds of the cathedral are as fascinating as the interior. A large sculptural fountain to the east is ringed by small bronze sculptures created by Manhattan school children. Near the back of the cathedral is one of New York’s hidden treasures: a tiny Biblical Garden, tucked away from the hubbub of the city, where shady arbors offer an occasional glimpse of the Cathedral’s free-roving peacocks.

Eating Out in Morningside Heights

Eating is one of New York’s great recreational activities, and Morningside Heights offers many choices. The Hungarian Pastry Shop, directly across from the Cathedral, has served up coffee and cookies to generations of Columbia students and professors. Tom’s Restaurant, known to Seinfeld fans the world over, is on the corner of 112th Street and Broadway. Lime Leaf on 108th and Broadway is a fine and atmospheric Thai restaurant.

For world-class chocolate, step into Mondel’s Chocolates at 2913 Broadway, a tiny shop that has sold spectacularly delicious, hand-made chocolates of every variety since 1943.

Morningside Heights is a NYC neighborhood that richly repays an afternoon spent strolling its streets.

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