Morningside Heights is primarily a suburban neighborhood in New York City’s northern section of Manhattan. Part of the three communities that comprise West Harlem, Morningside Heights is located on Morningside Parkway, the Central Harlem and Morningside Parks on the south; Manhattanville, on 125th Street on the north; Upper West Side, on 110th Street on Manhattan Valley on the south; and on Riverside Parkway on the west. The main road is Broadway, which passes the neighborhood north-south.
Situated on a high plateau between Morningside and Riverside Parks, Morningside Heights was hard to reach up until the late 19th century, with the exception of asylums in Bloomingdale and Leake and Watts being sparingly established. Together with the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights was considered part of the district of Bloomingdale until Morningside Park ended in the late 19th Century.
The building of academic and cultural institutions started in the 1890s in large-scale growth. By the 1900s, building public transportation and the first subway line of the neighborhood led Morningside Heights to become a residential district. Heights Morningside was developed mainly in the 1930s. As institutions spread at Morningside Heights, cultural tensions rose between these two classes in the mid-20th century. The area started to gentrify in the 1980s and 1990s after a period of decline.
Today, Morningside Heights has a peaceful yet vibrant lifestyle. As the main dining and shopping street, Broadway is lined with eclectic establishments, including the famous Tom’s Restaurant and the West End Bar, a meeting place for the Beat Generation writers.
In addition to the neighborhood’s own park, Morningside Heights is close to Riverside Park and its many amenities. The area is accessible by 1 train running along Broadway.
Several sites in Morningside Heights have been designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as official city landmarks and/or are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). St. John the Divine Cathedral and its six-storey cathedral, located on Amsterdam Avenue between 110th and 113th Streets, were designated by the city as an official landmark in 2017. Riverside Church, on Riverside Drive between 120th and 122nd Streets, is both a landmark of the city and an NRHP site, as is Notre Dame Church on Morningside Drive and 114th Street.