6.8 out of 10

Morningside Heights

Ranked 24th best neighborhood in Manhattan
40.8084724683652 -73.9588219751545
Great for
  • Schools
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Safe & Sound
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Internet Access
Not great for
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Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students

Reviews

3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Morningside Heights – Transient Students & Long-Time Residents"

You won’t find a more diverse neighborhood in Manhattan than Morningside Heights. Some people consider it part of the Upper West Side while others think of it as part of Harlem, but it is really its own special place. Its northern and southern boundaries are 125th Street and West 110th Street; its eastern and western boundaries are Morningside Drive and Riverside Drive.

One of the most interesting things about Morningside Heights is that it is both an extremely settled and highly transient neighborhood. The area is filled with educational institutions including Columbia, Manhattan School of Music, and the Bank Street College of Education, among others, and many people refer to this neighborhood as New York City’s ‘college town.’ The vibe is decidedly student-y with lots of restaurants, clothing stores, bars, and other businesses catering to their needs. Since each new school year brings a new group of young men and women to the area, and in August and September residents should be prepared to help lost students find subway stations, bus roots, and to figure out uptown from downtown.

Beyond the changing student population, Morningside Heights is also filled with long-time residents, many of them families. And although much of the housing in the area is owned by Columbia, there are a variety of living options available, including rent-stabilized apartments in older buildings and luxurious co-ops and condos in new high rises. The white collar residents who live here are academics who are employed at area schools, Broadway hopefuls and professionals, classic musicians, and corporate executives. There are also blue-collar families who have called this area home for generations.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Riverside Church are community gathering places, offering a wide range of secular events along with religious services. After services and events, many audience members stroll in Riverside Park running along the Hudson. But in-the-know residents read to Morningside Park, a magnificently landscaped area that runs from 110th Street to 123rd Street from Morningside Drive to Manhattan Avenue.

Living in Morningside Heights is affordable, but not cheap. Still, this is a neighborhood that is easy to call home because of the numerous supermarkets, dry cleaners, shoe stores, specialty markets, restaurants, and other things it has to offer.
Pros
  • Buildings are beautiful
  • Great coffee shops to write a novel in
  • Proximity to Columbia
Cons
  • dominated by the university
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Morningside Heights: Quiet and Well Kept with a lovely park (Riverside Park)"

Morningside Heights is a best kept secret for those who live uptown. Near Columbia University, it offers lots of apartments of various types which are rather spacious, but at a more affordable rate than downtown because of its proximity to Harlem. While the university and neighborhood is rather close to Harlem you wouldn't know it. Central Park is not far away and on the other side is Riverside Park (a glorious strip of a park with mature trees that runs all the way down to 79th street or thereabouts).

Morningside residents have a pick of a number of eclectic restaurants, cafes and bars that cater to the students from the university. Poetry readings and such may abound. The Cathedral of St John the Divine is a local church which any tourist should visit as it's massive and gorgeous. One should be careful about walking at night just because it's the city. You need to be careful wherever you are.

Apartments are a great buy here if you can afford them. Doormen buildings are preferred as they usually have elevators. Walkups will not only require toting yourself up stairs but usually won't have AC either. This is a lovely area. Be sure to walk the campus of Columbia University. It is not to be missed!
Pros
  • Columbia University
  • Rivierside Park
Cons
  • way up town
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Lots of Columbia Students and Profs Here"

I love Morningside Heights, it has always been one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city. Some claim it is part of the Upper West Side, others that it is north of it. Either way, the area has its own vibe, young mixed with older, academic mixed with hip. Morningside Heights starts on 110th and and runs up to 25th Street from Morningside Drive (Columbus Avenue farther south) to Riverside Drive.

At one time this was a sketchy area but gentrification has changed all that and made it popular destination for students and others who seek relatively affordable housing. However, if should be noted that prices here have climbed for both sales and rentals and while you may still come across a bargain, these are becoming fewer and fewer. Many of the buildings in the are owned by Columbia University and house both professors and students.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine one of the most beautiful churches in the country is located on 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. The neihgborhood is also rich in greenery being near three parks: Riverside Park stretching along the Hudson River, Morningside Park which divides the east and west sides, and Central Park which ends on 110th. This end of the park has a beautiful lake known as the Harlem Meer (Dutch for "Lake") and is a popular spot for walking. I often visit this end of the park since it is so removed from the touristy sections and allows me to sit quietly with good book in hand.

Seinfeld fan? Then you will enjoy visiting Tom's Restaurant on Broadway and 112th widely known as the Seinfeld Diner since the outside of the place was always shown whenever the gang hung out there. The area is also the neighborhood where comedian George Carlin grew up. The composer George Gershwin and author F. Scott Fitzgerald also called Morningside Heights home.

What I especially like about this neighborhood are all the great little coffee shops where writers such as myself are invited to sit for a spell and work on our laptops. There are also some great bookstores such as Labyrinth Books on 112th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, which is the largest scholarly bookstore on the east coast. A great used bookstore is The Last Word on 188th Street and Amsterdam. Nice selection with a focus on old favorites.

The neighborhood is just a few subway stops from the midtown area via the 1, 2, and 3 or the B and C trains.

If I ever decide to live in Manhattan again, Morningside Heights is where I am heading.
Pros
  • feels like a college town
  • great bookstores
  • Buildings are beautiful
  • Great coffee shops to write a novel in
  • Home to the stunning Cathedral of St John the Divine
  • Proximity to Columbia
  • Good coffee shops and bars
Cons
  • bars are full of students
  • dominated by the university
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"One of the Biggest Student Neighborhoods in NYC"

Morningside Heights lays on the outskirts of Harlem and the Upper West Side but doesn't really belong in either one. It had been a neighborhood that had to deal with a lot of the inner city crime problems that the rest of the city, particularly the northern part, has dealt with and is now a haven for college students and New Yorkers that want affordable living in the city.

Crime remains a bit of a problem but only in some parts. The Columbia area is very safe and is dominated by the students that live there. It's a matter of personal choice if you want to live in a quiet area with more crime concerns or a more crowded student area that is perfectly safe. The rents can get high but many affordable options still exist. There are many bars and small restaurants that largely cater to the surrounding student community.

For tourists, the area has a few spots that are maybe worth checking out. My favorite is Tom's Restaurant, the diner where the show Seinfeld was shot. Also in the area are several big universities, hospitals, and churches.

Good bars, decent place to live, not a whole lot else. If I found an affordable place here I would not hesitate to move there but it is best to check out the area immediately around the apartment.
Pros
  • Good coffee shops and bars
  • feels like a college town
  • great bookstores
Cons
  • bars are full of students
  • dominated by the university
  • Can be dangerous at night
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
2yrs+

"One of the first areas I'd look for an apartment"

Morningside Heights is a neighborhood that some say is part of the Upper West Side and others say is north of the Upper West Side. It runs from about 110th Street to 125th Street from Morningside Drive (which becomes Columbus Avenue farther south) to Riverside Drive. This was once a questionable neighborhood, but gentrification has made it much more favorable in recent years.

There are lots of colleges in this neighborhood, the most famous of which, of course, is Columbia University. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine – the most beautiful church in New York City, in my opinion – is also in this neighborhood. If you live there, you'll have the lovely Riverside Park, and the 'hood is just northwest of the northernmost border of Central Park near the Harlem Meer. Not bad! I live pretty far from this neighborhood now and almost never get up there, but when I do, I always appreciate it.

If you're a tourist, you'll definitely want to check out the Cathedral and Tom's Restaurant at Broadway and West 112th Street, the famous restaurant featured in Seinfeld (well, the outside of the restaurant, anyway.) The 'hood has a pedigree, too: George Gershwin and F. Scott Fitzgerald lived there back in the day, and George Carlin grew up there.

While no apartments in Manhattan are what you'd call cheap by standards elsewhere, you can still find some deals in this neighborhood because it's slightly off the beaten track. It's just a few subway stops from midtown or downtown, but if you work on the east side, you might feel like you're commuting from the outer boroughs by the time you get to your business via subway or bus.
Pros
  • feels like a college town
  • Buildings are beautiful
  • family-friendly
  • Home to the stunning Cathedral of St John the Divine
Cons
  • bars are full of students
  • Noisy and crowded, especially if you're not a student
  • Most restaurants located here cater to the student population and are not very good
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Best Brunch Spots in the City"

This neighborhood has undergone an impressive transformation, but glimpses of Morningside's shady past occasionally surface.

Remarkably, however, Morningside Heights is fine place to live and a fairly safe home for the thousands of students at Columbia University. Excellent bookstores, coffe shops, and areans of intellectual achievement give elegance to a formerly filthy hood.

Morningside Heights is also nicely nestled in between Riverside Park and Morningside Park--two excellent pastoral escapes. Combine these parks with superior grocery alternatives, Fairway and West Way Market, this neighborhood is practical place for working class households to raise their families.

Obviously students have a number of watering holes to drown their studies, including Village Pourhouse which at once point offered to pay for your cab fare home after a certain number of drinks.

The restaurants are fantastic. La Monde, Dinosaur Barbeque, Cafe A, and Hungarian Pastry Shop allow for the perfect excuse to visit Morningside Heights or proper justification for moving there.

Proximity to Columbia can make housing options pricey, but excellent deals are lurking if you can sniff them out.

I lived here for a year and had an excellent summer before the Columbia kids arrived. Even during the academic year, the students weren't too much of a problem. What was a problem was the 1 train, which makes frequent stops and is unreliable on the weekends.
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
2yrs+

"Columbia Revives a Beautiful Neighborhood - for Better or Worse"

Morningside Heights is still trying to overcome a reputation for being a fairly dangerous neighborhood - a struggle that continues thanks in part to the occasional criminal incidents that still occur. However, Columbia University has, over the years, acquired much of the property here, and so the area has come to be known for the prestigious, picturesque university with its European architecture. There are plenty of other grand, beautiful historic sites in the area, like the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and Grant's Tomb. These institutions have allowed for an easy transition into a lovely neighborhood, full of lively bars, sweet cafes and an up-and-coming restaurant scene. Of course, these places are mostly frequented by Columbia students, so the fact that this little neighborhood can feel like a college town at times is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you are. If you're younger, you might love the revived nightlife and buzz. If you're older, you might find the crowding of students in your favorite bar irritating. But Morningside Heights has the affordable rents, spacious apartments, relative quiet during the day and modern conveniences to be ideal for families.

There is still the risk of crime to contend with. While relatively safe now, the area is not without cause for caution. The neighborhood can easily be lived in and loved with some street smarts.
Pros
  • great bookstores
  • feels like a college town
  • Buildings are beautiful
  • Great coffee shops to write a novel in
  • Proximity to Columbia
  • family-friendly
  • Home to the stunning Cathedral of St John the Divine
Cons
  • Can be dangerous at night
  • dominated by the university
  • Noisy and crowded, especially if you're not a student
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
2yrs+

"Much nicer than it used to be"

Morningside Heights is dominated by Columbia University. There are other institutions of higher learning, such as Barnard College and the Manhattan School of Music, but Columbia is the big fish here. The university owns much of the land in Morningside Heights, and therefore has control of much of the area.

Whatever you think about the implications of that for the surrounding neighborhood and its population, you have to agree that the neighborhood has changed since Columbia started exerting its will. Crime has dropped dramatically in the last few decades. While drugs are still a problem (it’s a college, after all) there are far fewer drug-related incidents than any time in recent memory. Housing prices have risen dramatically.

But this is absolutely a trend for this area of Manhattan. The Upper West Side is bleeding its prosperity into nearby northern neighborhoods, like Manhattan Valley, southern Harlem, and Morningside Heights. Gentrification is moving along at a whipping pace. This brings chi-chi grocery stores, an American Apparel location, and other establishments of that ilk. There are newer places for the college students to hang out, but it is, overall, a relatively quiet neighborhood.

While some might regret the loss of the old neighborhood and the rapid increase in housing prices, the increase in safety and well-being of the residents must bring peace to some.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"Charming college town aura"

If I were asked to choose between the college town neighborhood that is Washington Square, near the NYU spread, and the one that is Morningside Heights, where Columbia and a lot of other establishments of higher education reside, I would have to say that I prefer the latter.

The neighborhood boasts some incredible history which can be found in landmarks like Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, Grant's Tomb and Riverside Church or the West End Bar, where beat poets liked to meet up and compared notes during the forties and fifties.

Surrounding streets boast a little bit of that old school charm without being too overrun by corporate restaurant chains and/or stores, like you see down in NYU territory.
Pros
  • great bookstores
  • feels like a college town
  • Buildings are beautiful
  • Great coffee shops to write a novel in
  • Proximity to Columbia
  • Home to the stunning Cathedral of St John the Divine
Cons
  • bars are full of students
  • Noisy and crowded, especially if you're not a student
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Get a look at Manhattan below"

You'll want to go to Riverside Church (at West 120th Street and Riverside Drive) and be discreet about finding the Laura Spellman Rockefeller memorial Carillon. The reason for it, as you'll discover, is that you can ascend to the top and have an unobstructed view of the city below. Not at all like the metal grilles at the Empire State Building, you can really get a sense of the poetry of Manhattan's bird's eye view. I haven't been up there in many years, so I really hope they haven't caged it in by now. If they have, a trip up to Morningside Heights is still not wasted, since you can visit the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, one of the largest cathedrals in the world. The guidebooks say it's still not complete, more than a hundred years after construction began, and they are still pumping visitors for donations, which would go toward this or that construction. They offer a Vertical Tour periodically, up the stone spiral staircases and onto the roof of the building. If you're lucky enough to catch one of these tours I highly recommend it. Otherwise, there's not a lot of amusement going on in Morningside Heights, as the area is dominated by the Columbia University campus. Many of the buildings outside of the fenced-in campus at 116th Street are in one way or another part of Columbia too, so the area is just one big university town, really. It is definitely one of the more beautiful campuses you'll see, with pristine lawns and students hanging out on the steps of the big domed library in the center. But once you're not a student any more, the area doesn't have a lot to offer you, so you'd best just head downtown for any kind of entertainment.
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Like going to Columbia, even if you don't go to Columbia"

Half of the people who went to college in New York City probably lived in Morningside Heights (aka they were Columbia students), and the other half probably lived in Greenwich Village (aka they went to NYU). So there are a number of local legends that make the rounds. For example, every freshman hears about and subsequently has to go to Tom's Diner, of Seinfeld and Susan Vega fame (Seinfeld was filmed there, and Susan Vega wrote a song about the place). Believe me that the food is nothing special and the place is indistinguishable from any other greasy spoon you've ever been to. Another one is the Hungarian Pastry shop, also popular with the literary student types, which is thoroughly over-rated regarding the quality of those pastries. Every freshman is expected to get blackout-drunk at least once at the Amsterdam Cafe. Everyone reads at least one bad poem at Postcrypt. There's a whole list. And then there are various enclaves: for example, the philosophy department pretty much sticks to the bar next to the Hungarian Pastry Shop for its alcohol needs (the place has changed names, yet not changed much over the years). Nevertheless, half the fun of Morningside Heights is getting to pay homage to those beloved local institutions of food, study and drink. So it's no wonder that this area, so dominated by Columbia University, feels a lot like a college town.

That said, the residential buildings are gorgeous, turn of the century numbers, and there is a significant family demographic in this area, unlike for example the area around NYU. This place must seriously have the highest concentration of intellectuals per square foot of any other in the nation, and the living's good around these parts. Everywhere you look, people are engaged in some intellectual pursuit or other. some of my favorites: St. John's Cathedral is gorgeous and worth a tour. I love Saga for a nice dinner out. Everyone agrees Papyrus is a great literary bookstore, and they also cover a good deal of humanities academic subjects.
Pros
  • feels like a college town
  • family-friendly
  • great bookstores
Cons
  • dominated by the university
  • bars are full of students
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
2yrs+

"Morningside Heights aka Columbia"

Morningside Heights is the neighborhood that all of the Columbia kids live. I find that it's much more sedate than the areas surrounding NYU as far as college antics. It's actually rather sleepy for a place that has so many young people which can be good or bad depending on what you like. It's just a bit more serious, but it's definitely pretty well gentrified because of the demographic. Not a lot of amazing restaurants or nightlife but there are definitely some cool cafes and bars along the way. And, like most of the UWS, the architecture of a lot of the buildings is pretty cool: very old world.
If you weren't a student, it probably isn't the best idea for a place to live unless you are in a couple. And, the price point for rentals is a lot more reasonable than many other neighborhoods uptown.
It is pretty far, and especially directly around Columbia, you can only take the 1 which can be slow especially on weekends.
Morningside Park is a really cool thing to go to during the day. It's at 110 and Morningside and you have to climb several steps to get to the top, but it's worth it. The rugged climb shows you the actual foundation that Manhattan used to be and the view is really breathtaking.
I like this neighborhood because it seems so literati. Serious people writing their debut novel, couples walking their golden retriever and students vigorously studying on the corner cafe. It's fairly sleepy, and kind of a trek, but I like the energy.
Pros
  • Buildings are beautiful
  • feels like a college town
  • great bookstores
Cons
  • bars are full of students
  • dominated by the university
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"For the sporty,the scholarly and the pious"

Morningside Heights which extends from 110th Street to 125th Street from Riverside Park in the west to Morningside Park in the east is a neighborhood in New York City that is renowned as the home of Columbia University though aside from this world famous university, Morningside Heights is also home to other academic institutions like Barnard College, the Bank Street College of Education and the Manhattan School of Music. Due to the preponderance of these academic institutions the area’s many prewar co-ops and row houses are largely occupied by students as well as faculty and staff of Columbia University.
Aside from being the home to these many institutions of higher learning, Morningside heights also hosts two of New York City’s most famous churches namely the gothic Riverside Church which overlooks the Hudson and has within its folds the world’s largest church bell and the world’s largest gothic cathedral, the magnificent Cathedral of St. John the Divine which hosts a popular albeit eccentric annual event for biking enthusiasts in New York City in April every year. This event which is known as the Blessing of the Bicycles kicks off the annual biking season in New York City and features the sprinkling of bicycles with holy water in an effort to keep them safe for the entire duration of the cycling season.
In order to cater to the needs of its resident student population, Morningside Heights also features many lively stores, cafes and restaurants like the relatively upscale organic café Community Food and Juice which is located on Broadway between 112 and 113 streets and the excellent children’s book store, Bank Street books which is located nearby on 112th street.
Pros
  • Home to the stunning Cathedral of St John the Divine
  • great bookstores
  • feels like a college town
  • Buildings are beautiful
  • family-friendly
  • Great coffee shops to write a novel in
  • Proximity to Columbia
Cons
  • Most restaurants located here cater to the student population and are not very good
  • bars are full of students
  • dominated by the university
  • Noisy and crowded, especially if you're not a student
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"NYC's college town"

Populated by scruffy Columbia University students and "novel in progress" academics, Morningside Heights, far more than the part of the East Village surrounding New York University, is the hipster coffeehouse central of New York City. With charming nineteenth century buildings - the Columbia campus is particularly intimidating - used bookstores, and Gluten-free pizzahouse - the area is perfect for aspiring novelists and goateed intellectuals to talk about existentialism over Viennese coffee at the Hungarian Pastry Shop.

Indeed, the shop - a crowded European-style cafe on 111th and Amsterdam - is one of the neighborhood's main attractions, with a literary scene and scones to die for. Other Morningside highlights include the Labyrinth bookstore, uptown's answer to the Strand, and the gorgeous St. John the Divine Church, as well as the Union Theological Seminary nearby. Or head to the river for some stunning Hudson river views - ideal for a stroll after wolfing down the Hungarian Pastry Shop's signature dishes, loaded with all the decadence of the Habsburg Empire
Pros
  • Great coffee shops to write a novel in
  • Proximity to Columbia
  • great bookstores
Cons
  • Noisy and crowded, especially if you're not a student
  • Town/gown divide
  • bars are full of students
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
2yrs+

"Morningside Height: Hidden Treasures Beyond Columbia"

Columbia University's Morningside Campus is certainly impressive, but for those interested in architecture and history, don't miss the Cathedral Church Of St. John The Divine on Amsterdam Ave., one of the largest cathedrals in the world and one of the most controversial as well. Less the 10 minutes walk away to Grant's Tomb--a must visit for those interested in the American Civil War. I think it is also the largest mausoleum in the US. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants along Broadway, some better than others. I like brunch at Le Monde at Broadway and 110th. Not keen on the famous Seinfeld Tom's Restaurant, but to each his own. For groceries, there are a couple at the corner of 110th and Broadway but if you can make it to 125th Street, go to Fairways for a much better selection and way better prices. Miller Theatre at Columbia puts on some good jazz and classical shows, some are free during lunch and some of the players are world class.
The Northern part of Morningside is in District 5 school zone which is NOT good. If you can move below 115th you are in District 3. Much better.
Recommended for
  • Singles
2/5
2yrs+

"The most famous restaurant in America, not for the food!"

Morningside Heights is known for numerous academic institutions as well as the most famous restaurant on television. Campuses from Columbia University, Barnard College, Manhattan School of Music, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America are all found in this neighborhood. Aside from academia, St. Luke’s Hospital is also located in Morningside Heights.

The neighborhood is primarily residential and lacks hotels. Morningside Heights does boast, however, the famous Tom’s Restaurant at 2880 Broadway. Not only is the diner a favorite with Columbia students, but also is it the location of Suzanne Vega’s 1981 hit “Tom’s Diner” and the place the Seinfeld TV cast hung out and contemplated life. The food is terrible and you may leave with a stomachache, but if you want a little taste of iconic history you won’t want to miss this place.
Recommended for
  • Singles
2/5
2yrs+

"AKA "White Harlem" - pretty boring"

This neighborhood is full of college kids, as it is also full of colleges (Columbia University, the Manhattan School of Music, Barnard College, and Bank Street College of Education). It’s way up above the Upper West Side, but just below Harlem, making for an interesting in-between demographic. The neighborhood is home to many professional African-Americans (presumably to stay close to Harlem), who share the enclave with the local students.
If you are looking for fun times or just a Morningside Heights tourist attraction, then check out the West End Bar. It was formerly a cool place for Beat artists to meet up in the forties which has updated to modern times by incorporating a Sunday brunch into their repertoire.

Best Streets in Morningside Heights

"Morning Side Park is Beautiful to See"
40.8028960006158 -73.9606980062476
2

West 118 St

3.5/5
"Like the area a lot."
40.8069161364027 -73.9572671713874
3

West 120 St

3.5/5
"A Little Africa in New York City"
40.809189371338 -73.9588524387662
4

West 122 St

3.5/5
"Take A Look at the Harlem Renaissance"
40.810630983216 -73.9582791240007
5

West 112 St

3.5/5
"Homey, quiet and peaceful "
40.8042567977638 -73.9629303333699
6

West 116 St

3/5
"Columbia University - College Walk!"
40.8066696036391 -73.9606886631382
"Lovely and lively"
40.8084771714622 -73.9598462389746
8

West 111th St

2.5/5
"Filled with Columbia kids"
40.8050838452226 -73.9668285878614
9

West 113 St

2.5/5
"Lots of college kids"
40.8049088524327 -73.9625267322933
10

West 114 St

2.5/5
"Annoying frat kids"
40.8050418363629 -73.9608853074906

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