In the Heights

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‘Lights up on Washington Heights,

Up at the break of day’

Since, like thousands of others,  we couldn’t get tickets to see “Hamilton” on a recent trip to NYC, we decided to take the A train to the site of “In the Heights,”  Lin Manuel Miranda’s other show, (which we had no problem finding, thanks to the lyrics).

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‘Well you must take the A Train                                                                                                       Even farther than Harlem
To northern Manhattan and maintain
Get off at 181st, and take the escalator
I hope you’re writing this
Down, I’m gonna test ya later’

Disclaimer: We didn’t fully follow these ‘directions.’ We actually got off at the Washington Heights stop at 168th and walked up to 181st, but we made it regardless.

Washington Heights, Manhattan’s highest ground, was named after George Washington, who led troops into an unsuccessful battle here against the British in 1776. Today, Washington Heights waves a flag of American diversity, with many of its inhabitants hailing from the Caribbean – especially the Dominican Republic.

‘In the heights
I hang my flag up on display
We came to work and to live
And we got a lot in common.
It reminds me that I came
From miles away.
DR, PR, We are not stoppin’.
In the heights’

While this area may not be full of tourist sites or Broadway shows, there are lots of mom and pop restaurants and shops as you make  your way to the top of Manhattan.

‘I used to think we lived at the top of the world

When the world was just a subway map

And the 1 slash 9 climbed a dotted line to my place….

I used to think the Bronx was a place in the sky
When the world was just a subway map
And my thoughts took shape
On that fire escape
Can you remind me of what it was like
At the top of the world?’

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View looking down from Fort Tryon Park

 

Our walk led us to Fort Tryon Park, which was a gift to the city in 1935 from John D. Rockefeller.  The park is filled with beautiful gardens and 67 acres of green space. It may be small next to Central Park, but Fort Tryon is still worth a visit, with jagged boulders throughout and high lookouts to view the Hudson River and across to the George Washington Bridge.

 

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Catching a glimpse of the GWB from the park

 

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New Leaf Restaurant

Before wandering through the park, we stopped at the fairytale-like New Leaf Restaurant.  It seriously looks like something out of Snow White.

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New Leaf’s outdoor dining area

With an outdoor covered eating area out back, this was a great place to stop for lunch and on top of excellent ambiance, the food was great.

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Falafel burger and beer

On full tummies, we continued our walk through the park, past beautiful gardens on our way to the highest point.

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The Cloisters

 

Here, we found the The Cloisters, the  MET’s collection of art and architecture from medieval Europe.  This castle-like building features five French Cloisters outside and hosts the famous Unicorn Tapestry, along with other medieval era tapestries.

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Such a beautiful old building

Beautiful place to spend an afternoon escaping the chaos often associated with New York City!

‘Lights out on Washington Heights’

P.S.  If you didn’t follow all the quoted lyrics, you should definitely check out the musical “In the Heights.” Then you can enjoy wandering around Washington Heights singing to yourself….

Categories: Blog, North America, Where in the World | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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