All NY-ers: recommendations in Washington Heights?
January 10, 2008 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Have any of you lived in Washington Heights, in Manhattan? I just moved to 162nd St. would appreciate any recommendations of a good local hardware store, handyman, pet store, supermarket or farmer's market, 24-hour bodega, good delivery or absolutely anything else that is worth seeing/knowing about around here.

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. I bow down to your superior knowledge.
posted by jdruk to Shopping (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Welcome to the neighborhood! I live on 173rd.

There's a good supermarket on Broadway and 170, and there are tons of bodegas and hardware stores on Broadway (I'm not sure in the lower 160's, but in the 170's there are at least three hardware stores on Broadway). For food delivery, there's Tawaa (the best Indian in the neighborhood), and next door is Famiglia Pizza; on Broadway near 167/168. The better restaurants are uptown, along 181st and 187th, off of Fort Washington; although that's a bit more of a walk for you.

The highlight of the neighborhood for me are the parks: Riverside Park (it has tennis courts in the mid-160's), Palisades Park just a short walk across the GWB, and of course Fort Tryon (and its New Leaf cafe there for when you want something more upscale).
posted by rottytooth at 10:13 AM on January 10, 2008


I used to live on the corner of 176th and Fort Washington Ave. My highest recommendation and what I miss most about living there is Malecon, on 175th and Broadway. It's an amazing chicken spot. Used to be open 24 hours but I don't think it is anymore. Chicken that falls off the bone, rice and beans, maduros, yuca and much more, all delicious and absurdly cheap. Think a huge pile of food for a few bucks. And they deliver.

There's a bodega on 176th and Fort Washington. It's decent although to be honest all I ever bought there was Presidentes. Avoid Hilltop Diner which is around 178. It's VERY dirty.

Up higher on 181 is a Starbucks and bourgier places. Nothing special except one pretty fancy and highly-rated restaurant that I can't remember the name of. Sorry about that. There used to a cute little coffee shop on 168th between Ft Washington and Bway that a lot of the med students went to but I can't remember the name or if it's still there.
posted by sneakin at 10:20 AM on January 10, 2008


Oops, the bodega is 176th and Broadway.
posted by sneakin at 10:25 AM on January 10, 2008


Next time I promise to put all my thoughts in fewer posts. Sorry. The swank and highly rated Zagat restaurant up there is called Hispaniola, on 181 between Cabrini Blvd. & Pinehurst St. And the chicken spot that I mentioned above is actually called El Malecon. Just to be precise.
posted by sneakin at 10:30 AM on January 10, 2008


Hiya. I'm at 181st.

Since the hospital is at 168, the offerings around there are slightly better than below 160 or above 170. I agree with rotty about the hardware stores along broadway in the 170s - they offer everything you need.

I get my indian food from Kismat at 187th. That will be aways from you unless you're visiting Fort Tryon.

The supermarkets, in general, suck. Avoid meats and produce from them and stick with the things that come in a box or a can. For your produce or meats, try the specialty markets. There's a good one at 175th and broadway (I think) and there are several very good produce only places along broadway in the 170s. They offer better prices and, above all, better product. I hang out at Fred's Market on 187th.

Eat at Malecon (at 173rd and Broadway). Best dominican dinner food in the neighborhood. And, if you haven't noticed yet, the Heights are very very dominicanized but that is slowly changing as the area gets gentrified. You must MUST check out the dominican bakeries in your area. The bread is particulary tasty. If you don't mind expanding your culinary palate, the Heights are a great place to live at.

For cheap clothes shopping (or just straight people watching) check out St. Nicholas. Lots of dollars and blow out stores. The stuff isn't the greatest but it is cheap and, during the summer months, you have guys giving out shaved ice cones. They're delicious. Eat them.

The parks are awesome. Try the Little Red Light House below the GWB. Fort Tryon/the Cloisters at 190 and Ft Washington is breathtaking during the spring and summer months. Riverside is also fun to ramble down.

Check out the empada stands, trucks and the few people selling cooked corn or cut pineapple.

During the summer months there are two dominican parades in the area. You have to see one of them. St. Nicholas is closed down, the whole neighborhood comes out, and you'll see a lot of very traditional Dominican Republic festivities. The colorful devils with the giant whips are probably my favorite.
posted by Stynxno at 10:34 AM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Second the recommendation for Malecon; I haven't lived there for many years (I was at 157th and Riverside), but obviously it's still good. And a timeless tip: if you have any interest in baseball, Hilltop Park, where the Yankees first played (they were called the Highlanders then, because they played in Hilltop Park), was on the territory of what's now Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center—there's a plaque marking the former location of home plate. (The Polo Grounds site is within walking distance, too!)
posted by languagehat at 11:07 AM on January 10, 2008


You're my neighbor, Stynxo... I'm also on 181st, although I'll be moving next month.

Avoid Hilltop Diner... No worries about there, they finally shut that roach trap down. It was on 181 and Ft Wash. A sign in the window says that a new restaurant is coming, but not much seems to be happening.

Let's see, El Malecon is pretty awesome. Another place in your immediate vicinity is Coogan's. Its a popular place with the hospital folks, mid-priced, and decent food in the Americana-Bar food vein.

The Morris-Jumel Mansion on 162nd is a cool thing to check out.

If you head north on Ft Washington (or hop the train), there are two outcroppings of gentrified shopping areas 181st and 187th. 181st has Starbuck's, two 24 hour bodegas/groceries (Smile and Jin's). George's Pizza is some of the best in upper Mannhattan, and has even appeared on the Village Voice Best Pizza list. Emilou Cafe is decent light food but sucky service, Jesse's is a nice little neighborhood bar type spot, but the food is inconsistent. Cabrini Wines is really amazing and huge (for Mahattan). A swank cigar store/bar called Fume has recently opened right next to La Hispaniola, the pricey place that sneakin mentioned. There's also a pilates studio on this block... I guess that's gentrification for you.

On 187 there is an okay Associated supermarket... not huge, but at least it clean. Then there is the hipper gourmet grocery called Fred's that Stynxo mentioned. 107 West is pretty good although a bit pricey, and they do delivery. Bleu Evolution used to be the darling of the neighborhood... its a funky downtown looking bistro with a great little garden. But the last couple of times I've been there, the food sucked. At 187th and Cabrini, there's a pet store called Critter Outfitters that delivers.
posted by kimdog at 11:18 AM on January 10, 2008


I agree with Kimdog about Bleu Evolution-- nothing remotely special. Sort of the same thing for me with 107 West.
posted by sneakin at 11:39 AM on January 10, 2008


I used to live here. Galicia (Broadway at 172) has pretty nice tortilla espanola and arroz con pollo. El Presidente (Broadway at 164) make good Cuban sandwiches. I agree with the recs for El Malecon, the chicken and oxtail stew there are especially good. In Vino Veritas (St. Nicholas at 170) is a pretty serviceable wine bar.
posted by subtle-t at 12:20 PM on January 10, 2008


PJ Wine (Broadway near 204) is a pretty huge wine and liquor place, and I've always enjoyed shopping there.
posted by subtle-t at 12:22 PM on January 10, 2008


Welcome to the neighborhood. Previous posters have hit most of the stuff that I would have recommended, but here's just a few more: if you have dogs or young kids, there's a pretty nice park at West 173rd and Fort Washington, J. Hood Wright Park, that has swings, playground equipment, a dog run and a great view of the George Washington Bridge. Also, the United Palace Theater is on Broadway and 175th. It was an old, ornate movie theater, then a church, now a performance venue. It's huge and has beautiful lighting and fixtures, really gorgeous stuff. There have some pretty big names playing there recently, like Neil Young and Arcade Fire. Worth keeping in mind.
posted by otolith at 12:59 PM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not there anymore but, let's see, in the 160s...

If you didn't see it already, don't miss the most beautiful large-scale street mural you've probably ever seen, 168th & Amsterdam.

Tawaa at 168th & Bway is outstanding-value, non-greasy Indian takeout. For $8 you can get the Tawaa Masala combo meal -- more food than you can eat.

I hear the small Korean BBQ place on Bway near 165th is excellent; I don't know it personally but my friend said it was the best Korean BBQ north of Koreatown.

Walk onto the Promenade in Highbridge Park (by the water tower, just northeast of the entrance at 170th) for an amazing sweeping view of the river, Bronx & East Harlem in the distance.

In the park east of Edgecombe at maybe 164th is a gigantic, endlessly productive mulberry tree, if you like picking mulberries in the summer.

Jou Jou on 168th just west of Bway, good small cafe with excellent baked goods.

Excellent & surprisingly affordable fusion restaurant on Bway near 168th, just north of the Famigilia's pizza -- the name escapes me but you'll recognize it as the only upscale restaurant on that block. It's called "Plum __."

Gristedes, on Bway between 169 & 170, is the best or the least-bad supermarket within walking distance from you (if you can stomach their plastic bags that all say "Never Forget What They Did" with the WTC towers).

C-Town on St Nick & 161 is probably closest to your place and they're great for your staples; they don't usually have good produce but they'll have cheaper prices than Gristedes for most canned/boxed stuff.

You may be in the FreshDirect delivery area (and you're definitely in the Urban Organic delivery area).
posted by sparrows at 1:55 PM on January 10, 2008


p.s. This is a great thread for other people too, may I suggest adding "nyc" and "wahi" as tags also, so more people can find it in the future?
posted by sparrows at 1:57 PM on January 10, 2008


Oh yeah, the restaurant that sparrows is talking about is Plum Pomidor. I've found the food to be a little hit or miss, mostly good, but I like the ambiance. Also, they do the only halfway decent brunch that I've found in the area. The New Leaf Cafe in Fort Tryon Park has excellent brunch, but expensive.
posted by otolith at 2:16 PM on January 10, 2008


Coogan's is a pretty good sports type bar. Seconding the heads up about the Palace Theater. This is where the Rev. Ike holds his Sunday service, but they have been having music shows there lately. I saw Neil Young there. The theater is in great shape, the seating is tiered so you can see and the sound was better than I expected. I heard the Allman's are going to play their usual March shows at the Palace rather than the Beacon this year. (No confirmation of that rumor yet.) But, now that the Beacon is owned by Cablevision and Madison Square garden, I expect the shows there to be much more corporate and their once liberal enforcement policies to be history so the Palace is going to get a lot of the shows that the Beacon used to get.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:51 PM on January 10, 2008


I spent New Year's Eve week in Washington Heights at my friends apartment. I spent New Years Eve, and the night before at Coogans and had a great time. Good food, cheap drinks and really great bartenders.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 4:04 PM on January 10, 2008


Carrot Top, on B'way around 164th or so, has great cakes. They'll make 'em to order.

The sandwich place on the east side of B'way around 169th-ish - I forget the name - makes a great Cuban sandwich. It's called Tony's Cuba East, two kinds of ham, pickles, the whole thing done in a sandwich press. Man I miss that sandwich.

Over the years I came to dislike Famiglia's pizza, but it's very consistent. Try the broccoli.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:15 PM on January 10, 2008


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