Earlier this year, 6sqft got an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at the Loew’s Jersey City, one of the five opulent Loew’s Wonder Theatres built in 1929-30 around the NYC area. We’ve now gotten a tour of another, the United Palace in Washington Heights. Originally known as the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre, the “Cambodian neo-Classical” landmark has served as a church and cultural center since it closed in 1969 and was purchased by televangelist Reverend Ike, who renamed it the Palace Cathedral. Today it’s still owned by late Reverend’s church but functions as a spiritual center and arts center.
Thanks to Reverand Ike and his church’s continued stewardship, Manhattan’s fourth-largest theater remains virtually unchanged since architect Thomas W. Lamb completed it in 1930. 6sqft recently visited and saw everything from the insane ornamentation in the lobby to the former smoking lounge that recently caught the eye of Woody Allen. We also chatted with UPCA’s executive director Mike Fitelson about why this space is truly one-of-a-kind.
Take the incredible digital tour
The Highlanders play a game at Hilltop Park in 1912, photo via NYPL
Not unlike their current power-house lineup, the most dominant team in American sports got off to quite a rocky start. Not only did the New York Highlanders, now known as the Yankees, have a losing record for many years, the team’s first home field was a mess: it was located near a swamp, the outfield had no grass, and the ballpark sat mostly unfinished. In just six weeks, 500 men hastily built the stadium on Broadway and 168th Street in Washington Heights, known as Hilltop Park, in time for the Highlander’s first home game on April 30, 1903. Due to the unsavory, rock-filled conditions, the last big league game at Hilltop Park was played in October of 1912. Following its closure, the Highlanders changed their name to the Yankees in 1913, moved to the Bronx, and went on to become one of the most successful sports teams in the world.
More this way
Image via The Met
If checking out The Cloisters has long been on your to-do list, there’s no better time to head north than for the museum’s MetFridays. On Friday, August 11th (that’s tomorrow!) and Friday, August 25th, The Met will host two hours of live 1930s jazz at sunset in their stunning medieval gardens. Performances will feature trumpeter Alex Nguyen, winner of the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Competition, and his quartet as they perform the same ditties that topped the charts when the museum was first constructed between 1934 and 1939.
more details here
The amusement park in 1908, photo by Seidman Photo Studio
Did you know Washington Heights and Inwood used to be home to a giant amusement park? In 1895, the Fort George Amusement Park opened on Amsterdam Avenue between 190th and 192nd Streets, overlooking the Harlem River in what is now Highbridge Park. Located in the same spot as George Washington’s fight against the British, “Harlem’s Coney Island” rivaled Brooklyn’s Coney Island with roller coasters, Ferris wheels, a skating rink, fortune tellers, music halls, casinos, and hotels.
Learn more about the Fort George Amusement Park
New York City’s furor for food halls has not fizzled out quite yet. Construction is currently in progress for the North End Food Hall in Washington Heights at 4300 Broadway and 183rd Street. Set to be the largest food and beer hall in upper Manhattan, the space stretches 6,000 square feet and will feature locally sourced and sustainable goods. As Eater NY learned, seven kiosks will serve everything from fair-trade coffee and craft beer to organic barbecue and burgers.
You may be familiar with the “Pumpkin House,” the extraordinary 1920s townhouse cantilevered across the cliffs at 16 Chittenden Avenue near Manhattan’s highest point in Hudson Heights. The name comes from the home’s Jack-o’-lantern countenance, which bestows motorists along the George Washington Bridge with its anthropomorphic leer. Jack first hit the market last August for $5.25 million, the first time listed since 2011. But still without a buyer, the 17-foot-wide, six-bedroom brick home has a fancy new Sotheby’s listing and a lower ask of $4.25 million.
Have a look inside
The Little Red Lighthouse found at Fort Washington, via Wiki Commons
If looking to learn more about historic New York City this weekend, head over to Fort Washington Park and check out the Little Red Lighthouse, Manhattan’s only remaining lighthouse. The city’s Urban Park Rangers are hosting a tour this Saturday, June 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. and will be on hand to provide information about this unique landmark (h/t Time Out).
Learn the interesting history of the lighthouse
Like most things in New York, creative communities come and ago as new development and rising rents force artists to move on to the next best, or cheaper neighborhood. While 6sqft found ‘hoods like the Upper East Side, Harlem and Long Island City to be the best places for artists a few years back, we’ve updated our top-10 list to reflect the changing times. Ahead you’ll find some areas you may expect–Sunset Park and Bushwick, for example, along with more up-and-coming artsy enclaves like Newark, Washington Heights, and the South Bronx.
The full list right this way
In the heart of the Jumel Terrace Historic District in Washington Heights, already known for the Morris Jumel Mansion, the oldest house in Manhattan, the quaint row houses of Sylvan Terrace are tucked away on one of the city’s “secret” streets. The mansion is not only famous for being General George Washington’s temporary headquarters during the Revolutionary War but for hosting dignitaries from John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton; in more modern times, “Hamilton” fans may know it as being the spot where the musical’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda penned songs from the Broadway hit. The historic row of houses, built in the 1880s, was restored by the Landmarks Preservation Commission; 16 Sylvan Terrace was further renovated by its current owners and is now on the market for $1.625 million.
Take a peek inside this historic row house
In April 2015, developer Sutton Management applied to utilize the city’s 421-a program for a new project at 607 West 161st Street in Washington Heights, just off the New York Presbyterian campus. They received approvals that 13 of the Jeffrey Cole Architects-designed building’s 62 units would be reserved for those earning 60 percent or less than the area median income, and today these units have come online through the city’s affordable housing lottery. They range from $868/month studios to $1,085 two-bedrooms, and for an additional fee, lottery residents will have access to a fitness center and bicycle room.
Find out if you qualify