Netherlands-based architecture firm MVRDV on Thursday broke ground on its first major project in the United States: a 22-story tower in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Dubbed the Radio Tower & Hotel, the mixed-use building will feature a hotel, retail, and office space all in a colorful, boxy structure. According to the architects, the vibrant boxes take inspiration from the colors of “storefronts in the majority-Hispanic neighborhood” and keeps them the same size as other buildings in the area.
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Coogan’s Restaurant in Washington Heights, via CityRealty
A recent Post article dubbed Washington Heights “the new Williamsburg,” referencing census data that shows the upper-Manhattan ‘hood has more millennials than any other area in the entire city. Noting that New Yorkers age 20 to 34 have been priced out of places like Bushwick, NYU adjunct professor of urban planning Michael Keane said, “they’re thinking, ‘Hey, Washington Heights is in Manhattan, it’s easy to get to Midtown, crime is down and the rent is several hundred dollars less.’” And this new middle-income housing opportunity at 516 West 162nd Street, is even less, with five one-bedrooms up for grabs for $1,705 a month and one two-bedroom for $2,055. By comparison, market-rate one-beds in the building go for $2,300 and two-beds for $3,050.
A newly constructed rental that meets passive house standards has launched a lottery for six middle-income apartments in Washington Heights. Designed by PM Architecture, the Uptown six-story building contains 20 units and boasts a facade of charcoal-painted insulated panels.
Located at 577 West 161st Street, the building will have a medical office on its first floor, residences above it, and an outdoor recreation space in the back. Qualifying New Yorkers earning 130 percent of the area median income can apply for the $1,650/month and $1,800/month one-bedroom apartments.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).