Manhattan Valley Neighborhood Guide
Manhattan Valley, still known on occasion as the Bloomingdale District, occupies the quieter, northern portion of the Upper West Side. A neighborhood with new developments, pre-war architecture, steep cliffs, and abundant green space, its hilly terrain is surrounded by Central, Riverside, and Morningside Parks. It’s a neighborhood characterized by and credited for its diversity, inclusion, and sense of community.
Just south of Columbia University, Harlem, and Morningside Heights, the Manhattan Valley neighborhood comprises a multicultural mix of residents and a traditional, amicable town atmosphere. There’s a wide array of buildings and establishments yet a distinctly scenic, almost country feel, rare to find in NYC. The area contains legendary locations like the 22-acre Frederick Douglass public housing projects, the scenic Central Park West, and the HI New York City Hostel, the largest in the nation. Adjacent to these structures are ten spectacular blocks of luxury living overlooking Central Park. Catering to a mix of young professional and elderly residents, Manhattan Valley is a prime area with rich tradition and easy access across modern Manhattan.
Manhattan Valley Real Estate Stats
MEDIAN SALE PRICE
MEDIAN RENTAL PRICE
An Abbreviated History of Manhattan Valley
Manhattan Valley has a long, rich history along Central Park West, one of the most affluent streets in America. Originally inhabited by the Lenape, the area was later discovered and desired by Dutch settlers. When the Dutch initially arrived, the two sides got along, shared the land, and traded weapons, beads, and fur. Eventually, the Dutch, determined to colonize the New World, built up New Amsterdam and laid claim to the land, a common theme in the mass migration of the Lenape people. Upon developing the land, the Dutch named what is now known as Manhattan Valley, Bloemendaal, or the “Valley of Flowers.” The region later became known as the Bloomingdale District.
Residents were displaced to Manhattan Valley upon a booming infrastructure across New York and the completion of Central Park in 1857. The region developed institutions designed to provide care for the elderly and ill. In 1887, Manhattan Valley housed the New York Cancer Hospital, only the second such specialty hospital in the world. Led by John Jacob Astor III, the hospital was commissioned in part as a result of President and Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant’s throat cancer diagnosis several years prior.
Toward the end of the 19th century, construction boomed around Manhattan Valley and the opening of Broadway made the Upper West Side easier to access. Hospital staff and business professionals sought to live in the area. Businesses like the Lion Brewery, which also served as a church, began to draw professionals to the area and residential demand increased further with the 1897 relocation of Columbia University to Morningside Heights and the 1904 opening of the Seventh Avenue subway which enabled Irish and German immigrants to move up from downtown Manhattan.
In the early 1980s, Columbia student and 44th U.S. President Barack Obama lived at W 109th St between Amsterdam and Columbus Ave. Today, Manhattan Valley maintains its heritage with longstanding bars, butcheries, and bagel shops while coexisting with modern mainstays like Starbucks, Whole Foods, boutiques, and off-price outlets.
- Broadway to the West
- West 110th Street to the North
- Central Park West to the East
- West 96th Street to the South
|103rd Street||A C B|
|Cathedral Parkway 110 Street||1|
|96th Street Amsterdam||1 2 3|
Residents Love This Neighborhood Because
Close access to Central Park and Riverside Park
Real estate more affordable than the rest of the UWS
Retail, restaurants, and residential appeal
What to expect
Manhattan Valley Landmarks and Cultural Institutions
A NEIGHBORHOOD TOUR
Ascension Roman Catholic Church
A Roman Catholic parish church on West 107th St, this glorious sanctuary comprises Sicilian, Romanesque, and Byzantine architecture and pristine details that date back to 1895. The church is open to everyone and offers a rotation of sacraments, services, concerts, and religious education.
455 Central Park West
Formerly the New York Cancer Hospital and rumored to once be haunted, this castle-like brick building is now a 26-story luxury condo with elite amenities and round-the-clock service. Historic French Renaissance style blends with post-war appeal bolstered by a restored facade, fitness center, spa, pool, and on-site valet parking.
Frederick Douglass Circle
This intersection at the NW corner of Central Park connects Harlem and the Upper West Side. The locale features a statue of Frederick Douglass, the historic abolitionist and writer who was also commonly called the “father of the civil rights movement.” The monument’s historic details, quotes, and African-American elements translate Douglass and fellow slaves’ life of struggle, survival, and ultimate freedom.
Happy Warrior Playground
Named in honor of long-time New York Governor Alfred Emanuel Smith, Happy Warrior playground is a clean, well-kept neighborhood-friendly playground with multiple slides and play areas. President Franklin D. Roosevelt nicknamed Smith “Happy Warrior” recognizing his perseverance, resilience, and diligent leadership.
HI New York City Hostel
Built by well-known architect Richard Morris Hunt and opened in 1883, this building used to be the Association Residence for the Relief of Respectable Aged Indigent Females. This was a remarkable facility, conceptualized by wives of merchants, who recognized the urbanization happening in New York and responded to the inevitable need to provide care for the elderly and disadvantaged. After the building was abandoned for 15 years, a youth hostel opened on-site in 1990, and on came a consistent flow of students, tourists, and international visitors. Today, the HI is the country’s largest and arguably most upscale hostel with recent renovations and a staff that works tirelessly to keep it clean, safe, and as attractive as the story behind it.
St. Michael’s Church
Still standing on its present site established in 1807, the Episcopal Church boasts a limestone Romanesque appeal last restored in 1890. Open to the public and maintaining a range of services, the parish contains Tiffany stained glass and two pipe organs offering excellent acoustics since 1967.
Neatly landscaped and nestled at the intersection of Broadway, West End Avenue, and 106th Street, Straus Park offers a remote release and breath of fresh air. The park is named after Isidor and Ida Straus, former Manhattan Valley residents, who lost their lives in the Titanic disaster on April 15, 1912.
Architecture In Manhattan Valley
Who Have Lived in Manhattan Valley
44th US President
Popular Food & Drink
886 Amsterdam Avenue
942 Amsterdam Avenue
201 W 103rd Avenue
949 Columbus Avenue
ELIS WINE BAR & RESTAURANT
1012 Amsterdam Avenue
NOBODY TOLD ME
951 Amsterdam Avenue
960 Amsterdam Avenue
All Notable New Yorker photos courtesy of Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of Barak Obama by Official White House Photo by Pete Souza;