Coins & Cures
Districts of Manhattan
The borough of Manhattan is comprised of numerous small neighborhoods and divisions. Below is some of the most notable divisions and generalizations of what one might find in the area.
Harlem – Since the 1920s, Harlem has been known as a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Population has fluctuated with economic booms and busts, but has remained predominantly African-American.
Morningside Heights – is chiefly known as the home of institutions such as Columbia University, Teachers College, Barnard College, the Manhattan School of Music, Bank Street College of Education, “Grant’s Tomb”, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, the Riverside Church, the Broadway Presbyterian Church, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Interchurch Center and St. Luke’s Hospital. Because of the number of educational institutions in the neighborhood, its nickname is the Academic Acropolis.
East Harlem – also known as Spanish Harlem and El Barrio East Harlem is one of the largest predominantly Latino communities in New York City, mostly made up of Puerto Ricans, as well as a rising number of Dominican and Mexican immigrants.
Upper West Side – an upscale, primarily residential area with many of its residents working in more commercial areas in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. It has the reputation of being home to New York City’s cultural, intellectual hub (with Columbia University located at the north end of the neighborhood), and artistic workers (with Lincoln Center located at the south end).
Upper East Side – Like the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side is an upscale, primarily residential area with many of its residents working in more commercial areas in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. The Upper East Side is traditionally perceived to be home to commercial and business types and is nicknamed the Silk Stockings district.
Midtown – It is home to some of the city’s most iconic buildings, including the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the United Nations Headquarters. It contains world-famous commercial zones such as Rockefeller Center, Broadway, and Times Square. As New York’s largest central business district, Midtown Manhattan is the busiest single commercial district in the United States, and among the most intensely used pieces of real estate in the world. The majority of New York City’s skyscrapers, including its tallest hotels and apartment towers, lie within Midtown. The area hosts commuters and residents working in its offices, hotels, and retail establishments; many tourists, visiting residents, and students populate the district. Some areas, such as Times Square and Fifth Avenue, have large clusters of retail stores. Sixth Avenue in Midtown holds the headquarters of three of the four major television networks. It is a growing center of finance, second in importance within the United States only to Downtown Manhattan’s Financial District. Times Square is the center of Broadway theatre.
Chelsea – The neighborhood is primarily residential, with a mix of tenements, apartment blocks, city housing projects, townhouses and renovated rowhouses, and its many retail businesses reflect the ethnic and social diversity of the population. The western part of Chelsea has become a center of the New York art world, with many art galleries located in both new buildings and rehabilitated warehouses.
Garment District – The dense concentration of fashion-related uses give the neighborhood its name. The Garment District has been known since the early 20th century as the center for fashion manufacturing and fashion design in the United States, and even the world. Less than one square mile in area, the neighborhood is home to the majority of New York’s showrooms and to numerous major fashion labels, and caters to all aspects of the fashion process–from design and production to wholesale selling. No other city has a comparable concentration of fashion businesses and talent in a single district.
Murray Hill – For much of the 20th century, the neighborhood was a quiet and rather formal place, with many wealthy older residents. Since the late 1990s, many upper-class young professionals in their twenties and thirties have begun to move into the area. On weekends, the raucous restaurant-and-bar scene along Third Avenue, beyond the traditional eastern limits of Murray Hill, particularly reflects this change.
Gramercy – Developed around Gramercy Park the park is at the core of both the neighborhood referred to as either Gramercy or Gramercy Park. The approximately 2 acre park is one of only two private parks in New York City; only people residing around the park who pay an annual fee have a key, and the public is not generally allowed in – although the sidewalks of the streets around the park are a popular jogging, strolling and dog-walking route. The wealth and presence of the park have lead to the perception of Gramercy being a general safe and quiet area.
Stuyvesant Town – One of the most iconic and successful post-World War II private housing communities Stuy Town was named after Peter Stuyvesant, the last Director-General of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, whose farm occupied the site in the 17th century. Peter Cooper Village is named after the 19th century industrialist, inventor and philanthropist Peter Cooper, who founded Cooper Union. The complex, which was planned beginning in 1942 and opened its first building in 1947, replaced the Gas House district of gas storage tanks. The complex is a sprawling collection of red brick apartment buildings. The surrounding area to the west is notable for historic Stuyvesant Square, a two-block park surrounded by the old Stuyvesant High School, Saint George’s Church, and the Beth Israel Medical Center.
Greenwich Village – often referred to by locals as simply “the Village”, is a largely residential neighborhood. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families. Greenwich Village, however, was known in the late 19th to mid 20th centuries as an artists’ haven, the bohemian capital, and the East Coast birthplace of the Beat movement. What provided the initial attractive character of the community eventually contributed to its gentrification and commercialization.
East Village – The area was once generally considered to be part of the Lower East Side, but began to develop its own identity and culture in the late 1960s, when many artists, musicians, students and hippies began to move into the area, attracted by cheap rents and the base of Beatniks who had lived there since the 1950s. The neighborhood has become a center of the counterculture in New York, and is known as the birthplace and historical home of many artistic movements, including punk rock and the Nuyorican literary movement. It has also been the site of protests and riots.The East Village is still known for its diverse community, vibrant nightlife and artistic sensibility, although in recent decades it has been argued that gentrification has changed the character of the neighborhood.
Soho – notable for being the location of many artists’ lofts and art galleries, and also, more recently, for the wide variety of stores and shops ranging from trendy boutiques to outlets of upscale national and international chain stores. The area’s history is an archetypal example of inner-city regeneration and gentrification, encompassing socio-economic, cultural, political and architectural developments.
Little Italy – once known for its large population of Italians, today the neighborhood of Little Italy consists of Italian stores and restaurants. Little Italy has a history of being the base of operations for a number of powerful Mafia related families.
Lower East Side – was traditionally an immigrant, working-class neighborhood. It has undergone rapid gentrification starting in the mid-2000s, prompting The National Trust for Historic Preservation to place the neighborhood on their list of America’s Most Endangered Places. It has become a home to upscale boutiques and trendy dining establishments along Clinton Street’s restaurant row.
Tribeca – Its name is an acronym from “Triangle below Canal Street”; the triangle is properly bounded by Canal Street, West Street, Broadway, and Vesey Street. Tribeca is dominated by former industrial buildings that have been converted into residential buildings and lofts, similar to those of the neighboring SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the neighborhood was a center of the textile/cotton trade. During the late 1960s and ’70s, abandoned and inexpensive Tribeca lofts became hot-spot residences for young artists and their families because of the seclusion of lower Manhattan and the vast living space
Chinatown – With an estimated population of 90,000 to 100,000 people, Manhattan’s Chinatown is also one of the oldest ethnic Chinese enclaves outside of Asia, with most of its residents now Mandarin, Min, or Cantonese-speaking and originating from various regions of China. It is one of seven Chinatown neighborhoods in New York City and nine in the New York City Metropolitan Area, which contains the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia.
Financial District – comprises the offices and headquarters of many of the city’s major financial institutions, including the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The World Trade Center existed in the neighborhood until the September 11 attacks and is currently being rebuilt. The neighborhood roughly overlaps the boundaries of the New Amsterdam settlement in the late 17th century and has a residential population of about 56,000.