Inwood still flies under the radar, despite all that recommends it. The vibe is familiar to anyone who lived on the West Side in the seventies—in fact, you might think of this neighborhood as the Upper Upper Upper West Side, a place where your neighbor may very well be a Broadway cellist or working operatic tenor. The community is famously tight: Locals recently raised money for well-loved local businesses uprooted by a fire that wiped out a large building on Broadway—and the neighborhoody services are all in place. In fact, says Barak Realty’s Francisco Menendez, “in terms of economic potential, Inwood has more commercial spaces than Washington Heights, for example.” A new flea market, dubbed Inwood Flea and founded by the owners of the vegan-takeout service Chickpea & Olive, recently finished its second successful weekend. Though buyers tend to think of Inwood as very far away from midtown, the express A train is a lot faster than you may remember (that straight shot from 59th to 125th works wonders). “People tend to come and stay for a long time,” says Gus Perry of Stein-Perry Real Estate. “A lot of our renters become buyers.” Yes, there’s a lingering unsexiness, but of course that’s what gets you deals. According to StreetEasy.com, the median price of available properties here is $299,000, roughly a third of Manhattan’s overall. Prices for co-ops and condos fell 4.6 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, and, says Perry, the market has since “plateaued.”
1. Mamajuana Cafe
247 Dyckman St.
Flamenco nights, tapas, ceviche, deejayed parties.
2. New Leaf Restaurant & Bar
1 Margaret Corbin Dr.
Fine dining in Fort Tryon Park. All proceeds go to fund Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project.
3. Indian Road Café
600 W. 218th St.
Panini, enchiladas, an extensive beer menu.
4. Piper’s Kilt
Much-loved pub with an intense trivia night on Tuesdays.
5. Beans & Vines
Upmarket spot that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Try the Moroccan chicken sandwich.
6. Papasito Mexican Grill & Agave Bar
223 Dyckman St.
Cocktails with fun names (Boca-Rosa-Dita, Salvia Roja, the Painting) and live music on Sundays.
7. Corcho Wine Room
231 Dyckman St.
Spanish wines, sangría served via porrón (a pitcher poured straight into your mouth), and a large tapas menu.
8. Inwood Greenmarket
Isham St. nr. Seaman Ave
Local produce, eggs, milk, cheese, and baked goods every Saturday, all year long.
9. Inwood Hill Nature Center
Inwood Hill Park, 218th St. and Indian Rd.
Your first stop in Inwood Hill Park; also hosts nature-themed exhibits.
10. The Cloisters
99 Margaret Corbin Dr., Fort Tryon Park
The Metropolitan’s astounding uptown annex of medieval art.
11. Bread and Yoga
Temporarily at the Holy Trinity Church, 20 Cumming St.
A major fire displaced this popular studio, whose yoga programs are augmented by Pilates and cooking classes, money-management workshops, and summer camps.
12. Inwood Canoe Club
Dyckman St. at the Hudson River
A nonprofit that launches kayak and canoe trips from its boathouse.
13. Dyckman Farm House
4881 Broadway at 204th St.
The last standing Dutch Colonial farmhouse in Manhattan; now a museum.
On the Market
14. 50 Park Terrace East, Apartment 4B
Asking price: $485,000
A corner apartment with two bedrooms and two baths, a sunken living room and a renovated kitchen (Silestone counters, cherry cabinets, stainless-steel appliances) in a co-op with storage for bikes and air-conditioners. Personal lockers are available for a fee.
Agents: Perry Payne and Thomas Healy, Prudential Douglas Elliman.
15. 225 Bennett Avenue, Apartment 2P
Asking price: $169,000
Maintenance: $372 per month
A studio with dressing room in a pet-friendly thirties co-op.
Agent: Jennifer Pasbjerg, Halstead Property.
16. 45 Park Terrace West, Apartment 4F
Asking price: $289,000
Maintenance: $686 per month.
A one-bedroom, one-bath co-op with a sunken living room and views of Isham Park. Inwood Hill Park is a short walk away.
Agent: Kelly Cole, the Corcoran Group
17. 90 Park Terrace East, Apartment 5B
To Rent: $1,075 per month
A 450-square-foot studio with a windowed kitchen and storage.
Agent: Robert Kleinbardt, New Heights Realty.
Ask a Local
Choreographer; resident since 2008
What made you move here?
I had friends who lived here and were enjoying the parks, and then an apartment became available, so I came up to look. When I got off the train, I could see the Cloisters and the trees—and as I walked up the hill, it just [felt] like coming home to a country house.
What’s your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
Oh my goodness, so many. We’re surrounded by three parks. There’s a fabulous [farmers’] market on Isham Street, and it’s open the full year. It’s not just apples—there’s duck and seafood and wine. We do as much of our shopping as we can there. I can walk in the woods, go to a greasy-spoon diner, and get on the subway.
So then why do you think it’s still lower-key than, say, parts of Brooklyn?
The one thing I would say that places like Bushwick and Williamsburg have going for them is that they have performance spaces and training centers, so most of the artists I know up here are musicians rather than dancers or actors. It’s a fabulous place where you can have a cello or piano, because we do have big apartments.
Do you think it’s a mental block that it feels farther than it is?
I think it is. It’s just one train! You get on the A train and watch the stops go by, and [often] it’s going express. There’s this thing where whatever you’re doing, you have to end it at eleven or else you’re stuck on the local. You kind of feel like Cinderella. At night, you’re always playing the local-versus-express game. I guess it’s not just a mental thing; it’s actually a thing at night.
The Basics: 35 minutes on the A or 30 on the 1 to 59th Street. 45 minutes at rush hour on the BxM1 express bus to East 50th Street.