With its copious parkland, history and waterfront, Inwood offers residents a respite from the rest of the city.
Located on the northern tip of Manhattan, the neighborhood features a forest with glacial caves once used by Native Americans, at Inwood Hill Park on its western edge by the Hudson River.
A 20-minute walk east and you can buy fresh ceviche and clams out of the back of a van next to the Harlem River in the shadow of the elevated 1 train.
It’s this diversity of experience — along with classic pre-war apartments available at prices lower than most other parts of Manhattan — that is causing a rapidly-growing number of New Yorkers to migrate north to Inwood.
“People make a choice to come to Inwood because it feels [small],” said Shahabuddeen Ally, chair of Community Board 12. “But people are also attracted to it because of how different it can be block to block.”
Inwood’s physical landscape has remained mostly unchanged for decades due to zoning restrictions that limit buildings to seven stories. The high-rise glass boxes popping up throughout the city are nowhere to be found in the neighborhood.
“Your typical apartment in Inwood has got a lot of space, a decent level of renovation and is close to the trains no matter what street it’s on,” said Santiago Steele, 44, an associate broker with Citi Habitats who sells properties in the area. “There’s a very high demand because the prices are low.”
The median recorded sales in Inwood in 2015 was $336,500, compared to $976,000 for all of Manhattan, according to StreetEasy.
The median rent in 2015 was $1,800 in Inwood, and $3,200 in Manhattan as a whole, the listings site found.
The majority of the housing stock in Inwood west of Broadway features pre-war construction and art deco detail.
The six-story co-op building at 91 Payson Ave. is a great example of the pre-war style that’s common in northern Manhattan, according to Cole Thompson, a real estate agent with New Heights Realty, 13-year Inwood resident and author of the neighborhood blog myinwood.net.
“People do seem to be flocking up here,” said Thompson. “People are streaming up here from Brooklyn, but they have been for years really. Now there seems to be a second wave of Brooklynites that are worried about the L train going offline and are looking at Inwood.”
Inwood is served by the A train, at the Dyckman Street and 207th Street stations, and the 1 train at Dyckman Street, 207th Street and 215th Street stations. For some residents, the commute to places like Midtown, which can take 40 minutes or more, is an inconvenience.
“It does take a long time to get downtown,” said Mark Porter, 53, an editor with Reuters who has lived in Inwood since 2001.
But for history buffs, its remoteness might be worth it. A walk up Broadway is a trip through Manhattan’s past.
The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum on 204th Street is the oldest remaining farmhouse in Manhattan.
Reconstruction work was recently completed on the 215th Street Stairs, a set of 110 stairs built in 1915 connecting Broadway with Park Terrace East.
Another draw to Inwood is its abundance of parkland.
The 196-acre Inwood Hill Park features Manhattan’s only primeval forest and the island’s last remaining natural salt marsh, along with baseball diamonds, soccer fields, tennis courts and miles of footpaths.
“We’re a tiny neighborhood, and we have the best parks in the city,” said Jason Minter, owner of Indian Road Cafe at 600 W. 218th St. “The views are magnificent. It feels like you are in an entirely different place.”
Many of Inwood’s food, drink and shopping options are concentrated on Broadway and Dyckman Avenue. Popular spots include Mamajuana Cafe, a Latin restaurant at 247 Dyckman which opened in 2007, and The Park View, a coffee shop that opened at 219 Dyckman more than 20 years ago.
On Broadway are a number of old-school mom-and-pop businesses, including several Dominican eateries.
One of the more unique places to grab a bite is El Rey Del Ceviche, owned and operated for 49 years by Inwood resident Bobby Fish.
Fish, who runs the raw bar out of the back of a van in a gas station parking lot on West 207th Street, sells containers of ceviche for $7 and cherrystone clams for $1 a-piece. Patrons can slurp down the clams with a bit of hot sauce and a squeeze of lime at the folding table set up next to the van.
“I don’t do this for the money,” Fish said of his business. “I do it for the people. I love it here.”
Inwood is surrounded on three sides by water — the Hudson River to the west and the Harlem River to the east and north. Its southern boundary is Dyckman Street to the east of Broadway and Riverside Drive to the west of it, according to StreetEasy.