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Get to know Morningside Heights

Morningside Heights is the home of several higher learning institutions, including Columbia University and Barnard College. But what it amasses in educational prestige, this Upper Manhattan enclave more than equals with leafy, natural beauty. The neighborhood is balanced between the loveliness of Morningside and Riverside Parks, the former of which contains something you’d never expect to find in this city—a cliff. Atop that outcropping of Manhattan schist sits the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a structure as striking in its design as its sheer size. Though you’ll find a collection of sparkling condominiums, much of Morningside Heights falls within a historic district that preserves the area’s look from around the turn of the 20th century—when it initially became a residential haven. Those homes primarily consist of Colonial and Georgian Revival rowhouses and apartment buildings with distinctive features—like the curved facades of The Colosseum and The Paterno.

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Morningside Heights Commerce & Culture

There’s a certain sense of tranquility to Morningside Heights, a feeling undoubtedly aided by its various green spaces. In addition to the sweeping landscapes of Morningside and Riverside, Sakura Park is notable for the 2,000-plus cherry blossom trees that envelop the small expanse in snapshot-worthy flower blooms every spring. To the west, Grant’s Tomb presents an imposing, domed structure that almost feels otherworldly among Manhattan architecture—over on Columbia’s campus, the similarly domed Low Memorial Library produces much of the same awe. Along the streets and avenues, independent bookstores, low-key bars, and charming cafes foster the kind of quaint Manhattan atmosphere people have and will continue to swoon over for years. Dining out presents opportunities for continent-spanning adventures. Still, if you need a fallback plan, you can always rely on the NYC staples of fantastic pizza, bagels, and deli sandwiches.