Upper Manhattan is, in many ways, distinct from the rest of Manhattan. [although the border is becoming more fluid .. in the 1990s, 96th Street was the hard stop for _______. As of 2015, Morningside Heights is considered an extension of the Upper West Side, with sidewalk cafes and ________.
It feels like pre-gentrification Brooklyn. [#how to describe the restaurants ... fewer sit-down options, very few destination restaurants and bars in comparison to Brooklyn or downtown Manhattan]. [Hamilton Heights, etc. lacks a center of gravity]. And the lack of a destination experience in the area means that the new wave of residents often has to travel a considerable distance to the familiar dining and nightlife destinations. [lively street life, but not a "hipster" ...]
Affordability. Prices per square foot drop further up the island (Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, Inwood), as commutes become longer. However, these neighborhoods offer spectacular views, parkland, Art Deco buildings, and even a pocket of freestanding single-family Tudor houses in Inwood.
Harlem consists of several neighborhoods, each with a distinct identity.
West Harlem is the name broadly applied to both Manhattanville and Hamilton Heights.
Central Harlem is better defined, as it is surrounded by parks, and has a distinct architectural identity, with its ornate Queen Anne and Renaissance Revival townhouses. In addition, Central Harlem's growing restaurant scene is a draw for visitors and new residents, which makes it the heart of the neighborhood's revival.
East Harlem is just above the Upper East Side. East Harlem's identity was shaped in 1897, when the elevated train line along Park Avenue separated the neighborhood from the more affluent Central Harlem to the west. The area to the east of Park Avenue was developed for less affluent residents - with pre-war tenement buildings like the Lower East Side, and more modest rowhouses.