With the end of the year just a few days away, I thought I'd use this abbreviated week to count (in no particular order) the many reasons I–a former downtowner–love living uptown. Some are personal, some a bit more general–but all are unique to a part of the city that offers so much more than I ever could have imagined.
11. Brownstones as time machines
Sometimes it feels as if every corner of New York has been razed, renovated, or rebuilt. But a walk down Harlem's side streets reveals many buildings that haven't been touched in decades, maybe even longer. To me it sometimes feels like I'm traveling back in time, and how often can you say that anymore?
12. Mom-and-pops still have a (small) foothold
Although drug store chains and banks are slowly taking over uptown's biggest corners, true mom-and-pops can still be found all around. In fact, over the last year three great small businesses have opened in Harlem with the help of crowdfunding: Bo's Bagels, Sugar Hill Creamery and vinyl shop Cinderblock People. Stop by and show them your love!
13. Cheap garages
Owning a car in the city means planning your whole life around street cleaning–unless you can find dirt-cheap parking. Thankfully that's not an impossible task in my uptown neighborhood. I currently park my car in a small, off-the-beaten-path garage that's only a 10-minute walk from my apartment in Hamilton Heights. I could tell you its name and location, but then I'd have to kill you.
14. Revolutionary War History AT your fingertips
I'm no big history buff, but there's still something quite cool about the fact that upper Manhattan was central to the Revolutionary War (the Battle of Harlem Heights took place here). Visit the Morris-Jumel Mansion, which George Washington used as his headquarters for five weeks, or walk down any major thoroughfare and spot the war memorial plaques erected by groups like New York State's Sons of the Revolution.
15. Milk that doesn't spoil
This was one of my pet peeves when I lived downtown: Whether I bought milk from a supermarket or a gourmet grocer, it always spoiled way before the sell-by date. My theory? Due to a lack of space, cramped downtown stores left their recently-delivered milk unrefrigerated for too long. Now that I buy my milk from block-long local supermarket Food Universe on 138th Street, it not only lasts up to the date on the packaging, but much longer. Hooray!