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20 reasons I love uptown (part 4)

Graffiti in the South Bronx

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.

16. A hop and a skip to the Boogie down

When I lived downtown, I hardly ever went to the Bronx. Today, it's only a short bus ride down 145th Street to the Boogie Down. On a nice day I'll walk to the Target or Home Depot at the Bronx Terminal Market, ride my bike for a latte at the airy Filtered in the South Bronx, or take the subway for a sublime afternoon at the New York Botanical Garden. The list of destinations goes on and on–watch this space.

17. The roast chicken

Long before I ever moved uptown, I would take the A train all the way to Washington Heights for a taste of Malecon's fabled roast chicken. Then my friend Carol moved to Hamilton Heights and introduced me to the equally crispy roast chicken she orders from local South American joint Ecuatoriana. When I finally moved to Hamilton Heights, I added another favorite roast chicken to my list: the one from Mofongo del Valle on Broadway. It's an embarrassment of riches, but you won't find me complaining.

18. Entire blocks without chains

As I've written before, upper Manhattan is where film and TV productions head to when they're looking for a long-lost New York without banks and drug store chains on every corner. For a glimpse of how Washington Heights and Manhattanville were used to portray New York City in the '70s and the '90s, respectively, catch HBO's critical hit The Deuce and the third season of the stellar Netflix series Narcos.

19. M60 Select Bus

There are cheap ways to get to New York City's three airports and there are easy ways, but not both. Striking a happy medium is uptown's M60 Select Bus, which costs the same as a regular MTA bus but runs express across 125th Street and makes no stops on Randalls Island. It gets me to LaGuardia in about 50 minutes, which is nowhere near as fast as a taxi, but for $2.75 it seems like a small miracle.

20. No Waiting necessary

Maison Harlem

Whether I'm heading to dinner at rustic local hangout The Grange or lively French bistro Maison Harlem, I almost never have to wait for a table (brunch is a different story). Mind you, both of these uptown restaurants are quite popular. After what feels like a lifetime of waiting to get seated at downtown's boîtes, I'm thrilled that going out for a bite has gotten a whole lot less annoying.

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