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This historical part of West Harlem -- Hamilton Heights -- is situated between 135th and 155th Streets, between Edgecombe Avenue and the Hudson River, and is characterized by spacious brownstones and row houses along tree-lined streets.
Hamilton Heights was named for founding father, and former resident, Alexander Hamilton. This area was the site of George Washington's first defeat over the British troops in the Battle of Harlem Heights.
During the Harlem Renaissance, Hamilton Heights was home to professional African Americans. The northern part of Hamilton Heights was actually nicknamed Sugar Hill because wealthier African-Americans attracted to the "sweet life," bought homes in the area. Notable residents include Norman Rockwell, Oscar Hammerstein, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, W.E.B DuBois and Thurgood Marshall.
Around the mid-20th century, a large number of Russians moved into the area, opening up shops and churches. There's even a house on 141st Street referred to as the "Russian House." Another famous house is located at 337 Convent Avenue, which starred as the home of "The Royal Tenenbaums" in the Wes Anderson film.
Today, Hamilton Heights is a diverse community populated by older residents and Columbia University students alike. The neighborhood boasts Dominican, Italian, and Chinese restaurants along with small neighborhood stores. Cyclists and joggers make use of the winding path along Riverside Drive and other visitors enjoy the shady benches to sit and rest.
This historical neighborhood has a number of landmark buildings, namely the Hamilton Grange National Memorial, which was Alexander Hamilton's home, housed in St. Nicholas Park; and St. Luke's Episcopal Church. City College of New York -- which, in 2007, celebrated its centennial in Hamilton Heights -- is an important presence in the area, as is Riverside Park, which spans the length of Hamilton Heights along the Hudson River
Another interesting amenity is the Riverbank State Park, which includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a track, and a promenade with views of the Hudson River.
Columbia University plans to expand into the area, news that is already drawing the attention of business owners and potential residents who are attracted to the larger spaces and lower prices of the area.