Situated on hills and cliffs along the Hudson River, Morningside Heights is a historic neighborhood in Upper Manhattan. This district boasts dozens of green acres in Riverside Park and Morningside Park. Columbia University, an Ivy League school, is nested in the heart of this vibrant neighborhood. From Grant’s Tomb to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Morningside Heights is home to some of NYC’s top landmarks.
Attractions and Sightseeing
Grant’s Tomb is one of the most visited attractions in Morningside Heights. Built in the late 1890s, this is the burial site of Ulysses S. Grant and his spouse. This massive Neoclassical monument honors the legacy of the 18th president of the United States. Visitors can get a close look at the red granite of the sarcophagus of Grant and his wife. Grant’s Tomb is nested on a hill in the northern section of Riverside Park, which has miles of trails along the Hudson River.
From hiking and jogging to bicycling and playing tennis, this waterfront green space offers plenty of fun recreation for visitors of all ages. Covering 30 acres in the eastern section of the neighborhood, Morningside Park also offers great recreational opportunities. Designed in the 1890s by the famous landscape architects Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, the park offers a nice retreat from the hustle of NYC. As you stroll the grounds, you’ll see monuments that are dedicated to George Washington, Marquis de LaFayette, and Carl Schurz.
The campus of Columbia University dominates the scene in Morningside Heights. Since opening in the 1750s, this academic institution has been one of the most prestigious in the nation. As you walk the grounds of this Ivy League school, you can admire beautiful architecture and landscapes. Having massive columns and other Neoclassical elements, the Visitors Center at Columbia University is open to the general public.
Occupying the southeastern corner of Morningside Heights, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine is another notable landmark. Built in the late 19th century in the Romanesque Revival and Gothic Revival styles, this church is an architectural gem. The Episcopal Diocese controls the historic church that has been serving generations of families in the New York City metropolitan area. The courtyard includes the West 111th Street People’s Garden which has Medieval-style decor.
Opened in the 1930s, the Riverside Church is also known for its rich architecture and history. This interdenominational entity was originally funded by the wealthy Rockefeller family. The massive nave of this church has a design that’s inspired by the Cathedral of Chartres, just outside of Paris, France.
Location and Directions
Situated along the eastern banks of the Hudson River, Morningside Heights occupies more than 20 blocks in Uptown Manhattan. One of the largest green spaces in the borough, Riverside Park is partially located in this neighborhood. The lush Morningside Park marks the eastern boundary of the district. Martin Luther King Boulevard defines the neighborhood’s northern border, and West 110th Street identifies the southern edge.
One of the busiest thoroughfares in Manhattan, the historic Broadway carries northbound and southbound traffic through the heart of Morningside Heights. Riverside Drive and the Henry Hudson Parkway are some other major roads that provide access to the district. The 1 Line of the New York City Subway stops at the 116th Street-Columbia University and 125th Street stations. This rapid transit service also serves passengers at the Cathedral Parkway and 110th Street station in the district’s southern tip.