The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
Towering above Amsterdam Avenue with grounds that span from 110th up to 113th street and include several smaller structures and gardens, is the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. The sheer size of it can overwhelm you at first sight. Its cornerstone was laid in 1892, but it remains unfinished, primarily due to funding constraints. Walk up the steps inside during visiting hours and be amazed by its austere inner grandeur. While it is an Episcopalian place of worship, the Cathedral is inclusive of other faiths and also hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year.
The Riverside Church
Modeled after the 13th-century gothic cathedral in Chartres, France, The Riverside Church is an architectural wonder of Morningside Heights. The best approach for a view of the tower is via Riverside Drive. However, the main entrance to the church is on Claremont Avenue. Riverside Church has a long history of interdenominational inclusivity and diversity. Tours should be booked in advance unless you are able to attend the Sunday morning after service tour, which is free of charge. The Nave of the Riverside Church, which is its main area for congregation and roofed by the tower, is stunning.
The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 870 6700
General Grant National Memorial
A trip to Morningside Heights would be lacking without a quick visit to one of the most well-known monuments of the area: the General Grant National Memorial. This site, which is the largest mausoleum in North America, is the final resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant. It consists of a visitorʼs center, the mausoleum and the surrounding memorial grounds, which can be toured on a self-guided basis. Park rangers are available to answer questions. The site is free and open to the public Wednesday through Sunday.
Carl Schurz Memorial
A walk along Morningside Drive to the Carl Schurz Memorial will immediately make apparent the distinguishing geological characteristic of Morningside Heights. From this elevated vantage point there is an excellent view to the east over the adjacent Morningside Park and across Harlem, especially on a clear day. The memorial itself is a raised semi-circular space that extends beyond, and also provides a glimpse of, the impressive buttressed masonry wall that runs along the western border of Morningside Park. A bronze statue stands as tribute to this statesman, journalist and soldier of the Civil War era.
Morningside Drive at 116th Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 360 8143
At Giovanniʼs Pizza, expect to order an exemplary slice of New York-style pizza. At first bite, a native New Yorker may be reminded of what pizza tasted like as a kid. For an out-of-town visitor, it will serve as a sufficient introduction to the quintessential New York pizza slice, served in a generous portion by a friendly staff. If ordering delivery, a high quality-to-price ratio exists in such dishes as chicken parmagiana with a side of linguine or fried calamari.
Giovanniʼs Pizza, 1011 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 663 7000
Along the western border of Morningside Heights runs Riverside Park. For fresh air in the spring, sleigh riding in the winter or general access to the Hudson waterfront, this park offers a pleasant getaway from the busy streets of the city. Walk along a pathway flanked by benches underneath a canopy of American Elm trees. Look across the Hudson at neighboring New Jersey or uptown towards the expansive George Washington Bridge. If biking, this park provides access to the West Side Highway Bike Path.
Progressive and traditional at the same time is this quaint and cozy Italian restaurant located on a quiet side street off Broadway. It is New Yorkʼs first carbon neutral Green Certified Restaurant and has its own organic urban farm. If that doesn’t pique your interest, the food at Pisticci Restaurant will. Reservations are only available for parties of six or more, so there may be a slight wait to be seated on a busy night. However, for overall ambiance, food quality and service, it is a great experience.
Pisticci Restaurant, 125 La Salle Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 932 3500
Morningside Heights has two excellent farmers markets. GrowNYC Columbia University Green Market on Broadway and 116th street, open year-round on Thursdays and Sundays, is one. The other is Morningside Parkʼs Down to Earth Farmers Market on the corner of 110th street and Manhattan Avenue. The latter is a seasonal market open on Saturdays from late May to early December. Both markets offer a great selection of fresh and locally produced meats, poultry, dairy, baked goods, beverages and produce.
For any meal, but particularly breakfast or brunch, Kitchenette Restaurant combines country-style home decor with delicious comfort food. Brunch is available on weekends from 9am to 4.30pm. The pancakes and biscuits are highly recommended. Kitchenette is also admired by patrons for its cakes, cupcakes, pies and other sweet treats that are made from scratch in its bakery. If an American home-cooked style meal is on the agenda, then look no further than to this fun spot.
Kitchenette Uptown, 1272 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 531 7600
Bernheim and Schwartz
Bernheim and Schwartz is relatively new to Morningside Heights, but is quickly gaining in popularity. Beer enthusiasts will immediately be delighted by their impressive list of tasty ales and lagers. They are brewed locally in their Greenpoint, Brooklyn brewery and available in three glass sizes. The hall and restaurant pay tribute to the Bernheimer & Schwartz Brewery founded in 1903 further uptown, one of 30 breweries in Manhattan prior to prohibition. As if the great beer and impressive dark wood interior were not enough, the food is also quite good. The warm giant pretzel is a popular menu item.
Bernheim and Schwartz, 2911 Broadway, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 335 2911