One of the displaced tribes in the island’s early history were the Munsee, who lived in the northwest corner of the island in an area they had named Shokorapok. The area in and around that Munsee settlement is now home to one of Manhattan’s most diverse neighbourhoods: Washington Heights. The Heights stretches from 155th street north to Inwood, and is bordered by the Hudson River to the west and the Harlem River to the east. The neighbourhood is also home to the highest point on the island, in what is now Bennet Park. During the Revolutionary War, both the British and Continental armies used it as a strategic point.
Settlement of the area began to take off in the early 20th century, as Irish immigrants settled the area. The Irish were followed by Hungarians, Poles and then Jews, many from Germany, earning the neighbourhood the nickname “Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson.” Greeks followed, then, in the 1970s, immigrants from the Soviet Union. By the late 20th century, Caribbeans dominated the Heights, particularly those from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, who were also joined by African Americans.
The neighbourhood now has a distinctly Latin flavor. The barrio is home to many Latin-owned businesses, including the ubiquitous bodega, a particular kind of family-run convenience store, often stocking products from the Caribbean, that becomes a de-facto community centre for residents of the neighbourhood.
The Heights remains one of the most popular neighbourhoods for immigrants, with the ninth-highest concentration of immigrants in New York, and the only neighbourhood in Manhattan in the top ten. That may change, however, as the neighbourhood is rapidly gentrifying, raising rents, and pushing longtime residents out of the neighbourhood. Between 2013 and 2014, Washington Heights was second only to Bushwick (Brooklyn) for property price increase in all of New York City, with the median home price jumping a whopping 28.8%.