Riverside-West 105th St. historic district: A niche neighborhood in Manhattan Valley - by Aleksandra Scepanovic

May 15, 2018 - New York City
Aleksandra Scepanovic,
Ideal Properties Group

The Riverside-West 105th St. Historic District, which incorporates West 105th St. between West End Ave. and Riverside, and Riverside Dr. between West 105th & West 106th St., is a stalwart of a neighborhood. Upper Manhattan’s hidden gem, with beautifully vast green spaces and gorgeous historic architecture, this microcosm of a stunning Manhattan neighborhood is not quite Columbia University/Morningside Heights, and not quite far south enough to be considered Upper West Side.

This district is very minute in comparison to its neighbors. Most homes lining the area were built between 1899 to 1902. Because of the construction having been completed during a short period of time, the housing stock carries within a familiar resemblance, one featuring mostly limestone, mostly single-family units constructed of superior materials.  

How has the neighborhood managed to stay relatively unchanged, ushering in only small glimpses into modern-day? The answer lies in the extended occupancies of its buildings. 

Residents in the area tend to live in their homes for longer than most of their fellow NYers elsewhere in the city, rendering the neighborhood more arrested in time than those where tenants are changing more often. Prices have also remained lower, relative to the rest of the city. The area’s proximity to Riverside Park, yet it being far enough from the bustle of the city center, attracts inhabitants on a quest for quieter, more residential surroundings.

Still, no part of Manhattan is immune to gradual shifts in the housing market, the area is starting to be discovered by new, trendier proprietors. Restaurants such as Mezzogiorno, which offers high-end Italian cuisine and wood-fired gourmet pizza, are popping up here and there and filling in the spaces amongst the old standbys. SMOKE Jazz & Supper Club, one of the best jazz clubs in the city, has also made the area its home. Local mom-and-pops, such as Silver Moon Bakery, covet the neighborhood for its homegrown feeling and regular customers.

Ideal brokers active in the area feel that this historic district is en route to seeing more profound glimpses of modernization. A transformation, while not drastic but more subtle, is sure to take effect. Uber and Lyft are changing the needs of people to live close to subways and near attractions. Within the next 10 years, we expect a measured shift, with more residential tenants expressing interest in the area, and subsequently more commercial tenants following suit. This little-known micro-neighborhood represents a uniqueness in Manhattan, one where a resilience is likely to become more fluid.

As the neighborhood embraces contemporary development, our hope is that the historic nature, to the delight of the residents and visitors alike, will stay.

Aleksandra Scepanovic is the managing director of Ideal Properties Group, Brooklyn, N.Y.

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