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Washington Heights

The Cloisters

The Cloisters Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Fort Washington Avenue


What you'll pay: $750,000
What you'll get: A 1,200-square-foot three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom prewar co-op near the A train
Distance to midtown: 25 minutes on the A, 35 minutes on the 1

The hit musical In the Heights may have raised the namesake neighborhood's profile, but savvy families already knew of its appeal. "When we found our apartment—two decent-size bedrooms in a quiet area near the subway—we hit the trifecta," says Kristen Bonardi Rapp, who moved to Washington Heights with her husband and their daughter, Trixie, now 10, in 2006. A diverse enclave abounding in green spaces and Latin flair, Washington Heights is fast becoming the Upper Upper West Side. "I'm a resident," says Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Perry Payne, "and I must have moved 200 other families here as well."

The neighborhood runs from 155th Street to Dyckman Street, or "approximately Columbia-Presbyterian to the Cloisters," Payne says. "It used to be a no-go for the doctors at the hospital. Now they're sticking around." Five-room prewar apartments with high ceilings and a dining room hover around $750,000, while a classic six on Riverside Drive with river and city views and a renovated kitchen will cost slightly close to a million dollars.

The surge in families moving to the area has exacerbated overcrowding in the schools, though P.S. 187 remains a standout for its strong academics, parental involvement and the fact that teachers stay at the school for years. And the dense population does have its benefits: "I know I can take Trixie down to the playground or over to one of the parks and she'll find someone to strike up a friendship with," Rapp says.

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