Will It Remain Quiet Uptown After HAMILTON-Inspired Real Estate Boon?
In the second act of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, an inconsolable founding father and his wife deal with an unimaginable tragedy by moving away from the congested crowds of lower Manhattan. "It's Quiet Uptown" they sing.
Two hundred years later, is it possible that such a recommendation could be the cause of a real estate boon in the area of upper Manhattan now known as Hamilton Heights?
Yes says DNAinfo, in an article that cites the opinions of those who live and work in the community surrounding West 141st Street's Hamilton Grange, where the country's first Secretary of the Treasury lived during the last years of his life.
Visitors who grew curious about the area because of the hit musical have found themselves attracted to the hilly area's beautiful views and expansive dwellings.
"Having that mansion up there ties it in with what the neighborhood was: the country," says Kevin Draper of New York Historical Tours. "Even today, for people looking for more space in Manhattan, it's still the place to get that.'
"He built it for the views, to see the Hudson and East rivers. The guys in the past were thinking of views and fresh air. If they got sick, they believed fresh air was the cure."
Draper will be speaking on Sunday, April 17, at an Expo open house event called "Hamilton in the Heights," a name that also alludes to the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical IN THE HEIGHTS, which was credited for increasing interest in the Washington Heights area during its Broadway run.
The event includes a menu that would have been popular during Hamilton's time, served at a three-bedroom apartment currently on the market for $1,875 million at 790 Riverside Drive, off of West 156th Street.
Broker Bruce Robertson, who created the event, notes, "By the way it's presented with rap and hip-hop, Hamilton makes history 'hip' and more relevant. People want to see some of the places where it really happened."
"Coincidentally," he adds, "my friend and Harlem resident, chef Joanna Pruess, told me she might create a George Washington dinner at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in July for their Independence Celebration. I said, 'Wouldn't that be the same food and drink Alexander Hamilton would have served at the Grange?' 'Of course,' she said."
According to the National Park Service, visits to Hamilton Grange have risen 450 percent above what they were at this time last year, and Robertson believes that the musical's popularity has spurred newfound interest in other local cultural venues like the United Palace of Cultural Arts, where Miranda has been instrumental in bringing music and cultural events like free classic movies to the neighborhood.
"The show has brought Hamilton Grange, Hamilton Heights, Jumel Mansion and even Audubon Terrace to life and given them new meaning, and of course business. Sometimes when speaking to folks about our neighborhood they say 'Oh, you live up there!' So now The Cloisters isn't the only cultural reason to go uptown," says Robertson.
Jimmy Napoli, of Outside In Tours, used to only give private tours that focused on Hamilton's life. Now he books public tours with groups of 20+ six times a week.
"I think more people are interested in history," he says, "and there's more of a community and spirit here keeping that history alive."