Upper Manhattan denotes the more northerly region of the New York City Borough of Manhattan. Its southern boundary may be defined anywhere between 59th Street and 125th Street. Between these two extremes lies the most common definition of Upper Manhattan as Manhattan above 96th Street (the southern boundary of Manhattan Valley in the west and Spanish Harlem in the east). This definition of Upper Manhattan takes in the neighborhoods of Marble Hill, Inwood, Washington Heights (including Fort George, Sherman Creek and Hudson Heights), Harlem (including Sugar Hill and Hamilton Heights), and parts of the Upper West Side (Morningside Heights and Manhattan Valley).
In the late 19th century, the IRT Ninth Avenue Line and other elevated railroads brought urban sprawl to the previously rustic Upper Manhattan. Until the late 20th century it was less influenced by the gentrification that had taken place in other parts of New York over the previous 30 years.
Like other residential areas, Upper Manhattan is not a major center of tourism in New York City, although some tourist attractions, such as Grant’s Tomb, Riverside Park, the Apollo Theater, Fort Tryon Park, Sylvia’s Restaurant, the Hamilton Grange, Morris–Jumel Mansion, Minton’s Playhouse, Riverbank State Park, The Cloisters, Sakura Park, Sugar Hill, Riverside Church, and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem lie within it. Tourist maps similarly pay scant attention to the boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
The Upper West Side is more affluent than its northern neighbors such as Manhattanville, Morningside Heights, Inwood, etc. The Upper East Side is similarly more affluent than its northern neighbor Spanish Harlem. Thus the 96th street definition comes from the East Side as well. Gentrification is occurring at a different pace, rate, and style than Soho, East Village, etc., due to different demographics.
All of Upper Manhattan is contained in the larger area New Yorkers know as Uptown (above 59th Street).
On September 11, 2001, two of four hijacked planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the original World Trade Center, and the towers subsequently collapsed. 7 World Trade Center collapsed due to fires and structural damage caused by heavy debris falling from the collapse of the Twin Towers. The other buildings within the World Trade Center complex were damaged beyond repair and soon after demolished. The collapse of the Twin Towers caused extensive damage to other surrounding buildings and skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan, and resulted in the deaths of 2,606 people, in addition to those on the planes. Since 2001, most of Lower Manhattan has been restored, but there has been controversy surrounding the rebuilding. However, many rescue workers and residents of the area developed several life-threatening illnesses that have led to some of their subsequent deaths. A memorial at the site was opened to the public on September 11, 2011, and the museum opened in 2014. In 2014, the new One World Trade Center, at 1,776 feet (541 m) and formerly known as the Freedom Tower, became the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, while other skyscrapers were under construction at the site.
The Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan began on September 17, 2011, receiving global attention and spawning the Occupy movement against social and economic inequality worldwide.
On October 29 and 30, 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive destruction in the borough, ravaging portions of Lower Manhattan with record-high storm surge from New York Harbor, severe flooding, and high winds, causing power outages for hundreds of thousands of city residents and leading to gasoline shortages and disruption of mass transit systems. The storm and its profound impacts have prompted the discussion of constructing seawalls and other coastal barriers around the shorelines of the borough and the metropolitan area to minimize the risk of destructive consequences from another such event in the future.
Manhattan has been the scene of many important American cultural movements. In 1912, about 20,000 workers, a quarter of them women, marched upon Washington Square Park to commemorate the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 146 workers on March 25, 1911. Many of the women wore fitted tucked-front blouses like those manufactured by the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, a clothing style that became the working woman’s uniform and a symbol of women’s liberation, reflecting the alliance of labor and suffrage movements.
The Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s established the African-American literary canon in the United States. Manhattan’s vibrant visual art scene in the 1950s and 1960s was a center of the American pop art movement, which gave birth to such giants as Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. Perhaps no other artist is as associated with the downtown pop art movement of the late 1970s as Andy Warhol, who socialized at clubs like Serendipity 3 and Studio 54.
Broadway theatre is often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. Plays and musicals are staged in one of the 39 larger professional theatres with at least 500 seats, almost all in and around Times Square. Off-Broadway theatres feature productions in venues with 100–500 seats. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, anchoring Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is home to 12 influential arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet, as well as the Vivian Beaumont Theater, the Juilliard School, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Alice Tully Hall.
Manhattan is also home to some of the most extensive art collections in the world, both contemporary and historical, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Frick Collection, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum. The Upper East Side has many art galleries, and the downtown neighborhood of Chelsea is known for its more than 200 art galleries that are home to modern art from both upcoming and established artists.
Manhattan is the borough most closely associated with New York City by non-residents; even some natives of New York City’s boroughs outside Manhattan will describe a trip to Manhattan as “going to the city”.
The borough has a place in several American idioms. The phrase a New York minute is meant to convey a very short time, sometimes in hyperbolic form, as in “perhaps faster than you would believe is possible”. It refers to the rapid pace of life in Manhattan. The term “melting pot” was first popularly coined to describe the densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side in Israel Zangwill’s play The Melting Pot, which was an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set by Zangwill in New York City in 1908. The iconic Flatiron Building is said to have been the source of the phrase “23 skidoo” or scram, from what cops would shout at men who tried to get glimpses of women’s dresses being blown up by the winds created by the triangular building. The “Big Apple” dates back to the 1920s, when a reporter heard the term used by New Orleans stablehands to refer to New York City’s racetracks and named his racing column “Around The Big Apple.” Jazz musicians adopted the term to refer to the city as the world’s jazz capital, and a 1970s ad campaign by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau helped popularize the term.
Manhattan is the economic engine of New York City, with its 2.3 million workers in 2007 drawn from the entire New York metropolitan area accounting for almost two-thirds of all jobs in New York City. In the first quarter of 2014, the average weekly wage in Manhattan (New York County) was $2,749, representing the highest total among large counties in the United States. Manhattan’s workforce is overwhelmingly focused on white collar professions, with manufacturing nearly extinct. Manhattan also has the highest per capita income of any county in the United States.
In 2010, Manhattan’s daytime population was swelling to 3.94 million, with commuters adding a net 1.48 million people to the population, along with visitors, tourists, and commuting students. The commuter influx of 1.61 million workers coming into Manhattan was the largest of any county or city in the country, and was more than triple the 480,000 commuters who headed into second-ranked Washington, D.C.