Morningside Heights is located north of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, bordering Harlem, Riverside Park, and the north west end of Central Park. The area spans from about 106th to 123rd streets and is the institutional heart of the city, housing Columbia University, Barnard College and Teacher's College as well as Union Theological and Jewish Theological Seminaries, the Manhattan School of Music and Bank Street College. It is also home to the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Other cultural institutions in the neighborhood include Riverside Church, the Interchurch Center and International House.
The area is well known for its
architecture, particularly the campus of Columbia University designed by the famous architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White. Riverside Park and Morningside Park are also two important architecturally beautiful additions, the latter being designed by Olmstead and Vaux, the reknown designers of Central Park. Morningside Heights is also home to the General Grant National Memorial, a historical landmark in which the General and his wife are buried.
In 1896, Columbia University President Seth Low decided to move the University from its City Hall residence to Morningside Heights which was geographically isolated on a high plateau. Today, it is a vibrant community of intellectuals and students and the home to people of various generations and cultural backgrounds. Broadway and Amsterdam, the avenues surrounding Columbia's campus, are home to numerous cafes, bookstores, a chocolatier, and shops of every kind.