Eyewitness News First At 4:00 P.M

7 Blocks: Washington Heights

Friday, January 27, 2012

We are exploring another neighborhood surrounding a commuter stop. You miss quite a bit as you head to your final destination. There are lots of history and important points of interest to see if you ever took the time to check them out. We are getting in Washington Heights where the A ,C and 1 line take commuters every day and where New York history meets top notch medical care.

Next stop is 168th street, in Upper Manhattan and when you step into the neighborhood, you walk into an area dominated by one of the world's most prestigious medical centers. New York Presbyterian, the University Hospital of Columbia & Cornell is situated in a 20 acre campus and is the largest employer in Washington Heights.

"We have the most transplants of any hospital in the country and we have some of the best surgeons in heart disease, orthopedics&you name it," said Dr. Emilo Carillo with NY Presbyterian Hospital.

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Three blocks south is a site that turned a night of violence into a memorial for a controversial human rights activist and his wife. The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center is located in the same building where Malcom X was assassinated in 1965, The Audubon Ballroom.

"As a memorial site for Malcom X, thousands of people visit here from all over the world," said Mark Harding, Executive Director.

Before the Audubon Ballroom became an infamous landmark in the country's civil rights movement, it was used as a vaudeville house and movie theater in the early 1900's. It was built by film producer William Fox, who later founded Fox Film Corporation. The foxes built into the façade to honor him are still there.

But that is not the only historic landmark in the area. Just beyond 7 blocks away from the stop is a mansion with ties to the American Revolution.

The Morris-Jumel mansion served as a headquarters for both sides in the war. General George Washington used it to oversee the battle of Harlem heights in the fall of 1776. It was the first revolutionary war battle during which the continental army was able to force a British retreat.

"Morris-Jumel house is the oldest remaining house in Manhattan. It was built in 1765 and it was built as a summer home," said Ken Moss, Executive Director.

George Washington's history here is why the neighborhood today is called Washington Heights.

Medical advances, a civil rights center, and revolutionary war history can all be found within and just beyond 7 blocks of the 168th street stop in Washington Heights.

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