For years, those who moved to the Hudson Heights section of Washington Heights savored the fact that apartments could be bought at discounts as steep as the neighborhood’s hills, compared with much of the rest of Manhattan. And to find that affordable home, one didn’t have to give up good subway service — or, some joked, a 212 area code — in the process.
Harder to swallow for some, though, was that the neighborhood lacked amenities so many other parts of the borough took for granted: good restaurants, well-stocked groceries and even a place for a latte.
“Nothing was here,” said Mary Alice O’Connor, a 34-year resident transplanted from SoHo, referring to West 181st Street, a main commercial strip. “There was one old bar, and one old florist, and the rest was bodegas or closed.”
Ms. O’Connor, who teaches English and job skills to immigrants and paid $70,000 for a two-bedroom with a formal dining room, often had to stock up by driving to a Fairway Market in Harlem.