When you think of New York neighborhoods with lots of mews and alleys, the West Village and Brooklyn Heights probably come to mind.
But Washington Heights on the Harlem border has its share of tiny lanes as well. Two small streets in the 160s feature old-style lampposts, Belgian block paving stones, and pre-20th century residences. They make the area feel more like a time-warped country village than an urban center.
Sylvan Terrace (above), up a flight of stairs from St. Nicholas Avenue, is a two-sided stretch of 20 wooden row houses flanking a once-private lane. The three-story houses were built in 1882 and restored in the 1980s.
At the end of Sylvan Terrace is Jumel Terrace. Spanning 160th-162nd Streets, this quiet, leafy road is the home of the Morris-Jumel Mansion (above), the oldest house in the borough. Built in 1765 on high ground with views of Manhattan, it served as George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War.
The city purchased the mansion in 1903 and restored it as a museum. Up until the late 1800s, this part of Harlem was still pretty rural.