ViVa Manhattanville in West Harlem

riverbank state park shinya 0 ViVa Manhattanville in West HarlemAmid Columbia University’s ongoing border skirmishes–the result of its planned 17-acre expansion northward–even the name of the embattled neighborhood is contested.

Some favor Mahattanville, a moniker harking back to the 19th-century Quaker village that sprang up, as contemporary guidebooks put it, a whole “eight miles from New York.” Others contend the area is simply an extension of Harlem (to which the recently opened West Harlem Piers Park adds some municipal clout). Meanwhile, real estate developers have been assiduously dropping ViVa (that’s Viaduct Valley, for the Riverside Drive viaduct) into their listings.

Suspended between a mixed-use industrial past and Renzo Piano’s gleaming mock-ups of its future, Manhattanville is a vague terrain of vaulted lattice, forsaken warehouses and, more and more, edgy new restaurateurs betting on the coming metamorphosis.

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