Patch reports that elected officials, community leaders, and activist groups gathered Friday on the Plaza de Las Americas in Washington Heights to announced the official designation of the world’s first “Little Dominican Republic.”
The Little Dominican Republic — a commercial and cultural designation — will span much of the Washington Heights and Inwood neighborhoods starting from West 145th Street to West 220th Street. The designated area features cultural and historical landmarks such as the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the Met Cloisters, The City College of New York and the George Washington Bridge, officials said.
Officials pushed for the designation as a way to honor the Dominican communities that stayed in Washington Heights and Inwood while the area suffered during the crack epidemic, eventually building them up to the desirable neighborhoods they are today, State Senator Marisol Alcantara said Friday.
“Walking around Upper Manhattan can often feel like walking through the streets of a town in the Dominican Republic… We can finally hold a claim over the incredible contributions Dominicans have made to Upper Manhattan and all of New York City,” Alcantara said in a statement.
Alcantara and other elected officials such as State Assemblywoman Carmen de La Rosa and City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said that as gentrification takes its hold on Washington Heights and Inwood, the Little Dominican Republic designation will ensure the contributions of the community are not forgotten as the neighborhood changes.