Allie's Inn & Neighborhood History
Marilyn the innkeeper spent her career in the financial world on Wall Street. Marilyn's father's childhood nickname was Allie. The inn is a tribute to him and their wonderful relationship.
Hamilton Heights - West Harlem
Allie's Inn is located in the Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill and West Harlem neighborhood. Historically and architecturally, it is one of New York City's richest and most diverse neighborhoods. The development of the area from West 135th to West 155th Street, Edgecombe Avenue to the Hudson, spans a period of over 350 years and is an exciting and evolving chapter of the settlement of Manhattan Island and the development of New York City. The first non-native settlers of the area were farmers of diverse origins (eleven Frenchmen, four Walloons, four Danes, three Swedes, three Germans, and seven Dutchmen) who were offered land grants by the Dutch West India Company after founding New Amsterdam at the foot of Manhattan in 1625.
In 1658, Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant established the Village of New Harlem, which includes the area, now known as Hamilton Heights. During the Revolutionary War, temporary fortifications were built throughout Harlem Heights as far north as 160th Street. In late October 1776, several skirmishes occurred between what is now West 130th Street and West145th Streets. Following the defeat of the Continental Army at the Battle of Brooklyn in the previous August, these encounters were the first demonstration of the ability of the Continental Army to match at least the better-trained and equipped British forces.
In 1791, the Bloomingdale Road was extended to meet the Kingsbridge Road at present day West 147th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue giving easier access to the area and attracting residents who often created grand estates and country retreats, enticed by cool breezes, panoramic views, and inexpensive rich soil. The last remaining great house of this period is The Grange (1801-2), the twelve-room country home of Alexander Hamilton, the nations' first Secretary of the Treasury. The Federal-style house, designed by John Macomb Jr., a co-designer of City Hall, is now a museum operated by the National Park Service, open to visitors daily.
St. Nicholas Park
Originally settled by Dutch farmers in the late 1600s, after the American Revolution (1775-1783) the neighborhood's agricultural yield began to wane. Many residents moved to southern Manhattan's newly industrialized areas. In the 1880s, the area developed quickly as the elevated trains and houses were constructed in Harlem, Hamilton Heights and Manhattanville.
The City acquired some of the land for St. Nicholas Park by condemnation for the construction of the Old Croton Aqueduct in 1885-86. New York State laws of 1894-1895 authorized the creation of a public park instead, and it was called St. Nicholas Park. The name of the park was taken from the adjacent Harlem streets. St. Nicholas Terrace (to the west) and St. Nicholas Avenue (to the east). These streets honor New Amsterdam's patron saint, whose image adorned the masthead of the New Netherland that brought the first Dutch colonists to these shores. St. Nicholas of Myra is also known as the patron saint of children, sailors, bankers, pawnbrokers, travelers, and captives - as well as the inspiration of Father Christmas or Santa Claus. Legend claims that he gave his considerable inheritance to charity and often made secret and anonymous gifts to the desperately needy. He served as bishop of Myra in Asia Minor in the 4th century where he was venerated even before his death as a man of exceptional holiness. St. Nicholas' relics are enshrined in the Italian town of Bari.