(DNAinfo/ Flickr rickweller)

While Duke Ellington’s big band made taking the ‘A’ train to Harlem a swinging NYC pastime in the 40’s, today, the cool kids are all taking that same subway a little bit further…all the way up to Inwood neighborhood in NYC.

Like a cap perched jauntily on Manhattan’s long noggin, Inwood is the borough’s northernmost neighborhood. It’s also one of Manhattan’s last bastions of affordable arts spaces, making it a hub for artists of all stripes finding new ways to create. This arguably makes Inwood the best neighborhood in Manhattan for emerging artists.

Just ask Aaron Simms, creator of The Back Porch, a free vaudeville performance series that takes place on – you guessed it! – the back porch of his Inwood abode.

Aaron kicked off The Back Porch with a mission to “meet the needs of two undervalued groups: the ever-expanding variety of talented artists in New York, and the underserved community of patrons of the arts in Northern Manhattan.” And we love him for it, because this is exactly the kind of event that personifies the spirit of Inwood – unique, ambitious, resourceful, and open to all.

And that’s just the beginning of the awesome and underrated Inwood arts scene. Just consider the venerable Fort Tryon Park, artistic home to both The Cloisters (the Met’s jaw-dropping collection of medieval art and gardens, housed in a glorious building assembled from a mélange of architectural elements from the 12th – 15th centuries), and the Inwood Shakespeare Festival, a dedicated non-profit theatre group bringing free Shakespeare to the park since 2002.

We can’t forget the Uptown Arts Stroll – a huge annual celebration of the arts and artists living, working, and creating north of 155th Street!

Really, we’re just scratching the surface. A great way to get to know Inwood as the best neighborhood in Manhattan is in person – so hop that ‘A’ train to the tip top of the island, and check it out for yourself!

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