For all of its world-renowned diversity, there are still pockets of New York City that go largely unrecognized. A few ticks north of Harlem lies Washington Heights, a vibrant neighborhood known for its large Dominican population and now the backdrop and namesake of MTV’s new docu-series “Washington Heights” premiering on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.
It’s a place native New Yorkers know well, but now everyone else will get a taste of the hood that Spider-Man creator Stan Lee and Major League Baseball slugger Manny Ramírez once called home. “Washington Heights is just like a common ground for everybody,” castmember Rico told MTV News. “There’s so much diversity. There’s so much culture. There’s so much ethnicities all around. It’s that Washington Heights pretty much molds all that together, and it makes it that one unique place.”
The show centers around the lives of aspiring rapper JP, Reyna, up-and-coming spoken-word artist Frankie, Rico, Jimmy, Eliza, Ludwin, Fred and Taylor as they try to balance chasing their individual dreams, supporting one another and keeping the everyday drama to a minimum. They laugh, they cry and they fight, but as much as each of the nine principle characters drive the show, the neighborhood itself is central to the storyline. “I feel like Washington Heights is a character within itself that’s gonna put people onto us,” JP mused. “It’s loud, it’s eccentric, it’s colorful, it’s full of diversity and culture, so people are just gonna gravitate to that.”
For most of the show’s viewers, this will be their first taste of all that the Heights has to offer and can ultimately serve as a televised postcard for the tight-knit and flavorful community. “There’s a lot of familiness going on in Washington Heights,” Frankie described before she subtly sells us all on the neighborhood she so passionately represents in her poetry. “People tend to want to stay there.”