Inwood is physically bounded by the Harlem River to the north and east, and the Hudson River to the west. It extends southward to Fort Tryon Park and alternatively Dyckman Street or Fairview Avenue further south, depending on the source. Notably, while Inwood is the northernmost neighborhood on the island of Manhattan, it is not the northernmost neighborhood of the entire borough of Manhattan.
Inwood was a rural section of Manhattan well into the early 20th century. Once the IRT subway reached Inwood in 1906, speculative developers constructed numerous apartment buildings on the east side of Broadway. A subsequent construction boom occurred after 1933 on the west side of Broadway , when the IND subway reached 207th Street along Broadway. Many of Inwood's impressive Art Deco apartment buildings were constructed during this period. Today, Inwood is a residential neighborhood of primarily five-to-eight story prewar buildings, along with some of the few remaining detached houses on Manhattan island. Buildings are evenly mixed between elevator and walk-ups. Most of Inwood's co-op buildings are located west of Broadway, while rentals dominate on the east side of Broadway.