Heights is a general term for an elevated landform that provides a vantage point from which to view surrounding countryside. Hills, cliffs, mesas, plateaus, palisades, and bluffs can be thought of as heights. Brooklyn, Morningside, Harlem, and Washington Heights in New York City were named for the promontories they occupy. Across the United States there are dozens of well-known suburbs, such as Shaker, Hacienda, Dearborn, and Arlington Heights, that employ the name. In a suburban context, heights carry a kind of middle-class pretension or snobbery, as if higher ground, real or nominal, makes a better neighborhood. This is why Sinclair Lewis set much of the action of his scathing satire of the American middle class, Babbitt, in the Floral Heights section of the mythical town of Zenith.

Michael Collier