'In the Heights' features local businesses, sites and residents

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- Residents of Washington Heights were treated to a community screening of Lin-Manuel Miranda's newest film, "In the Heights," that gives much-deserved recognition to their neighborhood.

The screening at the United Palace Theater in the heart of the neighborhood Thursday was a way for the movie's creators to say thank you.

The film captures the true essence of the culturally rich community -- and New Yorkers may recognize several of the locations and even movie extras.

One of the jaw-dropping musical numbers was shot at Highbridge pool at 173rd and Amsterdam.

If one of the bodegas looks familiar, it should. It was tweaked for the movie, but can be found at 175th and Audubon.

Haven Ruiz is excited to see the movie and with good reason - the 9-year-old is making her big-screen debut.

The movie extra said she filmed at a dinner table while she was eating food. She said it was fun and not too much hard work.

For man, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The movie extras will never forget how generous and down to Earth everyone was - especially Miranda.

Joshua Bautista appears for six seconds at the end of the film and he's extremely proud to be a part of it.

"Me and my family, we are all Dominicans, family came here in the '60s during the revolution, it was great to tell their story for them... be there to represent them," Bautista said.

Another incredible part of this roughly 1.6. square mile area is the views from the Heights - they will never get old.

Another key scene unfolds inside J Hood Wright Park at 173rd and Haven.

"This film gives wings of hope for people in our community, it certainly does for me," Washington Heights resident Rosana Rodriguez said.

ALSO READ | Lin-Manuel Miranda talks about journey of 'In The Heights'
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This week marks the end of a long journey for Lin-Manuel Miranda, one that began when he started writing his first musical at the age of 19. Before he ever created "Hamilton," he was thinking about life where he grew up "In the Heights."

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