An iconic Manhattan neighborhood, Harlem is rich in both culture and history, and that history is evident in a variety of landmarks. Spanning from the Hudson River to the East River, Harlem’s southern boundary is 110th Street west of 5th Ave and 120th Street east of 5th Ave, while the northern border lies at 155th Street. Predominantly African American and Hispanic, Harlem has in recent years become more diverse but has still retained its neighborhood feel. Classic brownstones can be found throughout, and these architectural gems speak to the neighborhood’s proud history. And with famous places like The Apollo Theater and Cotton Club, both of which helped launch the careers of such comedians as Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, Harlem has long been a center for the arts, restaurants and exciting nightlife options.
Originally a Dutch settlement named after the city of Haarlem in The Netherlands, modern Harlem was purchased from the Lenape tribe in 1658. Since then it has gone through a many cultural revolutions, all of which have added their flavor to the neighborhood. Since its inception, the Dutch, English, Jewish and Italian residents that have called it home have all left their indelible marks. In the early 20th century, however, the demographics changed when many African Americans left the southern states to move north, an event known as The Great Migration. Roughly 20 years later, the Harlem Renaissance took the area by storm, becoming the most important cultural revolution within the African American community. Harlem was also famously one of the primary seats of the Civil Rights movement as well as the birthplace of Malcolm X, among other major activists, further illustrating its important place in NYC and American history.
Though this Manhattan neighborhood has seen some hard times, Harlem has recently undergone yet another transformation since the early 1990s. The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone increased the amount of restaurant, shopping and cultural options, established museums, and still managed to retain Harlem’s rich, historical culture. As a result, Harlem has grown in popularity, especially amongst those searching for great deals in Manhattan real estate. Harlem may soon be transformed from a diamond in the rough to one of NYC’s trendier neighborhoods.