Spanish Harlem (East Harlem)
Also known as East Harlem or ‘El Barrio,’ Spanish Harlem is a vibrant neighborhood that stretches from East 96th Street to East 120th Street between the East River and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Spanish Harlem, as you may have guessed by the name, is home to one of largest and proudest Spanish communities in New York City; world-class musicians, writers, and artists have called it home. Originally settled by German immigrants, then Italian immigrants (so much so that people called it ‘Italian Harlem’ by the late nineteenth century), Spanish Harlem earned its name after waves of Puerto Rican immigration following World War I and II permanently changed the demographics of the neighborhood. There are still pockets of Italian Harlem left in the area, and today Spanish Harlem is a hub for immigrants from around the world, making it truly an international neighborhood.
Recently many have begun to use the term ‘Upper Upper East Side’ in reference to Spanish Harlem, and for good reason: many newer condominiums housing young professionals have sprung up all over the area. The rich cultural history of El Barrio is still alive and well; El Museo Del Barrio and the Museum of African Art are both landmark cultural institutions located in Spanish Harlem. Not only that, but the Spanish restaurants are among the best in Manhattan, and there are many fantastic Italian restaurants there too, the most famous of which is the super-exclusive Rao’s. This rapidly changing neighborhood is among the fastest emerging places in New York City.