Harlem has a rich and proud history as the start of the civil rights movement and an incubator of American jazz and black literature. It remains a nexus of social change and activism today and is seeing waves of gentrification as Downtowners flock north of 125th Street.
At a Glance
Harlem’s community is proud and energetic, shaped by a love of music, food and social consciousness. Block parties and pick-up basketball games are a constant part of life, but get away from the main thoroughfares and the tree-lined blocks become quiet and residential. The streets, however, can be unpredictable. Beautiful churches and elegant row houses abut housing projects just as sleek new restaurants are moving in next to hole-in-the-wall home-cooking joints. In recent years, the poverty rate in Harlem has declined, but it still remains among Manhattan's poorest neighborhoods. This has not deterred a spate of new developments and residents moving into the area.
Deep local pride, busy street life and a sense of gritty swagger define the mood of the neighborhood.
Heart of the Neighborhood
125th Street is vibrant, if hectic strip, that boasts the famous Apollo Theater as well as plenty of apparel stores and fast-food joints.
Amateur Night at the Apollo is an institution and has helped launch the careers of many performers including The Jackson 5, Aretha Franklin and Lauryn Hill among others.
If you like authentic soul food and great live music, you will be in heaven here. No neighborhood boasts as much local flavor as Harlem.
Harlem has beautiful brownstones and prewar buildings, but many apartments can be bare bones and in need of repair.
By the Numbers
Harlem is one of Manhattan's more affordable areas, but rents and sale prices are increasing at faster rate there than anywhere else in Manhattan.
Food & Drink
Harlem’s greatest assets are the many fantastic restaurants and bars/music venues that dominate the streets.
Amy Ruth'sSouthern, Soul Food
Amy Ruth's is a Harlem staple offering no-frills soul-food that keeps neighborhood long-timers and newbies happy and full.
LoLo's Seafood ShackSeafood, Sandwiches, Bars
This small Caribbean open-air barbecue joint serves incredible seafood steampots in an unpretentious atmosphere.
Sylvia's RestaurantSouthern, Soul Food, Seafood
Sweet tea, chicken and waffles, and cheesy grits are among the Southern staples served at this popular local spot.