Despite its 17th-century roots, the area became famous at the beginning of the 20th century.

Welcome to Harlem

Get to know Harlem

Extending north from Central Park to Washington Heights, historic Harlem includes most of northern Manhattan. While several subway lines make it easy to get to all points south, Harlem can still feel like its own world — and it was long its own village, founded by the Dutch and named after Haarlem in the Netherlands. Despite its 17th-century roots, the area became famous at the beginning of the 20th century. The legacy of the Harlem Renaissance — the burgeoning of music, literature, and political activism from the 1910s to the ’30s — lives on at museums and the legendary Apollo Theater. In recent decades it has been experiencing a second renaissance, as historic brownstones are being restored, and 125th Street is once again the lively commercial heart of the neighborhood.

Nearby Neighborhoods:

Upper Manhattan, Upper East Side, Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, Upper West Side

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History & Culture

Even though it was a village under the Dutch, the history of Harlem as we know it today begins in the 19th century. In 1880, after it was connected to the rest of Manhattan by the New York Elevated Railroad, developers began erecting block after block of rowhouses and apartment buildings. The Harlem Renaissance brought a cultural flowering led by writers like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston and musicians including Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Cab Calloway. Institutions from the Studio Museum to the Apollo Theater keep the spirit of that period alive. In the past few decades, public and private investments have resulted in a new blossoming of interest in the area.

Schools and Transportation

  • Democracy Prep Harlem Charter School
    207 WEST 133RD STREET
    0.05 MILES
  • St Aloysius School
    223 WEST 132ND STREET
    0.09 MILES
  • Teachers College Community School
    223 WEST 132ND STREET
    0.09 MILES
  • Ps 92 Mary Mcleod Bethune
    222 WEST 134TH STREET
    0.10 MILES
  • Ps 175 Henry H Garnet
    175 WEST 134TH STREET
    0.12 MILES
  • Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy Charter School
    245 WEST 129TH STREET
    0.22 MILES
  • Ps 154 Harriet Tubman
    250 WEST 127TH STREET
    0.33 MILES
  • St Mark The Evangelist School
    55 WEST 138TH STREET
    0.34 MILES
  • Ps 197 John B Russwurm
    2230 5TH AVENUE
    0.35 MILES
  • Fellowship Of Learning School
    0.35 MILES
  • Harlem International Community
    2116 7TH AVE
    0.36 MILES
  • Ps 133 Fred R Moore
    2121 5TH AVENUE
    0.39 MILES
  • Ps 129 John H Finley
    425 WEST 130TH STREET
    0.42 MILES
  • Success Academy Charter School-Harlem 5
    301 W 140TH ST
    0.43 MILES
  • Bronx Charter School For Excellence 5
    0.44 MILES
  • Ps 123 Mahalia Jackson
    301 WEST 140TH STREET
    0.44 MILES
  • St. Charles Borromeo
    214 W 142ND ST
    0.45 MILES
  • Neighborhood Charter School of Harlem
    132 WEST 124TH STREET
    0.48 MILES
  • All Sts. School
    52 E 130TH ST
    0.49 MILES
  • Annunciation School
    461 WEST 131ST STREET
    0.50 MILES
    • Dine & Shop

      Harlem’s restaurant scene includes Southern soul food favorites, like Sylvia’s, and other spots like the beloved Minton’s Playhouse, where music is as much of a draw as the food. There’s a Michelin-starred sushi restaurant, Sushi Inoue, and a popular outpost from chef Marcus Samuelsson, Red Rooster Harlem. There isn’t a single restaurant row per se in Harlem, and you’ll find its best restaurants throughout the neighborhood. Shopping, on the other hand, is concentrated along 125th Street and nearby blocks. There’s a mix of familiar stores like Old Navy and DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, but also independent, locally-owned options. Frederick Douglass Boulevard (the continuation of Central Park West) also has some stores to lure window-shoppers.

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