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Harlem is a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan, New York City, New York. It is bounded roughly by the Hudson River on the west; the Harlem River and 155th Street on the north; Fifth Avenue on the east; and Central Park North on the south. The greater Harlem area encompasses several other neighborhoods and extends. It extends west to the Hudson River, north to 155th Street, east to the East River, and south to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Central Park, and East 96th Street.

Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands. Harlem’s history has been defined by a series of economic boom-and-bust cycles, with significant population shifts accompanying each process. Jewish and Italian Americans predominantly occupied Harlem in the 19th century, but African-American residents arrived in large numbers during the Great Migration in the 20th century. In the 1920s and 1930s, Central and West Harlem were the centers of the Harlem Renaissance, a prominent African-American cultural movement. With job losses during the Great Depression of the 1930s and the deindustrialization of New York City after World War II, crime and poverty rates increased significantly. In the 21st century, crime rates decreased significantly, and Harlem started to gentrify.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Central and West Harlem was the focus of the “Harlem Renaissance,” an outpouring of artistic work without precedent in the American Black community. Though Harlem musicians and writers are mainly well remembered, the district has also hosted numerous actors and theater companies, including the New Heritage Repertory Theater, National Black Theater, Lafayette Players, Harlem Suitcase Theater, The Negro Playwrights, American Negro Theater, and the Rose McClendon Players.

In a former burlesque house, the Apollo Theater opened on 125th Street on January 26, 1934. On Lenox Avenue, the Savoy Ballroom was a renowned venue for swing dancing and was immortalized in a popular song of the era, “Stompin’ At The Savoy.” In the 1920s and 1930s, between Lenox and Seventh Avenues in central Harlem, over 125 entertainment venues were in operation, including speakeasies, cellars, lounges, cafes, taverns, supper clubs, rib joints, theaters, dance halls, and bars and grills. Top HVAC NYC

133rd Street, known as “Swing Street,” became known for its cabarets, speakeasies, and jazz scene during the Prohibition era and was dubbed “Jungle Alley” because of “inter-racial mingling” on the street. Some jazz venues, including the Cotton Club, where Duke Ellington played, and Connie’s Inn, were restricted to whites. Others were integrated, including the Renaissance Ballroom and the Savoy Ballroom.

Restaurants Nearby

  • Renaissance Harlem is located at 2245 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY
  • Trufa is located at 3431 Broadway, New York City, NY
  • DIG is located at 2884 Broadway, New York, NY


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