Harlem is an area located in Upper Manhattan, New York City. It is bordered roughly by Harlem River on the west; Hudson River on the west; Harlem River and 155th Street on the north; Harlem River and 155th Street on the north; Fifth Avenue on the east and Central Park North on the south. The entire Harlem area is comprised of several communities and extends. It extends westward up to the Hudson River, north to 155th Street, eastward up to East River, and south to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Central Park, and East 96th Street.

It was originally a Dutch village, officially organized in 1658. The village is named in honor of Harlem, the capital city of Haarlem, located in the Netherlands. Harlem’s past is marked by a series of cycles of economic booms and busts that saw significant shifts in the population with each cycle. Jewish and Italian Americans predominantly occupied Harlem during the 19th century. However, African-Americans arrived in substantial amounts throughout the Great Migration in the 20th century. In the 1920s and 1930s, Central Harlem and West Harlem were the centers of the Harlem Renaissance, a prominent cultural movement of African-Americans. In the wake of job losses in the Great Depression of the 1930s and the gradual deindustrialization of New York City after World War II, the crime and poverty rates went up substantially. As the 20th century progressed, the crime rate declined substantially as Harlem became more gentrifying. H&A Power Washing NYC

Through the 1930s and 1920s, Central and West Harlem was the focus of the “Harlem Renaissance,” an explosion of art and culture that had no prior precedent within Harlem’s American Black community. Though Harlem writers and musicians are most well-known, however, the area has been the home of numerous theater and actor companies, such as The New Heritage Repertory Theater, National Black Theater, Lafayette Players, Harlem Suitcase Theater, The Negro Playwrights, American Negro Theater, and the Rose McClendon Players.

A former burlesque venue in Harlem, The Apollo Theater opened on 125th Street on the 26th of January 1934. It was located on Lenox Avenue. The Savoy Ballroom was a popular location for swing dancing. It was immortalized in the popular song from the time, “Stompin’ At The Savoy.” In the 1920s and 1930s, Between Lenox 7th and Lenox Avenue in Central Harlem, there were more than the course of 125 entertainment venues operated, which included speakeasies, cafés, lounges and cellars and taverns, supper clubs, supper clubs and rib joints, theatres, dance halls, restaurants, and bars.

The 133rd Street, referred to by the name “Swing Street,” became popular for its cabarets speakeasies and the jazz scene during the Prohibition period. It was also called “Jungle Alley” because of “inter-racial mingling” on the street. Like The Cotton Club, where Duke Ellington was a regular, and Connie’s Inn, specific jazz venues were only open to whites. Some were also integrated, like The Renaissance Ballroom and the Savoy Ballroom.

Restaurants Nearby

  • Renaissance Harlem can be found at 2245 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York City, New York.
  • It is situated at the address 3431 Broadway, New York, NY
  • DIG can be found at 2884 Broadway, New York, NY


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