Harlem Travel Guide

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Upper Manhattan is a large, relatively under-visited area that ranges from th Street to Inwood Hill Park on the west and from 96th Street northward on the east where the island of Manhattan tapers off unevenly. The area includes Harlem , recognized globally as a center of African-American culture and business and home to America's historic Black nationalist movements, and East Spanish Harlem. Other areas of interest include the neighborhoods of Washington Heights , a center of Dominican culture in New York and the home of The Cloisters museum and the huge Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center ; and Inwood , the home of the last remains of the marshes and forests that once covered the island.

Upper Manhattan is a large and fascinating place where the identity and characteristics of the neighborhoods change almost every few blocks. Harlem itself consists of several neighborhoods each with its own distinct culture and history. Once known as Italian Harlem, today this area on the East Side, bounded by 96th Street and the Harlem River, is a polyglot mixture of renovated and gentrified streets sharing space with West African immigrants in single room occupancy hotels and the many Latinos who still live in the area.

The Latino population of the neighborhood is also diverse, and is now more Mexican than Puerto Rican. Further north and west, centered around th Street, is the Harlem of the Harlem Renaissance, the center of African-American culture in the early twentieth century. While old standbys like the Apollo Theater are still going strong, Harlem and particularly th Street are amidst a renaissance as new homeowners renovate historic brownstones and new development surges.

A new Marriott hotel is planned for th and Park, and former President Bill Clinton's offices are in the neighborhood as well. There are famous churches in the area, such as the Abyssinian Baptist Church, and some of these have famous gospel choirs. The entire west side of Harlem is a surprising mix of rundown streets with car repair garages, stately single-family town houses, and boarded-up buildings. Even further west, along Riverside Drive running all the way to th street, are delightfully preserved apartment buildings from the turn of the twentieth century.

North of Harlem are Washington Heights and Inwood, unlikely to be on most tourists' radar screen except for The Cloisters but also fast improving from their days as by-words for urban blight. Washington Heights is the acknowledged center of Dominican culture in New York.

Which NYC Neighborhood Do You Belong In?

Today, it is an ethnic mix with recent immigrants from Bangladesh and young artists and professionals in search of relatively low rents rubbing shoulders with long-term Dominican residents in the south and the Jewish residents of the northern Cabrini Boulevard area. At the northern end of Washington Heights, The Cloisters, a medieval museum and gift of the Rockefeller family, lives inside the beautiful Fort Tryon Park.

Further north lies the neighborhood of Inwood , a mostly residential area, and Inwood Hill Park , a marshy and forested park that is the best approximation of what Manhattan island was five hundred years ago. Even further north is Marble Hill , a small residential area north of the Harlem River that's the only part of Manhattan on the North American mainland.

Harlem, New York City - Video Tour of East Harlem, Uptown Manhattan

Originally, it was on Manhattan Island, but became its own island in when a canal was built to straighten out a severe bend in the Harlem River, and was connected to the mainland in when the bypassed section of the river was filled in. Many residents consider it part of the Bronx, the borough to which it is attached.

Throughout the Dutch and British colonial periods, rich farms were located in the region's flat eastern portion, while some of New York's most illustrious early families, such as the Delanceys, Bleeckers, Rikers, Beekmans, and Hamiltons maintained large estates in the high, western portion of the area.


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We got great insights not only from Harlem, but other neighbourhoods as well. Josh was amazing! We definetely recommend!

Read more. Date of experience: November Helpful Share. Mat H wrote a review 04 Nov. Geelong, Australia 36 contributions 2 helpful votes. Such an interesting tour. I would highly recommend this tour. I arrived with a pre-conception of what Harlem would be like and i was completely wrong.

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Our tour guide Stefan was amazing. He is a wealth of knowledge and was absolutely lovely. The people in both Harlem and the church we visited were so …. Eamonn P wrote a review 01 Nov. Dublin, Ireland 34 contributions 4 helpful votes. The day we went was pouring rain and could have been a complete wash out. However the guide stopped in sheltered spots where possible and kept it very interesting with her commentary. The gospel singing was fantastic and the ceremony was an interesting experience.

The …. Jane K wrote a review Oct Melbourne, Australia 3 contributions 1 helpful vote. Enlightening tour but too many other groups! It's a pity they can't limit numbers or work together to schedule better. Date of experience: October Thank you for the feedback. We are glad to hear you enjoyed your experience. We are sorry the group size impacted your experience.

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We are actively working on new ways to find new routes to alleviate some of the group size. In addition to the charming atmosphere, the Hungarian Pastry Shop offers a good selection of pastries at affordable prices.

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Are you looking for a one-of-a-kind dining experience? Then, you should head to The Cecil , an airy brasserie serving Afro-Asian-American fusion fare and cocktails. The menu combines the rich culinary traditions of the African Diaspora with a noticeable global twist. Try juicy, cinnamon-brined fried guinea hen or the Gullah jumbo shrimp burger topped with kimchi and scallion. On top of the unique, inventive, and super creative cuisine, the drinks and the service stand out as well.

Here, my favourite alternative things to do in Harlem. Sing up to the newsletter for new alternative travel and leisure things to do!


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New York City guide: Harlem lights

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Main landmarks Central Harlem is the heart and soul of the neighbourhood, where the past coexists with the present.

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