East Harlem

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East Harlem, also known as Spanish Harlem and El Barrio is a section in Harlem in the northeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan. East Harlem is one of the largest predominantly Latino communities in New York City. It includes the area formerly known as Italian Harlem, in which the remnants of a once-large Italian community remains. However, since the 1950s it has been dominated by residents of Puerto Rican descent, sometimes called Nuyoricans, as well as large populations of other Latin Americans and African-Americans, and a recent influx of young professionals.The neighborhood boundaries are Harlem River to the north, the East River to the east, East 96th Street to the south, and 5th Avenue to the west. The neighborhood is part of Manhattan Community Board 11. East 116th Street from 5th Avenue headed east to its termination at the FDR Drive is the most notable business hub of East Harlem along with a minor business hub along Third Avenue between E 103rd Street and E 110th Streets. The area is patrolled by both the 23rd Precinct located at 162 East 102nd Street and the 25th Precinct located at 120 East 119th Street.

 

East Harlem History

With the arrival of the English in 1664, Nieuw Haarlem's name was simplified to "Harlem.” All the area north of what is now 59th Street was called "Muscoota" by the Manhattan Indians. Muscoota means "flat place". In 1672 slaves built the first road from lower Manhattan to Harlem over an old Native American trail —we know it today as Broadway. Urbanization began with the building of the Croton Water Aqueduct in 1842 down present-day Amsterdam Avenue and the IRT (Inter-borough Rapid Transit) subway line in 1904. The Manhattan street system, planned in 1811, altered Harlem’s appearance from a valley of farmland to a residential area. Throughout the 1900s various ethnic groups migrated to different sections of Harlem, giving more definition to East, West, and Central Harlem. Subsequent deficits after the depression in 1929, urban flight to the suburbs beginning in the 1950s, continuously poor building maintenance, and abandonment of property hit Harlem hard. The mid-1960s saw the start of a large number of urban renewal projects, often at the request of involved community groups. A rising popular interest in African-American literature sparked the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance which was one of this nation's greatest outpouring of music, literature, art and racial pride.

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