View Full Version : Views of Harlem

February 9th, 2002, 10:11 PM
The Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (Seventh Avenue) around 112th Street


Franconia Building around 112th Street


A building on the same block as Franconia


A row of townhouses on 121st Street at Mt. Morris Park West


Sans Souci building on 124th Street and Mt. Morris Park West


A building around Park Avenue and 130th Street


August 9th, 2003, 07:40 PM
A street scene in Harlem. Frederick Douglass Boulevard around 154th Street.


A building on the corner of Frederick Douglass Blvd, Macombs Pl, and 150th Street.


February 5th, 2004, 12:19 PM
Amazing pics from the "not for tourists side" Thanks.

February 6th, 2004, 02:01 AM
Thanks a lot and indeed this is not the kind of thing you find in the travel book.
I really love the one representing the 121st Street at Mt. Morris Park West .

That must be a nice place to live.

May 16th, 2004, 09:36 PM
Children playing, around 138th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem. 15 May 2004.


June 6th, 2004, 10:58 PM
June 6, 2004


A Neighborhood of Their Own


Central Harlem looks a little the way it did in the late 19th century, when it was the next big thing in Manhattan real estate. Philip A. Payton Jr. capitalized on it.

ONE century ago this June 15, Philip A. Payton Jr. realized his dream. For four years he had been working hard to place black families in apartments in Harlem, an area recently developed as an upscale, whites-only neighborhood. He had enjoyed some success, but nothing approaching his goal of making it home to the city's growing African-American population. So on that day he established the Afro-American Realty Company with a simple mission: erase the color line in Harlem and make lots of money in the process.

In the late 19th century, Harlem was the next big thing in Manhattan real estate. In 1889, Oscar Hammerstein opened an opulent opera house on 125th Street. In 1892, at West 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, the Diocese of the Episcopal Church began construction of St. John the Divine, the world's largest Gothic cathedral. And in 1897, Columbia University completed its new campus at 116th Street and Broadway.

From West 110th Street north, developers built row upon row of elegant brownstones and well-appointed apartment buildings. "Great care is taken of the property to preserve its exclusive appearance," noted a newspaper ad aimed at the city's white elite, "and a general air of being well looked after pervades the surroundings." While rents in the city's working-class neighborhoods typically ranged from $10 to $18 a month, in upscale Harlem they started at $80. Still, many developers reported long waiting lists of prospective tenants. "It looks as if everybody will be rushing up here from downtown before long," one observer predicted.

The development peaked just after 1900, when the city began construction of the subway up Manhattan's west side. With easy access to the downtown business district, who wouldn't want to live in Harlem? Speculators built more housing, and dreamed of the fortunes would soon accrue.

By 1904, the boom had turned to bust. Hundreds of new homes stood unsold, and thousands of apartments remained vacant. But for Mr. Payton, it was an opportunity.

Born in Westfield, Mass., in 1876, a barber by trade, he arrived in the city in 1899 and struggled to earn a living as a barber, handyman and custodian. Eventually, a custodian's job in a real estate firm led him to his calling. He opened an office and scraped together the last of his savings to take out ads in several real estate publications:

"COLORED TENEMENTS WANTED/Colored man makes a specialty of managing colored tenements; references; bond./Philip A. Payton, Jr., agent and broker, 67 W. 134th.''

By 1900, the energetic Mr. Payton had begun to manage several buildings housing African-American tenants, but he still struggled not only to cover his costs but also to remain confident. "All my friends discouraged me," he later remembered. "All of them told me how I couldn't make it. They tried to convince me that there was no show for a colored man in such a business in New York."

His perseverance eventually paid off. Within two years he was managing nearly a dozen properties and had begun to buy his own buildings. By 1904, he was the most prominent black in New York real estate, a friend of Booker T. Washington and others in the black elite. He turned to them for investment in his visionary enterprise - the Afro-American Realty Company.

The city's blacks had never had a neighborhood entirely of their own, typically sharing areas with the very poorest whites and immigrants. In the early 20th century most of Manhattan's black population lived in a crowded district in the West 50's and 60's known as San Juan Hill, coexisting uneasily with the poorer Irish. Housing was run down and overcrowded, and there was frequent violence. The worst occurred in the summer of 1900 after a black man fatally stabbed a white policeman. White mobs, aided in many cases by vengeful policemen, terrorized African-Americans for a week. In the aftermath, many in the black community concluded that it would be best to move. The question was, where?

Mr. Payton's answer was Harlem. His real estate company was chartered on June 15, 1904, and capitalized at $500,000 (50,000 shares sold at $10 each). As Mr. Payton made clear in one of his ads, it would pursue the twin goals of profit and justice: "The books of the Afro-American Realty Co. are now open for stock subscription. Today is the time to buy, if you want to be numbered among those of the race who are doing something toward trying to solve the so-called 'Race Problem.' ''

Some whites fiercely opposed Mr. Payton's plan, and he had to rely on his wits to achieve his ends. One time, the Afro-American Realty Company sold three buildings on West 135th Street to the Hudson Realty Company. The white-owned company promptly evicted the black tenants and filled the buildings with whites. Mr. Payton retaliated by buying two adjacent properties and evicting the white tenants in favor of blacks.

BEFORE long the Hudson company gave up its re-colonization effort and resold the original three buildings back to Mr. Payton at a big loss. "The fight I am making," he said after the incident, "has got to be made sooner or later and I see no better time than now."

The incident boosted Mr. Payton's reputation and drew more investors to his company. Soon its assets exceeded $1 million, with annual rent receipts of $114,000. But the Afro-American Realty Company soon fell victim to Mr. Payton's overeager buying and the same problem that faced white landlords - empty buildings. As the company faltered, stockholders grumbled about Mr. Payton's management, and what was left of the enterprise died in the 1907-08 recession.

By then, the die had been cast. Harlem was well on its way to becoming the world's largest black enclave outside of Africa. Some white property owners resisted, forming block associations and requiring buyers of their houses to sell only to whites, but they were fighting superior numbers. "Although organizations to prevent the settling of colored citizens in certain sections of Harlem mushroom overnight," one black newspaper noted with glee, "the colored invasion goes merrily along."

Before long the black elite had moved there, bringing with them their institutions, like St. Philips Episcopal Church (1910) and the Harlem YMCA (1913). By then, 50,000 African-Americans called Harlem home.

Mr. Payton's Harlem, a product of both African-American ambition and white racism in the form of segregation, reached its peak of promise in the 1920's. By that time, Harlem had been transformed from a residential haven to a place of cultural ferment, as African-American artists, writers and musicians flocked there and produced what came to be known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Mr. Payton never lived to see that historic moment. He continued to work in real estate after his company failed, but he suffered from poor health and died in 1917 at age 41.

Even before his death, however, people had begun to refer to Harlem as the "Capital of Black America." And so, although few remember his legacy, Mr. Payton doubtless was aware of the great shift that his real estate efforts began.

Edward T. O'Donnell is the author of "Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum,'' published in paperback this month.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

June 7th, 2004, 12:37 AM
The worst occurred in the summer of 1900 after a black man fatally stabbed a white policeman. White mobs, aided in many cases by vengeful policemen, terrorized African-Americans for a week.

I am glad that doesn't happen anymore.

June 7th, 2004, 12:42 AM
While rents in the city's working-class neighborhoods typically ranged from $10 to $18 a month, in upscale Harlem they started at $80.

We have gone too far from this. That is for sure.

June 7th, 2004, 09:47 AM
The pics of Harlem now look like it's dirty. :?

June 7th, 2004, 12:07 PM
The city's a dirty place.

June 7th, 2004, 12:26 PM
The pics of Harlem now look like it's dirty. :?

Well Harlem has always been dirty for decades. It is much better now than the late 70's to the early 90's I believe.

June 7th, 2004, 04:25 PM
The city's a dirty place.

true, 9 million people, what do I expect. :?

June 8th, 2004, 12:01 AM
ILUVNYC check out the article on this link.


June 8th, 2004, 08:41 AM
harlem has some of the most beautiful buildings in manhattan. it looks a lot better then it did when i was at columbia.

unfortunately, rents have gone up as the starbucks have come in.

overall, the place is on the upswing. i remember that there were certain areas near columbia that you did not venture.

now, parts of harlem remind me of fort greene or park slope back in the day.

March 28th, 2007, 06:44 AM
I'm going to go and see Harlem and the Bronx one day soon, The pics on the internet seem to me that Harlem is more poorer and derelict place, These are the places people of all classes should go and talk to the locals and give some money to them, please don't bash us or they won't come. If I was rich I would turn one of those old Buildings in Harlem into a beautiful big home masion with a four car garage underneath and the whole building will have Beautiful security bars on the windows and 15 security cameras outside, just imagine it I would live amongst those other derelict buildings like I'm on some strange hostile planet just great and I will have a phone and internet optic cable and no one can cut the cable I can talk to the outside world I'll have my own Cinema, please post in what you think of my plans living in this mansion.

March 28th, 2007, 01:33 PM
Aussie, your impressions of Harlem are about 20 years out-of-date. Also, Harlem is much more expensive than the Bronx.

If you're ever in town, take a stroll in Harlem, especially around areas like Hamilton Heights, Sugar Hill, Strivers Row and Mount Morris Park. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

March 29th, 2007, 05:47 AM
Aussie, your impressions of Harlem are about 20 years out-of-date. Also, Harlem is much more expensive than the Bronx.

If you're ever in town, take a stroll in Harlem, especially around areas like Hamilton Heights, Sugar Hill, Strivers Row and Mount Morris Park. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Is Harlem a suburb, the suburbs you quoted above must be out of Harlem that means they are in safe territory and they are not in Harlem.

How much is the rent in Harlem it self and How much is the rent per week in
Mount Morris Park.

Why is people parking their good cars outside these old closed down buildings
arn't they in no mans land they could get stolen.

March 29th, 2007, 05:53 AM
What happens around those areas in Harlem late at night, is it safe to walk around Mt Morris park and Sugar Hill after 8PM at night.

They should move some Government offices to Harlem so the locals could get a job there, thats a good idea do you people in Harlem think so, Better start studying.

March 29th, 2007, 05:57 AM
Aussie, your impressions of Harlem are about 20 years out-of-date. Also, Harlem is much more expensive than the Bronx.

If you're ever in town, take a stroll in Harlem, especially around areas like Hamilton Heights, Sugar Hill, Strivers Row and Mount Morris Park. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

If I go to Harlem by myself you think I should hire a body guard, which one if so Black or white.

March 29th, 2007, 10:59 AM
With your attitude and lack of good information ^^^ you should probably bypass NYC altogether -- or else bring a full posse (not that it would do you much good as it seems you're aching for a fight).

May 23rd, 2009, 11:43 PM
EDIT: The article doesn't mention that 721 St Nicholas Avenue became the Barnard School for Boys in around 1900. Michael Henry Adams' wonderful book, Harlem Lost and Found contains a photo of the building with a sign to this effect. The book also has a large close-up photo of 729-731 St Nicholas Avenue highlighting the description in the article. The section (lintel??) directly above the second floor (first floor to me) windows appears to be made of timber with symbolic circular carvings between each window. Very unusual.

May 24, 2009
Streetscapes | St. Nicholas Avenue

The Drag Strip of the Carriage Trade

By CHRISTOPHER GRAY (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=CHRISTOPHER%20GRAY&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=CHRISTOPHER%20GRAY&inline=nyt-per)

729 and 731 St. Nicholas Avenue, newly constructed, in 1886, and now

See article (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/realestate/24scapes.html?_r=1&ref=realestate) for 1936/2000 view of 713-721 St Nicholas Avenue.

THE carriage trade made St. Nicholas Avenue one of the best addresses in Upper Manhattan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/manhattan/?inline=nyt-geo). Its broad boulevard, administered by the Department of Parks, was a natural resort for the gentry and their fine horses and rigs. But after the automobile pushed aside the fast trotters, St. Nicholas was just an internal combustion highway, and two peculiar sets of houses at 146th Street demonstrate the highs and lows of this unusual street.

Residential development on St. Nicholas above 145th Street began around 1880, and after a heavy snowfall in 1883 “almost everyone who had a horse and sleigh was out,” The New York Times said. Spectators admired the cutters, box sleighs and “elegant Russian turnouts of the latest fashion, with waving plumes and jingling bells.”

In 1885, William Thompson filed building applications for 17 large private houses in the neighborhood, working either in partnership with Nathan Hobart, a Leonard Street dry goods merchant, or perhaps as a nominee for him.

The houses were designed by the Boston-based architect Theodore Minot Clark, who had been Henry Hobson Richardson’s chief assistant on the construction of his masterpiece, the 1877 Trinity Church in Boston, and who was a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/m/massachusetts_institute_of_technology/index.html?inline=nyt-org).

Retaining an out-of-town architect for what appears to have been a conventional development project is unusual; retaining one with Mr. Clark’s credentials was, at least, remarkable. Mr. Hobart, who was born in Boston, perhaps had a connection with the architect’s family: He worked at the dry goods firm called Minot, Hooper & Company.

It is not clear if all of Mr. Clark’s designs came to be, but two definitely survive — the pair of midblock houses at 729 and 731 St. Nicholas, just north of 146th. They were completed in 1886, when The Real Estate Record and Guide said they were “ornate houses and have a picturesque appearance, reminding one more of the castles of the Middle Ages than a modern New York dwelling.”

Even an idle wanderer will grasp the magnitude of that understatement. They rise, bow-fronted, like corpulent twins, to shingled conical towers.

Despite the broad, half-round curve of the facade, the windows are relatively narrow, almost like loopholes, the slots through which archers fire.

Most astonishing is the masonry, a wild soup of delicately carved, mustard-colored stone trim and irregular rock-faced walls of random blocks laid in random patterns. Compared with the precisely finished trim, the stones are gaunt and naked — the houses are like a pair of saints, flayed alive down to their musculature.

In the catalog of New York City (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/manhattan/?inline=nyt-geo) private house architecture, they could be masterpieces of an educated mind — or awkward works of folk art.

At the southwest corner of 146th Street, the architects Thayer & Robinson worked for Hugh Reynolds, a mason-builder, in designing a row of five houses, Nos. 713 to 721. These are calmer than Mr. Clark’s — barely. Built in 1891 of tan brick trimmed with agitated courses of red brick, they almost reach an A-B-A-B-A symmetry, until the corner house, which is a hot-air balloon of masonry.

The bulbous corner, two-thirds round, rises to what may originally have been a conical roof, later altered, or perhaps a top-floor observatory.

These houses, too, seem to have the contradictory attributes of both an untutored hand and an educated designer. For instance, the central house has an elegant relief of a woman’s head in the gable — but it is inexplicably small, nearly invisible from the street. And on the corner house the rounded, red brick tower form plunges abruptly, even crudely, into a gable of tan brick. However, the red slate of the cone-shaped dormer on the central house effortlessly dissolves into the gray-green slate of the slanted roof.

In the 1890s Mr. Hobart lived at 731 St. Nicholas, and Henry Struss, an automobile inventor, lived at 729 with his son Karl, later a noted cinematographer. The 1930 census finds the Struss family still in their house, valued at $40,000.

But by then the avenue’s changeover to rooming houses and apartments was under way. The same census records nine separate families in No. 731, each paying around $50 per month in rent, with occupations like cafeteria counterman and electrician. John P. Staples, 66, a Kentucky-born musician, lived there, too. Like 19 of the 22 occupants, he was listed as African-American. The other three were white.

In 2000, the neighborhood was included in the Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill Historic District, and a dozen or more houses on St. Nicholas have been restored. The houses designed by Mr. Clark and Thayer & Robinson are not among them; six of the seven long ago lost their stoops, along with most of their windows, much of their original roofing, and the genteel appearance with which they faced the carriages and sleighs of the avenue.

No. 721, the bulbous corner house, is a near shell, the ceilings collapsing, the mantelpieces removed, the floorboards buckling.

The architectural salvage dealer Evan Blum owns No. 721. He says his intention was to join it with the next-door house, No. 719, which he also owns — they have the same floor levels.

“But the salvage business keeps me too busy,” he said. So, he says, he is “open to someone with a creative idea.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/re...ref=realestate (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/realestate/24scapes.html?_r=1&ref=realestate)

May 24th, 2009, 12:33 AM
I looked at all of the posts and all of the pictures of Harlem. Thanks very very much.