Manhatan Real Estate - Harlem Neighborhood Report

Real Estate Agent

Harlem was established in 1658 by the Dutch and named Nieuw Harlem after the Dutch city of Harlem. This large section of Manhattan real estate has a deep spirit, culture and history.

Harlem passed through several historic periods - as a high-society area of New York for wealthy upper class and middle class white a fashionable district for blacks during a period known as the "Harlem Renaissance" one of the hottest night club playgrounds for audiences who came uptown to see the all black revues to gangsters and entertainers in grand style at the famous night spots.

Beginning in the 1870s Harlem was the site of a massive wave of development  which resulted in the construction of numerous new single-family row-houses, tenements, and luxury apartment houses, New York's black middle class began moving to Harlem.

During the "Harlem Renaissance" of the 1920s, Harlem became the urban cultural center of black America, with its center around 135th Street between Lenox and Seventh Avenues.

Affluent African-Americans began moving to "Sugar Hill" in the late 1920s. "Sweet and Expensive," signifying that one had arrived, economically and socially Sugar Hill was celebrated for its exclusivity and status. The Hill attracted those with talent, money, education, and social prominence. Below "Sugar Hill" is "Striver's Row" Rows of townhouses on West 138th and 139th Street named by Harlemites for it's ambitious residents, constructed between 1891 and 1893. Every house on Striver's Row is designated a historic landmark.


  • East Harlem/El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) community stretches from First Avenue to Fifth Avenue and from East 96th Street to East 125th Street.
  • Central Harlem stretches from Central Park North to the Harlem River and from Fifth Avenue to St. Nicholas Avenue.
  • West Harlem, including Hamilton Heights and Sugar Hill, stretches from 123rd to 155th Streets and from St. Nicholas Avenue to the Hudson River

For the last few years there has been another wave of development and construction in Harlem. New condo development has surged in Harlem like the rest of Manhattan and there appears to be enough demand by buyers to meet supply.


A new luxury glass condo at 111 Central Park North has 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with breathtaking Park Views starting at $1.5 million, $1300 per-square-foot. It appears Central Park North is getting numbers equivalent to prices on Central Park West and Upper 5th Avenue. Harlem condos typically sell for $550 to $800 per-square-foot. Townhouses run $350 to $500 a square foot if it requires no renovation. If it's a shell, it's about $250 to $300 a square foot.

A diversified mix of New Buyers think Harlem is an exciting place to live because it is still on the island and they are priced out of downtown. They are coming to Harlem for the neighborhood's history and the immaculate houses on Strivers Row and new condos all over Harlem. The fixer-upper brownstones that were a steal have been gone for a couple of years now. Most Townhouse owners have cashed out already. Many have been renovated and many sellers have priced them too high. 

 Developers have converted brownstone, shells of buildings and narrow vacant lots into condominium apartments. For Manhattan home buyers, this new wave of condo conversion in Harlem provides an opportunity to live in a neighborhood with small-scale buildings. Harlem zoning does not allow for very large buildings. These apartments, typically floor-throughs and duplexes come with town house amenities, like terraces, gardens, fireplaces, and uncommonly good light for Manhattan. There are new condo townhouses from Morningside to Mount Morris Park, Sugar Hill and Strivers Row.

New larger buildings with doormen and other amenities have gone up on Harlem's Avenues.

The Lenox

  The Lenox is on Lenox Avenue at 129th Street.

          The Dwyer Condos - Warehouse Lofts at 123rd Street                     

The Dwyer condos at 123rd and St. Nicholas are more like downtown loft buildings.

Harlem is a location with history, spirit, culture and affordability.  Harlem may be the neighborhood you are looking for.  It's becoming a popular location for all types of people. Bill Clinton has moved in! All the new construction in Harlem it hasn't lost its old historic flavor. There are still many prewar buildings and beautiful 19th century townhouses featuring fireplaces and molding and lovely backyards.

Harlem is home to Columbia University and the world renowned Apollo Theater where such greats as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Aretha Franklin performed. One of the area's most notable attractions is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This awesome Episcopal cathedral, on 112th Street near Columbia University, is exceptional in its melding of Gothic, Byzantine and Romanesque architecture. More and more businesses are flocking in to meet the needs of this resurrected neighborhood.

So take the A train up to Harlem and enjoy the rich history and affordable housing!
(Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald - Take the "A" Train)


Exclusive 3 Bedroom 2 bath Pre-War Charmer on Morningside Park

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Courtesy of: Mitchell Hall, The Corcoran Group

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Comments (28)

Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
Carole, It was such a good deal. It took along time to sell 7-8 months. I had empty open houses. I kept telling myself to buy it. The maintenance was so low too. It appraised much higher. I should have staged it.
Dec 06, 2006 01:35 PM
Jessica Hughes
Ambiance Staging - Boulder, CO

I have been thoroughly enjoying your last few posts, very informative!

Wow that listing looked fabulous!  I didn't realize you could still get real estate for so 'cheap' in Manhattan.  As I said before, I will keep you in mind when I make my millions.

Next time you need a property staging, call me! I'll come and do it for you ;)

Out of curiosity, much would you be able to rent an apartment like that for anyway?

Dec 06, 2006 06:48 PM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
Mitchell I am a little surprised you didn't buy it yourself too!  I taught Social Studies to high schoolers in my other life; and I've read Malcom Xs autobio a few times!  I just took a listing for a building that used to be a trolly car power transfer station and is now live/work space.  It's the first non-traditional listing I have had; I'll have to try to live up to your intelligent and creative style in marketing your historical buildings as I develop my marketing pieces for this one!
Dec 06, 2006 08:48 PM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Jessica,Thanks. You can still get a bargain in certain parts of Manhattan. That apartment sold for $380K 900 s.f 2 full baths, doorman building. Downtown it would be $800K. I think that apartment rents for $2000. a month which is also a bargain in Manhattan. Many buyers had issues because it was on the 1st floor below the highway. Ok Jessica I'll call you. I think staging would have helped. At least I would have been able to sit down if there was furniture.

Carole, trolly car power station - that is so cool. I'd love to see it. Do you have original pictures? Social studies was my favorite subject in jr and senior HS. I love history. It always comes back around.

 I still have to look up if Audobon got the name from bird migration patterns. It makes sense because it is close to the cloisters, I don't know that much about Audobon. I know there is a group that watches birds in central park.

Dec 07, 2006 12:28 AM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
Somehow I knew we had that in common, it was mine too!
Dec 07, 2006 02:13 PM
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA
Outstanding post.  Tom Wolfe knows Manhattan?  NO...Mitch Hall knows Manhattan
Dec 27, 2006 03:11 PM
Laurie Manny
Long Beach CA Real Estate - Long Beach, CA

Ahhhhhhhhhh Mitch, you are making me homesick.  I love your NY posts.



Jan 01, 2007 04:33 PM
NK Jamal


Thanks for the great info on Harlem.  I've been looking at a couple of townhouses on 152nd between Broadway and Amsterdam.  There's a series of houses on both sides of the street that look like they were originally built by the same architect.  Do you have any information on the history of those houses?  If not, how can I find out?


Jan 19, 2007 05:59 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn


Thanks for stopping by.

West 152nd Street is the Hamilton Heights/ Sugar Hill historic district. The townhouses were built around 1899 - 1910. I have recently seen a gut renovated 2 family townhouse on that block. I don't know who the original architect was. The broker that has the townhouses listed should know the history. I will try and research it for you.

In the meantime you might want to contact the West Harlem Community Preservation Organization


Jan 19, 2007 07:31 AM
Ebony Griffin
Higher Heights Real Estate Services LLC - Raleigh, NC

Hello Mitchell,

    I'm new to AR and saw your blog. I am from the Bronx and now live waaayyyyyy upstate NY, and I found it breath taking to visit home again. Thanks for showing the true beauty of harlem!

Apr 20, 2007 01:51 PM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Hi Ebony,

Thanks for stopping by and welcome to Activerain. I'm glad you enjoyed the Harlem post. The Bronx is the next place to take off. Both my parents are from the Bronx. My mother always said The Bronx will make a comeback one day - she was right it is happening now.

I look forward to reading about waaaayyyy upstate NY.

Apr 22, 2007 02:21 AM
Ebony Griffin
Higher Heights Real Estate Services LLC - Raleigh, NC



Apr 24, 2007 11:41 AM
we left Sutton Place for Harlem
We live in THE LENOX and LOVE it up here. The bldg is great and we had a MEET & GREET and the people in here are alot of un and interesting and quite creative. We plan to spend money in the neighborhood and work with the merchants to get the goods and service we would also like. We also want to do a block party so we get to know all the people on our street. Its really like a neighborhood up here and people actually talk to you. Its alot safer than the papers make it out to be. We have wonderful restaurants up here too. I feel its growing each day and I refer to the 125th Street area as MIDTOWN NORTH as so much is coming. I ope Nordstroms wakes up and moves to 125th and Lenox so we alll don;t have to travel to NJ or Westchester anymore, the whole City would come up and walk around and have fun. Check out the architecture up here too. I found alot to do up here on  Ask your real estate agent to tell you more about the benefits of Harlem, its beats Sutton for sure, and so much friendlier. We even have valet parking in our bldg.  There is a ton more I could share but seeing is believing and living here is great.
Jun 27, 2007 07:01 AM
terrorist jack

this  is a cool story and helping a lot with my school project, thanks a lot!




Nov 12, 2007 07:15 AM
DDR Realty
DDR Realty - Newburgh, NY
Orange County NY
Thanks for the detailed history lesson on Harlem, USA. I believe the neighborhood is beginning to regain the prominence it once had.
Nov 13, 2007 02:30 AM
Howard Gibson
Sugar hill seems to be a neighborhood that disappeared.  I don't think you can bring it back.  Anyway, " I love Harlem" is my motto, and is my website.
Dec 17, 2007 06:28 PM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Amazing blog about Harlem, Mitchell.  I had no idea about any of this until reading your certainly sounds like a fascinating place and the history behind it is intriguing.

Wonderful localism piece,

Merry Christmas to you and an abundance of good things in the coming year, 


Dec 18, 2007 01:16 PM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Hi Howard...I hear you- the different sections in Harlem have less boundaries now. There are still gorgeous houses on the hill.  BTW: Nice tee-shirts.

Jo, I haven't been blogging lately. "Tis the season to be jolly!" I've been busy socializing in person. lol. This was one of my first and favorite posts. I'm glad you stopped by and enjoyed it.

Merry Christmas and all my best wishes for a great 2008

Dec 18, 2007 04:37 PM

Hi all, I'm new to Harlem, my family and I love it here but I guess it is changing at such a high rate that we realized there weren't many programs for kids in our area (central harlem). Not sure if there are other parents out there feeling the same way. I met this nice woman in Central Park 110 playground she is starting a music and movement program in the fall and offering free trial classes. I just want to share this info with all the other newbies

Jun 18, 2008 05:35 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Hi Joan, Thanks for stopping by. Here is another link for activities for kids in Harlem:

Jun 22, 2008 02:46 AM