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City Living: East Harlem
With a vibrant and artistic culture you can’t find a street in this uptown Manhattan neighborhood that doesn’t speak to its loud and proud Latino community.
East Harlem, famously known as El Barrio, has a rich history of art, music and Puerto Rican culture that can be seen on a stroll around the neighborhood.
Puerto Rican flags anchor many community gardens, colorful murals decorate the tenement cityscape, and Marc Anthony Salsa tunes celebrate it in cars and bodegas.
Locals say they love the neighborhood’s accessibility, its fabulous food and affordable rents.
In the 1600s, the Wecksquaesgek Natives were the first settlers in the area known today as East Harlem.
Later, according to nycparks.gov, it was settled by Dutch settlers led by Peter Stuyvesant who converted it into a farming community and named it Nieuw Haarlem, after a town in Holland.
In 1664, the British invaded, settled in the town and changed its name to Harlem. Today East Harlem has undergone a new migration of people to the neighborhood.
Though Puerto Ricans and African Americans predominantly populate it, new residential developments have attracted Asian and Europeans immigrants to the area because of its affordability and accessibility.
People are moving into East Harlem not just due to it’s affordable living prices, but also because of its restaurants and vibrant Latino culture, Benavides said.
El Barrio provides the culture of an outer borough with the allure of saying you live in Manhattan.
NEED TO KNOW
East Harlem, famously known as El Barrio, is located in the northeastern section of Manhattan. From the east it’s bordered by the East and Harlem rivers, to the south 96th Street, from the west Fifth Avenue and to the north it ends at 142nd Street. More »
4, 5 Lexington Avenue express to 125th Street; 6 Lexington Avenue local to 96th, 103rd, 110th, 116th and 125th streets. Buses: M1, M2, M3, M4, M15, M35, M60, M96, M98, M101, M102, M103, M106, M116, Bx15, Bx33. More »
NYPL, East Harlem, 112 E. 96th St., 212-289-0908 & NYPL, 224 E. 125th St., 212-534-5050 (Closed for renovations until Oct. 2014) More »
153 E. 110th St. (212-860-1896) & 167 E. 124th St. (718-726-1369) More »
The 23rd and 25th Precincts patrol East Harlem. The 23rd Precinct serves the area north of 96th Street and the 25th precinct patrols from 115th to 124th street. While crime in both precincts is down on the whole, according to its CrimeStat report, as of Oct. 13 there were 302 grand larcenies (including 29 stolen cars) in the 23rd Precinct so far in 2013, up from 245 (24 cars) in the same time span in 2012. In the 25th Precinct, there were 293 grand larcenies (40 cars) in 2013 as of Oct. 13th, up from 262, 27 cars, in the year to date in 2012. More »
East Harlem Cafe
This popular artsy cafe offers great breakfast and lunch bites. And in the spirit of Harlem Renaissance, unleash your inner Raul Julia and recite your poem on open mic night at 6 p.m. every last Wednesday of the month.
Joy Burger Bar
Top your Munch, Midi or Maxi burger with any of several lively sauces.
This quaint country style restaurant’s bright décor and friendly service compliments their budget-friendly prices. Wash it all down with some tasty Sangria.
Camaradas El Barrio
Come see their live bands, dynamic DJ’s or peep some of the local art featured in their gallery. With a great selection of draft beers, wines and Latin-inspired cocktails you’ll satisfy your culture craving.
Meet your friends for drinks at this lively Tapas hot spot.
This intimate gem historically has live music on Mondays, but is taking a break for football season. Happy Hour kicks it from 5-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday.
Some of the most stylish streetwear you’ll find in New York City. Formerly a popular sneaker store, their gear is unique but they have something for everyone (hot tip: celebs like to shop there).
This local boutique features clothes for women and infants. Their styles are very trendy and include a nice selection of shoes, boots and affordable sweaters.
La Casa Azul Bookstore
Promising to promote "knowledge, art, creativity and culture," this bookstore carries distinctive literature and arts and fosters culturally-based programs.
El Museo del Barrio
This East Harlem institution has carried the torch for Latino art since 1969. They have a stunning collection of pre-Colombian artifacts complimented by modern photography, sculptures and prints waiting to be explored.
The Museum for African Art
This internationally-known foundation is recognized for organizing and presenting distinctive creations of African art. It will soon relocate to a new 90,000 square foot building at Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, where it will join the other museums on Museum Mile.
The Central Park Conservatory Garden
This incredible space is divided into three illustrious gardens: French, Italian and English. Each features distinctive fountains complimenting an array of tulips, yew hedges and crabapple trees.