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City Living: South Harlem
Forget SoHo and get used to saying SoHa. Otherwise known as South Harlem, the rapidly changing neighborhood is a spot on the map that more New Yorkers will soon get acquainted with as it continues to transform.
In recent years, South Harlem has seen an influx of new housing developments trailed by new businesses, all managing to quickly change the neighborhood into one of the city's newest hubs. It's dotted with trendy establishments and a diverse population, but it still maintains classic Harlem charm.
Between 2004 and 2007, a real estate boom brought new condominium developments to the area between West 110th and West 125th streets along Frederick Douglass Boulevard. The easily accessible neighborhood is now ripe with new condos and rental buildings juxtaposed with historic, pre-war structures as well as brownstones.
Along Frederick Douglass Boulevard, a slew of new spots including lounges, restaurants and bars, a yoga center and an organic market nestle nicely into the nabe, thriving alongside traditional African marketplaces, old cafes and restaurants, a hardware store and delis.
Amid the rapid change in development and demographics, the area hasn't lost touch with its cultural roots that attract so many to Harlem. SoHa retains a vibrant artistic community. The area boasts many local artists, artisans and art galleries, including The Studio Museum in Harlem and an organization called Art in FLUX Harlem, which has pop-up exhibitions a few times a year.
-- By Lisa Fraser
NEED TO KNOW
The Manhattan neighborhood runs from West 110th Street to West 138th Street and is bordered to the east by Fifth Avenue and to the west by Frederick Douglass Boulevard - or Riverside Drive, depending on who you talk to. More »
Residents never need to worry about not being able to catch a train or a bus in South Harlem. There are myriad options to choose from. Trains: Local B & C trains stop at 110th Street Cathedral Parkway, 116th Street at Frederick Douglass Boulevard, 125th Street and 135th Street. Express A & D trains stop at 125th Street. No. 2 and 3 trains stop at Central Park North 110th Street and 116th Street at Malcolm X Boulevard, as well as 125th and 135th streets. No. 1 train stops at 110th Street Cathedral Parkway. Buses: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M7, M10, M11, M100, M101, M102, M104, M116, M60 to LaGuardia Airport, Bx33, Bx15 More »
New York Public Library, 203 W. 115th St.; New York Public Library, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th St.; The New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West More »
P.S. 81, 212 W. 120th St.; P.S. 76, 220 W. 121st St.; Success Academy Charter School, Harlem 1, 34 W. 118th St.; Philip K. Randolph High School, 443 W. 135th St.; Frederick Douglass Academy, 2581 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. More »
365 W. 125th St. (between Morningside and St. Nicholas aves.) More »
The 28th Precinct covers the South Harlem neighborhood. According to the NYPD CompStat report, compared to 1990, murders in the area decreased by 87%, while robberies dropped by 80%. More »
The rich cultural history of Harlem is always on display and there is no better place to sap up info about this changing neighborhood than through a tour. FreeToursbyFoot.com offers a two-hour walking tour through the nabe every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and HarlemHeritage.com gives a Taste of Harlem walking tour on most Mondays and a Harlem Renaissance walking tour on Saturdays. More »
Cedric French Bistro
Recently opened in 2011, patrons can enjoy a tasty brunch, lunch or dinner as the sounds of classic jazz wafts through this open-air bistro.
Spacious inside and outside, this bar, grill and beer garden is a hot spot for Harlemites and Manhattanites alike. There's live music on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on Saturdays and Sundays at brunch.
This cozy spot offers dishes such as Yebeg Aticha (lamb marinated with ginger and rosemary spices), Atakilt Wett (sautéed carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage) and Zoma Tibs (cubed filet mignon pieces marinated in green peppers and red onions).
Frederick Café Bistro
Another in the string of new eateries to find a footing in South Harlem, Frederick Café Bistro serves coffee, lattes and pastries while providing a brightly lit space to sit down and recharge.
Lido Italian Restaurant
The traditional Italian décor coupled with the brick wall normally seen in bars lends itself well to the overall ambience of this spot. A variety of Italian dishes are offered, and they also deliver.
Looking for a neighborhood bar with character? Paris Blues will provide that fix. It's a place fit for stumbling upon with its charming shack-like façade, equipped with fairy lights, a brown picket fence, a bulletin board of sorts and a cozy outdoor seating area, all inviting you in. There is live music seven days a week.
The L Lounge
This new watering hole is a prime spot for the end-of-week partying ritual. It offers a cozy lounge area and features a brightly lit, colorful bar. You can also sway to live jazz on some nights.
Chic. Charming. Intimate. Party it up or cuddle up in this trendy lounge with a list of drinks from the Lenox sidecar cocktail to the Harlem apple martini. And if you want to get your eat on too, just order some sliders, skewers or the lobster mac and cheese. Dress code is casual chic, no athletic wear.
Swing In Harlem
This swanky boutique offers unique fashion finds for women, men, kids and the home. You can snag items from all around the world. Owner Helena Greene intended for the space to reflect her travel experiences.
Best Yet Market
This Brooklyn-born establishment now has a branch firmly rooted in South Harlem. Grab all of your organic groceries here; there's even a sushi bar upstairs aptly named SuHa. They also deliver.
One of the biggest names in beauty products right now has its flagship store in this neighborhood. Their natural hair and skincare products cater to many different hair and skin types.
Get a greater glimpse of the stunning West African influence in this part of Harlem when you step into Bébénoir Boutique. Founded by Guinee native Ibrahima Doukoure, this chic space offers a stylish mix of traditional African wear with a modern twist, all for affordable prices.
Harlem Underground Clothing
This all Harlem-themed urban boutique is the third establishment from entrepreneur Leon Ellis, who is also behind Moca Lounge and Chocolat Lounge in SoHa. Find a T-shirt that represents Harlem pride or handmade jewelry by local designers, among other giftable items.
Specializing in Ashtanga-style yoga, there's a class for everyone from novice to expert. They also offer wellness services and classes for kids.
The Studio Museum in Harlem
Known for promoting the works of African American artists, The Studio Museum is a prime place to learn more about Harlem's culture and pride.