East Harlem, also known as Spanish Harlem or "El Barrio" to the locals, is a heavily residential neighborhood in Upper Manhattan. In fact, the population density here is about three times that of the city as a whole! Starting at 96th street and following 5th avenue all the way up to a point at 143rd, East Harlem is full of culture and energy that is celebrated to this day.
In 1860, a residential settlement was developed on 110th St and 3rd Ave after residents were forced to move due to the construction of Central Park. By the 1880s, row houses in East Harlem became home to thousands of immigrants, mostly of German and Irish descent. Soon after, Italians began moving into the neighborhood in large numbers, and by the mid-1890s the neighborhood became known as Italian Harlem.
In 1919, the Lexington Avenue Subway (now the 4, 5, 6, lines) reached the neighborhood, which contributed to substantial population growth. At the time, the area had one of the largest Jewish populations, second only to Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In the mid-twentieth century, people of European descent began moving elsewhere, and Puerto Ricans, who had first started moving to the neighborhood after the first World War, became the dominant group. This led the residents to nickname the area “El Barrio” as they opened cultural institutions like churches, dancehalls, restaurants and bodegas.
East Harlem has seen the development of a number of high-rise luxury buildings in recent years. That said, the neighborhood still has a large number of public housing developments and, of course, row houses amongst other, smaller apartment complexes.
East Harlem is a cultural hotbed that celebrates all the people who live there. This neighborhood has some of the best food and cultural spots in all of Manhattan. For example, Museo del Barrio at the very top of Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue is a museum dedicated to Latin American and Afro-Caribbean culture, with exhibits and special events celebrating the history and diversity of the neighborhood.
To walk through East Harlem is to walk through a true community. There’s always friendly faces gathered on the sidewalk, playing music and games with one another. The energy persists once the sun goes down too, with a bunch of trendy bars and places to dance the night away.
While there are safer neighborhoods in Manhattan, East Harlem is catching up quickly. The crime rate is consistently dropping and more family friendly entertainment options pop up all the time. It’s important to remember that East Harlem has a strong sense of community, so families are more than welcome. With good schools and many cultural institutions, East Harlem is a pretty good place to raise a family.
The New York City subway can get you to any neighborhood in Manhattan, and East Harlem is no exception. The 2 and 3 trains will get you to the part of the neighborhood north of Central Park, while the 4, 5, and 6 trains will take you straight up the middle of the neighborhood.
Biking isn’t as common in this area as it is in other neighborhoods, but it's still doable. With several miles of new bike lanes being added every year as well as a good number of Citi Bike docking stations, cycling is slowly becoming more popular.
Driving also isn’t as common in East Harlem, but those who do it have an easy time. Lax traffic, easy access to the FDR, and ample parking make driving in East Harlem pretty easy.
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East Harlem is located within New York County, New York. This area currently has 1,634,989 residents in 753,385 households. Out of the total population, 40.12% of the residents speak another language at home instead of English. The majority of the inhabitants in this county are currently unmarried and have a median age of 37.
When looking at residents older than 25, around 12.55% have graduated from high school, 31.80% have a bachelor's degree, and 28.64% have obtained their master's degree or above. Employment rate is typically around 62.9% and the median income in this county is $75,513.
At least 76.86% of those living in this county are renting their homes. Most residents will commute to work by public transportation with an average commute time of 31 minutes.
Geographically, New York County, New York is a part of the New York - Newark, NY - NJ - CT Urban Area. This county is currently home to 18,812,161 residents, or 6,707,347 households with a median income of $68,319. the New York - Newark, NY - NJ - CT Urban Area residents have a median age of 38 and 50.07% are currently renting their homes in the area.