Living in East Harlem
Rent an apartment in East Harlem and you'll be the latest in a wave of immigrants to the area. East Harlem, or Spanish Harlem as its alternately called, is one of the largest Latino communities in the five boroughs. It wasn't always so. In the 1880s, immigrants from Germany populated the neighborhood. After them came the Irish, the Italians, and Eastern European Jews. The Southern Italians and Sicilians settled here in such numbers this stretch of city used to be called Italian Harlem. Puerto Ricans were the next wave. They first arrived after World War I and immigration continues. Their children, the "Nuyoricans," make up a large percentage of Spanish Harlem residents today.
East Harlem is recovering after being hit hard in the 1960s and 70s. There's been some gentrification since then, mostly in the southern section. East Harlem isn't Manhattan's safest or most glamorous area, but crime has dropped 70% since 1990. You may find a rental bargain here. East Harlem ranges from 96th Street north to the Harlem River, and between Fifth Avenue and the East River.
East Harlem Lifestyle and Entertainment
There aren't a ton of supermarkets in East Harlem, so expect to shop in smaller groceries. That doesn't mean you're out of food options, though. This neighborhood offers great Latino cuisine at low prices. Your costs here will tend to be cheaper in general, whether you're looking for furniture, housewares, or clothing. For bigger ticket items, you'll find a shopping mall on Pleasant Ave with Manhattan's only Costco and Target. Nightlife here is right on the street, and it can be lively and loud. There are a few smaller parks in East Harlem with the neighborhood abutting the northeast corner of Central Park.
East Harlem Info and the Rental Market
East Harlem real estate hasn't completely bounced back from the bad times. Some abandoned tenements have been rehabilitated into low-income housing. Owners deliberately keep other rental properties vacant. They rent the commercial ground floors but leave the units above empty waiting for rents to rise. This makes apartments scarcer than they should be. Still, there are deals to be found, many without broker fees attached.
This area has good transportation options with the 4,5,6 train running along Lexington Avenue. In addition to the vibrant Latino community here, you'll find healthcare workers, young professionals, and food service professionals enjoying the streets of Spanish Harlem.
East Harlem Resources
Community District 11 covers East Harlem. The neighborhood is home to El Museo del Barrio and the Museum of the City of New York. There's a New York Public Library branch on West 124th Street. East Harlem is also home to many of the city's charter schools.
East Harlem Zip Codes
Zip codes serving East Harlem are 10029, 10030, 10035, 10037, and 10039.