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One of the largest of New York's neighborhoods, Harlem is the epicenter of African-American culture in America. Beginning at 110th Street, it spans most of the area from the East River to the Hudson River up to 155th Street. There are several smaller neighborhoods within Harlem that have their own singular feel. Striver's Row, with its stately and well-kept brownstones, has become a well-to-do district where homes are selling at prices comparable to those further south in Manhattan. Hamilton Heights and Sugar Hill, with early examples of high-rise buildings, classic townhouses and brownstones, are quiet sections. Morningside Gardens, just below the Heights and bordering Morningside Park, has classic New York pre-war buildings with high ceilings and ample closet space. Many lovely brownstones line the side streets and Manhattan Avenue. This part of Harlem has become a destination for families and couples looking for the same kind of space as on the Upper West Side, but for less money. The Mt. Morris Park Historic District, with its elegant homes, resembles Gramercy Park. Long the cultural and commercial heart of Harlem and the New York black community, 125th Street, running from river to river, is being revitalized. HMV, Modell's, Disney, the Wiz, Foot Locker and many other major retailers have opened or plan to open new stores on the street. In the 1800's and early 1900's, many middle class black families moved to Harlem after the development of the Tenderloin and Hell's Kitchen areas, where many African-Americans had settled in the years following the Civil War. The roaring 1920's and the Harlem Renaissance helped to define the style and grace of Harlem's middle class and wealthier families, and established the neighborhood as the foremost center of black American life.
  Morningside Heights  
This neighborhood lies sandwiched between Manhattan Valley to the south and Harlem to the east and north. Running from 110th Street to 123rd Street, from Morningside Park to the Hudson River, this neighborhood is a center of higher education, home to Columbia University, Barnard College, Teacher's College, Bank Street College, Union Theological Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Manhattan School of Music. It's also home to Riverside Church and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the world's largest cathedral and still under construction. Riverside Park along the Hudson River is one of the most beautiful parks in the city. Near 120th Street, you can find the Bird Sanctuary, with dozens of native and visiting species. Morningside Park lies along the eastern edge of the neighborhood. Grand pre-war buildings enjoy beautiful sunrise views overlooking Harlem and Queens further east. On clear days airplanes landing at LaGuardia Airport are visible.
  East Harlem (Spanish Harlem)  
To the south and east of Harlem, East Harlem (also known as Spanish Harlem or El Barrio) is not easily distinguishable from its larger neighbor. Beginning on East 96th Street, from Fifth Avenue east to the river, the neighborhood runs north to 125th Street. It was once a predominantly Italian and Irish neighborhood. Pleasant Avenue still has some Italian families living there, along with Rao's, a New York institution and dining destination for the city's movers and shakers. In the 1920's, Puerto Ricans began to settle in the neighborhood, becoming the largest ethnic group. Now as the next immigrant wave settles in, the neighborhood remains heavily Latino, but with a wider range of nationalities. Mexicans, Ecuadorians, Colombians and Dominicans have joined the populace, adding their rich cultures to the mix. El Barrio is also the beginning of Museum Mile, with the Museo del Barrio, the Museum of the City of New York and the Central Park Conservatory along Fifth Avenue. Recently, the late bandleader Tito Puente was memorialized with a section of East 110th Street renamed after him.
  Manhattan Valley  
Occupying the area from West 96th Street to 110th Street between Central Park West and Broadway, this neighborhood has a low profile, but it is still one of the city's most desirable. With its proximity to Columbia University's campus, many of the university's staff and students make their homes here. The neighborhood has a rich cultural and architectural history. Now ethnically diverse, it was long a mainly Latino community and retains much of that flavor today. The area has several quiet blocks of lovely townhouses and brownstones just off Central Park. On the corner of West 106th and Central Park West, a grand old castle-like mansion of rich red stone has been converted into a bed and breakfast hotel. On Central Park there are several examples of the diversity and creativity of construction that marked apartment buildings at the turn of the century. Along Amsterdam Avenue, there are bars and restaurants that fill with students and neighborhood residents on weekends. Broadway remains the shopping hub of the area, with new stores having opened in the last few years.
  Upper West Side  
Covering the large area from West 59th Street to West 110th Street between Central Park and the Hudson River, the Upper West Side has long been a bastion of liberal and progressive politics. In recent years, with the economic boom, the neighborhood has lost some of that reputation. The Upper West Side was the first neighborhood in Manhattan to really experience the apartment building explosion of the late 1800's and early 1900's. The Dakota, the Apthorp, Bretton Hall, and the Ansonia are all grand, stately buildings that line Broadway and other avenues. When the subway was first built up Broadway to 145th street, the throngs of New Yorkers crowded in below 59th street expanded northward, and soon the avenues and streets were laid out and filled in with apartment houses, brownstones and townhouses. Along Riverside Drive, you can find many mansions and townhouses that were built just before the turn of the century.
  Upper East Side  
The Upper East Side has long been known as the city's famed 'silk stocking' district. Originating from 59th Street to the south, it unfolds on through the 90's to the north, offering opportunity to shop at the famous boutiques of Madison Avenue and to enjoy the chic, intimate restaurants throughout the area. Fifth Avenue borders the area to the east giving easy access to Central Park as an extended private playground. The western border is defined by the East River with its beauty and breezes. Once home to the city's wealthiest, the Upper East Side has a legacy of outstanding architecture, creating an atmosphere of elegant gentility. Many of the magnificent mansions of the past have been preserved and continue to be privately owned, as are the many rows of stately townhouses. Fifth Avenue offers a spectacular panorama of the most beautiful pre-war co-op apartment buildings in the city as it stretches northward to museum mile, the site of the Frick Collection, the world renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as the Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Public transportation offers easy access to the Upper East Side by way of the Madison Avenue bus lines and the Lexington Avenue subway.
  Hells Kitchen (Clinton)  
The expansive area from West 30th Street to West 59th Street between Seventh Avenue and the Hudson River is known by two names, one historic, one contemporary. While the name Hell's Kitchen comes from this neighborhood's traditional reputation as one of New York's toughest slums, in recent years the area has been renamed Clinton in an attempt to make it more attractive for investment and development. Many long-time residents, unhappy about the wave of change sweeping the neighborhood, cling to the old name. Originally farms and woodland, the area began to change after the construction of rail lines along the Hudson River. As the city grew, it was the location of slaughterhouses, warehouses, lumberyards, factories, and the docks that lined the West Side of Manhattan. Tenements teemed with Irish and other European immigrants and blacks coming up from the south. In later years, Puerto Ricans moved into the neighborhood. Its long-time status as a poor, working class section made it fertile ground for gangs. The most famous, the "Westies", served as enforcers for the Mafia, which controlled much of the neighborhood from the time of Prohibition. Recently, with the television industry based on the West Side and its close proximity to the theaters of Broadway, the neighborhood has become home for hundreds of up-and-coming actors, playwrights, musicians and others in the entertainment industry. Now Ninth Avenue is one of the busiest streets in Manhattan, with shops, bars and restaurants open well into the night. With the revitalization of the Times Square area, and Chelsea's upsurge in value, Hell's Kitchen, or Clinton, has become one of Manhattan's most sought-after neighborhoods.
  Turtle Bay  
Running from East 42nd Street to East 50th Street, Lexington Avenue to the East River, the neighborhood is near the United Nations, which stands on the shore of what was once actually a bay. Turtle Bay is both commercial and residential in makeup. High-rise office buildings are next to stately townhouses and luxury residential towers. The United Nations replaced stench-filled blocks of slaughterhouses and factories. Turtle Bay is also home to two quiet New York enclaves, Beekman Place with its river-facing townhouses, and Tudor City, with its classic pre-war towers that sit above 42nd Street on the raised Tudor City Place.
  Murray Hill  
Running from East 34th Street to East 42nd Street between Park Avenue and the East River, Murray Hill is named for a family that once held large tracts of land in the area. It was the location of many of the wealthiest New Yorkers' summer homes before the 20th century. After railroad tracks were moved underground, the district saw an upsurge in development. Stately apartment buildings rose along Park Avenue, and many of the side streets between 34th and 42nd were filled with brownstones and townhouses. Now many of these buildings are consulates and residences for United Nations missions. Murray Hill is home to some of Manhattan's most luxurious high-rises. Beginning with the construction of the Rivergate on the east end of 34th Street, and continuing with buildings such as the Corinthian, the Vanderbilt, the Highpoint and Manhattan Place, Murray Hill again became a neighborhood for well-to-do New Yorkers who wanted a peaceful section of Manhattan for themselves.
  Kips Bay  
Covering East 24th to East 34th Streets between Third Avenue and the East River, this neighborhood snuggly sits just below Murray Hill. It was originally a small bay that was filled in. Now Kips Bay is an important hub of medicine in the city. The New York University Schools of Medicine and Dentistry are here, and Bellevue Hospital and the Chief Medical Examiner's Office are also along First Avenue. The neighborhood is home to many of the staff and doctors affiliated with these facilities. While many of the brownstones and townhouses that once lined the streets are gone, there are still small pockets here and there.
A once, downtrodden neighborhood, Chelsea is now one of the premier areas of Manhattan. Where it used to be mainly Latino and African-American, Chelsea has become a major center of gay and lesbian life in New York. In the late 1990's, as Soho became more of a destination retail area, many of the art galleries that once thrived there moved north to Chelsea, pushing the neighborhood further west into what had long been strictly industrial and commercial blocks. Many of the buildings have been converted into residential and mixed use. The Chelsea Market Building, where the first Oreo cookie was baked over 70 years ago, is now an important hub for new media companies, including the Food Network and Oxygen Media. The Chelsea Mercantile Building has been converted into condominium lofts for the new media moguls and others who have flocked to the neighborhood in recent years. While the main avenues and streets in Chelsea now teem with people day and night, you can still find quiet tree-lined streets of small apartment buildings and townhouses. The Avenue of the Americas, or Sixth Avenue, has long been home to weekend antique markets that used several of the long-vacant lots along the avenue. Now several of these lots are being developed into luxury residential buildings, adding to the area's reputation as a trendy neighborhood to live in.
  Gramercy Park  
Surrounding New York's only private park, the Gramercy Park neighborhood has long been an enclave of tony New York. Between 14th and to 23rd Streets, from Park Avenue South to Third Avenue, Gramercy Park is a quiet community of townhouses and apartment buildings. Several palatial buildings face the park, which can only be used by those with keys who live on the streets that directly border it. Some of these buildings have been turned into homes for clubs like the Players and the National Arts. Irving Place, which runs from 20th Street to 14th Street, was named after the author Washington Irving, who once visited but never lived on the street. Pete's Tavern, one of New York's venerable eating and drinking establishments, is here, and nearby is Baruch College, one of the City University schools.
  Greenwich Village  
Now the residential section of the "Village" area of Lower Manhattan, Greenwich Village is a neighborhood that never stops evolving and renewing itself. As the center section of the Village has become more commercial and touristy, this quiet enclave of townhouses, brownstones, and mid-rise rental buildings west of Sixth and Greenwich Avenues, has retained much of it's 1800's feel. The area is no longer the exclusive hub of the gay community. Many move here to raise families because the schools are some of the city's best. While there has been some new development, quiet tree-lined, brownstone-filled streets still dominate this neighborhood.
  West Village  
While this area is located in the center of the Village neighborhoods, it is referred to as the "West Village." Greenwich Village proper is now thought of as being mainly west of Sixth Avenue and Greenwich Avenue. A busy shopping district with many quiet side streets as well as the major thoroughfares, it is also home to some of the finest and oldest buildings and homes in New York. Every turn can bring you to a place rich in the history of the city. While new residential development is a rarity, there are many classic condo and co-op buildings in the area.
  East Village  
Once the home of bohemians, rebels and avant-garde artists who left Greenwich Village as it became less non-conformist, the East Village has boomed in recent years as a community alive with professionals and students. From East Houston Street to 14th Street, between Fourth Avenue and Lafayette Street and the East River, the East Village attracts large numbers of visitors. Where squatters, self-styled punks, hippies and bikers thrived for decades before the 1990's, the neighborhood now includes a more diverse range of residents. Loisaida and Alphabet City are still used as nicknames, but after Tompkins Square Park, once the center point of the New York punk scene of the late 70's and early 80's, was restored, drug addicts and squatters started to leave. Through the combined efforts of law enforcement and the community, the East Village has shed much of its seedy reputation and has become home to trendy shops, bars and restaurants. Several new residential buildings have been built, including the first to be pre-wired for Internet access (the Info Building at 3rd Street and Avenue A in 1996), and others have been renovated to provide homes for an ever-growing populace.
As Greenwich Village has fragmented into smaller neighborhoods, the section below Washington Square Park, between the Bowery and MacDougal Street, has become known as Noho as in north of Houston. Like its southern cousin, the streets here have filled up with fashionable boutiques, lively bars and clubs, and restaurants featuring a wide range of cuisines. While many of the buildings are residential, the area hums with an active nightlife. Part of the New York University campus lies within the area. Where once beatniks roamed and hippies danced, tourists now throng the streets, taking in the ever-changing scene.
From West Houston to Canal Streets, between Sixth Avenue and the Bowery, the area known as Soho -- south of Houston -- has changed radically from the dark, drab streets of the early 1980's. In the late 1700's, when the canal that gave Canal Street its name was filled in, this area just north of Old New York was developed as a residential neighborhood. Some of the original townhouses and commercial buildings can still be found, tucked in between modern structures. As the city grew and the large stores that had lined lower Broadway near City Hall moved north along Broadway, the area became home to retail and wholesale commerce. After its commercial and industrial role faded, the area's many grand cast iron buildings fell into disrepair. Artists began to move into the area in the early 1970's, taking over abandoned lofts and buildings and turning them into homes and galleries. Once home to a few cutting-edge shops, huge artists' lofts and low-key bars, Soho now rivals Madison Avenue as an upscale residential and retail neighborhood. Where once people feared to walk at night, now celebrities and trend-setters frequent the abundant bars and restaurants. Home to Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Sephora, Phat Farm, Stussy and many others, Soho has become as much of a destination shopping district as Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive. Small shops still fill the side streets to complement the larger retailers. Once decaying cast iron buildings have been reborn after years of neglect.
The "triangle below Canal" or Tribeca is the area south of Canal Street, down to Barclay Street, between Broadway and the Hudson River. Beginning in the early 1800's, this area was the primary food and produce market for Manhattan. Many of its grand buildings were warehouses for these businesses. When much of the industry moved north to Hunts Point in the Bronx and other areas in the 1970's, this district suffered for some time. But in the 1980's, after it was renamed Tribeca, the area began to experience a resurgence. Recently, many of the old warehouses have been converted into luxury rental and loft condo buildings. With these conversions, many of the new elite in New York -- from Robert De Niro to the late John F. Kennedy Jr. --- began to settle here.
While no one can precisely say where Chinatown begins and ends, much of the area north and south of Canal Street and east of West Broadway can be considered Chinatown. Home to well over 200,000 Chinese- Americans, Chinatown in recent years has become a destination for other immigrants from Asia. As Chinatown grew from its small beginnings, it has come to incorporate parts of other older New York neighborhoods, including Little Italy and the Lower East Side. Today, the feel of Old New York is still palpable along streets like Mott, Elizabeth, and Mulberry, where merchants sell everything and anything. In a city of skyscrapers and luxury towers, most buildings here are still low-rise tenements, which crowd the streets and retain much of their turn-of-the-century feel. It's a community that can seem worlds away from the rest of Manhattan.
  Lower East Side  
Below East Houston Street, down to Canal Street, from the Bowery to the East River, is the Lower East Side. Once home to wave after wave of immigrants -- German, Irish, Italian, Jewish, and later Latino, Vietnamese and Chinese, among others -- this very diverse neighborhood, is one of the few in Manhattan to retain that "olde" New York flavor. Streets like Orchard, Ludlow, Delancey and Allen are rich in history and flourishing anew.
  Lower Manhattan  
The entire area of Manhattan below Chinatown and Tribeca to the southern tip of the island is a hot real estate market. As the boom has continued, developers have turned to this area as the next great luxury residential community. Several office buildings have been converted to residential use, adding to the small number of residents who lived along the margins of the neighborhood and at Battery Park City. With the conversions, an area that was once quiet after the business day has taken on the appearance of other vibrant neighborhoods in Manhattan, bustling with shops and restaurants that cater to the growing fulltime population.

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