We may not live in New York anymore, but I’m still a proud former (not to mention born and bred) New Yorker, so when I saw that our old neighborhood (south-central Harlem on Frederick Douglass Boulevard) was crowned Curbed.com’s Neighborhood of the Year for 2010, I was elated!
For some time now, the area along FDB has been dubbed Harlem’s “Gold Coast,” (thanks to Harlem Condo Life) and, having lived there through this recent (and unending) recession, I can honestly say the neighborhood weathered the storm quite well, seeing as how a bevy of new (and highly anticipated) restaurants, bakeries (with a big one on the way), grocery stores, a fancy hotel, boutiques, a beer garden, and a new traffic circle cropped up despite the languishing economy (with more openings expected in 2011). Not surprisingly, many New Yorkers have been slow to come around to the area, as some bad press has shown. But, positive press is mounting; some recent highlights:
Living Around: Morningside Heights
The Hunt: Downsizing with Downsides
Going Upscale Downtown
The Hunt: In the Footsteps of the Hamiltons and Tenenbaums (Try to look past the irritating couple.)
Going Global in Harlem
We loved living in this neighborhood. Sure, it has a long way to go before it’s Park Slope or the West Village, but I don’t think that’s what it is striving for. The aforementioned FDB corridor (and most of Harlem) is a true cross-section of New Yorkers, and one of the last remaining neighborhoods in Manhattan where regular people can actually afford to live, which is important. The city has changed drastically since I was growing up there, and much of it for good, but it is certainly losing an element of reality. I’m impressed that despite a continuing recession, a neighborhood in Harlem managed not just to hang on, but to thrive. I look forward to visiting in the years to come, to see more improvements, but ones that hopefully maintain the fabric and history of the neighborhood.
Whether you live in New York or not, you should definitely put Harlem on your list of places to visit. Get hip to the latest happenings (food, shows, art, music, openings, etc) on my two favorite Harlem-centric blogs – both provide indispensable information on what to do and where to go:
Harlem Condo Life
Enjoy, and congratulations to Harlem!
Image by Karsten Moran, for the New York Times