has been defined by a series of boom-and-bust cycles, with significant
ethnic shifts accompanying each cycle. Black residents began to arrive en masse
in 1904, with numbers fed by the Great Migration. In the 1920s and 1930s,
the neighborhood was the focus of the "Harlem
an outpouring of artistic and professional works without precedent in the
American black community. However, with job losses in the time of the Great Depression and the
deindustrialization of New York City after World War II, rates of crime and
poverty increased significantly.
York's revival in the late 20th century has led to renewal in Harlem as well.
By 1995, Harlem was experiencing social and economic gentrification. Though the percentage of
residents who are black peaked in 1950, the area remains predominantly black.
stretches from the East River west to the Hudson River between 155th Street;
where it meets Washington Heights—to a ragged border along the south. Central
Harlem begins at 110th Street, at the northern boundary of Central Park;
Spanish Harlem is in Eastern Harlem and extends south to 96th Street, while in
the west the neighborhood begins north of Upper West Side, which gives an irregular
border west of Morningside Avenue. Harlem's boundaries have
changed over the years; as Ralph Ellison said, "Wherever
Negroes live uptown is considered Harlem."
neighborhood contains a number of smaller, cohesive districts. The following
are some examples:
New York City Police Department patrols five precincts
located within Harlem. The areas of West Harlem are served by the 30th
Precinct, the areas of Central Harlem are served by the 28th and 32nd
Precincts, and the areas of East Harlem are served by the 23rd and 25th
earliest activism by blacks to change the situation in Harlem itself grew out
of the Great
with the "Don't Buy Where You Can't Work" movement. This was the
ultimately successful campaign to force retail shops on 125th Street to hire
black employees. Boycotts were originally organized
by the Citizens' League for Fair Play in June 1934 against Blumstein's Department
Store on 125th Street. The store soon agreed to more fully integrate its staff.
This success emboldened Harlem residents, and protests continued under other
leadership, including that of preacher and later congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., seeking to change hiring
practices at other stores, to effect the hiring of more black workers, or the
hiring of members of particular protesting groups.
gained a following in Harlem in the 1930s, and continued to play a role through
the 1940s. 1935 saw the
first of Harlem's five riots. The incident started with a (false) rumor
that a boy caught stealing from a store on 125th Street had been killed by the
police. By the time it was over, 600 stores had been looted and three men were
dead. The same year saw internationalism in Harlem politics, as Harlemites responded
to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia by holding giant rallies,
signing petitions and sending an appeal to the League of Nations. Such internationalism
continued intermittently, including broad demonstrations in favor of Egyptian
president Nasser after the Suez invasion of
Harlemites took positions in the elected political infrastructure of New York
starting in 1941 with the election of Adam
Clayton Powell Jr. to
the City Council. He was easily elected to Congress when a congressional
district was placed in Harlem in 1944, leaving his City Council seat to be won
by another black Harlemite, Benjamin J. Davis. Ironically, Harlem's
political strength soon deteriorated, as Clayton Powell, Jr. spent his time in
Washington or his vacation home in Puerto Rico, and Davis was jailed in
1951 for violations of the Smith Act.
year 1943 saw the second Harlem riot. A black soldier knocked down a policeman
who then shot him. An onlooker shouted that the soldier had been killed, and
this news spread throughout the black community and provoked rioting. A force
of 6,600, made up of city police, military police and civil patrolmen, in
addition to 8,000 State Guardsmen and 1,500 civilian volunteers was required to
end the violence. Hundreds of businesses were destroyed and looted, the
property damage approaching $225,000. Overall, six people died and 185 were
injured. Five hundred people were arrested in connection with the riot.
the late 1950s and early 1960s, Harlem was the scene of a series of rent strikes by neighborhood tenants,
led by local activist Jesse
together with the Congress of Racial Equality, Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU), and other
groups. These groups wanted the city to force landlords to improve the quality
of housing by bringing them up to code, to take action against rats and
roaches, to provide heat during the winter, and to keep prices in line with
existing rent control
According to the Metropolitan Council on
in the mid-1960s, about 25% of the city's landlords charged more for rent than
allowed by law.
groups mobilized in Harlem in the 1960s, fighting for better schools, jobs, and
housing. Some were peaceful and others advocated violence. By the early 1960s,
the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) had offices on
125th street, and acted as negotiator for the community with the city,
especially in times of racial unrest. They pressed for civilian review boards
to hear complaints of police
demand that was ultimately met. As chairman of the House Committee of Education
and Labor at the start of the 1960s, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. used this position
to direct federal funds to various development projects in Harlem.
influence of the southern nonviolent protest movement was muted in Harlem. Rev.
Luther King, Jr.
was the black leader most respected in Harlem, but at least two dozen groups of
black nationalists also operated in New York. The most important of these was
whose Temple Number Seven was run by Malcolm X from 1952–1963. Malcolm X
was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights in 1965. The neighborhood remains an
important center for the Nation of Islam.
largest public works projects in Harlem in these years were public housing,
with the largest concentration built in East Harlem. Typically, existing structures
were torn down and replaced with city-designed and managed properties that
would, in theory, present a safer and more pleasant environment than those
available from private landlords. Ultimately, community objections halted the
construction of new projects.
the mid-20th century, the terrible quality of local schools has been a source
of distress. In the 1960s, about 75% of Harlem students tested under grade
levels in reading skills, and 80% tested under grade level in math. In 1964,
residents of Harlem staged two school boycotts to call attention to the
problem. In central Harlem, 92% of students stayed home.
1963, Inspector Lloyd
became the first African-American officer of the NYPD to
command a police station, the 28th precinct in Harlem. Community relations
between Harlem residents and the NYPD were strained as civil rights activists requested
that the NYPD hire more black police officers, specifically in Harlem. In 1964,
across Harlem's three precincts, the ratio was one black police officer for
every six white officers. A riot broke in the summer of
1964 following the fatal shooting of an unarmed 15-year-old black teenager by
an off-duty white police lieutenant. One person was killed, more than 100 were
injured, and hundreds more were arrested. Property damage and looting were
extensive. The riot would later spread out of Manhattan and into the borough of
Brooklyn and neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, the heart of Brooklyn's African-American community. In the
aftermath of the riots, the federal government funded a pilot program called Project Uplift, in which thousands of
young people in Harlem were given jobs during the summer of 1965. The project
was inspired by a report generated by HARYOU called Youth in the Ghetto. HARYOU was given a major
role in organizing the project, along with the National
and nearly 100 smaller community organizations.
1968, Harlemites rioted after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., as
did black residents in other U.S. cities. Two people died—one stabbed to death
in a crowd and another trapped in a burning building. Mayor John Lindsay helped to quell the
rioting by marching up Lenox Avenue in a "hail of bricks" to confront
the angry crowds.
reached its lowest in this period. Plans for rectifying the situation often
started with the restoration of 125th Street, long the economic heart of black
Harlem. By the late 1970s, only marginalized and poor retail remained. Plans
were drafted for a "Harlem International Trade Center," which would
have filled the entire block between 125th Street and 126th, from Lenox to Adam
Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, with a center for trade with the third world. A related retail complex
was planned to the west, between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and St. Nicholas.
However, this plan depended on $30 million in financing from the federal
government, and with the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency of the
United States, it had no hope of being completed.
city did provide one large construction project, though not so favored by
residents. Starting in the 1960s and continuing through the 1970s, Harlemites
fought the introduction of an immense sewage treatment plant, the North River
Water Pollution Control Plant, on the Hudson River in West Harlem. A compromise was ultimately reached in
which the plant was built with a state park, including extensive recreational
facilities, on top. The park, called Riverbank
was opened in 1993 (the sewage plant having been completed some years earlier).
of Harlem restarted around 1990, thanks in part to the institution of the Upper
Manhattan Empowerment Zone. Plans were laid for shopping malls, movie theaters,
and museums. However, these plans were nearly derailed in 1995 by the
"Freddy's Fashion Mart" riot, which culminated in political arson and
eight deaths. These riots did not resemble their predecessors, and were
organized by black activists against Jewish shop owners on 125th street.
years later, the revitalization of 125th Street resumed, with the construction
of a Starbucks outlet backed in part by Magic Johnson (1999), the first
supermarket in Harlem in 30 years, the Harlem USA retail complex, which included the first
first-run movie theater in many years (2000), and a new home for the Studio
Museum in Harlem
(2001). In the same year, former president Bill Clinton took office space in
Harlem. In 2002, a large retail and office complex called Harlem Center was
completed at the corner of Lenox and 125th. There has been extensive new
construction and rehabilitation of older buildings in the years since.
neighborhood's changes have provoked some discontent. James
pastor of the ATLAH World Missionary church on Lenox Avenue, has received press
for declaring a boycott on all Harlem shops, restaurants, other businesses, and
churches other than his own. He believes that this will cause an economic crash
that will drive out white residents and drop property values to a level his
supporters can afford. There have been rallies against gentrification.
Big Apple Chimney“The Brownstone and Pre-War Specialists”
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Big Apple Chimney is a full service New York City (Manhattan) and Brooklyn based contracting firm specializing in brownstone and pre-war building chimneys and fireplaces. We offer complete masonry services including but not limited to brick pointing, all types of brickwork, chimney crowns, chimney masonry, chimney construction, hand mixed cement and poured concrete, refractory firebrick, heating cement, high temperature smoke chamber cement, tight mortar joints, herringbone designs, (marble, stone, slate, limestone, timber, wood, wooden and custom) fireplace mantles. Fireplace surrounds made from many different materials, shelves and mantels, firewood log storage, mantel cabinets, cast-iron inserts, fireplace dampers, chimney dampers, direct vent, gas fireplaces, wood-burning fireplaces, brick-oven construction and maintenance, venting and ventilation, fresh-air intakes, chimney flashing, chimney caps, gut-renovations, historical fireplace and chimney restoration, chimney repair, heating-ventilating and air conditioning (H.V.A.C). You would be well served to have us involved in your home improvement, renovation or restoration project.
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We also provide a complete array of chimney maintenance , chimney cleaning, and fireplace cleaning services in Brooklyn and Manhattan, our professional chimney sweeps, and chimney service technicians can help you to prevent creosote build-up, chimney fires, chimney violations, fire code violations and increase and help to ensure your family’s safety from carbon monoxide poisoning. (all homes are required to have CO detectors and smoke alarms installed)
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