The Past Of Harlem Has Shaped The Present Of New York

By: James Rogla


As we all know that the Big Apple is comprised of many small neighborhoods. Among these, a friendly and culturally rich neighborhood is Harlem. Harlem culture is the most unique and richest in the entire city because of its history. This particular area has undergone too many changes since its inception and what we see today is a byproduct of all these cultural changes. Today this place is known as one of the most important neighborhoods of the city, economically, artistically and culturally. As it grew up so did its importance. A brief history of all the developments it went through is given to help you get a better idea how it happened to be the place what it is today.

Harlem got its name from its founder in 1658, a Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant who named it after a Dutch village Haarlem. Although it was started on the upper end of the famous Manhattan, it gradually started to grow in size. Today when you go on Harlem tours you can see the preserved old buildings and churches that were founded in that area. It started as a Dutch settlement and the rich fertile land began prospering instantly. Many new residents began to pour in and influential families started to maintain their mansions in the western end of the village. But unfortunately in the 1830ís the economical decline struck it and the entire village was put up for public auction.

The entire land was sold off in small pieces and it destroyed the area completely. Every inch of the land was divided which brought it crashing down. It now looked more like a shantytown where a majority of the African American refugees took shelter. Thus the Dutch Harlem culture was completely overridden by the new settlers in the area. After many decades of being known as an area of depletion and poverty the first rebirth took place in the 1904 when transport facilities were brought on completely and massive construction works began. Many single family homes were constructed and the entire land was covered with newly constructed homes and commercial properties. With the new construction many white Americans started to take up residence here too. The area quickly began to get thickly populated and many new businesses began to be formed. The commercial areas soon began to get filled and so did the houses.

Today after a century since its rebirth, Harlem is considered as the most important area of New York. Having complete modern facilities and many luxuries apartments and condos, one can hardly find a vacant house here. Rents have gone highly upwards and business is booming here. The world famous 5th avenue is the busiest street in the area with many shops and designer outlets. You can see a constant crowd of shopper and tourists who have come on Harlem tours to see the area and shop at the wonderful shops here. The Apollo Theater is something as a landmark in the area. As it was the first ever theater in Harlem, many great artists have used it as a platform to show the world what they can do. Now Harlem is known as one of the best areas in New York.

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