A stone throw away from where I live stand two buildings that occupy a special place in Harlem’s history. They are the First Corinthian Baptist Church on the southwest corner of 7th Avenue and 116th Street and Graham Court diagonally across the street. Theresa Hotel is another landmark building, nine blocks uptown on 7th Avenue and 125th Street.
One of the stops on my Harlem-for-visitors tour is Stivers’ Row on West 138th and 139th Streets between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd and Frederick Douglass Blvd. Some photos and a little history after the jump.
The courtyards acted as an alleyway with horse stables
I took a short bike ride up north today and took a few photos of housing developments from the 1960s. A great long-form article for background to the current debate surrounding the New York City Housing Association can be read here.
Esplanade Gardens, boundaries West 145th Street, Lenox Avenue & West 148th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd
It’s good to call a place home after quite a few months on the road. I’m very happy we ended up in Harlem to do that. The neighbourhood is oozing history at every street corner. It’s also not as “gentrified” as other areas in New York, but fast becoming so thanks to people like me. Let me elaborate.
Riverside Drive / 145th Street
Alexander Hamilton is one of the most famous Americans ever to have lived in Harlem. His biography is inextricably linked with the early history of the USA, he was one of the chief architects of the young state’s institutions. I took a look at his former residence one rainy afternoon a couple of days ago.
New York’s 20th-century beaux arts and art deco architecture doesn’t generally get my heart rate up. There are exceptions to this, including some of the famous early skyscrapers. Another building I like is the Criminal Courts Building in the Civic Center of Manhattan. I find its architecture incredibly symbolic.
The Adam Clayton Powell Junior State Office Building divides Harlem geographically. It also divides opinions. Some call it a Brutalist eyesore from the urban renewal era, others think that it is an important memorial, commemorating the battle for the soul of Harlem.
We trekked up the Empire State Building on Friday, skipping all queues courtesy of a friend who works here. It’s great to get a feel for New York from atop the highest observation platform (until the one in Freedom Tower opens in 2015, that is). A very vertical experience, some impressions of which are posted after the break.