Sugar Hill is a neighborhood in the northern part of Hamilton Heights, which itself is a sub-neighborhood of Harlem, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan. The neighborhood is defined by 155th Street to the north, 145th Street to the south, Edgecombe Avenue to the east, and Amsterdam Avenue to the west.The name originated in the 1920s, when the area became a popular place to live for wealthy African Americans.
Named to identify the “sweet life” in Harlem, it was a popular residential area of rowhouses for wealthy African Americans during the Harlem Renaissance, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Duke Ellington. Langston Hughes wrote about its relative affluence in relation to Harlem in his essay “Down and Under in Harlem” published in The New Republic in 1944.
Sugar Hill was made a municipal historic district by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2000. It is also a National Registered Historic Place.
Rap group The Sugarhill Gang and rap record label Sugar Hill Records pay homage to the neighborhood in their names.
Sugar Hill is mentioned in the lyrics to the jazz standard “Take the A Train” by Billy Strayhorn. It is also referred to by rapper AZ’s “Sugar Hill” on his album Doe or Die.