Anchored by Convent Ave., one of the city’s prettiest brownstone blocks, Harlem around 145th St. and St. Nicholas Ave., is easily one of the fast-growing neighborhoods and potentially explosive housing micro-markets in all of New York City.
It has two parks, City College and a buzzing retail corridor on 145th St. with express subways to 59th St. in 13 minutes. Residents say it’s got everything. Especially change. Twenty years ago, the neighborhood was primarily African-American. Now, it’s also Latino, West African and white.
Peace and quiet on the safe side streets, cobblestones, talkative neighbors and plenty of history give this part of Harlem its soul. Longtime residents fight for the area to keep its character. It’s still raw on the edges, which is why we like it. Plus, you get more for your money in Harlem. Everyone knows that. What they don’t know is that 145th St. isn’t that far uptown. Four years ago, though, real estate marketers had trouble getting home buyers near the neighborhood.
“We had to pick people up downtown in buses or cars to get anyone to come up here,” says Halstead Property Development Marketing president Stephen G. Kliegerman, whose group pioneered the area’s condo explosion, selling the Langston in 2007. “When they got here they saw the value and a beautiful neighborhood with parks, colleges and incredible brownstones. Right now, there is no better place than 145th St. to buy a home. I’ll say this too, the area between 125th and 150th St. will see the greatest appreciation in home prices over the next 10 years in all of New York City.”
Kliegerman knows. His group just sold out PS 90 at 220 W. 148th St. The historic school conversion sold the last of its 75 units last week. In addition, Halstead Property Development Marketing has sold more than 100 units in new Harlem buildings through 2011.
With the recession, some resale prices are down, meaning there is even more value to be had uptown. Large one-bedrooms can be rented for less than $1,500. A three-bedroom new condo on 148th St. can be had for around $495,000.
We like it for its feel. As soon as you get off the A train at 145th St. and St. Nicholas Ave., the Harlem hustle and bustle hits you. So do the hills. It’s a steep walk west. Fast-walking pedestrians, honking horns, stands selling rap CDs and the mix of mom-and-pops, Latino restaurants, and real estate agencies merge with banks and Starbucks. It’s all there, from podiatrists to senior centers to a Rite Aid.
Around the corner on Convent Ave., the entire world changes. You can hear a dry leaf hit the street. Townhouse owners tend their stoops. Music can be heard through church doors. At St. Nicholas Park, people walk dogs near the Hamilton Grange National Memorial, the house-turned-museum built by Alexander Hamilton. In the summer, Jackie Robinson Park is swarmed by kids taking dips in the WPA-built pool.
The neighborhood is a playground. Now old-timers mix with newcomers. Everyone has opinions. This is Harlem, after all. Here’s what the locals have to say:
- Diana Ross And The Supremes Backstage at the Apollo Theatre, 1965 (harlemworldmag.com)
- With Retail Rents Doubling, Small Businesses Are Closing in Harlem (harlemworldmag.com)