East Harlem, the southeastern subsection of Harlem, runs from Harlem River to the north, the East River to the east, East 96th Street to the south, and 5th Avenue to the west. While it shares much of its cultural history and architecture with Harlem, East Harlem — also known as El Barrio and Spanish Harlem — has a unique flavor all its own. With a strong Latin-American population that established its roots after the first World War, a recent influx of young professionals, and blossoming new construction in the area, East Harlem is a growing Manhattan neighborhood of great potential.
Before 2000, East 96th street was one of the more famous socio-economic “boundaries” in North America, separating Manhattan’s Upper East Side mansions from East Harlem’s brick co-ops. That contrast has softened in recent years, with construction of new condominiums and apartment buildings in the area, and a growing influx of young professionals and families drawn to the affordable rents and unique local character. El Barrio has been immortalized in the songs of Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, and Elton John. The Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts serves as a focus for theatre, dance and music, and the prestigious El Museo del Barrio supports and documents the Latin American and Caribbean art and culture scene.
Inexpensive Latino and Caribbean taquerias contribute to a colorful and flavorful local cuisine, while affordable shopping boutiques and trendy bars along Lexington Avenue provide rollicking entertainment without breaking the bank. A diverse collection of churches, mosques and monasteries add a venerable and historic presence to the area, including the National Museum of Catholic Art and History. With a strong sense of local pride, a budding middle-class and fantastic food and culture, East Harlem is an NYC neighborhood on the cusp of revitalization and recognition.