Strivers’ Row: a glimpse of genteel old Harlem

“Walk Your Horses” say the inscriptions on the entry gates that lead to the alleys of Strivers’ Row, a two-block time capsule back into Harlem history.

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Like a lot of the neighborhood, these aristocratic townhouses, spanning 138th and 139th Streets between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, were built in the 1890s for wealthy whites.

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But when white New Yorkers deserted Harlem just a decade later, middle- and upper-class black families moved in—hence the striver reference. Each house had modern plumbing, detailed woodwork, and shared back courtyards. Plus stables for horses, of course.

Strivers’ Row mixes a couple of different architectural styles. (Stanford White had his hand in designing some). The result is a harmonious couple of blocks as lovely as any in the Village or brownstone Brooklyn—but lesser-known, practically a neighborhood secret.

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3 Responses to “Strivers’ Row: a glimpse of genteel old Harlem”

  1. Ghosts of 19th century New York horses « Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] well-preserved alleys, like Strivers’ Row in Central Harlem, still have warnings about not riding down what was probably a muddy little road [...]

  2. 338. Mad Beyonce love « Fashion for Writers Says:

    [...] “the way we were.” There were upper middle class black women in the 50s and 60s, even entire enclaves like Striver’s Row in Harlem. However, one did not have to be upper class, or even upper [...]

  3. Sugar Hill: once Harlem’s most glamorous enclave « Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] has lots of lovely, little-known streets and micro-neighborhoods. One of the grandest is Sugar Hill, an area rich with beautiful row houses, [...]

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