Harlem has been overwhelmingly African-American for much of the last century. That didn’t stop other ethnic groups from carving out neighborhoods there—such as Little Italy on First Avenue and El Barrio east of Lexington Avenue.
“In Manhattan the Finns concentrated between 120th and 130 Streets near Madison Avenue,” states a website on Finnish migration, which feature a fascinating map pointing out where Harlem’s Finnish social halls and businesses were once located. “The Finns in Harlem were mainly house maids, carpenters, and other construction workers as well as some tailors.”
So what’s left of Harlem’s Finntown? Very little. Of all its once-mighty Socialist clubs, labor organizations, and cooperative restaurants, at least one remnant still stands: the headquarters for the Finnish Workers Educational Alliance (above) at Fifth Avenue and 127th Street.
It’s been turned into luxury apartments.
Tags: ethnic neighborhoods of New York City, Finnish immigrants Harlem, Finnish immigrants New York City, Finnish Workers Educational Alliance, Finntown Brooklyn, Finntown Sunset Park, Harlem Finntown, Harlem neighborhoods, Harlem Street, immigrant neighborhoods New York City