Posts Tagged ‘development of Harlem’

Strivers’ Row: a glimpse of genteel old Harlem

November 16, 2009

“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.