Few Manhattan neighborhoods can claim to be as profoundly a part of the greater idea of New York City, or more legitimately iconic, than Harlem. Harlem is a real neighborhood in Manhattan, of course, stretching from the Hudson River to the East River between 158th Street and a border that no one can quite agree upon on the south. But Harlem is also more than just a Manhattan neighborhood -- it’s a vibrant piece of living history, and a place somehow just as real in the imagination as it is in the real world of New York City. Seemingly every block in Harlem is packed with New York City history, and national landmarks abound, ranging from John D. Rockefeller's sprawling Dunbar Apartments to The Apollo Theater to the historic townhouses of Strivers Row. After a series of down decades in which much of the neighborhood’s historic housing fell into disrepair, Harlem began an epic comeback that continues today. Harlem property values soared 300 percent in the 1990s, and a host of new construction condominiums rose alongside the neighborhood's historic brownstones.
Harlem retains its distinctive character thanks to its world-famous classic restaurants and the jazz clubs and lounges that highlight its booming nightlife scene, but it is also home to new restaurants from world-renowned chefs, trendy bars, and the other resolutely new-school attractions. Increasingly, too, Harlem is also home to some rather straightforward Manhattan luxury brands -- witness the neighborhood's Citarella and Fairway markets, for instance, or Harlem's numerous high-end boutiques. The new condominium listings of Harlem run from inventive adaptive-reuse projects like PS90 -- a luxury condominium in a stately converted school building -- to more conventional luxury condo developments that would impress anywhere in Manhattan. Harlem’s new condominiums are all different, of course, but they carry the same message -- namely that there's more to Harlem than history, and that Harlem’s ongoing revitalization suggests that this most historic Manhattan neighborhood is not done making history yet.