Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Living in the Harlem, West Harlem (Manhattanville) and Hamilton Heights Areas of Manhattan.
By Greg Healy
The Harlem area of New York City actually includes three adjacent neighborhoods: East Harlem, West Harlem (also called “Manhattanville”), and Hamilton Heights.
No matter where you find an apartment to rent in West Harlem, chances are you'll enjoy the revitalization that living in West Harlem real estate has to offer.
Adjacent to Harlem, and known for its beautiful architecture, Hamilton Heights real estate is hard to come by, but we get the apartment listings as soon as they do become available. Hamilton Heights is located on the upper, upper west side of Manhattan.
In this article, you’ll learn about apartment rental price averages, community history, and the lifestyle you’ll experience in this area of NYC. Plus you’ll be able to link directly to a free rental search.
HARLEM AVERAGE APARTMENT RENTS
According to the “Manhattan Rental Market Report” for September 2015, “In neighborhoods with a low sample size, average rents tend to drastically fluctuate as lower or higher units enter or leave the market. The largest annual shifts were seen in Harlem and Midtown East. The annual average rent in Harlem increased by 19.9% - from $2,353 in September 2014 to $2,821 in September 2015. This robust growth in Harlem is mainly derived from the continued construction of new residential buildings.”
The Market Report summarizes Manhattan rentals for late summer/early fall 2015 in a chart comparison below, and notice that Harlem, as a trend, offers the least expensive apartments you can find in all of Manhattan.
Notable Trends: Manhattan Highs and Lows (Average Prices)
Non-Doorman Two Bedrooms
Doorman Buildings (Average Prices)
Doorman Two Bedrooms
When you are considering a neighborhood for yourself and possibly your family as well, it’s important to take a look all around and discover the amenities, community activities, entertainment, restaurants, shopping and parks nearby.
West Harlem apartments house a beautifully diverse population like most of the great Manhattan Island. Historically known as “Hamilton Grange,” West Harlem real estate began as the country estate of Alexander Hamilton, Treasury Secretary under George Washington.
While part of expanding NYC, West Harlem remained largely rural until the late 19th century. People living in West Harlem were not in apartments then, but rather in frame cottages. They lived and worked right there, growing vegetables for local markets.
By the 1920's, West Harlem had become a center for artists, musicians, writers, and intellectuals like Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Countee Cullen.
Today, the culture and diversity of West Harlem life is as much of a draw as the actual real estate.
WEST HARLEM APARTMENTS
Victorian town houses and large prewar apartment buildings run along the picturesque Riverside Drive. The side streets in West Harlem are lined with ornately decorated apartment buildings and brownstones originally in the 1910's and 1920's. There are few co-op buildings in West Harlem, but much of the area retains an old world charm.
This piece of New York real estate stretches across the steep hills of upper Manhattan along the Hudson River, providing a country-like setting, amazing river views and a strong community feel.
It's easy to forget you are on Manhattan island when you live in a West Harlem apartment.
HARLEM’S ORIGIN AND HISTORY
How much do you know about Harlem as an Upper Manhattan neighborhood? Test yourself against this Wikipedia article:
“Harlem is a large neighborhood within the northern section of the New York Cityborough of Manhattan. Since the 1920s, Harlem has been known as a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands. Harlem's history has been defined by a series of economic boom-and-bust cycles, with significant population shifts accompanying each cycle.
“African-American residents began to arrive en masse in 1905, with numbers fed by the Great Migration. In the 1920s and 1930s, Central and West Harlem were the focus of the "Harlem Renaissance", an outpouring of artistic work without precedent in the American black community. However, with job losses in the time of the Great Depression and the deindustrialization of New York City after World War II, rates of crime and poverty increased significantly. Harlem's black population peaked in the 1950s.
“In 2008, the United States Census found that for the first time since the 1930s, less than half of residents were black, and black residents only counted for 40% of the population.
LIVING IN WEST HARLEM
Coffee shops and restaurants line Broadway—which connects residents of West Harlem apartments to the rest of Manhattan and the Bronx to the north. There are celebrity chefs making their home here and the new Starwood hotel staging live jazz in its mixology-inclined bar and a city-funded effort to create an Uptown version of the Essex Street Market. New businesses are coming into the neighborhood, and old ones cleaning up and adding fresh paint compete to allure residents of West Harlem apartments.
There are ten elementary schools and six middle schools with grades six through eight in the district. West Harlem also houses Frederick Douglass Academy, a combined intermediate and high school on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and 149th Street.
MORE THAN JUST GREAT APARTMENTS TO RENT IN WEST HARLEM
It's just as important to be able to enjoy life outside your rental in West Harlem as it is for any place. Though most of New York is just a short subway ride away (you can reach Fulton Street in 30 minutes!), there is plenty to enjoy in your own neighborhood.
An elegant promenade runs along the riverfront, plus Riverside Park has great allure with its bike paths. St. Nicholas Park sits along the eastern edge of West Harlem itself.
There is also the West Harlem Piers Park. The project was completed with a neighborhood coalition of over 40 groups in conjunction with active funding from city, state, and federal agencies. West Harlem Piers Park was built to create a destination that is changing the perceptions of the West Harlem neighborhood by reconnecting to the community’s past and linking residents with the riverfront.
The 28-acre Riverbank State Park, atop a gigantic water treatment plant on the Hudson River between 138th and 145th Streets, includes a running track, ice skating rink, ball fields, as well as both indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
No matter where you find an apartment to rent in West Harlem, chances are you'll enjoy the revitalization that West Harlem real estate has to offer.
SEARCH FOR APARTMENTS IN WEST HARLEM (“MANHATTANVILLE”)
Take a look at the apartment listings (with photos and prices) available right now in the Harlem area. CLICK HERE
Harlem is truly “top of the town” when it comes to the island of Manhattan. With thanks to Wikipedia for the geographical summary below, here is perhaps more information about Harlem than you expected to find in one place.
“Harlem is located in Upper Manhattan, often referred to as Uptown by locals. It stretches from the East River in the east, to the Hudson River to the west; and between 155th Street in the north, where it meets Washington Heights, and an uneven boundary along the south that runs along either 96th Street east of Fifth Avenue or 110th Street west of Fifth Avenue.
“Central Harlem is bounded by Fifth Avenue on the east, Central Park on the south, Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Avenue and Edgecombe Avenue on the west, and the Harlem River on the north.
“A chain of three large linear parks — Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Park and Jackie Robinson Park — are situated on steeply rising banks and form most of the district's western boundary. On the east, Fifth Avenue and Marcus Garvey Park, also known as Mount Morris Park, separate this area from East Harlem. The bulk of the area falls under Manhattan Community Board No. 10.
“In the late 2000s, South Harlem emerged from area redevelopment, running along Frederick Douglass Boulevard from West 110th to West 138th Streets.
“The West Harlem neighborhoods of Manhattanville and Hamilton Heights comprise part of Manhattan Community Board No. 9. The two neighborhoods' area is bounded by Cathedral Parkway (110th Street) on the south; 155th Street on the north; Manhattan/Morningside Ave/St. Nicholas/Bradhurst/Edgecombe Avenues on the east; and Riverside Park/the Hudson River on the west.
“Morningside Heights is located in the southernmost section of West Harlem. Manhattanville begins at roughly 123rd Street and extends northward to 135th Street. The northern most section of West Harlem is Hamilton Heights.
“East Harlem, also called Spanish Harlem, within Manhattan Community Board 11, is bounded by East 96th Street on the south, East 142nd Street on the north, Fifth Avenue on the west, and the Harlem River on the east.”
DISCOVER HARLEM’S CULTURE AND HISTORY WITH WALKING TOURS
The Harlem Heritage Tourism & Cultural Center was founded in 1998 by a Harlem native, Neal Shoemaker, who wanted to find a way to introduce tourists and area locals to the vibrant lifestyle and history of the Harlem neighborhood.
Their tours and events are conducted by Harlem residents, so you’ll be getting information directly from those who are familiar with the culture and day-to-day living in the Harlem community of Manhattan.
Some of their frequently scheduled activities include:
Take the A Train Harlem Tour – start your journey in the heart of Times Square and then ride the “A” Train (subway; you’ll pay the regular Metro fare) to Harlem for a cultural walking tour. You’ll take a pleasant break for a “soul food”dinner, followed by Amateur Night at the world-renowned Apollo Theatre. (By the way, “Take the A Train” was the signature tune of the Duke Ellington orchestra, sung by Ella Fitzgerald, music and lyrics by Billy Strayhorn and Joya Sherrill.)
Jazz Nights in Harlem Multimedia Walking Tour – every Friday night. The tour description puts it this way: “When the sun goes down come uptown and experience Harlem nights of past and present. Once upon a time over 400 nightspots existed in Harlem and now some are starting to resurface. Evening starts with a meal at one of Harlem’s many eateries followed by a multimedia walking tour that will feature Harlem of yesteryear + make stops at some of the new spots that embody the spirit of the current Harlem Renaissance. Tour guide will be equipped with audio/video devices that will bring the entertainment heritage of Harlem to life. Night ends with live music jazz/music in Harlem at one of our most well-known music venues – the best of the old and the new.”
General Harlem History Walking Tour – this affordably priced tour will give you a great overview of Harlem and its long history.
Harlem Wednesday Gospel Walking Tour – this special event each week will introduce you to the heart of Gospel music in an unforgettable evening. It’s not a concert, it’s not a gospel show. You’ll actually go into churches, so dress accordingly (no sandals, flip-flops, bare arms, shorts, short skirts, and no backpacks). Here’s what the tour planners say about this year-long Wednesday evening event:
oHarlem Wednesday Gospel Walking Tour is complimented with portable pictures, sound and video. Imagine walking the historic Harlem boulevards listening to Billie Holiday during the year 2015 – “The Year of Day” If you dress the part, it could be like something out of a movie. Attention will be paid to impact religion has on Harlem and social justice/civil rights issues.
oNO backpacks are allowed in church on this Harlem Wednesday Gospel Walking Tour – usually on Sunday mornings guests leave their back packs in our Harlem Heritage Tourism and Cultural Center, but this tour meets at another location = Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture @ 515 West 135th Street @ north west corner of 135th Street and Malcolm X Blvd.
<span style="font-family:" courier="" new";courier="" new""="">oNo flip-flops or shoes that reveal any part of your foot – please pay attention to this on Harlem Wednesday Gospel Tour during the summer months. Also, no revealed shoulders or legs above knee – please pay extra attention to this during summer months.
You can view the tour events calendar and book your tickets in advance at the Harlem Heritage Tourism & Cultural Center. They also have an ongoing lunch and walking tour that is great for groups and can be booked separately for your own organization to go on a specific date.
The Center’s founder, Neal Shoemaker, sums up his experience this way: “Working with community partners, such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Apollo Theater, Harlem Heritage Tours have developed a series of multimedia bus/walking tours that present archival video and sound at the very sight where history happened – this method keeps the human touch while bringing the past to life – this is a first in the industry. Across the planet individuals and organizations are exploring ways to incorporate community involvement into the design and development of tourism products and services. The goal is to respect the privacy and integrity of those who live and work in Harlem, and at the same time expose visitors to all that makes Harlem special. Because of our sensitivity, we receive more support from grass roots Harlem than any other tourism company in the community.”
HAMILTON HEIGHTS APARTMENTS FOR RENT
New York’s Most Northern Manhattan Real Estate Neighborhood
Known for its beautiful architecture, Hamilton Heights real estate is hard to come by. Hamilton Heights is located on the upper, upper west side of Manhattan. Named after Alexander Hamilton, who lived his last two years in the area, you’ll find many beautiful parks and free museums located only steps away from your Hamilton Heights rental in this historic neighborhood.
HAMILTON HEIGHTS APARTMENTS – PERFECT RENTALS FOR CCNY STUDENTS AND FACULTY
Living in Hamilton Heights apartments for rent is an obvious choice for a City College of New York (CCNY) student. City College was founded in 1847 and is just as diverse as Hamilton Heights with over 90 languages spoken on campus. CCNY students will not have to major in accounting to appreciate how much money they will save being able to travel by New York City transit easily. For a student of CCNY, living in Hamilton Heights rentals is the perfect choice.
FUN LIFESTYLES OF HAMILTON HEIGHTS, NY
As with most New York City neighborhoods, finding great food is never an issue! As far as dining, one of the best spots for Mexican dining is Picante. There’s Middle Eastern food at Queen Sheeba and many residents of Hamilton Heights also name Trufa for American food, and The Grange Bar and Eatery as a favorite.
For those living in Hamilton Heights rentals who long for movement, the Dance Theatre of Harlem is the perfect place. Are you a parent of a talented dancer? The Dance Theatre of Harlem is a leading dance institution providing opportunities to racially diverse students interested in classical ballet and the arts.
For those triple threats, The Harlem School of the Arts is the only community arts institution in New York City to provide training in music, dance, theater and visual arts.
Living nearby in a Hamilton Heights rental is the perfect choice for parents and students alike.
BEAUTIFUL PARKS CLOSE TO HAMILTON HEIGHTS RENTALS
Real estate in Hamilton Heights is located very close to Riverbank State Park. Inside this park you will find:
Four tennis courts
Four basketball courts
400-meter track with
Also close by is Riverside Park which is one of only eight “scenic landmarks” in New York City and generally said to be “Manhattan’s most spectacular waterfront park.”
Either one of these parks is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon in Hamilton Heights.
Worth the wait, make sure to put Hamilton Heights apartments on your most wanted real estate to rent list!
READY TO MAKE EAST HARLEM, WEST HARLEM (MANHATTANVILLE) OR HAMILTON HEIGHTS YOUR NEW HOME?
Take a look at the apartment listings available right now in the areas of Harlem. There is no charge to search our database of listings and explore the apartments you’d like to see. Go here for your complimentary apartment search: RENTAL SEARCH