Monday, April 19, 2010

East Harlem Rated 54th

East Harlem was ranked 54th out of 60 neighborhoods in New York Magazine's Best Places to Live listing. I've always thought of East Harlem as an "up-and-coming" place to live, so I was surprised it was so low. To me the neighborhood gets points for diversity, Mexican food, Central Park and the museums. Why do you love East Harlem? What makes it the area for you?


  1. I've lived in East Harlem since 2002. This recent list makes me sad but I'm not surprised. I have experienced more nastiness, more racism, and more cruel behavior at the hands of my fellow residents in the past 3 years than in the preceding 5. I don't know why this is. I don't really care. The reason we are #54 is probably hard to pinpoint, but it may have something to do with the fact that a bunch of guys ran up and down 118th Street Saturday night and smashed the windows in on cars. Maybe they were the same people who spray painted "kill whitey" on 116th street three summers ago. Maybe not. But that could be a contributing factor. The hipsters of Park Slope may be annoying, but at least they aren't dangerous.

    To answer your original question, I love East Harlem because of all the good elements. I love that the guys at Fine Fare know my mom and will special order me my favorite coconut water. I love that I have developed friendships with vendors and neighbors over the years. I love the street fairs. I love Taco Mix. I love the playgrounds. The alcapurrias at Camaradas. I just hate being spat at and called a dick sucking cracker whore. So yeah. #54. I kind of see what they're saying.

  2. I moved to East Harlem last November with my husband and baby, and I love it. People are kinder and friendlier here than any of the neighborhoods I lived in previously (Upper East Side, West Village, Hell's Kitchen, Williamsburg, Tribeca, and Carroll Gardens.) I don't think East Harlem will ever make it very high up on any bourgeois leaning "best place to live" list because of the high concentration of public housing, and the lack of West Harlem brownstones, etc., and the noise - but we love it. Great restaurants, enormous good will directed toward babies, great history...Wouldn't trade it for Park Slope EVER.

  3. Anonymous: Last November....hmmmm. Look. I love the neighborhood. Obviously. I've been in it for a long time (8 years this coming October). I'm happy to hear you are having such a universally positive experience and I hope it continues.

  4. I moved to East Harlem almost two years ago now, back in August of 2008, and I absolutely love it. Not only is it a great location in Manhattan, but the neighborhood is a real neighborhood with real New Yorkers. My neighbor has lived in her apartment for 20 years, and two old women best friends lived in my apartment and one on the third floor. They've both died in recent years, and now I live in one of the apartments and my best friend lives in the other one, carrying on their spirit. We're young white 20-somethings, so I know some people in the neighborhood look at us and scoff, but we love it there and want to respect the traditions and culture that have been born out of it. I hope people understand that. And in two years I've never felt animosity toward me. I hope that continues because I really love the neighborhood.

    -Zac |

  5. I kind of hope East Harlem stays low on the list. I've lived here for just over three years and I'm not in a hurry for the neighborhood to explode. Once it does, say goodbye to cheap rent, an abundance of street parking, and the street cred that comes with saying, "Yeah, I live in Spanish Harlem." Unfortunately, I'm not sure how long that will last since the luxury apartment buildings going up north of 116th on 2nd and 3rd will eventually fill up.

    It's kind of like when you're really into a band that no one has ever heard of. As soon as the secret is out, ticket prices go up and suddenly their on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

    Until then, my wife and I are going to enjoy the neighborhood. We have a back patio where we can hear music from concerts at Icahn Stadium. There is great Mexican food, Indian food, and Italian food all within a few blocks. There's a Costco and new coffee shop (finally) within walking distance. There's even a new tapas bar opening just down the street (Ceviche on 2nd btwn 118 and 119). All we're really missing is a neighborhood bar with cheap beer and good burgers (No, Orbit doesn't cut it).

    In the meantime, Let's just keep this neighborhood between us.

  6. No bars in East Harlem. We have children here. It took years to clear out the bars on Lexington Avenue. We do not want them in this neighborhood.