Harlem has a rich and proud history as the start of the civil rights movement and an incubator of American jazz and black literature. It remains a nexus of social change and activism today and is seeing waves of gentrification as Downtowners flock north of 125th Street.
Harlem’s community is proud and energetic, shaped by a love of music, food and social consciousness. Block parties and pick-up basketball games are a constant part of life, but get away from the main thoroughfares and the tree-lined blocks become quiet and residential. The streets, however, can be unpredictable. Beautiful churches and elegant row houses abut housing projects just as sleek new restaurants are moving in next to hole-in-the-wall home-cooking joints. In recent years, the poverty rate in Harlem has declined, but it still remains among Manhattan's poorest neighborhoods. This has not deterred a spate of new developments and residents moving into the area.