What's the diff between Harlem and Spanish Harlem?

Geographic boundaries – especially north and west and neighborhood ethnic makeups. I’ve never been really clear on these points.

A 1947 New York Times article described it as “between First and Fifth Avenues, from East Ninety-seventh Street to East 116th Street. The migrants already have invaded the district in the Central Park West area from 100th to 110th Street, along Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues; along Jackson Avenue in the Bronx; in sections of Washington Heights and in the Atlantic Avenue area in Brooklyn. In Manhattan they are beginning to spread out in the lower East Side, from Fourteenth Street down to the lower end.”

The were talking about Puerto Ricans, who were escaping terrible poverty in their home country.

Thanks, samclem. You seem to be describing Spanish Harlem. Are these boundaries and ethnic makeups basically the same almost 50 years later?

And what about Harlem’s boundaries?


New York cabs have maps in the back seats which outline the neighborhoods. It shouldn’t be hard to find this map on the web, somewhere. I know little or nothing about Manhattan, though, so it’s possible that the neighborhood outlines–aside from those named for streets, like SoHo and TriBeCa–are fuzzy. To the best of my memory, Spanish Harlem had the same Eastern boundary as Harlem, and its Northern boundary was Harlem’s Southern boundary, but its Western boundary was a block or two East of Central Park–with the Madison Avenue area in between.

Is my memory correct? I am not bothering to look up a map of Manhattan. I’m quizzing myself.

Here are a couple maps of Manhattan neighborhoods. The first one has more street detail and shows explicitly that the boundary between Harlem and East/Spanish Harlem is 5th Ave. The second one shows more of the smaller sub-neighborhoods.

Eeek! Coding mistake! That should be

Here are a couple maps of Manhattan neighborhoods.”

Oh, and here’s another map with a different idea of the boundary between the two.

NYC.gov has a site showing the boundaries of the “community districts,” but those aren’t the same as neighborhoods - a community district may have more than one neighborhood in it.

My 1939 WPA Guide to NY City indicates three Harlems: Spanish Harlem in just north of Central Park – 110th St to 125th Street from Fifth Avenue to Morningside Avenue. Italian Harlem is from 106th Stree to 125th Street and East of Fifth Avenue. Negro Harlem (as they call it) is from 125th Street north.