Spanish Harlem in the late s was hit hard by heroin, crack, the early onset of HIV, and an unemployment rate that persists today. Newly reissued, his book, Spanish Harlem , is a deeply personal ode to the neighborhood and the city. All images courtesy the publisher. Sign in Get started.
These photos of Spanish Harlem in the s show the lush, tough life of a vibrant neighborhood Joseph Rodriguez chronicled this Puerto Rican stronghold. Grand Central 25m by train, 22m by car. Union Square 33m by train, 30m by car. Wall Street 40m by train, 41m by car.
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Historic Manhattan rich with cultural influences. East Harlem is a living, breathing, collision of vibrant immigrant communities.
The primary school trio known as Central Park East Central Park East I, II, and III, respectively boast competitive admissions standards and reputations for creative, comprehensive, socially-insightful approaches to learning. Those who live here also fall in love with the abundance of playgrounds and public green spaces like The Conservatory Garden in Central Park.
The newly-developed East River Plaza at th Street -- home to Target, Old Navy, and an adjacent Costco -- boasts suburban convenience that lures both locals and midtown Manhattanites. Residents looking for an abundance of upscale and trendy culture options might not be satisfied here.
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The live music and culinary options are among the most authentic in the city, but locals know to find designer labels, organic food markets, and trendy entertainment venues closer to midtown. The Chinesepopulation has increased dramatically in East Harlem since East Harlem suffers from many social issues, such as the highest jobless rate in New York City, teenage pregnancy, AIDS,drug abuse, homelessness, and an asthma rate five times the national average.
It has the second highest concentration of public housing in the United States, closely following Brownsville, Brooklyn. The area has the highest violent crime rate in Manhattan. Police services to the neighborhood are divided between the 23rd and the 25th Precincts. The area which became East Harlem was rural for most of the 19th century, but residential settlements northeast of Third Avenue and East th Street had developed by the s. In the s, Italian immigrants joined the mix after a contractor building trolley tracks on First Avenue imported Italian laborers as strikebreakers.
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As more immigrants arrived, it expanded north to East th Street and west to Third Avenue. In , Union Settlement Association, one of the oldest settlement houses in New York City, began providing services in the area, offering the immigrant and low-income residents a range of community-based programs, including boys and girls clubs, a sewing school and adult education classes. Southern Italians and Sicilians, with a moderate number of Northern Italians, soon predominated, especially in the area east of Lexington Avenue between 96th and th Streets and east of Madison Avenue between th andth Streets, with each street featuring people from different regions of Italy.
The first Italians arrived in East Harlem in , from Polla in the province of Salerno, and settled in the vicinity of th Street. There were many crime syndicates in Italian Harlem from the early Black Hand to the bigger and more organized Italian gangs that formed the Italian-American Mafia. It was the founding location of the Genovese crime family, one of the Five Families that dominated organized crime in New York City.
This includes the current th Street Crew of the Genovese family. The Italian neighborhood approached its peak in the s, with over , Italian-Americans living in its crowded, run-down apartment buildings. The census showed that 81 percent of the population of Italian Harlem consisted of first- or second-generation Italian Americans. The area slowly grew to encompass all of East Harlem, including Italian Harlem, as Italians moved out — to the Bronx,Brooklyn, upstate New York and New Jersey — and Hispanics moved in during another wave of immigration in the s and s.