Inspired by the Untapped Cities article on New York’s renowed courtyard buildings built by the Astors, I was reminded of an image I drew of another wonderful Astor project – Astor Row in Harlem. With land purchased by John Jacob Astor in 1844 for $10,000, these semi-attached houses with rocking chair porches were built by his grandson around 1881 and stayed in the Family until 1911. They sit on 130th Street between Lenox Avenue and Fifth Avenue and consist of 28 brick houses with wrought iron front gates surrounding flower gardens leading to their front steps. These charming houses are set 20 feet back from the street and are a true treasure from days gone by. So grab your Harlem Map and take the subway (#2/#3) to 125th Street. Have lunch at one of the wonderful outdoor cafes on Lenox Avenue as you make your way North.
A few of the restaurants that you will pass along the way have been in the news lately. The Red Rooster, opened by famed restauranteur Marcus Samuelsson and the legendary Sylvia’s Soulfood Restaurant, which was opened in 1962 by Sylvia Woods. Sylvia recently passed away but the Queen of Soulfoods restaurant lives on. You will find them between 126th Street and 127th Street, along with several others
On your left (between 127th St & 128th St) you will see The Maysles Cinema, a not for profit organization founded by the filmmaker Albert Maysles who lives a few blocks away. This is the only independent cinema North of Lincoln Center.
Make a right on 130th Street and enjoy Astor Row! [Map]