Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard, looking north from 112th Street

Seventh Avenue in Harlem was officially renamed Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard in 1974, though the old name is still widely used. In fact, this street has had an identity crisis ever since it was separated from the lower part of Seventh Avenue by the creation of Central Park in 1853.

In the 1811 Commissioners’ Plan, Seventh Avenue extended from Greenwich Village to 155th Street. With Central Park in place, the section above 110th Street was cut off from the lower part by 51 blocks.


storefront-little india-jackson heights-micro neighborhoods-nyc-untapped cities-brennan ortizA shop in Little India in Jackson Heights, Queens. Image via NY Daily News

Chinatown and Little Italy are probably the first locations that come to mind when you think of New York City’s diversity and immigrant history. However, there were several other immigrant groups that migrated and clustered into various neighborhoods, forming smaller ethnic enclaves that also contribute to New York City’s identity as the “melting pot.”

Last year we published a series called NYC’s Micro Neighborhoods, which had more in-depth articles on specific ethnic communities. To provide you with a thorough guide to New York City’s diverse areas, for this list we combined neighborhoods mentioned in NYC’s Micro Neighborhoods with an additional 10 more to check out. Enjoy!


Graham Court (built 1901)

Harlem is home to an array of attractive pre-war apartment house buildings, many of which have undergone restoration in recent years as its neighborhoods have become hot real estate markets.

In the years after the Civil War, Harlem began to develop with brownstones and a few mansions, but construction shifted to apartment houses towards the end of the nineteenth century as improvements in both transportation and building technologies, notably elevators, made them a more attractive option.


111th St & Lexington Ave-MonumentArt 2015 Untapped Cities AFineLynePortrait of famed Nuyorican writer, Nicholasa Mohr who grew up in El Barrio & the Bronx

Last week, a project descended on El Barrio befitting its name. MonumentArt 2015 is the second installment of the International Mural Festival in East Harlem and the South Bronx, sponsored by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and La Marqueta Retoña. Eleven internationally known artists were invited to participate this year, and create work from 99th Street to 138th Street that is specific to El Barrio and its history.


Hot Bread Kitchen-HBK Incubates-La Marqueta-NYCEDC-Untapped Cities-Behind the Scenes Tour-Harlem-NYC copy

The first stop on our Behind the Scenes NYC Tour of Harlem’s Incubators and Development Sites with NYCEDC last week was at Hot Bread Kitchen and HBK Incubates, located inside La Marqueta. When you think of workforce inequality, the artisanal food industry is probably not the first example that comes to mind. But Hot Bread Kitchen founder Jessamyn Rodriguez saw opportunity there for immigrant women to distinguish themselves, and started Hot Bread Kitchen first out of her own kitchen in 2009. The non-profit has grown to host not only the kitchen itself but HBK Incubates, which has been home to 45 start-up food companies owned by minority entrepreneurs.



On a recent Behind the Scenes NYC tour, a series we produce with the NYCEDC, we were given access inside and onto the roof of the newly renovated Corn Exchange Building with Artimus Construction. Originally built in 1883-84, this Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival structure was designed by the architectural firm of Lamb & Rich at a time when Harlem was a suburb. The main floors were occupied by the Mount Morris Bank and Safe Deposit Company, with luxury apartments on the floors above – conveniently located next to the Metro Station. The structure had three arched entrances. One used for the apartments, one for the lower-level bank vault, and a grand entrance to the main level of the bank. In 1913, the Mount Morris Bank became a branch of the Corn Exchange Bank.