7. Strivers’ Row

Strivers Row in Harlem

The St. Nicholas Historic District, known colloquially as “Strivers’ Row,” is a historic district located on West 138th and West 139th Streets between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. Originally known as King Model Houses, the neighborhood is a designated historical landmark site consisting of row houses built from 1891 to 1893. When the architect David H. King Jr. failed to sell the homes to upper-middle class white residents, they were finally made available to African Americans in 1919 to 1920 for $8,000 each. The imposing townhouses attracted leaders of the Black community and upwardly mobile professionals, known locally as “strivers.”

Today, Strivers’ Row is a popular walking attraction known for its beautiful architecture and historic homes of renowned figures in music, politics, and entertainment. Notable African American residents who called the neighborhood home include the tap dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the Congressman for whom the adjoining avenue is named. In popular culture, Strivers’ Row was considered to be home to Harlem’s elite and an aspirational symbol for many in the Black community. Since 1995, many of the residences have been restored to their original condition, and the neighborhood continues to host a historical website, public events, and walking tours to this day.