Friday, April 20, 2012

My Heart's in Harlem

As the weather's warmed up I've really started to miss Harlem despite the awful shooting that happened right after we left (and this one most recently). I liked going to our library for weekly storytime, Jackie Robinson Park especially for swimming and Riverbank Park for getting my power walking laps in. I also LOVED how close we were (2 stops!) from Columbus Circle - the base of Central Park.

Sigh . . .

Harlem's also been in the news lately because the real estate there is heating up. Prices are apparently on the upswing. The New York Times has published a couple articles recently about families moving into brownstones there especially as there is way more square footage substantially less expensive than downtown.

Here's a preview of those articles and a gorgeous townhouse on the market just steps down from our old apartment: 

The Downes family were profiled in a recent NYT article about Harlem {Image Credit}
In After a Short Nap, Harlem Is Back a few families are profiled explaining how moving to northern Manhattan gave them more space for less money. Honestly, it's not rocket science and I feel like NYT's frequent articles like this are part of some movement to speed up the gentrification of Harlem. I'm not against gentrification, but I think it's hilarious when I frequently see the description of those moving to Harlem as having a "pioneering spirit." I was happy to see The Downes, an African-American couple, profiled in this piece who paid $1.95 million for their renovated brownstone and were recently told it would fetch $2.7 million. Not bad!

Like most NYT articles of this nature, I especially enjoyed reading the comments. They're always full of people arguing for/against gentrification and complaining about how expensive NYC is. Of course, we all know that yet those of who choose to live here know it's exactly that - our choice! As March marked my 5 year anniversary of moving to NYC I especially liked this comment and agreed very much so:

I have been in Harlem for 5 years and love it. I love the history and the newness. I love the friendliness of my neighbors and the wonderful mix of artists, bankers, elderly and kids. Pitbulls and poodles. It's called New York City. - Stephen Kopstein

Next up, the article A Harlem House That Can Babysit that appeared before the one above showcased a family that yet again, moved uptown to find more space, but what really captured me was their story of being abroad to get away from the madness and returning to NYC, specifically to Harlem. I love that within their home they tried to create the common areas/open spaces that they witnessed in Mexico. This very much reminded me of what I witnessed in Nigeria (yes, I know I'm long overdue on posts - btw my notes on the trip unfortunately, were lost when my phone took a swim in the toilet a few weeks ago).

The home is stunning although the owners admitted noise definitely carries through the space:

I LOVE this kitchen - the wife mentioned that she uses this as demo kitchen for her business.

Finally check out this gorgeous townhouse just a couple blocks down from our old apartment {via Harlem Bespoke}:

{Image Credit}

{Recently, I was invited back to Harlem for two fun family events, and I'm working on recap posts this weekend. Be on the lookout next week for them!}