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Harlem is a neighborhood in the northern section of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is bounded roughly by Frederick Douglass Boulevard, St. Nicholas Avenue, and Morningside Park on the west; the Harlem River and 155th Street on the north; Fifth Avenue on the east; and Central Park North on the south. The greater Harlem area encompasses several other neighborhoods and extends west to the Hudson River, north to 155th Street, east to the East River, and south to 96th Street. Harlem is part of Manhattan Community District 10.
Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands. Harlem’s history has been defined by a series of economic boom-and-bust cycles, with significant population shifts accompanying each cycle. Harlem was predominantly occupied by Jewish and Italian Americans in the 19th century, but African-American residents began to arrive in large numbers during the Great Migration in the 20th century. In the 1920s and 1930s, Central and West Harlem were the focus of the “Harlem Renaissance”, an outpouring of artistic work without precedent in the American-black community. However, with job losses during the Great Depression of 1929–1933 and the deindustrialization of New York City after World War II, rates of crime and poverty increased significantly, and from the second half of the 20th century to the early 2000s, most of greater Harlem’s residents were black. Since New York City’s revival in the late 20th century, Harlem has been experiencing the effects of gentrification and new wealth.