Jean, Iâ€™ve lived in Harlem for a few years. I moved here in my twenties, I keep late hours, I ride the subway, and I bought my place to live in alone. These are all things that people ask when considering the neighborhood (though really, Harlem is made up of many neighborhoods), but based on my personal experience, Iâ€™m constantly advising buyers and renters to expand their search into Harlem.
As I posted elsewhere, I really love the value and the convenience to transportation. Because I'm situated between the 2/3 train and the 4/5/6 train, I can be almost anywhere in Manhattan within 30 minutes (except for the far west side of Midtown/Chelsea and Inwood, just because of how the trains run). Also, I love walking...I take my two dogs all over the place at night, I trained for two marathons in Central Park after dark, and I have often walked instead of taking the train home from the Theater District. Walking up 5th Avenue (along the park, past the Met) when everythingâ€™s quieted down for the day is so beautiful, and across the street, there's a doorman or two in just about every block. The biggest threat to my safety--and I would stress that I am ONLY talking about my experience here--have been the raccoons clambering around.
Of course, the #1 factor in deciding where to live is your comfort. If you don't feel safe, you won't enjoy your home. I nearly bought a condo in a completely different area--until I did my weekday evening commute as a test run the night before I put down the deposit. I realized the area was not for me, because often I come home after midnight, and I largely rely on public transportation.
Where I live, thereâ€™s been a resurgence of neighborhood pride, as more and more people who are proud to call Harlem home have taken an active role in keeping it clean. My most consistent community are the dog owners in our neighborhood park, who sponsor regular park clean-up days. People bring donuts and coffee, have bake sales to raise money for equipment, and spend hours raking the wood chips that the city drops off. In the summers, some of the outdoor picnics (and the infamous, but IMHO awesome drum circles) can be boisterous, but once you make some friends, it's fun to stop over at the meat market and pick up chicken or ribs to grill.
No neighborhood is "perfect"...I put that in quotes because I doubt we could ever find a consensus on what constitutes perfection. I know that I chose Harlem after an exhaustive search that took me to Williamsburg, Morningside Heights, Long Island City, Bushwick, Battery Park City, Washington Heights, the UES and UWS, and all over Jersey City and several different Harlem neighborhoods. There were things I liked everywhere. Ultimately, I loved my apartment, I loved the value, I loved the comparatively low expenses of supermarkets and other amenities, and I loved the proximity to just about everywhere I wanted to go. Also, I personally chose a part of Harlem that is quieter in the evenings, but there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and other fun stuff popping up all over the place. It's really just a matter of what you want outside your front door.
If you're searching, it is my humble opinion that no matter who you are, Harlem has a lot to offer. Please don't be swayed by family or friends who aren't familiar with the city; unfortunately, there are some powerful stereotypes that haven't gone away...but then again, that's why living here is more affordable than a lot of places!
One more thing: I have a dear friend who moved with her husband many years ago to what is now a very high-end building on Central Park West, near the Museum of Natural History. The terrace that spans the length of their 26th-floor apartment directly faces Central Park. I have another friend who was one of the first people I know to move down to the Financial District. In both cases, my friends were told by well-intentioned people around them that they were crazy to move there, that they were going to get mugged or shot or worse, that they would lose all their money, etc etc etc. Hindsight shows us that those were both very, VERY good investments. So really, I suppose the lesson is to trust your own gut, not someone else's preconceptions. Try out your commute, run the numbers, look all over the place, and compare and contrast what you find.
And if you'd ever like a search, a tour, or a chat, I'd be happy to tell you anything else I can that might be helpful.
Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Walk through the block you are interested in - during the evening rush hour- speak to some of the working people in the neighborhood. Working people don't hang out in the street-this is when you can catch them. Also walk or drive around the block , preferably on a Friday or Saturday night. This is when any 'characters' come out. You can ask also at the local precinct, but realize, COPS LIE! -lol (see: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2011/01/14/2011-01- )
The NYPD publishes crime statistics on their website- you can search for your respective precinct by using the "precinct finder" then search "crime statistics" for that precinct-and hope for some reasonable measure of credibility ;-)!
My observation- many young urban professionals relocating here- starting families- bargain hunters....this can't be a bad thing.
It is true that Realtors can't answer this question due to Fair Housing Laws, but you can reference the New York Times.
Keller Williams Realty Group
Central Harlem, within walking distance of Central Park, is also covetable. West However, Harlem is generally preferable to Central Harlem. It seems safer in West Harlem, is quieter at night, and is generally more convenient depending on exact location and proximity to trains. The 1 train (red line) on the west side of Manhattan is very reliable.
Another draw of West Harlem is the uptown Fairway, undoubtedly one of best supermarkets in the city.
So if black people make you nervous, don't move there just so you can melodramatically clutch your bag every time you pass someone with plentiful pigmentation.
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As it is centrally located in Manhattan, where living (although on the RISE financially) is not as high priced as some lower Manhattan neighborhoods and with being a mere 5minutes from midtown, it makes this "Village" an exciting and affordable place to be. Harlem is perfect for the single person, wanting to work and mingle; the family, who has coordinate child care in between tight work schedules; the adventurist, looking for something different and unique-its really perfect for every one.
You will find everyone from Wall Street executives to those just starting out in Harlem and that certainly speaks for itself. The things that you will not find in neighborhoods that are not safe are folks jogging at 2 in the morning, people walking their Labrador retrievers at all hours of the day, tour buses with generations of people wanting to get off and explore... THIS is what you'll find in Harlem present day! I do hope that answered your question and for ANY more details abot this or any topic pertaining to lifestyle, realty and the like, here is where you can find me...
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Sure robberies do occur in all parts of Manhattan-despite how safe it seems. I have also seen behaviors from the naive that don't help matters- i.e. walking down the street paying no attention to their surroundings watching their iPads and iPhones.
There are still many problems in Harlem, but the community is improving- and generally speaking, safe. I did witness the dog fights, the bordello and the crack dealing children several years back- but they are gone now. I can provide all the evidence in the world, but the doubters will continue to look to back their position- so I will not waste my time. President Obama let the "Birthers" continue their rants and raves build up until it embarrassed them when he finally provided his long form birth certificate. My point is that in this day and age of internet search, I have no reason to provide proof- when someone with a bit of time and curiosity can do the same search themselves.
There are still some small time drug dealers, illegal motor bike riders, etc... but the scale of the problem isn't even close to what it was a few years back. As I have said in other threads, I am more concerned about unemployment and foreclosures impact on Harlem than my immediate concern of crime. Due to the "Pretend and Extend" policy of the governments around the world and the US as well as with the banks - the problem will not disappear anytime soon. We may still be dealing with the foreclosure issue for a few more years unless something changes. I understand that there have been hardly any foreclosures in Manhattan, but that doesn't mean the financial distress isn't occurring.
If you and others feel they must leave, consider me to sell your home.
All the Best
There have been many shootings and stabbings, including recently. There are also many robberies, where a small gang or pair of young people grab the belongings of their targets and run. These robberies occur on the subway platform as well. The area adjacent to Morningside Park is even worse given the bonus of the weekend barbecue crowd and all of their garbage, noise, drinking, and the illegal motor bike riders.
Contacting the precincts will not necessarily provide much information. There are major development interests in Harlem, and therefore also an interest in keeping such things on the quiet side.
Quality of life: Often, abysmal, especially in comparison the rest of NYC - although, this does depend on your lifestyle. Amenities, restaurants (food and service), and so on operate at levels significantly below what you will find in other neighborhoods.
Litter, litter, litter and garbage everywhere. Littering is one of the most popular hobbies in Harlem, and walking every day on sidewalks that bear the mess of last night's street festivities, well, it gets old. It is also very unhealthy. Beautiful buildings but surrounded by ghetto.
Far too many children and adolescents are unsupervised in Harlem, and they roam the streets at all hours of the day and night.
Assume that some of the posters below have a financial interest in Harlem and want people to move in. But many people are quietly moving out. It would be smarter for people to discuss the problems honestly once and for all, therefore moving toward resolving them, but thus far, this is not really happening. The race card is usually played very early on (just like in Harlem, every day !) and I believe this intimidates people.
Oh, and, YES. There is dog fighting and drug dealing with children as participants.
I would say open your eyes to reality...but it is too late, the worst of the crime in Harlem is gone.
As to the gang chasing kids down the street with Machette's- they are a well known Dominican gang that started in Washington Heights. Do some research- you have google just as accessible as I do. As to the crack dealers- yes I did call the police myself as did other neighbors- and the drug dealers are gone. They were using children no older than 10 years old to sell the drugs- too young to be prosecuted. The crime was real.
As far as you thinking that I am racist- I get along fine with the law abiding neighbors- no matter what their color. FYI- most are of color. Stop assuming.
You still never addressed why you assumed the original poster was trying to be racist and assuming.
The facts are the facts. When I review my precinct's numbers (even if you think the police lie about the actual numbers- the trends don't lie)...Overall crime 2010 compared to 2001...DOWN 35.79%. That indicates a radical change- and if the original poster was only told how crime ridden Harlem was...they would have had good reason unless they knew a more current picture- which I provided. My Precinct is just 1 out of 6 precincts that cover the various sections of Harlem...I posted the links to each precinct awhile back. So do your homework before you comment.
Honestly, Sheron's response is dripping with racism ( I doesn't matter what color Sheron is...what matters is that the comments made a lot of negative statements and assumptions regarding race).
As to a previous poster commenting that the police lie, well even if you don't believe the numbers- the year over year trends are more important- and generally speaking will reflect what you can witness with you own eyes if you are alert.
To anyone else reading this considering the neighborhood- crime was up in 2010 compared to 2009, but 2009 was a remarkable year- and hit multi decade lows. 2011 is trending relatively flat compared to last year.
230 West 125th Street is clearly the 28th Precinct. The link for the Precinct finder will verify.
Why do brokers frequently insist on posting incorrect information.
The 23rd Precinct manages East Harlem- southern section
The 25th Precinct manages East Harlem- northern section
The 28th Precinct manages Central Harlem- southern section
The 32nd Precinct manages Central Harlem- northern section
The 26th Precinct manages West Harlem- southern section
The 30th Precinct manages West Harlem- southern section.
Crime stats are posted on line at the 28th police station web site. Contact Community Board 10 for more info, 212.749.3105. Ms. Bain, District Manager or Chair Franc Perry are available to highlight points of interest.
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Harlem is the new Black!
The statement that Nick made regarding Fair Housing Laws are correct; however, I've included a web reference at the bottom where you can compare NYC crime statistics per neigborhood. In the end Statistics are just that and you have to visit and/ or speak to friends/ residents of a particular neighborhood on their personal experiences, combine that with the crime statistics and your personal feeling/ comfort when you're there visiting. Hopefully this will give you a clearer picture about the safety as you're expecting it.
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