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East Harlem

East Harlem

East Harlem

Also known as El Barrios, East Harlem is a neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, New York City. In general, East Harlem is not considered a part of Harlem. The neighborhood is also called Spanish Harlem and it has one of the largest Latin communities in entire New York. Most of the migrants here are Mexican, Puerto Ricans, Cuban and Dominican.

East Harlem community is famous for its contribution towards salsa music and Latin freestyle. Italian Harlem – an area of the Italian community – is also a part of East Harlem. History of this neighborhood is painful as it has been hit with many social issues in the past like highest crime rate, highest unemployment rate, homelessness, teenage pregnancy, and drug abuse.


In the early days, present-day East Harlem was a rural area but some residential apartments were in the building process at that time. The main reason for urbanization of this neighborhood was the building of Lexington Avenue subway. Initially, East Harlem was made up of poor Scandinavian and Irish community.  

Being an assorted ethnic state, East Harlem became a racially diverse neighborhood by the beginning of the 21st century. Most of the people here are Puerto Rican and the neighborhood is a working-class area. Property values increased surprisingly here until 2006 along with the other areas of Manhattan. As a result, prices of high-rises condos with luxurious facilities went up.

Newly built buildings are filled with young professionals. Historically, East Harlem has a poor safety record as the block between East 123rd and 124th Streets was labelled as the most dangerous block in New York, as reported by The New York Post. Statistics of 2015 show that almost 19 assaults took place at this block.   

In the 2010s, gentrification effects started to show in East Harlem. An article in The New York Times reported this neighborhood as ‘New York’s Next Hot Neighborhood’. According to real estate brokers, East Harlem is one of those places where you can secure a good deal.


The total population of East Harlem is 115,921 and its density is 3 times more than the entire city.

Buildings – Flat or Tall?

In recent years, many high-rises have built here with lavish amenities. However, the neighborhood is filled with old and small apartments.

What’s here?

If you are in this neighborhood, do visit these places:

  • El Museo del Barrio
  • Graffiti Hall of Fame
  • Taco Mix
  • Demolition Depot
  • Museum of the City of New York
  • Ricardo Steak House
  • Central Park Conservatory Gardens
  • Patsy’s Pizzeria
  • La Marqueta
  • Langston Hughes House

Here you will find vibrant arts, cultural scenes, and restaurants. East Harlem is recommended by tourists and locals as a great place to spend a day.  


Enjoy live music, visit Afro-Caribbean dance halls, listen to salsa music and head towards local markets.

Check it out

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade is a famous event of East Harlem which takes place on the second Sunday of June every year.

Public Transit

Famous public transit of this neighborhood is M60, M10, M15, M100, M103, M106, and M116 Bus.