Harlem

/hahr"leuhm/, n.
1. a section of New York City, in the NE part of Manhattan.
2. a tidal river in New York City, between the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx, which, with Spuyten Duyvil Creek, connects the Hudson and East rivers. 8 mi. (13 km) long.

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I
District occupying part of northern Manhattan Island, New York City, U.S. It lies north of Central Park, with its business district centred on 125th Street.

Founded by Peter Stuyvesant in 1658 as Nieuw Haarlem, it was named after Haarlem in the Netherlands. During the American Revolution it was the site of the Battle of Harlem Heights (Sept. 16, 1776). It was a farming area in the 18th century and a fashionable residential district in the 19th century. A black residential and commercial area by World War I, in the 1920s it was the centre of the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance.
II
(as used in expressions)
Brundtland Gro Harlem
Gro Harlem

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      district of New York City, U.S., occupying a large part of northern Manhattan Island and Borough. Harlem as a neighbourhood has no fixed boundaries; it may generally be said to lie between 155th Street on the north, the East and Harlem rivers on the east, 96th Street (east of Central Park) and 110th Street and Cathedral Parkway (north and west of Central Park) on the south, and Amsterdam Avenue on the west.

      In 1658 Peter Stuyvesant, Dutch governor of New Netherland, established the settlement of Nieuw Haarlem, named after Haarlem in the Netherlands. During the Revolution, George Washington, retreating from Long Island, regrouped his forces and fought the delaying Battle of Harlem Heights (Sept. 16, 1776) just west of modern Harlem between 103rd and 120th streets. Through the 18th century, Harlem was a farming and pastoral area; in the 19th century, it became a fashionable residential district with many houses used as summer retreats. Apartment houses arose during the building boom of the 1880s. High rates of vacancy in the years following the panic of 1893 led property owners to rent to blacks, especially along Lenox Avenue, and by World War I much of Harlem was firmly established as a black residential and commercial area. The chief artery of black Harlem (Harlem Renaissance) is 125th Street, popularly called “the Main Stem.”

      After World War I, Harlem became the centre of the creative literary development called the “Harlem Renaissance.” Such figures as the poets Countee Cullen, James Weldon Johnson, Alain Locke, and Claude McKay were leaders of this new realism. An important anthology of writings of this movement is Alain L. Locke's The New Negro (1925). As the neighbourhoods surrounding Harlem resisted expansion of its growing black population, residential overcrowding increased. At the same time, the aging dwellings there received only minimal maintenance—many were abandoned by their owners when the cost of rehabilitation and compliance with city housing codes became high. This still-continuing vicious circle, aggravated by high rates of unemployment and residential mobility, has caused severe deterioration of the neighbourhood. By the 1980s private community organizations and the city administration had taken measures to arrest these trends and their attendant social maladjustments. Public housing, new approaches in community-controlled schools, and better medical facilities were important developments.

      The term Harlem is often used inaccurately as a synonym for New York's black community; in fact, the black population has expanded beyond this area to other parts of Manhattan and to large parts of the Bronx and Brooklyn. Further, New York City's large Puerto Rican community has a principal centre in eastern Harlem, along Park Avenue from 96th Street northward. This district, known pejoratively as “Spanish Harlem,” shares the economic and social problems of black Harlem. From Lexington Avenue east to the East River, with an axis along 116th Street, are the remains of “Italian Harlem.” There has been considerable friction between the ethnic groups making up Harlem's population.

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Universalium. 2010.

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