Where Does Harlem Begin and End?

By HarlemGuy

Credit: Wikipedia

Last week I met with friends for coffee in a local Harlem establishment.  We found ourselves debating the boundaries of Harlem.   There was some debate over the southern edge on the East side.   A newcomer said they thought it was 110th on the West side and 96th on the East side (east of 5th Ave.).  Another born and raised in Harlem said it was 110th all the way across.   I have heard and read both.  I found myself perusing Wikipedia recently and stumbled upon the below.

Excerpt:

“The boundaries of modern Harlem; some landmarks are noted.Harlem stretches from the East River west to the Hudson River between 155th Street; where it meets Washington Heights—to a ragged border along the south. Central Harlem begins at 110th Street, at the northern boundary of Central Park; Spanish Harlem extends east Harlem’s boundaries south to 96th Street, while in the west it begins north of Upper West Side, which gives an irregular border west of Morningside Avenue. Harlem’s boundaries have changed over the years; as Ralph Ellison observed: “Wherever Negroes live uptown is considered Harlem.”[citation needed]

The neighborhood contains a number of smaller, cohesive districts. The following are some examples:

West Harlem (west of St. Nicholas Avenue and north of 123rd Street)
Hamilton Heights, around the Hamilton Grange
Sugar Hill[2]
Manhattanville, north of Morningside Heights

Central Harlem
Mount Morris, extending west from Marcus Garvey Park
Strivers’ Row, centered on 139th Street
Astor Row, centered on 130th Street

Spanish Harlem, also known as East Harlem or El Barrio (east of Fifth Avenue)

The New York City Police Department patrols five precincts located within Harlem. The areas of West Harlem are served by the 30th Precinct,[3] the areas of Central Harlem are served by the 28th[4] and 32nd Precincts,[5] and the areas of East Harlem are served by the 23rd[6] and 25th Precincts.[7]

Harlem is represented by New York’s 15th congressional district, the New York State Senate’s 30th district, the New York State Assembly’s 68th and 70th districts, and the New York City Council’s 7th, 8th, and 9th districts.”

So, what is the “right” answer?  Please join the conversation and share your thoughts.