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Harlem, Love It Or Go Back Down Island

As you all know, it was only weeks ago that we discovered that Manhattan extended beyond 96th St. (In truth, we only landed in "Times Square" in late '04.) And so it is hard for us to officiate this battle over the hotness of Harlem. But that doesn't stop it from raging on. A trifecta of responses to yesterday's denial of the new Harlem Renaissance:

As for the person calling "bullshit" on Harlem, either

A. this is an self-declared ultra hip newly transplanted snob from down island who hasn't made any effort to find Harlem's great spots for food & fun...nothing to do?! please.

or

B. this person is frantically searching for just the right place to buy and wants to steer away any competition.

in other words, walk the 'hood. The remodels, new restaurants & shops, doctor & dentist offices are springing up all over. I've lived in the Mt. Morris Historic area for less than a year and the changes I've seen in that time have been phenomenal...it's like things are happening at warp speed.
Ooh, both options sound sinister. After the jump, a list of every shop in Harlem (we kid! sorta).

"I have lived in Harlem for over three years now with my wife and our baby daughter. Two years on 118th street and now on 119th street between Frederick Douglas and Manhattan Ave. In the last two months alone we have seen the opening of 'Melba's' on 8th and 114th as well as 'Harlem Society'
also on 114th street. We shop at Citarella's on 125th street at least once a week and have been to the farmers market on Saturday's at the south end of Morningside Park. There is 'Native' on 118th and Lenox and 'Bayou' on 125th above 'Slice of Harlem.' Just north of 'Settepani' a Champagne, Sushi and Caviar bar is about to open and one of the best wine stores is 'Harlem Vintage' on 8th Ave and 120th street. True, this area is not the Upper West Side and probably never will be, but there are a few insider tips as to where to hear good life Jazz without busloads of tourists pouring in. The secret to good living in Harlem is that you have to be in touch with your community. If you just sleep there, you're missing the point. Especially if you sleep alone."

Wait, one more: "About your reader calling bs on Harlem. First, the expression "calling bullshit" is so unimaginatively faddish anyone using it should have some harm done to them.

"Anyway, the reader has grossly underestimated the rate of change in Harlem. I've lived in the neighborhood almost four years.

"In addition to the 125th St. Starbucks (partly-owned by Magic Johnson) and Settepani, a wine store and tea house opened at 118th and Madison within the past year. Another wine store opened last fall on Frederick Douglass around 122nd or 123rd. A few blocks south on Fred. Douglass a cafe and a diner have both opened. Douglas Ellimann has opened an office at 117th and Fred. Douglass. A juice bar and natural foods store just opened in the same building as Ellimann, and a Rite-Aid just opened across the street from them. Native, a decent and stylish neighborhood restaurant has been open at 118th and Lenox for 4 years.

"More residentially, many of the buildings on the south and west sides of Marcus Garvey Park have been renovated. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Maya Angelou have bought there. The building I moved into was brand-new. The 140-unit 1400 on 5th is brand new. A trendy Chinese place will soon open in that building. Construction is about to begin on a 250-unit building between Lenox and 5th on 116th. That building will have a movie theater.

"I could go on but the point is there are dozens of new buildings and even more renovated, formerly unoccupied, buildings in the neighborhood. While that may not qualify as gentrification, in the sense of rising rents pushing existing tenants out, the amount of change in the neighborhood is astonishing. This part of Harlem will probably never be a trendy location like the LES or Williamsburg but, from what I've seen living here, it is quickly becoming a stable residential neighborhood. The restaurants and services will follow as the population continues to grow."
· Sorry Harlem, We Received a Claim of Bullshit [Curbed]
· RippleWatch: Harlem Is Scorching [Curbed]