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Strivers' Row

About this listing

Townhouses that attracted the elite of Harlem society

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Harlem
Residential, Housing

Place Matters Profile

The nominator lists the address as 138th to 139th St., between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and Frederick Douglass Blvd

On The Web

New York Architecture Images and Historical Profile


Anonymous Nominator

The nominator excerpted the following from Wikipedia:
"The term Strivers' Row refers to three rows of townhouses in western Harlem, in the New York City borough of Manhattan on West 138th and West 139th between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. They were originally called the "King Model Houses" ... designed for upper middle class whites and constructed between 1891 and 1893.

David King's speculative development failed, and most of the houses were soon owned by the Equitable Life Assurance Society, which had financed the project. By this time, Harlem was being abandoned by white New Yorkers, and the company would not sell the King houses to blacks. As a result, they sat empty. When they were finally made available to black residents, for US$8000 each, they attracted hard-working professionals, or "strivers" who give the houses their current name.

Different architects worked on each of the three rows, and they are collectively recognized as a gem of New York City architecture.

The houses sit back-to-back with each other, sharing rear courtyards. The alleyways between them are gated off (some entrance gates still have signs that read "Walk Your Horses"). At one time, these alleys allowed discrete stabling of horses and delivery of supplies without disrupting the goings-on in the main houses. Today, the back areas are used almost exclusively for the parking of cars." (September, 2008)

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