Strivers’ Row

While participating in a walking tour of Harlem by fellow guide Matt Baker, I came upon one of the all-time great blocks of New York: Strivers’ Row.  Located at W 138th and 139th St. between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (7th Ave) and Frederick Douglass Boulevard (8th Ave), these magnificent row houses tell the story of the changing perceptions and demographics of New York’s most notorious neighborhood.

The dark brick Italian Renaissance houses of Strivers' Row designed by McKim, Mead and White on W 139th St.

Like much of northern Manhattan, Harlem remained rural and relatively isolated well into the 19th century.  Not until midcentury did the neighborhood began to attract its first urban residents—Irish and German immigrants who settled in shantytowns.

The construction of elevated railroads in 1880 precipitated land speculation.  Block after block of rowhouses was constructed in anticipation of new waves of affluent, white residents.  Grandest of them all were the properties on 138th and 139th streets by developer David H. King in 1891.

The yellow brick with terra-cotta and limestone trim of Strivers' Row at W 138th St., designed by Bruce Prince.

To increase the attractiveness of his homes, King hired 3 sets of prominent architects to design a stretch of the row each.  Most noteworthy was the prestigious firm McKim, Mead and White, already commissioned at this point to design the Arch in Washington Square Park

[caption id=”attachment_274″ align=”aligncenter” width=”225″ caption=”Unlike the vast majority of the homes in New York, Strivers' Row was designed with  a private back alley for carriage houses. Today the entrance still reads: “Walk Your Horses


Filed under Landmarks, Neighborhoods

5 Responses to Strivers’ Row

  1. Such an impressive answer! You’ve beaten us all with that!

  2. Well done article that. I’ll make sure to use it wisely.

  3. Kochi! Do try and stay around the Fort Kochi area, its scenic and though it does get touristy, its still got great ambience and style. Methinks it will be great for a early morning run too

  4. Dear Nick,This is long overdue, but I firgue we all like to receive good reports even when they are slow in coming! I do apologize for not emailing sooner!We had a wonderful time on our Meditarranean Cruise , and I especially want to thank you for the tours we had in Italy with Raphaella, Marizio, and Dominico. The two special guides, Sasha at Pompeii and Manuella at The Vatican Museum , were also top notch. All the tours covered so much ground and we saw so much in a short time; that would never have occured on a bus trip.As we were nearing the end of our day in Rome, my sister wanted to check off on her map what we had seen just so she would remember. There were 16 things; we had seen them all! Of course, we had to keep moving, but we never felt rushed. All the people you sent for us were professional yet personable. I also loved that they were all so passionate about what they were showing us; this was more than just a job and it showed! It is indeed a small world anymore and I have already forwarded information about your company to two other groups who will be traveling there next year! I’m sure all your people are good, but I know we would request these specific people again. Thanks again for your part in making our dream trip come true. If we ever come again ,we will be in touch for sure! I have been prayng for continued healing for you from your accident and know God answers prayer! All the best in 2009 God bless!Mary Ann and Keith Eckhart

  5. Kelley


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