Strivers' Row


Strivers' Row

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", after developer David King, and were designed for upper middle class whites and constructed between 1891 and 1893. ["Touring Historic Harlem," Andrew S. Dolkart and Gretchen S. Sorin, New York Landmarks Conservatory, 1997] Different architects worked on each of the three rows, and they are collectively recognized as a gem of New York City architecture.

The northern part of the 139th street group was completed by McKim, Mead and White in neo-Italian style. Designers who contributed to the complex on 138th street include James Lord Brown, Bruce Price, and Clarence S. Luce.

The houses sit back-to-back with each other, which allowed King to specify that they would share 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. Strivers Row houses are among the very few private homes in Manhattan that have space for parking. This means, however, that they are among the few townhouses that do not have gardens in the rear.

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.

"Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, is 139th Street, known among Harlemites as "strivers' row." It is the most aristocratic street in Harlem. Stanford White designed the houses for a wealthy white clientèle. Moneyed African-Americans now own and inhabit them. When one lives on "strivers' row" one has supposedly arrived. Harry Rills resides there, as do a number of the leading Babbitts and professional folk of Harlem." [Wallace Thurman, "Negro Life in New York’s Harlem", (Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius Publications, 1928)]

Among those who lived in Strivers' Row were Eubie Blake,Benson, Kathy, Jones, Celedonia, "The Manhattan African-Amerian History & Culture Guide," Museum of the City of New York, brochure, 22pp., 2005, presented by The Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields.] Fletcher Henderson, Vertner Tandy, W. C. Handy, Dr. Louis T. Wright, Henry Pace, heavyweight boxer Harry Wills, comedian Stepin Fetchit, actor/singer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and preacher/congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr..

By the 1940s, many of the houses had decayed significantly and were converted to single room occupancies (SROs). Much of the original decorative detail inside the houses was lost at this time, though the exteriors generally remained unaltered. With the post-1995 real estate boom in Harlem, many of these buildings are being restored to something resembling their original condition.

Every one of the Strivers' Row houses is a designated landmark. The buildings afford a view of the City College of New York, atop the hill to the west.

Jazz Saxophonist Sonny Rollins, a Harlem native, named a contrafact of Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" after Striver's Row. This performance is available on the 1958 Album "A Night At The Village Vanguard".

Abram Hill's 1940 satirical comedy of manners, "On Strivers Row", produced with the American Negro Theatre (ANT), concerns "the follies of both social climbing and subtle racism among African Americans during Harlem's Renaissance". [ [http://www.goldfishpublishers.com/OnStriversRow_BTT.html Abram Hill's "On Strivers Row" at Black Theatre Troupe-10/17 to 11/2/03 ] ]

References


* TIME Magazine, July 31, 1964. "Harlem: No Place Like Home"
* Harlem: Lost and Found, Michael Henry Adams, 2002
* New York Times, "Jitterbug Days", 22 January 2006

External links

* [http://www.nyc-architecture.com/HAR/HAR013.htm Strivers Row, a Historical Profile]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Strivers' Row — Wohngebäude in Strivers Row, Harlem Strivers Row besteht aus drei denkmalgeschützten Stadthäuser Reihen in West Harlem in New York Citys Stadtbezirk Manhattan, USA. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Strivers' Row — 40° 49′ 05″ N 73° 56′ 37″ W / 40.818145, 73.943614 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Strivers' Section Historic District — Infobox nrhp | name =Strivers Section Historic District nrhp type = hd caption =Among the area s 430 buildings constructed between 1875 and 1946 are the Windermere Harrowgate apartments. Built in 1927, they housed Army nurses during World War II …   Wikipedia

  • Park Row (Manhattan) — For the former elevated train station, see Park Row (BMT station). Park Row, after 1905 (the Tribune Building increased by 9 stories between 1903 05) …   Wikipedia

  • Liste D'Harlémites Célèbres — Liste de Harlémites Liste des personnalités étant nées ou ayant vécu à Harlem. Légende : RH = Renaissance de Harlem AA = Afro américain Sommaire : Haut A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste d'Harlemites celebres — Liste de Harlémites Liste des personnalités étant nées ou ayant vécu à Harlem. Légende : RH = Renaissance de Harlem AA = Afro américain Sommaire : Haut A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste d'Harlémites célèbres — Liste de Harlémites Liste des personnalités étant nées ou ayant vécu à Harlem. Légende : RH = Renaissance de Harlem AA = Afro américain Sommaire : Haut A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste d'Harlémois célèbres — Liste de Harlémites Liste des personnalités étant nées ou ayant vécu à Harlem. Légende : RH = Renaissance de Harlem AA = Afro américain Sommaire : Haut A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste d'harlémites célèbres — Liste de Harlémites Liste des personnalités étant nées ou ayant vécu à Harlem. Légende : RH = Renaissance de Harlem AA = Afro américain Sommaire : Haut A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste de Harlémites — Liste des personnalités étant nées ou ayant vécu à Harlem. Légende : RH = Renaissance de Harlem AA = Afro américain Sommaire : Haut A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.