Institutional & Historical Resources

A 197-A Plan for Manhattan Community district 11 (Revised 1999)


East Harlem has many types of community facilities including educational, religious, cultural, recreational arid health-related institutions. Other community facilities include social service facilities, transitional housing and homeless shelters, day care and senior citizen centers.

While there is an abundance of community facilities some are underutilized or under funded and some are not situated in the neighborhoods which need them most. Consequently, a large amount of East Harlem residents do not have immediate access to health care services.

Some people in the community believe it is saturated with facilities. However, there is no data at this time to confirm the community's concern. The City has "Fair Share" criteria for siting facilities but the City has not performed a study to determine the extent of the fair share distribution of facilities in East Harlem These facilities are significant employers of community residents, and many of them service the needy of Harlem.

Educational Facilities
East Harlem is divided into two school districts: District 4 and a small part of District 5. Together, they contain 29 schools which include: elementary, intermediate and high schools. There me also 17 private and parochial schools and four post-secondary degree granting institutions: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York College of Pediatric Medicine, Helm Fuld School of Nursing and Touro College.

East Harlem's elementary schools have been on an upward trend posting greater proportions of students reading at or above grade level each year. The challenge of assimilating newcomers to the City with non English backgrounds continues to be a significant challenge. Although some schools we underutilized excess classroom space has been used for intermediate school annexes and various community programs.

The intermediate school program, "choice", keeps class sizes small while offering schools and programs specifically tailored to the needs of the students. The available programs include music and performing arts, health and science, communications and a program for gifted students.

Since this innovative school program is open to students from other school districts (newly half of the student population comes from other districts) many East Harlem residents have not been able to take advantage of this successful program. Many East Harlem parents and guardians are upset because their children have been placed on a waiting fist for a school that is located their district.

There are six high schools in East Harlem: Park East High School, an alternative school specializing
in vocational training located on 105th Street; and the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, a specialized school requiring an examination to qualify for admittance, situated at Pleasant Avenue and 116th Street overlooking the Harlem River. The others are small, new, specialized high schools: Boys Choir of Harlem, Central Park East, Urban Peace Academy and School of Cooperative Education.

There are no comprehensive academic high schools within the community district, therefore, the average high school student must leave the district to attend school. Of the six high schools, there is not a strong emphasis on curriculums that prepare students to be employed in New York's economy, in particular, the health care industry.

There are two excellent public libraries within the district: the Aguilar Branch on 110th Street arid the 125th Street Branch. However, budget cuts have steadily affected the hours for libraries and the number of after school and evening education programs.

Recreational Facilities
East Harlem has a number of indoor and outdoor recreational facilities. There are two major parks within the district -- Marcus Garvey Park at Fifth Avenue and 121st Street and Thomas Jefferson Park at First Avenue and 111th Street. Both parks have a swimming pool and other recreational amenities. Aside from the two parks, East Harlem abuts the beautiful northeast comer of Central Park.

The district has several playgrounds that are adjacent to public schools, housing projects and neighborhood institutions. The playgrounds attract many young children. However, most of the play mesa are under used due to absence of a full time playground attendant or recreational attendant.

Randall's and Ward's Islands have an abundance of outdoor recreational space including several baseball fields, but due to limited access to the island, many East Harlem residents do not use this resource. The southern portion of the island, with its nicely designed passive and active spaces, is surrounded by unattended shrubbery and debris.

East Harlem has many indoor recreational programs sponsored by schools and community centers, but since many programs lack funding, many programs are under used and have limited outreach to the community, while others are over capacity. As of 1990, the district had a large proportion of children (32 percent of the total population is under 18 years of age), it is important to ensure that these spaces are clean and safe environments. The community believes that a state-of-the-art youth center, like a Boys and Girls Club, is needed in the Upper Park Avenue Area which is above 116th Street. As of 1990, there were 5,241 young people under 18 years within the U.S. Census tracts (182, 184, 196 and 198) surround the Upper Park Avenue Area.

Cultural and Religious Facilities
East Harlem has three museums which are located along Fifth Avenue between 103rd and 105th Streets: the Museum of the City of New York El Museo del Barrio and La Casa de Is Herencia Cultural Puertoriquena Nearby at 106th Street and Lexington Avenue is the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center.

According to a survey by undertaken by the Non-Profit Coordinating Committee of New York, there are approximately 122 religious facilities in Fast Harlem. Some have accessory school programs similar to the traditional Roman Catholic institutions. There is also an abundance of storefront Pentecostal churches. These religious institutions serve as neighborhood anchors, some offering youth and senior programs.

Health-Related Facilities
Health-related facilities are dominant in East Harlem. East Harlem's three hospitals -- Mount Sinai, Metropolitan and North General - not only serve as some of the health-related institutions but also as economic anchors. Although regional in nature, these facilities provide essential services to the residents of East Harlem in many ways such as emergency treatment and prenatal care although there has been some concerns in the past regarding the access for such services for East Harlem residents. It should be noted that Metropolitan Hospital is one of the few municipal hospitals under Health and Hospital Corporation that operates at a profit and has an extremely high patient utilization rate.

East Harlem has several other health-related facilities including five school clinics, two children's health clinics, two maternity and family planning facilities and three primary care facilities. In addition, there are 16 mental health disability programs and 16 substance abuse programs.

East Harlem is ranked first (out of 59 districts in New York City) in large residential care facilities with 25.3 beds per 1,000 persons. It is also ranked fourth in small residential cue.

Other Community Facilities and Issues
There are 35 day care and Head Start facilities with a total capacity of 3,000 children scattered throughout the district. This does not include the many smaller private programs in the district. Despite the large number day care facilities, there are many children are on waiting fists for day care space.

There are many youth service agencies that exist within various facilities, including schools. These programs, however, are, severely under funded. There is a great need for after school and evening programs.

There are 16 senior citizen centers which offer approximately 750 meals a day.

There are also 20 community-based organizations, funded by the New York City Community Development Agency, which provide social programs. In addition, there are several multi use facilities, such as Union Settlement and Boys Harbor, which provide a variety of social and educational services,

There are two sanitation garages that are located in East Harlem: 99th Street and First Avenue and 132nd Street and the Harlem River Drive. The 99th Street garage serves East Harlem and the 132nd Street garage serves Community District 10. The 99th Street garage, is inappropriately located on Health and Hospital Corporations property,

In general, there are many City-funded community facilities in East Harlem for the homeless, mental health and other social services. Some elements of the community believe it is over saturated with facilities. Without a citywide study to determine the fair distribution of facilities, it is difficult to prove or the City to deny that Community District is saturated, or whether the facilities located in East Harlem are meeting specific needs of the community.

The methadone clinics (125th and Park Avenue and 102nd and Madison Avenue) are a concern to the community Residents witness street sales of methadone. The clinics serve a large number of clients, some of whom reside outside of East Harlem, These clinics, with streets sales and loitering, imply a public safety problem.

Landmarks and Notable Buildings
East Harlem contains a portion of two historic districts: Mount Morris Historic District and Carnegie Hill Historic District. It also has thirteen designated landmark structures: the Manhattan County School at 7 East 96th Street; the Lucy Dahlgren House at 15 East 96th Street; the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral at 15 East 97th Street; St. Cecilia's Convent and Church at 112 and 120 East 106th Streets; the Harlem Courthouse at 170 East 121st Street; the Langston Hughes House at 20 East 127th Street; the Museum of the City of New York at 2220 Fifth Avenue; St. Andrew's Church at 2067 Fifth Avenue; the Belltower in Marcus Garvey Park and, the Corn Exchange Bank at 125th Street and Pink Avenue , and the Hope Community Hall at 177 East 104th Street (see Map 11 - 133K).

There are other buildings in East Harlem that deserve landmark protection. Among them are the churches with distinct and beautiful architectural features which are located within the East Harlem Triangle area, and the mews of Sylvan Court between Lexington and Third Avenues near 120th Street. Unfortunately, like many already land marked structures in East Harlem, the mews has deteriorated significantly.


A Educational Facilities

1. The NYC Board of Education should construct a High School within School District 4.

2. The City must expand sites and programs for after school and evening educational, athletic and social program for East Harlem youth.

B. Recreational Facilities

1 . The City should build a state-of-the-art youth center, like a Boys and Girls Club, in the Upper Park Avenue area.

C. Health-Related Facilities

1 . The City should increase funding and keep intact Metropolitan Hospital.

D. Other Community Facilities and Issues

1 . The City should perform a fair share analysis for all City-funded facilities for homeless, psychiatric, mental health and other social service facilities distributed citywide and those sited in East Harlem.

2. The City should downsize the operations of the methadone programs in East Harlem, as the clients are treated to withdraw.

3. The City should work with Community Board 10 to expedite the relocation of the District Five sanitation garage to a location outside of East Harlem. The 132nd Street sanitation garage should serve as East Harlem's only sanitation garage


1 . The NYC Landmark Commission should identify and designate some of East Harlem's (originally Nieuw Haarlem) notable structures and neighborhood blocks that carry on East Harlem's unique history and tradition. This must be done in consultation with the affected building owner(s).

2. The City should propose landmark designations for notable structures and assist in maintenance of historic districts and buildings such as Sylvan Court, the Black National Theater, Kelly Temple, El Museo del Barrio, La Marqueta, Elmendorf Reform Church and the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center.

Other Sections of the 197-A Plan

History of East Harlem
Demographic and Socio-Economic Profile
Land Use and Zoning
City-Owned Vacant Property
Housing and Urban Renewal
Economic Development
The Waterfront
Tranportation and Infrastructure
Institutional and Historical Resources
Non-Profits At Work In East Harlem
For Profits At Work In East Harlem

Maps (all pertain to Community Board # 11)
The maps are in Gif format. File sizes are big, but you can better see the details in the maps.

Community Board District # 11 (162K)
Population of Race and Ethnicity by Census Track (679K
Land Use (Color 579K)
Zoning Map (244K)
Major Housing Developments (329K)
Urban Renewal Areas (328K)
Empowerment Zone (630K)
Economic Developement (628K)
Public Transportation (672K)
Historic District and Landmarks (610K)
Crossroads (589K)


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