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Tracing 350 Years of Harlem's Ever-Shifting Boundaries

Ask a handful New Yorkers to define the southern boundary of Harlem and you'll likely get a few different responses. The most popular, in my unscientific experience, is 96th Street east of Central Park and 110th Street elsewhere. A few old-timers will claim it used to dive down to 96th Street on the West Side, and other people contend that the presence of Columbia University disqualifies Morningside Heights from consideration. In recent years, development east of Central Park and north of 96th Street has caused some to question whether that area should now be considered part of the Upper East Side. I've never heard anyone, however, claim that the Harlem of today matches its original boundaries; when it was officially chartered in 1660, its southern border stretched from today's 129th Street on the Hudson to 74th Street on the East River.

Curbed NY has the full story. >>