Between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (Seventh Avenue) and Frederick Douglass Boulevard (Eighth Avenue) on 138th and 139th street in the St. Nicholas Historic District of Harlem (NYC) sit rows of houses that today, at first glance look just as beautiful as the rest of Harlem. However, these homes are distinctively different starting with their name, ‘Striver’s Row’. Initially these houses were designed for wealthy whites by notable New York architects, but an economic depression and the onset of white flight left the houses vacant because the bank that owned them refused to sell to the new residents of Harlem, Black people. Realizing that they had no choice other than selling to Black people, by 1920 they were being purchased for $8,000 dollars each by upwardly mobile Black residents of Harlem, thus the name ‘Strivers Row’ ensued. Some of the notable residents were congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr, architect Vertner Tandy, entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Dr. Louis T. Wright, a noted brain surgeon, and musician Eubie Blake to name a few. Living in this neighborhood was a powerful symbol of success. By the 1940s after the Great Depression the houses fell into disrepair. In the 1960s middle class Black families moved out of Harlem, further decimating many of its once elegant areas. During this time the houses on Strivers Row were turned into single room occupancies, resulting in many of the original interiors being altered. In the 1990s New York saw a real estate boom which bought in new residents to Harlem this time it wasn’t just Black people.
Today the houses are going for about 3.7 million dollars.
Interesting how that works.