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New York City Sights

Strivers' Row

  • W. 138th and W. 139th Sts. Map It
  • Harlem
  • Building/Architectural Site

Updated 02/25/2014

Fodor's Review

This block of gorgeous 1890s Georgian and neo-Italian homes earned its nickname in the 1920s from less affluent Harlemites who felt its residents were "striving" to become well-to-do. Some of the few remaining private service alleys, used when deliveries arrived via horse and cart, lie behind these houses and are visible through iron gates. Note the gatepost between No. 251 and 253 on West 138th Street that says, "Private Road. Walk Your Horses." The houses were built

by the contractor David H. King Jr., whose works also include the base for the Statue of Liberty and the oldest parts of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. When the houses failed to sell to whites, the properties on these blocks were sold to African-American doctors, lawyers, and other professionals; the composers and musicians W. C. Handy and Eubie Blake were also among the residents. If you have the time, detour a block north to see the palazzo-style group of houses designed by Stanford White, on the north side of West 139th Street.

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Sight Information


W. 138th and W. 139th Sts., between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Frederick Douglass Blvds., New York, New York, 10030, United States

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Updated 02/25/2014


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