A Neighborhood in Photos: Harlem’s Sweet Spot

Photos by Emma Kazaryan

In 2000, Sugar Hill in northern Harlem was named a historic district by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and in 2002 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Located on a hill, the small area was affectionately called “Sugar” Hill for its association with the rich life that attracted African-American bourgeois during the Harlem Renaissance. Among the notable residents were Thurgood Marshall, W.E.B Du Bois, Langston Hughes and Faith Ringgold; Hughes wrote about it in his essay “Down and Under in Harlem,” which was published in 1944 when segregation was still common. “There are big apartment houses up on the hill, Sugar Hill, and up by City College—nice high-rent houses with elevators and doormen,” he wrote.