The Second Harlem Renaissance
At my 86th Town Hall meeting in Harlem last week, I expressed my pleasure
that we were able to reach an agreement with Bill Clinton that allows
him to open an office at 55 West 125th Street, where the City's Administration
for Children's Services will also be leasing several floors.
Like the rest of the city, Harlem is experiencing a great renaissance.
It seems that most anywhere we look in Harlem, we can see a new building
under construction or an older one being renovated. As crime goes down,
the economy is going up. Millions of dollars are pouring in from all
kinds of companies seeking investment opportunities in Harlem.
The City's successful campaign against crime has made Harlem as safe
as it's been in decades. In fact, crime reductions in Harlem have outpaced
those in the city as a whole -- for instance, homicides in one central
Harlem precinct have dropped by 84 percent since 1993, compared to 64
A dramatic drop in crime and an increased quality of life have laid
the foundation for the most significant private sector investment in
Harlem in well over a generation. Harlem is being discovered by the
businesses that were reluctant to invest in the past.
Companies that invest in Harlem also invest in the residents of Harlem,
and in the future of Harlem. It is really inspiring to see nationally-known
companies that never had a presence in Harlem now aggressively establishing
new businesses and creating new jobs.
The much-anticipated Harlem USA -- a $300 million project -- has brought
Magic Johnson Theaters, HMV Music, the Gap, the Disney Store and a New
York Sports Club to the heart of Harlem. Residents who used to have
to drive miles to get to a supermarket now have Pathmark, Rite Aid,
Blockbuster and Starbucks all right on 125th Street. These new businesses
are expected to create well over 2,500 new jobs for Harlem residents.
Existing businesses have benefited from the City's elimination of the
commercial rent tax north of 96th Street. And over the past seven years,
the City's Housing Preservation and Development agency has invested
$400 million in Harlem, promoting home-ownership as well as the sale
and development of abandoned buildings and empty lots.
With the expanding demand for telecommunications services, our program
"Digital NYC: Wired to the World" establishes affordable,
Internet-ready office space beyond the traditional boundaries of Silicon
Alley. The HI Way 125 high-tech district in Harlem has committed 119,000
square feet of space, with 14,000 available now. RCN has leased 17,000
square feet at 573 West 131st Street.
The families who are buying brownstones and restoring them to their
former glory are discovering Harlem, too, and helping to make it an
exciting destination in our city. And many city residents who have heard
the buzz are taking their first trips uptown to discover Harlem.
But perhaps the most striking fact is that many of our city's record
number of tourists come here to discover Harlem. The neighborhood is
also one of the city's most popular destinations for international tourists.
As people learn about this great and historic neighborhood, they see
the positive changes that are taking place. They see a neighborhood
that is vibrant and thriving, and the news of Harlem's renaissance grows.
Harlem has always been known for its rich culture, for its creative
leadership and vitality. Now Harlem is also known as a community that
is helping to power the economic engine of New York and the nation.
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