Harlem Small Business

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The Harlem small business community is located in the northern section of the New York City borough of Manhattan. The Harlem neighborhood is located in Upper Manhattan, and stretches from the East River in the east, to the Hudson River to the west, and between 155th Street in the north, where it meets Washington Heights, and a boundary along the south that runs along 96th Street east of Fifth Avenue. Since the 1920s, Harlem has been known as a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, it was formally organized in 1658. The community is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands. African-American residents began to arrive in the Harlem neighborhood in 1905. In the 1920s and 1930s, Harlem was the focus of the "Harlem Renaissance", an outpouring of artistic work in the American black community. Harlem's African-American population peaked in the 1950s and in the second half of the 20th century, Harlem became a major hub of African-American businesses, especially small businesses. In the post-World War II era, Harlem remained the cultural and political capital of black New York. As of 2000, Central Harlem had a black community comprising 77% of the population. Many notable small businesses have been located in the Harlem small business community over the last centuries. The Apollo Theater opened on 125th Street on January 26, 1934. The Savoy Ballroom, on Lenox Avenue, was a renowned venue for swing dancing. In the 1920s and 1930s, between Lenox and Seventh Avenues in central Harlem, over 125 small businesses operated, specializing in entertainment, including speakeasies, cellars, lounges, cafes, taverns, supper clubs, rib joints, theaters, dance halls, and bars and grills. 133rd Street became known for its cabarets, speakeasies and jazz scene during the Prohibition era. The Harlem small business community hosts the largest African American Day Parade, which celebrates the culture of African diaspora in America. Arthur Mitchell, a former dancer with the New York City Ballet, established Dance Theatre of Harlem as a school and company of classical ballet and theater training in the late 1960s, and generations of theater artists have gotten a start at the school. Recently, the Harlem small business community experienced a gourmet renaissance, with new dining hotspots popping up uptown around the small business district on Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

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