Just off 163rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Harlem are a few streets nobody really ever notices or speaks of…actually very few probably even know they exist – Jumel Terrace and Sylvan Place. Thats because it’s tucked in behind a series of Apartment buildings on Amsterdam Avenue. The area is known as The Jumel Terrace Historic District.
The Jumel Terrace Historic District is a small New York City and national historic district located in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It consists of 50 residential row-houses built between 1890 and 1902, and one apartment building constructed in 1909, as the heirs of Eliza Jumel sold off the land of the former Roger Morris estate. The buildings are primarily wood or brick row-houses in the Queen Anne, Romanesque and Neo-Renaissance styles. Also located in the district, but separately landmarked, is the Morris-Jumel Mansion, dated to about 1765.
So how do people find it? Well, I’d imagine most who do are history buffs at heart, or maybe lost in NYC (after all – it’s easy to get lost at times) – But me personally, I learned about this area while I was in Paramedic School.
While on rotations one day my preceptor told me he had, “an interesting place to show me” – and he wasn’t wrong. When we turned off Amsterdam Avenue (just one block away) what I found was a small row of houses – each one identical to the one next to it and each one appearing like a scene out of a movie from the turn of the 20th century. In fact, some of these houses date back to the 1880’s – that’s over 100 years before I was born!
To me it’s kind of crazy to imagine how many people lived in these houses, and even more – what history could have been made here.
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