One of the most famous illustrators of the 19th century was based in Harlem and is consider the creator of the modern version of Santa Claus. Thomas Nast worked for Harper's Weekly during a time in history when photos were not common so cartoon illustrations provided a key role in major publications. During a time period ranging from 1863 to 1886, Mr. Nast came up with a Santa Clause that went against the usually thin depiction of the Christmas character. Other Santa specific illustrations by Thomas Nast also suggested that the jolly fellow lived at the North Pole and had his toy workshop set up there.
In Jonathan Gill's book on Harlem, the author mentioned that the young Nast at age 24 moved his family uptown and lived close to 125th street and 5th avenue. He had his studio out in the back yard and produced all of his artwork within. Thomas Nast lived uptown from 1864 up until 1872. Images via Fine Art America and The Old Print Gallery