Monday, December 2, 2013
☞ DWELL: Number 3: The Lower FDB Corridor
No. 3: Lower Frederick Douglass Boulevard Corridor, South Harlem, 8th Avenue between 110th and 124th Street. The lower FDB Corridor's dense stock in new condo buildings and the bustling commercial offerings adjacent to Central Park made it one of the best NYC neighborhoods in 2010 but that was when the rest of Harlem was still starting to develop. During the recession, a lot of families and home buyers seeking more space took advantage of all the new construction available that was often offered at almost half the price of most downtown or Upper West Side buildings.
The area then transformed into a perfect new middle class neighborhood that could support the boutique businesses that now populate the South Harlem commercial district. On FDB, one can purchase meats at the local artisanal butcher, have a seat at two great Italian eateries, get a carb fix at the local bakery, sip at a boutique tea shop, dine at a new Indian eatery, get some authentic Japanese sushi, grab a bite of Ethiopian cuisine, send a pet to daycare, sign up for a yoga class, drink at a couple of beer gardens or drop into a hip speakeasy to just name a few choices. Nowhere else in Harlem can one find such a long list of up and coming shops but those who want a little charm in their neighborhood might find it lacking along the strip.
This section of 8th Avenue had so many open, abandoned lots back in 80s that it basically had to be rebuilt. The new buildings are decent enough and have all of the updated amenities to them but somehow this makes the neighborhood feel more perfunctory. If one just wants modern living amenities and easy access to great shops, then FDB fits the bill. Those who want a little more of what buyers are seeking for in the village downtown or Brooklyn, then this commercial strip might not be the right fit.