Thursday, March 17, 2016


Many do not know that up until the 1960s, Harlem still had an Irish community that had been around for well over a century.  East Harlem had first generation Irish mixed in with the Jewish and Italian immigrants but West Harlem's population lasted the longest over by Vinegar Hill near City College. The Church of the Annunciation had been established for the Irish Catholic workers who helped with the construction of the Hudson River Railroad in the 1850s and still stands today on Convent Avenue by 131st Street even though the congregation has totally changed over.

The catholic school associated with Church of the Annunciation was known for its basketball team and the above archival photos from 40s and 50s are from Tomy Read who grew up in Irish Harlem up during its last decades. Vestiges of the Vinegar Hill neighborhood of Hamilton Heights by 135th Street and Amsterdam still remain today but the block's Irish community has since disappeared.  Mr. Read had been documenting his childhood years in West Harlem through his blog but we found out he had passed away a few years ago.  Those who want to know more should definitely check out the original Vinegar Hill blog that is still up online today: LINK


  1. so great. thank you.

    Goes to show that no one group "owns" Harlem.. or any NYC neighborhood.

  2. My dad was born in Harlem. Lived on Convent and 128. Thanks for sharing the history!