"Take the A Train Soon you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem"
Beginning in the 1870s Harlem was the site of a massive wave of development which resulted in the construction of numerous new single-family row-houses and apartment houses. Many of these apartments, typically floor-throughs and duplexes come with town house amenities, like terraces, gardens, fireplaces, and uncommonly good light for Manhattan.
During the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s affluent African-Americans began moving to Sugar Hill. "Sweet and Expensive," signifying that one had arrived, economically and socially. Sugar Hill was celebrated for its exclusivity and status. The Hill attracted those with talent, money, education, and social prominence.
The song “Take the ‘A’ Train,” written by Billy Strayhorn was the signature tune of the Duke Ellington orchestra commemorating the upscale neighborhood where they lived. Originally written in 1939 directions to get to his house by subway. The directions began: "Take the A Train" There was a new subway line and people were getting confused about the best way to get to Harlem.
Sugar Hill, often considered part of Hamilton Heights, is almost entirely residential. It has rows of four- and five-story townhouses and handsome prewar apartment buildings. Many are coops and affordable HDFC coops attracting a diversified mix of buyers.
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Source Courtesy of: Smithsonian National Museum of American History