When people mention New York City, they often refer to lower Manhattan, or downtown, the home of Wall Street; and Midtown, New York’s central business district, where you’ll find Rockefeller Center, Broadway and Times Square. But, the historic capital of black America is  located Uptown, in Harlem to be exact. Since the 1920s, Harlem has been a hotbed for black businesses, culture and residency. During the Harlem Renaissance (1920s to 1930s), blacks found their voice and their identity; and legendary writers, poets, musicians and artists emerged.

The section of 125th Street between Eighth Avenue, commonly referred to as Frederick Douglass Boulevard, and Fifth Avenue is the pulse of the community and a goldmine for urban culture addicts and style hunters. –yvette caslin

20 East 125th Street
(212) 987-9385

Founded in 1998, HarlemUnderground’s mission is to create fashionable Harlem-themed tee shirts that give the world a fashion look at what the community represents.

The Brownstone
24 East 125th Street
(212) 996-7980
(Between Fifth and Madison avenues)

Harlem’s shopping ambassadress, Princess Jenkins, is the owner of this sassy boutique. The Brownstone concentrates primarily on ethnically inspired fashions for women. She says, “We’re building the first African American department store in Harlem, giving clients what they want — fashion, style and beauty.” More than 40 local designers provide goods for the fashion house, ranging from apparel and millinery to fine jewelry, artwork, and cosmetics.

The Studio Museum in Harlem
144 West 125th Street
New York, New York 10027
(212) 864-4500

The Studio Museum is the foremost exhibitor of the work of African American artists. The permanent collection contains works by James Van Der Zee, important African and Caribbean artifacts and paintings by post-World War II artists.

Carol’s Daughter
24 West 125th Street
Harlem, NY 10027
(212) 828-6757

In Carol’s Daughter flagship location, the whitewashed brick walls, blond wood shelves and subtle fragrance, offer spa-like tranquility. You’ll find the coveted new hair care product Monoi (pronounced muh-noy), the ancient Tahitian ingredient that prevents breakage.

Jumel Terrace Books
426 West 160th Street
New York, New York 10032
(212) 928-9525

This is Uptown’s sole antiquarian bookshop specializes in local history, African and American: Colonialist and Revolutionary books, art, and ephemera relating to the Morris/Jumel Mansion and its community: Harlem, Washington Heights, African America, Africa, and the Black Atlantic are their specialties.

1960 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
(Corner of 118th Street)
Harlem, NY 10026
(212) 222-5802

SWING is a lifestyle boutique offering an eclectic mix and full range of apparel, children’s wear, home decor, beauty products, art, music and lifestyle products. Their ever-evolving inventory features an array of distinctive brands, exclusive and high-end European brands, and an array of hand-selected products from around the world.

Hats by Rachel Rae
featured at the Museum of the City of New York
Museum Shop
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
New York, NY 10029
(212) 534-1672
Or by appointment with Rachel Rae: www.itsaraerae.com

The designs by the luxury milliner and hatter is a favorite of infamous editor-at-large and “America’s Next Top Model” judge, André Leon Talley.

Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.