Harlem & Celebrities

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New York City is the birthplace and home to countless celebrities. You cannot deny that you often question where they actually reside.  People-watching is a great way to pass the time. Who knows, maybe you’ll spot Leonardo DiCaprio or Robert de Niro. Did you know that Alicia Keys spent her childhood in Hell’s Kitchen? Or that Jay Z and Beyonce had a condo in TriBeCa? Believe it or not, these famous icons lived in Harlem!


The musician spent a great part of his life in New York City, living Downtown in a small and decrepit apartment before becoming famous worldwide. He was actually born and raised in Harlem on September 11, 1965.


Neil Patrick Harris


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The movie and How I Met Your Mother tv-show star lives with husband and kids in Morningside Park, in the south of Harlem. Follow his Instagram for nice shots of the neighborhood.


Maya Angelou

maya angelouPhoto by: York College ISLGP

The late and dearly beloved poetess and author has lived in Harlem for many years and owned a house on 12oth street, in the Mount Morris Park neighborhood. The typical brownstone actually recently sold for about 4 million dollars!


Duke Ellington

Me and the homie Sonny getting ready for the show. You ready? We are

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Born in Washington, the famous jazzman came to New York in the 20’s. To be more precise, he decided to leave his then growing success in Washington to try his luck in Harlem where he spent many years and owned several houses and buildings. He played in numerous iconic jazz clubs, including the Apollo and Cotton Club, where he and his orchestra were resident for over 4 years. There is even a “Duke Ellington Boulevard” in Harlem’s Morningside Heights neighborhood, where he had bought several houses for his family and friends.


Nina Simone

nina simone(Photo by: Tom Blunt)

Nina Simone also lived in Harlem for a few years, in Duke Ellington’s house. She also performed at numerous Harlem jazz clubs and festivals.


Erik Estrada


Le famous policeman Poncho from the tv series CHiPs was raised in the East Harlem neighborhood, also known as Spanish Harlem.


Puff Daddy

p.diddy square(Photo by: Brian Glanz)

The rapper, also know as P.Diddy or Diddy was born in Harlem in 1969. In 2016, he supported the construction and opening of a public charter school in his neighborhood, saying that opening this school was “a dream come true.”


James Baldwin

😊 #imjustsayin #facts #practicewhatyoupreach #barrywhite #jamesbaldwin

A photo posted by JHOE.💙 (@keepitvertical_) on

The late African-American activist and novelist was born in Harlem in 1924. Highly impacted by African-Americans struggles and his own experience of misery and poverty in the 20’s/30’s, he’ll include discrimination against the Black community as a recurring theme in his work. In 2014, the portion of the 128th located between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue was renamed “James Baldwin Place” in celebration of his 90th birthday. He lived and went to school in this neighborhood.


Marcus Samuelson

Marcus Samuelsson is a star-chef, owner of the famous Red Rooster restaurant. Born in Ethiopia then raised in Sweden, he opens his restaurant in 2010 on Lenox Avenue and settles in a new home with his wife only a blocks away. Red Rooster is one of the most coveted restaurants in Harlem. They serve one of the best soul foods of NYC!


If you want to know more about the history of Harlem, its neighborhoods, landmarks, best places, join us on our Harlem Gospel and Jazz tours!

Harlem Gospel Tours
Soul Food and Jazz Tour
Uptown and Harlem Food Walking Tour

Also, if you are interested in finding more to do in New York City, search through our complete range of tours, attractions and activities. We can also tailor-make programs specifically to match your desires and budgets. Harlem Spirituals is the ideal one-stop-shop to simplify your planning! Find more information on www.harlemspirituals.com.

This list was only a short overview of the celebrities who lived and still live in Harlem. We could also add: BB King, Nat King Cole, Mandy Patinkin, Angela Bassett, and numerous Hip-Hop R&B  artists. Do you know other celebrities who lived in Harlem? Let us know in the comments!



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