A Day in Sugar Hill

The thing with your new NYC home is its long-standing history. Sugar Hill was a home base for the Harlem Renaissance, and a former home for icons such as Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Thurgood Marshall and Adam Clayton Powell. The neighborhood remains a contributing part of the city’s pop culture. A movie, a beer and a legendary rap band “Sugarhill Gang” were all named after Sugar Hill. Not to mention the endless numbers of classic jazz songs that reference the neighborhood. 

Sugar Hill Cafe

The signs of a new wave of eateries are written on the wall with the Sugar Hill Cafe. The comfort food breakfast spot offers a cozy and welcoming setting. Its minimalist interior provides for a modern Scandinavian appeal. The owners produce amazing eats with homemade pastries and bagels, tastefully paired with some great-tasting coffee and tea.


Tsion Cafe & Bakery

For your first lunch in Sugar Hill, it’s time to try something a little different. The Tsion Cafe & Bakery offers unique Ethiopian food with a touch of Indian, South American and European flair. The owners put together a varied wine list just in case you’re in the mood to taste South African and South American grape varietals. For food, you will have to try the Firfir, onion stew made with Ethiopian spices and tossed with injera (sourdough risen bread). You may also want to try the Addis Eggs, Ethiopian-styled scrambled eggs with onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, peppers, served with injera.


Rucker Park

As you are surely aware by now, basketball is very much woven into the fabric of New York City. The mecca of street basketball is at Holcombe Rucker Park. The courts are a rite of passage of sorts for every big-time amateur basketball player. Located at the base of Coogan’s Bluff, for decades, the courts have been home to Rucker Tournament, and have featured some of the most talented basketball players in history. The tournament and courts have been home to legendary stars such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Kyrie Irving, Kobe Bryant, Stephon Marbury, Earl Monroe, Chris Mullin, and Kevin Durant.

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The Bushman Steps

Sugar Hill is infused with glorious history. The neighborhood is a former site of the legendary Polo Grounds, a baseball stadium that housed the New York Yankees and Giants for years. Today, most of the remnants of those days are gone and have been replaced by residential housing. But there is one part of the storied grounds that remains intact: The Bushman Steps. The stairway, nestled on the Harlem and Sugar Hill border, used to lead fans from the 155th Street subway station to the ticket booths of the Polo Grounds.


Coogan’s Bluff

Coogan’s Bluff, located on the Harlem River, is an interesting geographic landmark, a deep escarpment (or slope) that descends some 175 feel from Edgecombe Avenue to the river. Essentially, the bluff is an urban cliff that was named after James J. Coogan, a real estate developer and one-term Manhattan borough president. The majestic cliff’s biggest claim to fame? It once overlooked the Polo Grounds (home to MLB’s New York Giants).


Tour of Historic Buildings

In its heyday, Sugar Hill was home to glitz and glamour, which has translated into some marvelous architecture. Time to take a tour of the area’s historic buildings. The first is the Queen Anne style Fink House (8 St. Nicholas Place) that offers a uniquely colorful appearance. The next are the homes at 14-16 St. Nicholas Place, detached frame clad Queen Anne in wood shingles. The homes at 757-775 St. Nicholas Avenue form a Renaissance Revival style row that was one of the finest in the area. The final stop will the 409 Edgecombe Avenue Apartments, formerly home to Babe Ruth as a child, Thurgood Marshall and W.E.B. DuBois.

A Night in Sugar Hill


PEQUE Vinos + Tapas

The best option for dinner is an easy one: PEQUE Vinos + Tapas. The Spanish-style eatery recently opened in Sugar Hill and has become an instant hit amongst locals. The name itself is slang for “pequeno,” (little). The spot specializes in tapas, small plates designed to be share amongst couples or large groups. There are so many great small bites to choose from – octopus, chorizo, salmon croquettes and the classic Tortilla Espanola (an egg-centric quiche). Naturally, Peque offers many great wines to pair with your meal. If you’re not exactly in the tapas mood, head on over to Eso, a comfort food spot.

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Words by Arte Vincent

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Erik Serras
Erik Serras
Principal Broker
Residential Division
Office: 718.840.2757
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