2354 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4365
Fax: (202) 225-0816
New York’s Thirteenth Congressional District is the quintessential American melting pot — a community built on a number of ethnicities and nationalities, each adding a new dimension of culture and character to the historic area. Predominantly Black in the early 1900s, the residents of New York’s Thirteenth now reflect a diverse mix of immigrants from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and other Latin American ethnicities, as well as smaller European and Asian populations.
New York’s Thirteenth covers a broad range of neighborhoods, blanketing Upper Manhattan from East 96th Street and West 91st Street on up. Outside the borough of Manhattan, the Thirteenth stretches to include a small area of the Bronx, as well as Rikers Island, an incongruous appendage located off Manhattan in the East River and home to a New York City prison complex. At just 10 square miles, it is the smallest district in terms of geographic size in the country.
Hispanics make up a large plurality – 46 percent – of the population of New York’sThirteenth, with non-Hispanic Blacks comprising approximately 37 percent of the population. The largest concentration of Blacks in the Thirteenth is in West-Central Harlem. East Harlem is dominated by a large Puerto Rican population; West Harlem and Washington Heights is home to large Dominican communities. Most of the Thirteenth’s non-Hispanic Whites live in the south end of the district in the Upper East Side; the Upper West Side, including the top portion of Central Park; a small portion of East Harlem, home to a longtime Italian-American community; and a portion of the Inwood neighborhood in the north.
Since first sending an African American to Congress, the Thirteenth has had just two House Members, both Democrats: Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., who won a landmark election in 1944, and Congressman Charles Rangel, who unseated Powell in 1970 and has held the seat since. Throughout his career, Congressman Rangel has received the endorsement of not only local Democrats but of the district's small Republican organization, too.
Once home to the brilliant Harlem Renaissance – bringing an unprecedented level of cultural development in the 1920s – the Thirteenth is now in the midst of a new, economic renaissance. Federal Empowerment Zone legislation, championed by Congressman Rangel in 1995, has given rise to a number of bustling economies in a variety of neighborhoods, including Washington Heights, and Central, East, and West Harlem. The economic growth ignited by high levels of investment and development has attracted scores of people of all races to the historic areas of the Thirteenth, many looking to move in to the majestic and stunning historic Harlem Brownstones that punctuate the district and line Lenox Avenue. The fast pace of economic growth is drawing a new, multiracial middle and upper-middle class to the Thirteenth.
The Thirteenth has long served as a portal to a vibrant and ever-changing population of immigrants. An initial wave of Europeans at the turn of the century settled the area as an affluent extension for Manhattan’s social elite. The early part of the century saw a tremendous migration of Blacks to the district, establishing Harlem as the early center of African American culture. The years following the World Wars saw an influx of Latin American immigrants, primarily Puerto Rican, but with large numbers of Mexicans and Salvadorans as well. In recent years, large numbers of Dominicans have settled through the northern portions of the Thirteenth. Today, new African communities have become a cultural and economic presence in the district, further adding to the rich blend of nationalities and cultures that compose the Thirteenth’s distinct character.
The Thirteenth boasts a number of world class institutions in education and health. Among the 27 colleges and universities that call the Thirteenth home are Columbia University, City College of New York, Boricua College, and Yeshiva University. The area’s vibrant health care cluster comprises six major hospitals, including New York Presbyterian Hospital and NYU/Mt. Sinai Medical Centers, both first-class centers of research and education.
The district contains such historic sites as the massive Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the tomb of Ulysses S. Grant, and the world-famous Apollo Theatre. In addition to these sites, people from the world over come to visit the historic churches, restaurants, and nightlife of the Thirteenth.