Harlem, by the Book

Assouline's new "In the Spirit of Harlem" explores the history and the mystique of the legendary neighborhood in vivid detail.

In the Spirit of Harlem (Assouline, $45; assouline.com), by Naomi Fertitta, delves into one of Manhattan's most vibrant—and rapidly evolving—communities. "When I thought about embarking on this project, it occurred to me that although there were many great cities that changed the course of popular culture, I couldn’t think of any neighborhood anywhere that had such a profound impact on the world," says Fertitta, a lifelong New Yorker.

With a forward by chef Marcus Samuelsson, owner of the popular Red Rooster restaurant on Lenox Avenue, and pages of images that illustrate the area’s historically rich cultural mix, the book is an insightful glimpse into a larger-than-life world. 

"We looked to capture the exuberant and joyous aspects," says Fertitta, "as well as photos of the men and women whose creativity and dedication to social change was the spirit of Harlem."