The charm of Spanish Harlem is that its history plays out like a scene in “West Side Story.” The neighborhood, known as “Italian Harlem” for many years, used to be a predominantly Italian area. The influx of Puerto Rican immigrants in the 1930’s earned the neighborhood a new nickname, “El Barrio.” The melting pot of nationalities created a rich cultural history that makes Spanish Harlem a kaleidoscope of NYC beauty. There are two legendary Italian restaurants from Spanish Harlem that have received world-wide recognition, while Puerto Rican musicians – Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Charlie Palmieri and Marc Anthony – established themselves as kings of salsa. Spanish Harlem begins at 96th Street to the south and stretches to 125th Street to the north, which is where East Harlem beings. From the east, Spanish Harlem starts at 5th Avenue and ends at the East River/FDR.