Ray Harlem Rises At 2033 Fifth Avenue in East Harlem, Manhattan

Rendering of the National Black Theatre and Ray HarlemRendering of the National Black Theatre and Ray Harlem

Construction is in full swing for Ray Harlem at 2033 Fifth Avenue in the Special Arts District in East Harlem, Manhattan. Designed by Handel Architects and Frida Escobedo, and developed by Ray and LMXD, the ground-up 21-story, 240-foot-tall mixed-use project will yield 222 rental units in the main tower ranging from studios to two-bedrooms, a portion of which are designated towards affordable housing, while the National Black Theatre (NBT) is expected to occupy 25,000 square feet of space on the ground floor, cellar level and floors three through five and feature a 250-seat flexible temple space and a 99-seat studio theater, classrooms, and offices. Little Wing Lee is the interior designer, Charcoalblue, Marvel Architects, and Studio & Projects are overseeing the theater aspect and Chatsworth Builders is listed at the general contractor for the property, which is located along Fifth Avenue between East 125th and East 126th Streets.

Recent photographs show the reinforced concrete superstructure quickly being formed and assembled with a large team of workers scattered across the upper floors as concrete gets dumped and delivered. King Contracting Group is supplying 120,000 square feet of CMU, 70,000 square feet of bricks, 40,000 square feet of EIFS, and 10,000 square feet of GRFC for the project.

The original 64,000-square-foot structure that once stood on the land was severely damaged during a 1983 fire and was demolished before work broke ground in early 2022. Work has surpassed the halfway mark and YIMBY anticipates the tower to eventually top out sometime this fall.

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

The below renderings depict the earth-toned exterior facade and interiors of the National Black Theatre. A grid of floor-to-ceiling windows clad with pocketed terrace spaces encompass the residential portion and are grouped together in two-story increments with dark mullions and spandrels. A sidewalk canopy protrudes from the main entrance along Fifth Avenue, while a pocketed terrace is visible on the southwestern corner of the podium.

Rendering by Frida Escobedo

Rendering via raycommunnity.com

Ray Harlem. Designed by Handel Architects and Frida Escobedo

Rendering by Luxigon.

Residential amenities will include a 24/7 attended lobby, a ground-floor community space, business center, an outdoor rooftop terrace, a courtyard, a library, and an art room. The nearest subways from the site include the 4 and 5 trains at the 125th Street station to the east along Lexington Avenue, while the 2 and 3 trains can be accessed to the west along Malcolm X Boulevard.

2033 Fifth Avenue’s anticipated completion date is slated for November 2024 as noted on site.

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14 Comments on "Ray Harlem Rises At 2033 Fifth Avenue in East Harlem, Manhattan"

  1. Beautiful building, and excellent to be providing more housing. It would be even better if affordable condos were available in this building, as we are always discussing the discrepancy between household wealth in white households versus African-American households. Clearly abilities to invest in housing would increase that wealth.

  2. The facade-work looks absolutely stunning in the photos. Hopefully, that will carry into reality.

  3. David in Bushwick | August 12, 2023 at 10:46 am | Reply

    This is going to dominate the neighborhood in a good way. Hopefully 125th will be turned into a limited access busway like 14th St. Ideally the 2nd Ave subway would be extended to Broadway, but that would take another 100 years.

  4. It’s disgusting how the city is pushing out families. The largest apt they have is 2 bedrooms? I have 4 kids, what am I supposed to do? You are seeing this more and more and the chase for profit continues in this country. Very very sad.

    • There was never any housing on the site to begin with, so how is it pushing out or displacing families that never existed before construction???

      • Julius Tajiddin | August 13, 2023 at 12:47 pm | Reply

        I think he meant pushing out Black families. If old housing gets torn down and they build new housing elsewhere in the neighborhood, it’s not really adding housing. It’s replacing old housing.

        They warehouse NYCHA Housing too. So the total housing stock is being rearranged.

        And when you build so-called affordable housing and many Black people can’t afford it the demographics change. That’s what I think he’s saying.

        The AMI is 127K. If you do housing at 60% of the AMI that’s 63K one household has to earn for a family of three.

        60% of Harlem families earn less than 30K. Most of those families are Black.

        You see how this really works?

        If you start attending Community Board meetings you will get a lot of information on these issues.

    • Building new buildings does not push anyone out. It just adds housing. All the old buildings are still in place with the same rents. And it was your choice to have four kids. Urban centers in Europe average one child households.

      • Julius Tajiddin | August 13, 2023 at 12:51 pm | Reply

        If you walk around Harlem and see vacant lots, apartment buildings used to be there.

        They’ve had so many fires too. Those buildings are not occupied.

        Warehousing is happening too.

        But everytime a Blsck family leaves rarely does another Black family come in.

  5. Lorraine givens | August 12, 2023 at 2:28 pm | Reply

    Yes yes i like it. Thank you

  6. Harlem is the last frontier to build in Manhattan.

  7. Carlos Ferrera | August 12, 2023 at 3:24 pm | Reply

    Oh wow this is stunning for Harlem and New York! What a fabulous improvement from what was there before and will surely be a great addition to the neighborhood! 🙌

  8. David : Sent From Heaven. | August 12, 2023 at 11:59 pm | Reply

    I am confident in USA building construction which is safe, and does not have to worry about pollution. Try to look around the neighborhood with earth-toned facade is needful for resolution, full of praise that signage beautiful on a sidewalk canopy protrudes: Thanks to Michael Young.

  9. Didn’t know about the 1983 fire. I always wondered why they couldn’t seem to keep retail tenants.

    The 6 train also serves 125/Lex.

    What’s “flexible temple space”?

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