1885 to 1917

Historical Boundary

of the 

Harlem African Burial Ground

Sulzer's Harlem River Park & Casino

1896 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map (NYPL)


Landfill - a method of creating more land by depositing refuse and/or soil in the water


By 1885, urbanization and the rectilinear street grid had arrived in Harlem. River life included commercial shipping, ferries, leisure boating and competitive rowing. The prominent German American Sulzer family opened one of New York City's most popular “beer gardens,” Sulzer's Harlem River Park and Casino; its carousel was famous for its finely sculpted animals and bright colors. In addition to the carousel, the complex included a rifle range and dance hall as well. Groups of all sorts – Italian, Jewish, German, Irish and Spanish immigrant societies, as well as wrestling, archery, basketball, dancing, singing, dramatic, veterans and civic clubs – rented the Casino for private parties. These activities took place on top of the now forgotten Harlem African Burial Ground.  

Tourist post card of Sulzer's Harlem River Park and Casino, view from Second Avenue (Carousel History).

Tourist post card of Sulzer's Harlem River Park and Casino, view from Second Avenue (Carousel History).


The slider below shows the transformation of Harlem from a rural village in 1820 to an amusement park retreat in 1896. The block occupied by Sulzer's Harlem River Park & Casino is highlighted in red and is overlaid with the historical footprint of the Harlem African Burial Ground in orange.


The Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force is a group of concerned citizens who have united to help the Elmendorf Reformed Church to restore and memorialize its historically and culturally significant colonial African burial ground at 1st Avenue, between 126th and 127th Streets in East Harlem, New York City.