Wednesday, October 11, 2006
You can see that this once regal doorway was cemented shut with bricks. The scars of columns are flat in contrast to the bricks. Many building around Harlem were bricked or cinderblocked shut to keep people from squatting or to prevent abandon building from become dank drippy crack dens. Now that the neighborhood is gentrifying, many of the tombs are being sledgehammered open to create upscale housing and retail space.
This building is currently being gut-renovated for new condominiums.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Share The Dream
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Black To White
I thought this was a perfect visual commentary on how Harlem is changing - from black to white. This was on a side wall of Allah School In Mecca. An African-American Muslim man saw me taking a picture and said angrily, "Don't you ask permission before you take pictures?"
I apologized and said I live in the neighborhood and was documenting the change face of Harlem. He looked at me askance, walked back to a chair on the sidewalk where he was sitting and gave me a wave to go about my business. I thanked him and kept walking. He watched me walking away and when I crossed the street he was still nodding his head with a peevish resignation.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Mary J Blige
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Closed By Court Order
This is the corrugated gate of a bodega on 116th and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. When I moved to Harlem in July, I noticed that the bodega only opened at night. I also noticed that crack addicts hung around this corner like, well, crack addicts around a crack den. It is not hard to figure out when you walk into the bodega. They have no stock except some sodas and dusty cans. Yet, the owner (aka drug dealer) sits behind a Fort-Knox-like plexiglass wall with only a small orifice for conducting business.
The rumor is that the jig is up. In a related story, Washington Mutual opened across the street where you can actually take money out without feeling like your identity is going to be stolen - because those bodega ATMs go missing all the time.
Anyway, nice to see the local crack den gone. Please, no Starbucks, though. That's the crack of the yuppy.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
The Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State building is on 125th Street and 7th Avenue. Adam Clayton Powell was one of the first influential African-American congressmen in the United States Congress. He was elected in 1945 and did not leave politics until 1970, when he was ousted by current congressmen Charles B. Rangel.
Today, the building itself is considered an eyesore and architectural blunder, for it's unharmonious size in relation to the rest of the neighborhood. Plus, it's just ugly.
It's dreary gray "Orwellian" plaza is vast and empty, keeping the passer-by, tourist, and community interactions at a minimum. Even the homeless will not hang around this building because it is either gets too cold or too hot depending on the season. But, the lip-ring-Lords-of-Dogtown bunch have found the site appealing for it's smooth open surfaces just like an abandon municipal swimming pool or strip mall.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Real Harlem Store Directory
Slowly these places are being replaced by H&M, The Gap, Starbucks, Foot Locker, Duane Reade, Payless Shoes, MAC Cosmetics, Dunkin Donuts, and Blockbuster Video. Home Depot and Target are said to be coming in the next couple of years in East Harlem by the river.