Thursday, September 6, 2007

Who Stole the Big Apple?

Is it just me, or is anyone else disturbed at the alarming rate at which our Harlem institutions are falling by the wayside.Some like Copelands -are the victim of economics, while others others are falling prey to changing community standards (read gentrification).
I met my wife in the late Eighties in the last iteration of Small's Paradise, the speakeasy cum night club, where on any given night of the week, one just might witness something extraordinary, and entirely unique to Harlem. That venerated space has been reduced to hustling the same pancakes available in almost any city in the world. Not a hundred feet away, the Big Apple, after which our dear city is nicknamed was recently removed in favor of corporate design in keeping with Popeye's look.
Down the street, The Renny lays fallow after many decades, awaiting action by its owner. Will its development follow a course that is respectful of history and tradition or will it be yet one more proceeedure in the evisceration of Harlem.
And while we're on the subject of the evisceration of Harlem, let us not forget the silencing of the Garvey Park drummers who have earned their place in the City's cultural landscape after after decades of support by the community. Is it just me, or is there a pattern in place? What do you think?

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