Friday, January 25, 2008

"Hot Fun In The Summertime"

With the winter grinding on relentlessly and spring not due for at least another six weeks, it is comforting to reflect upon the summer months and the warmth that comes both literally and figuratively with the season. So,my friends, courtesy of Dr. Keith Hunter, who had the foresight to gather these video clips, we are pleased to bring you a blast of warmth from last summer. We hope you that you enjoy it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Long Live The "Renny"

The grand opening of the of the Renaissance Theater on one hundred and thirty seventh street occurred 86 years ago this week. In a bittersweet decision, the hallowed hall was denied historic protection by the landmarks Commission last year.The Abyssinian Development Corp, with the help of some influential supporters, successfully argued against a landmark designation for a historic ballroom in central Harlem.The 6-1 vote by the Landmarks Commission clears the way for the redevelopment of the Renaissance Ballroom and Renaissance Casino on Adam Clayton Boulevard and 138th Street. Plans call for the majority of the historic structure to be razed and replaced with a 19-story condo tower as well as cultural, retail and community spaces.
The Municipal Arts Society The New York Landmarks Conservancy, and the Historic Districts Council joined prominent Harlem residents including former Mayor Dinkins to oppose landmark designation, arguing that such a designation would have created insurmountable obstacles to bringing ballroom and the cultural space back to life. Abyssinian hopes the development will be completed by 2009. Still, some residents remain concerned with the loss of the historic structures and argue that a whole-scale renovation of the structure would be more beneficial to the community.
A beautifully illustrated and exhaustive history of the site along with a host of invaluable knowledge about the neighborhood in general can be found at thanks to the tireless efforts of BlackFives founder Claude Johnson.