Jack Garofalo’s Photographs of 1970s Harlem. Photo by Jack Garofolo/Paris Match, via Getty Images
Living in New York City during the 1970s sometimes meant looking over your shoulder or trying to get indoors before dark. It’s no hidden fact that the city was not exactly at its safest during this time. Just ask The NYC Council for Public Safety, who created an anti-tourist guide to the New York City in 1975. The city was in the midst of a massive crime wave that reached its fever pitch when the infamous blackout plunged the sprawling metropolis into darkness in the summer of 1977. None of this stopped Jack Garofalo, a French photographer for The Paris Match from taking snapshots of Harlem during the summer of 1970. Recently featured on The Retronaut on Mashable, these simple yet captivating photos capture the beauty beneath the grim and gritty veneer of 70s era New York.
The award winning filmmaker, Albert Maysles, passed away March 5th, 2015 at his home in Harlem. While he was best known as a documentarian, he is known in Harlem as the founder of the Maysles Documentary Center and Cinema, friend and neighbor. He will be deeply missed but his legacy and the Ccnter he founded will live on in the neighborhood he touched so deeply with his generosity and spirit, and we look forward to his soon to be released, and most recently completed documentary on Iris Apfel, scheduled for this May.
Much has been written about the changing face of Harlem in sweeping generalities, often using the word gentrification. But when you put a magnifying glass on the map, you begin to see that the changing face of Harlem has many faces – specific faces of talented people who share their passions. At the top of the list is Albert Maysles, director of Grey Gardens whose passion is Documentary Film Making and his gift to Harlem is The Maysles Documentary Center.
On March 3, 1931, Harlem big band leader Cab Calloway recorded “Minnie the Moocher,” the classic tale of chasing opium that made Calloway a national star and put Harlem’s big band sound on the map.
Born on Christmas Day in 1907, Calloway had moved to Harlem to break into the jazz scene, and soon won the attention of Duke Ellington’s agent, a Russian Jew from the Lower East Side named Irving Mills. When Ellington, already one of Harlem’s biggest stars, went on a 1931 national tour, Mills booked the Cab Calloway Orchestra to headline in Ellington’s place at the Cotton Club.
Famous Jazz Musicians in front of Minton’s Playhouse. Image via Wikimedia Commons
Black History has left an indelible imprint on the cultural fabric of New York City. From the Harlem Renaissance to the teachings of Malcolm X, New York City has been a beacon of black history and civil rights. Even though we’re not knee deep into 2015, we have already celebrated some amazing historical milestones. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King‘s historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, as well as the 5oth anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination. In honor of Black History Month, we have complied a list of 5 places connected to Black History in Harlem.
The Harlem Hellfighters
When New York’s all-black 369th Infantry Regiment set off to fight in World War I, they were men without rights at home or in the military, sent on a mission to “make the world safe for democracy.” One could have forgiven them for serving with cynicism. Instead, they were some of the most decorated and accomplished American soldiers of the war, and on February 17, 1919, they finally got a parade to celebrate their heroism.
This weekend, New York is all about basketball from the Barclays Center to Madison Square Garden, the Apollo Theater to the free Kanye West concert at Flatiron Plaza. But art is also part of the equation during NBA All Star Weekend, and one of the exhibits includes the artwork of not only local artists, but the players and their families.