Colorful entrance to the New Amsterdam Musical Association in Harlem
On a recent Monday night when most of this City was preparing for a snow storm, the New Amsterdam Musical Association in Harlem was preparing for Open Mic. Founded in 1904, NAMA is the oldest African-American musical organization in the country. One of the founders was James Reese Europe, a Harlem Hellfighter – which was the name given to the famous 369th Infantry Regimen, and it was founded at a time when the musicians union didn’t admit minority musicians.
Street entrance of The National Black Theatre painted by AFineLyne
The National Black Theatre was founded in 1968 by the late Dr. Barbara Ann Teer who was an African-American writer, producer, teacher and actress. Located at 2031 Fifth Avenue between 125th and 126th Streets, The National Black Theatre’s exterior was designed by the Haitian-American architect Gerard Paul. Within these walls, the Theatre houses the largest collection of Nigerian New Sacred Art in the Western Hemisphere, which includes hand carved wood totems and copper, aluminum and brass relief art done by traditional Nigerian artisans. The 64,000 square feet of space is divided between two buildings, each three stories high. The interior was designed by five new Sacred Nigerian Artists from Oshogbo, Nigeria.
The impressive 2nd Floor Gallery includes several paintings by Sorolla, Murillo, de Ribera and de Silva y Velazquez
The Hispanic Society of America was founded in 1904 by Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955) and opened its doors at their current location on Audubon Terrace in 1908. The Society is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal and Latin America and contains the largest collection of 19th century Spanish art and manuscripts outside of Spain. This includes works by El Greco, Goya, and Velazquez. (more…)
The iconic Apollo Theater, whose stage has been graced by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Billie Holiday, Bruce Springsteen and even the Obamas, turns 80 years old this Sunday. While Harlem has had its ups and downs over the decades, the theater has remained a powerful source of culture and hope for the neighborhood. Today, we’ve gathered up some vintage photos starting from when the Apollo was a vaudeville and burlesque house.
When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, the riots in Harlem left the area in dismal condition, with a sea of gray security gates protecting the storefronts. Seeing this as an opportunity to create a better environment in his neighborhood, the Harlem Gates were born. When the stores were closed Franco would paint murals of what he hoped for Harlem’s future – more then 200 over the past 40+ years. While there are others off 125th Street as well, here’s a recap of those on 125th Street, photographed in 2011 by Untapped Cities contributor Rembert Browne:
A lesser-known attack on Martin Luther King, Jr. occurred at a book signing in Harlem on September 20th, 1958, almost a decade before his assassination. At Blumstein’s Department Store, located at 230 W. 125th Street, the 29-year old Dr. King was stabbed on the upper left of his chest with a letter opener that had a 7-inch blade. The woman who performed the deed who was not from the line waiting to have their book signed, and also had a .25 caliber automatic pistol hidden in her dress.
Dr. King was operated on successfully at Harlem Hospital, where surgeon Dr. Aubre de Lambert Maynard noted that the letter opener ”had impinged on the aorta.” Dr. W.V. Cordice, another surgeon who worked on Dr. King that day, said in the above 2012 video, “If the [stabbing] had been an inch in either direction, it would have killed him straight away.” The attacker was deemed mentally unfit and taken to Bellevue Hospital.