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Anchor-Hunter College Art Galleries-East Harlem-Hiram Maristany-El Barrio-NYCPhoto by Hiram Maristany, from Anchor 

On display at the Hunter College Art Galleries in East Harlem are over fifty years of photographs of the El Barrio neighborhood by resident and photographer Hiram Maristany. The exhibit, located within Silberman School of Social Work, depicts the everyday life Maristany observed while growing up with eight siblings on East 111th Street. His chance encounter with the Magnum photographer Robert Henriques opened the door to his love of photography and Henriques, seeing that spark of creativity in this young boy, gave him his first camera – a Leica IIIg.

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The story of New York City’s ballrooms form one facet of the city-wide story of a changing entertainment industry and real estate market. Many of the iconic music venues survived Prohibition, only to be taken down by the advent of radio and television. The large spaces necessitated diversification of events and venues, causing their musical cache to fall as real estate pressures were rising. This list of New York City’s ballrooms include those lost, those still standing and those converted, as well as new ballrooms adapted from other types of spaces. Not all were music venues, but all have a unique story to tell as part of the city’s history. Here are 12 historic ballrooms:

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1970s HarlemJack 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.

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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.

Albert Maysles at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem 2014

Albert Maysles at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem 2014

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.

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Cab Calloway Minnie the MoocherPhoto: RogerEbert.com

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.

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Jazz Musicians In Front of Minton's Playhouse - Untapped CitiesFamous 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.

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