Black Panthers film screening Untapped Cities Black History Month AFineLyne-.jpg.1280x720_q85Panthers on parade at Free Huey rally in Defremery Park, Oakland, July 28, 1968. image via theblackpanthers.com

The annual celebration of Black History Month is a time to recognize the achievements of African-Americans throughout the history of our country. It is also a time to remember the struggles for freedom and justice. The roots of this celebration take us back to 1915, when historian, Carter G. Woodson and minister, Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), known today as the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH). In 1926, this organization sponsored a national Negro History Week during the second week of February, to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976.


Apollo and Tree of Hope Apollo Theater State Untapped Cities AFineLyneThe Apollo Theater in Harlem

They say the legendary Apollo Theater is where stars are born and legends are made. James Brown considered it so much a second home that his body was brought to the Apollo before his funeral. It was the springboard for music legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Jackson 5, Patti LaBelle, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and so many more. The theater highlighted African-American performers, but later included such popular artists as Dave Brubeck, Buddy Rich, Stan Getz and others. The first place the Beatles wanted to see when they came to America in 1964 was the Apollo, and Paul McCartney refers to it as the “Holy Grail.” We recently took a tour of the legendary Apollo Theater, and here are ten secrets we found backstage.


Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard, looking north from 112th Street

Seventh Avenue in Harlem was officially renamed Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard in 1974, though the old name is still widely used. In fact, this street has had an identity crisis ever since it was separated from the lower part of Seventh Avenue by the creation of Central Park in 1853.

In the 1811 Commissioners’ Plan, Seventh Avenue extended from Greenwich Village to 155th Street. With Central Park in place, the section above 110th Street was cut off from the lower part by 51 blocks.


storefront-little india-jackson heights-micro neighborhoods-nyc-untapped cities-brennan ortizA shop in Little India in Jackson Heights, Queens. Image via NY Daily News

Chinatown and Little Italy are probably the first locations that come to mind when you think of New York City’s diversity and immigrant history. However, there were several other immigrant groups that migrated and clustered into various neighborhoods, forming smaller ethnic enclaves that also contribute to New York City’s identity as the “melting pot.”

Last year we published a series called NYC’s Micro Neighborhoods, which had more in-depth articles on specific ethnic communities. To provide you with a thorough guide to New York City’s diverse areas, for this list we combined neighborhoods mentioned in NYC’s Micro Neighborhoods with an additional 10 more to check out. Enjoy!


Graham Court (built 1901)

Harlem is home to an array of attractive pre-war apartment house buildings, many of which have undergone restoration in recent years as its neighborhoods have become hot real estate markets.

In the years after the Civil War, Harlem began to develop with brownstones and a few mansions, but construction shifted to apartment houses towards the end of the nineteenth century as improvements in both transportation and building technologies, notably elevators, made them a more attractive option.


111th St & Lexington Ave-MonumentArt 2015 Untapped Cities AFineLynePortrait of famed Nuyorican writer, Nicholasa Mohr who grew up in El Barrio & the Bronx

Last week, a project descended on El Barrio befitting its name. MonumentArt 2015 is the second installment of the International Mural Festival in East Harlem and the South Bronx, sponsored by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and La Marqueta Retoña. Eleven internationally known artists were invited to participate this year, and create work from 99th Street to 138th Street that is specific to El Barrio and its history.