1. Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute

CCCADI East Harlem in 2013 Untapped Cities AFineLynePhoto of the abandoned firehouse in 2014, before the restoration 

In 2003, the fire house at 120 East 125th Street in Harlem was decommissioned. Designed by Napoleon LeBrun & Sons and completed in 1889, the Romanesque Revival-style building stood empty for years with an uncertain fate. In 2008 City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito selected this firehouse and four other decommissioned firehouses as locations for new cultural facilities. The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute is the non-profit that was chosen to take over the firehouse on 125th. After raising $9 million with help from the city and state, the CCCADI began renovations in 2014. The renovated Harlem firehouse now contains multi-use spaces that serve as exhibition and conference halls, performance spaces and administrative offices.

The mission of the CCCADI is to “integrate art, education, activism and conscious cultural tourism to foster social transformation.” The organization carries out its mission “through public art exhibitions, performances, educational programs, workshops, conferences and international exchanges.” Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, founder and president of the CCCADI says the firehouse home is a “holistic, interactive community space, where people can experience the diversity of talents and the cultural rhythms of the various communities of East Harlem and the globe.” Read more about the CCCADI headquarters here: Abandoned Firehouse in Harlem Converted into Cultural Center that Documents African Cultures.

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