This Week In Fiction: Discovering An Unpublished Story by Langston Hughes [The New Yorker] “Seven People Dancing” is a story by Langston Hughes that was written, most likely, in the early sixties, but was never published. [more inside]
Red Klotz, who led basketball’s biggest losers, the Washington Generals, dies at 93. In his time with the Generals, Mr. Klotz lost at least 14,000 games, or 15,000, or, according to some estimates, more than 20,000. “That sounds about right,” Mr. Klotz would shrug whenever someone tried to calculate the number. “I don’t count the losses,” he told the Washington City Paper in 2007. “It’s easier to keep track of the wins.” Mr. Klotz won six games, his biographer concluded. Or maybe it was four. Possibly just two. But definitely, beyond the shadow of any doubt, his team won one game for sure.
What do Bill Bailey, The Supremes, James Brown, Bill Cosby, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Michael Jackson, and Barack Obama have in common? They've all played The Apollo. Flavorwire links 10 classic performances from the Apollo Theatre to celebrate its 80th birthday. Notably absent is the 1983 performance by Shooby Taylor, The Human Horn.
The Charles Mingus Sextet featuring Eric Dolphy perform
Take the "A" Train
Live in Norway, April 12, 1964 [more inside]
Take the "A" Train
Live in Norway, April 12, 1964 [more inside]
Ask A Native New Yorker: How Guilty Should I Feel About Being A Horrible Gentrifier? Passionate response from a Bushwick native.
Singing the Lesbian Blues in 1920s Harlem.
In Jazz Age speakeasies, dive bars, and private parties, blue singers had the freedom to explore alternative sexuality, and on a rare occasion, they even expressed it in song.
An amateur film shot in 1939 by French tourist Jean Vivier documents a trip to New York City, in color.
New York City officials are asking visitors to Central Park's Harlem Meer to beware of the northern snakehead fish, a predator common in the rivers and lakes of Asia but considered an invasive species in American waters, which had been spotted. [more inside]
The NYC Stop-and-Frisk Program (wiki). Previously. Previously. Previously. And previously. Now there is new audio of how the stop-and-frisk program is being carried out by the NYPD, revealing the discriminatory and unprofessional way in which this controversial policy is being implemented. Includes some discussion on the culture of being a cop and how these orders are being handed down from the top.
The Independent (UK) proposes a list of fifty books that every eleven-year-old should read. [more inside]
Harlem Yodel. The Dandridge Sisters and the Cats and the Fiddle teach us how the yodel is done above 110th Street. [more inside]
MLK Jr: The First Attempt : Nearly 10 years before he was assassinated, as Dr. King signed copies of his book Stride Toward Freedom, Izola Ware Curry, a part-time maid from Georgia, stabbed him in the chest with a letter opener, nearly puncturing his aorta. Though she was eventually indicted for attempted murder, Ms. Curry was found incompetent to stand trial and committed to Matteawan State Hospital for the criminally insane. Characteristically, Dr. King forgave her and requested that she be rehabilitated as a productive member of society. [more inside]
David Brooks is very excited about the results reported by the Harlem Children's Zone. But do the statistics back up his excitement?
Extravagant Crowd - Carl Van Vechten’s Portraits of Women and Photos of African Americans. Previous post by ND¢: Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten 1932-1964. Also, public domain works from Wikimedia Commons. [more inside]
Invincible Cities "Hundreds of color photographs of Richmond, California, Camden, New Jersey, and Harlem, New York, intended by the artist to be part of a 'Visual Encyclopedia of the American Ghetto.' The photos depict the built environment of these cities as they change over time (1980s-2005). Website features a detailed introduction and databases of photos from each city with interactive maps." [via] [more inside]
"No one told me there would be unremitting noise every Saturday for the rest of my life.” Historic Harlem drumming circle drives young white professionals drum crazy. Who will prevail?
"Even though it’s run by blacks...it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb..."
"And I couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between [Harlem's famous] Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, primarily black patronship....It was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun...And there wasn’t any kind of craziness at all." 1968? Nope. Bill O'Reilly in 2007. [more inside]
Harlem's commercial and cultural backbone, 125th Street, has been gentrifying fast; many of its Black-owned businesses have been forced out by high rents and replaced by branches of white-owned national chain stores. The street's best-known cultural centers remain (notably the Apollo Theater and the Studio Museum in Harlem), but now, its oldest surviving Black-owned store, The Record Shack, is facing eviction. Owner Shikulu Shange, along with other Harlem residents, will lead a town meeting next week to discuss strategies for keeping Black economic development alive in Harlem and in NYC (as of the 2000 U.S. Census, NYC's five boroughs were home to more than 98,000 of about 129,000 Black-owned businesses in all of New York State).
A long-lost treasure too toxic to touch: Construction at New York City's Harlem Community Justice Center recently revealed a room piled high with records documenting the building's former life as an early 20th century prison. They offer a peek into the street life of ca. 1900 NYC and scholars are already interested - there's only one problem: the room also contains decades worth of toxic pigeon droppings. (NY Times - registration required).
Photos (click on the "records rescue" link at the bottom) of the room are available at the great correctionhistory.org which also offers histories and photos of other out-of-the-way corners of NYC like the Hart Island Potter's Field.
How much do you like your cell phone? (NY Times link - alternate here) Bronx resident reaches into train toilet to retrieve dropped phone, becomes trapped, is rescued by jaws of life.
Harlem 1900-1940, a site full of pictures and history. The scope of this portfolio is Harlem from the years 1900-1940. Various elements of the history of the urban experience in Harlem's early days as the Cultural Capital of African Americans are represented here by graphic and photographic images from the Schomburg Center collection.
A Great Day in Harlem. Jazz history through one photograph.