Thursday, September 9, 2010

Harlem; it's coming up.

  Harlem is an extraordinary area near the top of Manhattan.  It starts at 110th street and runs up to 155th.  Over the many years of Harlem's existence the exact locations of the borders have changed so it's hard to know exactly where it starts and stops. There are parks and people, fishing and food and The Harlem Meer (pictured above) is just a stones throw away from my friend's apartment.  I have had many fellow Manhattanites over the past 6 or 7 years make the move to Harlem.  My good friend and groomsman lived on 113th street and Frederick Douglass Blvd for 2 years before moving to the Lower East Side.  It was always an experience going up there to see him.  The  train stops at 110th so the walk wasn't too far and relatively safe.  Now my friend Abiy lives there on 110th and 5th with his wonderful girlfriend Kristen. I asked him if I could come up and photograph Harlem from the East side and he said sure.   They live in Schomburg Plaza (below) and the doorman was nice enough to give me access to the roof, 40 stories high!
Apparently years ago there was a horrible fire and many people died and had to jump from these very windows.  When I was walking around Harlem folks would come up to me and tell me random things about the buildings and locations I was photographing.  It was up to this Country Boy's instincts to differentiate between what was real and made up.  I liked hearing their stories regardless because the people are so vibrant and colorful here! (or it could just be the booze they're drinkin' ha!)

That's the Empire State Building on the left shot from the top of Schomburg Plaza and the building line you see borders the Park on 57th street from 5th avenue all the way to Columbus Circle.  That body of water is the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, which boasts a gorgeous fountain smack dab in the middle of Central Park

Here's another photo of the Harlem Meer and a public pool photographed directly above Frawley Circle.

     Frawley Circle on 110th and 5th Avenue.
There's a big red double decker tour bus on the left beside the cab in front of Duke Ellington on 5th avenue. 
If you look closely you can see Metro North in between the projects and the twin shadows you see is from the building I'm on. (3rd photo on this blog)  Yes, those are projects and they aren't as bad as you might think.  It's just a cool area w/ no glitz or glamour. 

                            Tri-borough Bridge which connects Harlem to Queens and Brooklyn.
the Tri-Borough Bridge

I like fire hydrants in the City.  For some reason they always bring people together on the streets.  Folks play in the water and sit on top of them.  Others gather round to scope out the scene and to check out the ladies walking by.  Country Boy here just likes to take photos of them.

Yes, there's a dark side to Harlem but no need to touch on a preconceived notion.  My main goal of this blog entry was to enlighten you on a different aspect of a neighborhood that you may have thought other wise.

until next time,

~Country Boy


  1. This is great! Again- sweet photography as well. As a native son of NYC I love Harlem. At one point Harlem was the epicenter of culture that defined New York for generations. I went to college in Harlem (Spanish Harlem, a bit more north actually) for a while. My parents used to go on dates there in the 1950's to long defunct jazz clubs like Small's Paradise and The Big Apple Grill. The Big Apple Grill is actually how NYC came to be known as "The Big Apple" because when American Jazz cats would play in Europe and they'd say to eachother- "see you back at the `Big Apple, man."

  2. Thx Keefy! I have always heard so many different stories about how NYC came to be named. Thanks for the info and we will pay it forward. I hope you have a great birthday man. Be well. Music is your life.......

  3. When we took a Cruise around Manhattan, we saw some dudes doing some serious stunts on jetskis up there! Was fun to watch. It looks like a neat area!


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