Monday, June 18, 2018


In celebration of Pride Month,  Harlem Bespoke will be re-publishing past articles on notable neighborhood addresses and celebrities. The LGBT community in Harlem has been around over 100 years in a significant way but many of the key establishments have been disappearing over the past decades.  Drag balls that drew thousands uptown starting in the early 1900s continued up until the 1990s when Harlem's gay community brought voguing into the mainstream.  Below is a list of notable spots that have been a safe haven for LGBT uptowners but have since been forgotten as historic spots of the gay community.  Archival Photo Courtesy John Reddick

Rockland Palace: Number 280 West 155th Street, just east of 8th Avenue was the site of the legendary Hamilton Lodge Balls starting back in the 1920s but would be demolished by the 1980s.  Currently a parking lot is located at the site: LINK

Imperial Lodge of Elks: Number 164 West 129th Street by 7th Avenue used to be one of the locations that the vogue balls of the 80s and 90s were filmed at in Paris is Burning.  The ballroom has since been converted into a church: LINK

125th Street Bingo Parlor: Number 309 West 125th Street by 8th Avenue was another location that was a rental for the ballroom scene in the 80s.  The bingo hall shuttered in recent years and will soon become a national chain store: LINK

The Apollo: Number 253 West 125th Street by 7th Avenue still stands today as an iconic theater but had the notorious Jewel Box drag review featured on a regular bases up until the 1970s: LINK

Ubangi Club: Number 2221 7th Avenue by 131st Street was formerly Connie's Inn but transformed into Club Ubangi by 1934 which was known as spot for the gay crowd to meet.  This address was part of the Lafayette Theater complex which was demolished 3 years ago: LINK

The Pink Angel: Number 773 St. Nicholas Avenue by 148th Street was most recently St. Nick's Pub but was a gay hangout called the Pink Angel back in the 1950s.  The storefront had been vacant since 2012 and a fire destroyed the building this year: LINK

The Clam House: Number 146 West 133rd Street by 7th Avenue was know in the late 1920s for the cross dressing entertainer Gladys Bentley but was demolished in 1969 and replaced by a new building in 1982: LINK

Mount Morris Baths: Number 28 East 125th Street by Madison Avenue had been open from 1890 and was a gay meeting spot from the 1930s up until 2003.  The commercial space has recently been converted into a martial arts studio: LINK

Lenox Lounge:  Number 288 Lenox Avenue by 125th Street reportedly had gay mixers in more recent decades but would eventually be dismantled over a lease dispute back in 2013: LINK

Harlem YMCA:  Number 180 West 135th Street between Lenox and 7th Avenue was built in 1901 but the public had no idea that these Christian establishments were popular with the gay community until a song came out in 1970s by the Village People.  The landmark building on 135th Street still stands today: LINK


Harlem Bespoke: Number 205 West 138th Street by 7th Avenue arrived on the market back in April for $2.2 million, had a price in increase to $2.45 million and now has a contract out.  As previously mentioned, this renovated, landmark 2-family with some original details within could be the best deal in Central Harlem since it is one of the lowest priced homes on Strivers Row.  As with most of the historic homes on the block, a garage can be found out back and there is an outdoor space set above that aforementioned amenity. With that said, the listing does not mention if any of the units are leased so buyers might want to inquire.  More photos and details can be found on the broker site: LINK 2018


June 14th through June 24th, Drawing a Blank exhibit at 1850 Amsterdam by 151st Street.  There was a recent article in Dazed magazine that mentioned a pop-up art exhibit at a 10,000-square foot former police station on Sugar Hill.  The project involves local and UK artist in a raw space that apparently has new performance additions during its run.  We have not been able to make it over yet but the Drawing A Blank Instagram account has quite a few images of what has been presented recently: LINK 2018


Saturday, June 23rd, Noon to 6:00PM, 9th Annual Harlem Pride Day, 12th Avenue between 135th and 138th Street.  Harlem Pride will be returning to West Harlem this year by the West Harlem Piers.  The annual celebration will be set up on 12th Avenue at the north end of the viaduct with great views of the river and access to venues such as Bierstrasse or Solomon & Kuff which is pretty ideal for the festivities at hand.  There is actually a whole list of events for June thanks to uptown's great LGBT organization and those interested should check out the official website: LINK 2018


Join our growing community of over 13,840 followers on the Harlem Bespoke Facebook site and receive daily to your account by liking our page: LINK