Friday, June 26, 2009

☞ REMEMBER: West 124th Street


The corner of West 124th Street and 8th Avenue, shot in 1927, shows what a complete Harlem city grid looked like before the Depression years and the Urban Renewal projects of the 1950's. Looking from the west side of 8th Avenue with Broadway at the center-most point, one can see Grant's Tomb and the International House Building looming in the far distance. In the foreground, there seems to be pipe-laying work being done on St. Nicholas Avenue. This corner of 124th and 8th Avenue did not endure the years since it eventually found itself with open lots once the buildings were left to decay. On the northwest corner, the Magic Theaters have been built recently, they anchor the larger Harlem USA complex. On the southwest corner on the other side of St. Nicholas, one can see the Faison Firehouse, a community theater today. Urban Renewal obliterated most of the far western block towards Broadway, and the view has been replaced by massive public housing superblocks. A recent modern-day rule that the city recommends in building affordable housing is that the height should not exceed ten stories in order to avoid disrupting the integrity of low-scale neighborhoods. Take the A,B,C, D to 125th Street to see how the block has changed today. See more on the Faison Firehouse Theatre: LINK.  Archival photo courtesy NYPL

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