On the east side blocks, between West 140th and 144th Streets, public housing projects line Lenox Avenue where once stood a central cultural institution in the Harlem Renaissance. The Savoy Ballroom was where the famous Lindy Hop was invented, but by the late 1950's the City of New York decided to have it torn down to replace the ballroom and the neighboring prewar buildings with the more desirable (at the time) modern housing projects. The last two photos show how the once famous landmark has been memorialized today.
The unfortunate thing about the 20th century idea of affordable housing is that the government gets their development contracts, and the neighborhood receives bland new buildings, but at the end of it all, the soul of community gets lost in the exchange. Adaptive reuse can solve much of this issue if it becomes more of the focus in future discussions on community housing needs. Read more about the Savoy in our past post: LINK. Top photo courtesy of NYPL