Monday, January 12, 2015


Over the weekend, we caught up with some Harlem cultural history by watching Paris is Burning for about the 30th time and still wondered where the main ballroom in the film was located at within Harlem.  There is so much going on in the amazing Jennny Livingston documentary from 1990 which showcase the underground ballroom scene of Harlem that one can miss out when one narrator mentions the Imperial Lodge of Elks at 160 West 129th Street.  Viewers actually can see the taxidermy of an elk's head up at the lacquered red balconies in many of the scenes.

Soon after, we walked by the aforementioned address just east of 7th Avenue and took the above photo which shows that the building still stands but now houses a religious institution. It would probably be feasible that the ballroom was actually intact nowadays since this would work for church seating but it is unclear if the interior still has the original details shown in the movie.  Ballrooms have quickly disappeared in Harlem over the last few decades but at least this legendary location is still intact as a reminder of the great, diverse culture that has always been uptown.

1 comment:

  1. I just recently watched it for the first time a few months ago, definitely a great film that explored so much.

    It appears most of the cast has passed on, however, do you know anything about the two younger kids. Hopefully they took care of themselves.