Wednesday, October 5, 2016


                     Archival photo by Martha Cooper via Place Matters
One of the main locations in Marvel Comics' Luke Cage series on Netflix is basically a nod to the longest running club in Harlem which shuttered in the 80s.  Small's Paradise on 7th Avenue at the corner of 135th Street was one of the rare big nightclubs that was black owned when it opened in 1925 by Edwin Small and basketball player Wilt Chamberlain even bought into the business in the 1970s.  By 1986 Small's closed permanently and the building would be abandoned for almost 2 decades but was finally restored in 2004 as a school which also had an IHOP on street level.   Unlike the superhero series, saving jazz establishments with a lot of history was not something that Harlem politicians were especially known for but the Small's building is one of the rare success stories.

Check out what the interior and exterior of Small's Paradise looked like in our past post: LINK

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