Sunday, February 6, 2011
Are you the sort of East Harlemite who loves to impress friends on walks around the neighborhood with your stories of famous figures who've lived here? Or maybe you're a new neighbor and want to learn about the history of East Harlem. Then there are no better books for you to own than Christopher Bell's East Harlem and his follow up book East Harlem Revisited. They offer readers a visual tour of the emerging area from the early 1900's to today. Bell, who was raised in East Harlem, strings together the complex and ever changing history of the neighborhood. My favorite sections were the stories of Italian Harlem, I love to think about men playing bocce in the parks around here. I was also excited to learn that playwright Arthur Miller and actor Al Pacino were both East Harlemites.
East Harlem and East Harlem Revisited are published by Arcadia Publishing.
Full Disclosure: Arcadia Publishing sent me East Harlem Revisited and my dad lent me East Harlem, which he owned, when I moved into the area. Hmmm, he probably wants it back.
No where else in East Harlem is the area's status as emerging neighborhood more clearly defined than it is on Lexington and 110th Street. An abandoned building, with boarded up windows, sits around the block from one of the largest, and for lack of a better term most luxurious, luxury buildings around. The juxtaposition always startles me.