How it all works.

I'm trolling New York City collecting maps from flyers, government reports, informational brochures and such with the notion that all these maps will all somehow join together to create a complete map of NYC. The maps have to exist in real life- no downloads and cannot be rescaled or cut to fit.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Harlem done at last.

Dear mum,
Lenox Avenue is the first of the Avenues that begin and end in Harlem. It has been renamed Malcolm X but the locals continue to call it by its old name. It runs from 11oth St to 147th St and unlike the avenues to the east which contain a large majority of Latinos, Lenox Ave is predominantly Black with a large and active contingent Muslim and African. The architecture is mainly tenement style buildings interspersed with a good many new and ugly apartments. Maybe Victorians thought Victorian buildings were ugly. It's hard to judge a street on a hot holiday weekend but Lenox Ave was still lively, almost bustling and fun.
Businesses, such as they are can be divided into 3 categories- stores selling baseball caps and African dresses, bodegas and supermarkets and beauty parlours/ barbershops with the latter category far outnumbering the former two combined. If all the beauty parlours/ barbershops were disappeared I think the resulting real estate vacuum would summon the feared double dip recession. The presence of so many beauty parlours appears to be quite beneficial to the community as the women there are consistently beautiful and well maintained.

Ogling aside, there's not much there except the fine Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. I was going to write about how the main exhibition there seemed to gloss over the last 400 years of Black American history before I learned that the exhibition was a retrospective highlighting 25 years of exhibitions. So that's why. The smaller exhibition in the basement was better. It dealt with inequalities in the NYC school system. Almost 100% of white 9th graders graduate within 4 years whilst less than 50% of black and hispanic students graduate within 4 years. I was going to write about how as a sunburnt Irishman looking for maps I notice that it's the blacks and latinos who check my ID to get into the place and the whites who work upstairs and tha
t for whatever reason, the system is failing, creating or maintaining a caste of gatekeepers and tradesmen but at the last minute, due to my ignorance I decided not to.

Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, known affectionately to the locals as 7th Ave is- I swear to God the mosquito I'm trying to kill has a fucking teleporter- is more of the same as Lenox I was admittedly tired and hot by that stage and should really go back. There are more bars on ACP Jr Blvd than there are on Lenox. I should have availed myself of one but I couldn't find a Chase ATM. The bugger got me. The phone ate my photos again so I've nothing to show you. Here is a nice picture of a dog instead.

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