Above the Rim

Note the twin towers, signifying NYC.

Above the Rim is a 1994 film co-written and directed by Jeff Pollack in his directorial debut. The Harlem/basketball movie featured Duane Martin, Tupac Shakur, Leon Robinson, and Marlon Wayans. The screenplay was based on a story by Benny Medina and focuses on city basketball and the fraught life choices presented to a young Harlem man.

While a number of (pivotal) scenes were shot at Rucker’s, other locations in Harlem featured prominently. In the image (above) note the “Drugs” sign to the left of Tupac:

This is now Lenox Terrace Drugs, with the same neon sign:

The film’s plot focuses on Kyle Watson (played by Duane Martin) and his opportunity to get a college basketball scholarship and earn a possible future in the NBA. In one pivotal scene, Kyle is shown in Howard Bennett Playground, on 135th Street.

Riverton apartments and the John Russworm school is are the background.

Below is a similar view, today, 28 years later.

The soundtrack to “Above the Rim” included a number of hits and unsurprisingly featured Tupac Shakur.

For more on the film, see the 10 facts link, below:

Pastoral Corruption

Patch.com’s Nick Garber has another great piece of reporting on the $2,000,000 in handouts that were given and accepted by Harlem clergy who sold out their parishioners and community for personal gain.


The clergy members worked with an unscrupulous (and likely criminal) developer to buy vulnerable church properties. A number of Harem houses of worship were (and are) profoundly impacted by the grift and sleaze documented in Nick Garber’s amazing piece.

25th Precinct Community Council Meeting – Wednesday

Kioka Jackson writes:

Good Day Everyone,

Happy October!  In October we are observing so many things:  Domestic Violence, Breast Cancer, Pregnancy and Infant loss, Hispanic and African Heritage.  We honor each entity and ask that in your way that you honor as well.  

Please see the flyers attached for all the upcoming events.  We would really love for you all to come out and join us on Saturday evening for the Wave of Light event which will be held in front of the Precinct.  Also, the 25th Precinct is hosting our first Trunk or Treat


Our October meeting is scheduled for Wednesday the 19th at 6PM.  Please be advised that there is a location change.  We will be meeting at the Rehoboth Christian Church located on 118th Street between 3rd and Lexington Avenues.  This meeting may go over a little bit so please prepare a 6PM – 7:30PM meeting.  Please see the flyer below.  We have several speakers and presentations.  There are several big topics that need to be covered so we ask that CBOs and Elected Officials with announcements bring flyers to hand out.  

I hope to see you all, matter of fact I look forward to seeing you all.  Together we can do great things!

Have an amazing weekend and we will see you soon! 

In The Subway. In the 80’s.

The BBC has a great piece on photos from Brooklyn-based photographer Jamel Shabazz. His work in the 1980’s captures the world underground in the subway – finding fashion, joy and love in surprising images.

To watch the video see:

Patch.com Reports On Very, Very Bad Apartment Buildings

Patch.com’s Nick Garber and a colleague report on a number of buildings in Harlem that have so many issues and consequent fines that the city may simply take over the repairs and bill the landlord:

Here are the 24 Harlem buildings that were added to the Alternate Enforcement Program:

  • 504 West 142nd St.
  • 521 West 150th St.
  • 3341 Broadway
  • 1516 Amsterdam Ave.
  • 539 West 148th St.
  • 602 West 141st St. (also on Worst Landlord Watchlist)
  • 540 West 146th St.
  • 557 West 149th St.
  • 2035 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd. (also on Worst Landlord Watchlist)
  • 1845 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd.
  • 203 West 144th St. (also on Worst Landlord Watchlist)
  • 2866 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (also on Worst Landlord Watchlist)
  • 226 West 116th St.
  • 60 St. Nicholas Ave. (also on Worst Landlord Watchlist)
  • 2022 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd.
  • 2890 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
  • 304 West 147th St. (also on Worst Landlord Watchlist)
  • 220 West 149th St.
  • 312 West 114th St.
  • 228 East 116th St.
  • 2093 Madison Ave.
  • 51 East 126th St.
  • 2411 Second Ave.
  • 79 East 125th St.


Mayoral Debate Regarding East Harlem on Monday

Patch’s Nick Garber reports:

Amid complaints that East Harlem has been neglected by the city government, a forum next week will force candidates for mayor to explain how they would serve the neighborhood if elected.

Monday’s mayoral forum will be hosted by the East Harlem Community Alliance, a collection of more than 200 organizations across the neighborhood. It will start at 6 p.m., broadcast live on Facebook and on Manhattan Neighborhood News.

The six participants include five of the leading candidates in the June 22 Democratic mayoral primary: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Comptroller Scott Stringer, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, former finance executive Ray McGuire and the nonprofit leader Dianne Morales.

“East Harlem is one of the most underserved communities in New York City, and so it is vitally important that we hear directly from the candidates how they plan to address the needs of this community,” said David Nocenti, executive director of Union Settlement and chair of the Alliance, in a statement.

It will be moderated by Nocenti and Nilsa Orama, director of the East Harlem Multi-Service Center and chair of Community Board 11.

East Harlem has higher poverty rates and a lower median income than the rest of the city. In recent months, leaders have complained that the neighborhood has fallen behind in the vaccine rollout despite being worst-hit by COVID-19 than any other part of Manhattan.

After Monday’s mayoral forum, a panel of representatives from East Harlem organizations will discuss the issues raised during the event.

Participants will be: Walter Roberts, executive director of Hope Community Inc.; Eric Donovan Estades, C.O.O. and General Counsel of East Harlem Council for Human Services; Ana Chireno, director of government and community affairs for El Museo del Barrio; and Shirley Annan, ministry programs coordinator at Bethel Gospel Assembly.

See the full post:


OASAS Refuses to Acknowledge Their Impact on Our Comunity

A neighbor wrote to Governor Cuomo and OASAS recently, asking for them to address how the illegal drug trade (which congregates around the nexus of OASAS licensed addiction programs in our community) is impacted by OASAS decisionmaking. Zoraida Diaz (the OASAS NYC District Director) replied with a refusal to acknowledge the impact of decades of OASAS’s decisions that have oversaturated our community. She and OASAS are hiding behind an “it’s complicated” defense, and refusing to meet or begin a conversation.

Here’s the letter:

Please call: 646.728.4760 and ask why OASAS is failing to take responsibility for the oversaturation of addiction programs in Harlem and East Harlem and how this oversaturation attracts the illegal drug trade to our streets.

Mayor Visits East Harlem

Patch has an article on Sunday’s unannounced visit by the mayor to East Harlem to see the rampant drug dealing and quality of life issues that plague East 125th Street.

The article notes that:

Neighbors have complained of open heroin use, garbage strewn across East 125th Street, and human waste littering the sidewalks. This week, the city closed the Dr. Ronald E. McNair Playground on Lexington between East 122nd and 123rd streets at Ayala’s request after consistent drug use in the park left it virtually off-limits to parents and children.

To see more of the Patch article: https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/mayor-visits-east-harlem-blocks-troubled-drug-use

James E. Hinton – Recording Black Activism

The New Yorker has an amazing video of work by the photographer James E. Hinton who made his name memorializing some of the most prominent figures of the civil-rights era. Hinton photographed not only Black leaders of the time (athletes, artists, politicians, thinkers, musicians – including Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Muhammad Ali, Mahalia Jackson, and Miles Davis), but also left a huge body of work at Emory University that celebrates ordinary Black life in mid-century America.

Emory University notes that: James E. Hinton (1936-2006) was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He attended college at Howard University (Washington, D.C.) in the 1950s and served in the United States Army from 1960-1962. He studied photography with Roy De Carava at the Kamoinge Photography Workshop for African Americans in 1963. Hinton worked as a freelance photographer throughout the 1960s, capturing images of the Civil Rights Movement in cities such as Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; and Harlem, New York, and photographing unknown activists and foot soldiers in the movement as well as leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr.; Stokely Carmichael; H. Rap Brown; and Huey Newton. He also photographed artists and athletes including singer Mahalia Jackson and boxer Muhammed Ali. In the 1970s, Hinton began working in film and television as a cinematographer and director. He was the first African American to join a cameraman’s union, Local 600 in New York City, and won an Emmy for his direction of WNEW’s program “Black News.”

The New Yorker has highlighted excerpts from two of Hinton’s films: “The New-Ark” and “May Be the Last Time,” that were digitized by the Harvard Film Archive, which holds a collection of Hinton’s work.

To watch this powerful record see:


Patch Report on Vacant Storefronts

Nick Garber from Patch.com has a great, albeit depressing map of vacant storefronts along the 125th Street business corridor

Nick Garber notes:

All told, 42 stores sat empty along that stretch — not counting active construction sites or businesses that shut down during the pandemic but have pledged to reopen at a later date. That’s a rate of nearly one vacancy per block.

To see and read more: