Harlem’s renaissance: how art, food and history are shaping its latest evolution

The Guardian | Diana Hubbell

It was after midnight on a Wednesday and Paris Blues, Harlem’s oldest surviving jazz bar, was standing-room only. The dive has remained, stubbornly, much the way it has since it opened in 1969. There’s neither a cover charge nor fancy cocktails and patrons can help themselves to barbecued chicken and other comfort food for free. In the corner, Samuel Hargress Jr, the 81-year-old owner who lives on the premises, was holding court in a fedora and tweed jacket.

“I’m old-old-school. Things are real different now to when I came along,” he said. Since purchasing the bar for $35,000, Hargress has been a central figure in one of New York’s most historic – and rapidly changing – neighbourhoods. Though his establishment maintains a local following, these days it’s famous enough to attract international visitors. “You’ve got people from all over. Everybody here’s partying and dancing. They don’t know each other but it don’t matter.”…read more

Image: Neighbourhood views … aerial shot of East Harlem. Photograph: tatarac/Getty Images