Has Harlem lost its flavor?

The recently reported shift in Harlem’s primary demographic has caused some neighborhood residents to feel that Harlem has lost its ‘flavor.’  Do you think that Harlem has seen the last of it’s cultural heyday?


7 thoughts on “Has Harlem lost its flavor?

  1. If the “flavor” of old-school Harlem was “hint of shit”, then yes, its slowly loosing that (not fast enough for me)..

  2. thank you anonymous for good answer. other people without good answers, read this guy’s post and you could learn something about answers.

  3. It is with absolute disbelief that I find you posing the question “Harlem had flavor?” as one of the three choices above.

    Just where are you coming from – physically, intellectually, culturally, personally? Do humans breathe? Does the sun produce heat?

  4. I find this question puzzling and insulting…is “flavor” code for “black”? As a minority who’s not black living in Harlem, this leaves a v. bad taste in my mouth (and I’m quite frankly a bit surprised and disappointed at you for asking this).

  5. Why ask this question. If anything, with more diversity Harlem’s flavor will be enhanced. Usually the better tasting dish has a variety of spices, not just one.

  6. “What’s Losing It’s Flavor” mean? Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you should know Harlem lost any former significance it has on the Black Cultural landscape in America LONG LONG ago! (like when Heroine took over in the 70’s). Historically things were managed loosely in Harlem by City Hall – behavorial vices of call kinds. Harlemites knew not to expect police services hence keeping a shotgun under your bed was a standard and normal practice for anyone 55+ or so. Then in the mid-90’s “law & order” came to Harlem in the name of Guiliani, he cleaned up the 125th St. “anything goes” street vendor merchants than lined the street for blocks. Private industry (developers) would not invest in “Old Harlem”. 125th St. had mad crazy flavor in the 70’s – by the end of the 90’s a sense of “order” took root, not only on 125th St but throughout much of Central Harlem. NYPD start enforcing law, etc. The “buck wild-ness” and “anything goes” nature of Harlem of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, & 50’s produced some leading African American culture (dance, literary, theater, etc.). Drugs + Crime followed by Civic Order is all that was needed to deplete the region of all sense of Flavor, followed by a stagnate irrelevant political voice (on a national level) and a failed Black Church.

    Charles Rangel has been awful for Harlem as in his selfishness and personal greed, he has STIFLED any “new political voice, new political blood” from Harlem for 40 years now from emerging. Despite being old as dirt he refuses to this day to “let go” and let a younger more innovative generation hold power and make change. Look around the country and you see Young Black Political Voices (mayor of DC, Newark, etc.) making an impact on a national scale. You see this all over the South as well. Not in or from Harlem. Rangel effectively suppressed a younger generation from taking the politcal reins (as he himself did in 1970), hence new and younger African American political voice comes from all over America, except from Harlem. Black political voices come from all over, except Harlem, thanks to Rangel and this has contributed to Harlem losing it’s significance and flavor (politically).

    Even the Black church has been a tremendous disappointment and failure to Harlem’s culture and flavor. Think about it, if in 1960, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King would have been told the newest, plushest, fastest growing Church in Harlem, right on Lenox Avenue would be a MORMAN church, they both would have laughed at you and said, “impossible”. How can a Morman Church, a Church that had an official “NO NEGROES ALLOWED” policy to reach their upper levels, how can a MORMAN CHURCH plant itself on 128th & Lenox….and FLOURISH? How does that happen? The Answer? The Black church is failing to meet the spiritual needs of the community, that’s the ONLY way the Morman Church can not only build a new plush Church on Lenox Ave in Central Harlem, but also flourish. This speaks to the extent and measure of the failure of the Black Church. The Black Church in Harlem has neglected to address HIV/AIDS properly, the Black Church in Harlem has spent a lot of time trying to cash in on the real estate boom of Harlem, selling its own culture and land. If you read the newspaper’s you all know Calvin Butts himself has been well documented to be a SLUM LORD in Harlem. This is fact based and documented.

    Politics, Religion, Is there a cultural parameter where Harlem not been an “abysmal failure” for the last 2 or 3 generations? And you expect anything significant to come out or be produced by these generations? LOL. Even the Boys Choir of Harlem is a mess with scandal and abuse. Rome fell, Harlem can sure in the heck fall, and did a very long time ago. Harlem’s not been culturally significant to Black culture for a number of generations now.

    Look around the U.S., of those defining Black Culture in fashion, film, literary work, food, political thought, etc. You see these people are from Brooklyn, Atlanta, DC, Chicago, LA, etc. Harlem has had little to no significance, relevance, or contribution (other than Chicken Noodle Soup) to the African Amercan landscape…compared to at least 10 different US regions such as Atlanta, Brooklyn, & Chicago, etc.

    Harlem has been dying since Heroin. The Nail in the coffin came with cleaning the place up (Guiliani). Institutional stagnation (Rangel/Black Church, etc.) assured a lack of anything fresh and new. I am a straight Black man, however I must say in all honesty, it’s only been the gay Black male that has brought any new “flavor” to Harlem of any kind. If it were not for the gay Black male, Harlem would be a total wasteland of cultural relevance to Black America.

    Think about it. In Harlem, the most popular BBQ in Harlem is from White people (Dinosaur), the newest state of the art church with indoor basketball courts is from White people (Morman Church), the plushest dwelling and place to live (110 CPN) is entirely owned by White people. This is the state of Harlem today, and you expect this place to have flavor? LOL. Open your eyes and connect the dots.

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