Have you ever been to Harlem? Not today’s gentrified Harlem, but the Harlem of old: where Jazz was born with Duke Ellington; Harlem of James Baldwin and Billie Holiday. Harlem of Langston Hughes and his everyday people character like “Jess B. Simple”. Harlem of the A Train by Duke Ellington which told us about the quickest way to get across 110th Street where the working and black middle class live along Strivers’ Row (all of the elite black New Yorkers live along 138th and 139th streets between Eighth and Ninth avenues).
Bruno Mars captured a slice of old Harlem in his funky song “Uptown Funk You Up!”
Let’s stand on the corner of 125th and Lenox on Saturday night as the players, hustlers, and gorgeous ladies get ready to “show up and show out”. So Hot! make a Dragon Want to Retire Man. Here comes all the local Harlemites: there’s Tout Harlem, Red, Black Willie, Slim Goody, as they prepare to hit the Cotton Club (that they couldn’t get in during Prohibition Era), Small’s Paradise, Carl’s on the Corner (145th and Broadway) as they get ready to dance, finger pop till the early morning hours. If you’re shy stay at home, not a place for the faint hearted! And, you know there will be a fight over some beautiful, brown woman. So put on your Boxing Gloves, may the best man win!! Let’s go to the Theresa Hotel, and see who’s singing. Billie Holiday could be doing a set with Lester Young. Count Basie could be holding court! We’ll drink gin, dance, listen to jazz, fight and head for the nearest house party!
Let’s get some golden waffles, and fried chicken to soak up all that booze and sleep a couple hours.
Get up early and head for church to Praise the Lord! Get ready for work on Stormy Monday and look forward to the next time the eagle fly on Friday when we’ll do it again!
Uptown Will Funk You Up in a good way.
That Harlem is no more!!