Harlem in the 80's (Clay, Lenox: rent, crime, how much)
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To me still amazing how much Harlem has change. How expensive it is now. The people who bought their properties back then made so much money if they do sell today. Was it true that there was some properties that the city sold for $1? I never though that Harlem will look so much better today. When I was young, I though that the decay will actually spread south to bring more decay and crime to the UWS and the UES. Did you guys thought the same? But today the UWS and UES is actually extending upwards. Yes, there still crime (although so much less), and those big housing projects, but rich people don't seem to care anymore. They are buying and renting when something become available for them. New Restaurants, spas, coffee shops, fashion retail, etc, sprucing up all over. Not the type of businesses that you will expect by looking at those photos back then. How long until most of Harlem is gentrify? I think south of 125th street will probably be very Gentrify in the next 15 to 20 years. Did anyone experience Harlem back in the 80's or 90's and what were your thoughts of the future of Harlem back then?
The city did sell properties for $1. However the native Harlem resident was usuallly excluded from this because of redlining and other tactics. A purchaser also had to prove that they had the funds to renovate the property in a specific short limit of time. Most native Harlemites could not afford the restrictions. It was easier to buy a relatively brand new home in another boro. Also the crime at the time made it even less apealing.
The decay did spread south to the UWS. There is a thread that shows pictures of the UWS during the late 70's. It looked similar to Harlem. The rebuilding started in the UWS and eventually went north.
Yes many Harlemites knew from back in the 60's after the riots, when heroin was king that Harlem would eventually come back. Those old people back in the 70's remembered Harlem when it was grand.
That is what they would talk about, the convenience of the transportation. How you were near all the subways and buses that could take you to the major parts of the city, in a short period of time.
People always spoke about how they were locked out of buying the properties for $1. Many tried. How they knew that the properties were being cheaply renovated temporarily in order to hold the properties for the future when wealthier people would move back.
Many of the properties on Lenox aka Malcolm X Blvd and Seventh Ave aka Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd were boarded up from the early 1920's and were still owned by the families that boarded them up, and refused to sell to Black people but would also not live there. They did however rent out the store front spaces.
All and all this is something that we heard about constantly how Harlem would rise again, and how poor people would not be able to live there anymore.
I think what has surprised people is that the middle class cannot live there anymore either.
More pictures of Harlem, 80's to present. The best site if you want to see how Harlem has changed over the years. Invincible Cities
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