by Dana Givens
I didn’t always appreciate being born and raised in Harlem, New York. Growing up, I was often struck by the stereotypes and caricatures of what others thought of my home. I quickly learned I was from “that” neighborhood, that place you tell your friends not to walk around at night. I can remember funny stories about how one would never go north of 96th Street.
But times have changed. Today, I look at my neighborhood with a weak smile, a faint happiness when I see the new life being born in old haunts combined with a gloomy despair when I look at new luxury condos replacing the homes of those who built Harlem into what it is. Harlem has changed before my eyes, but I never forgot its history.