The Washington Heights Phoenix – From Riots to Renaissance

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

20 years ago, this very month, Washington Heights went up in flames, anger and disgust. The Crack epidemic had changed the neighborhood for the worst and corrupted everything it touched. Washington Heights went from being a tough but working class neighborhood to an open-air drug market and a war zone almost over night. All those ingredients coalesced into a powder keg that exploded when the police killed drug dealer Jose “Kiko” Garcia. Kiko was immortalized by Nas with the line, “go to hell to the foul cop who shot Garcia” from the Hip-Hop classic Halftime.

On that fateful night the Riots began, I was just a teenager who decided to document the unfathomable events taking place before my eyes. This was our nadir, our lowest point but since then we have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes to become one of the most dynamic and interesting neighborhoods in New York City. That ascent is mostly attributed to the hard work, determination and vision of the very residents that lived through the horrific events of July 1992.

Present day Washington Heights is a different place. Washington Heights has become a beacon for the arts, culture and new businesses. There is an optimism that is palpable both east and west of Broadway. We are on the come up and this is just the beginning. Watch out world, Washington Heights is back and we are on the rise. The Uptown Renaissance is in full effect.

We invite you to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter, or e-mail us at [email protected]

You Might Also Like

  • CinematicFresh
    July 31, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Wow. I remember this but never knew what sparked it. I was walking with my mother and I see people busting out windows out of a super market And shit was getting real so my mom and I hauled ass. Amazing how I’m just knowing what sparked it. I Was like 8 when this happened.