Harlem’s infamous trifecta: poverty, violence, and crime. While there has been some gentrification since the 1990s, these issues still plague the area. In fact, New York magazine recently listed Harlem as the least livable neighborhood in NYC last fall particularly due to the crime rate.
However, because of these issues, the many Harlem residents often band together to try to overcome these problems whether through activism or just by trying to foster the community spirit.
Since moving to NYC, I’ve noticed that many these activities (barbecues and gatherings) take place at Morningside park on the weekends. Recently, my roommate invited me to an annual Harlem BBQ that is organized by a group of friends from the Grant Housing projects. According to my roommate, the group members refuse to rely on commercial sponsorship and instead personally pay for all the food and equipment.
It was a great vibe – it felt like a family reunion – and it really emphasized the community spirit of Harlem despite the well known social problems that still occur here.