A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 16, 2005
Harlem’s Main Street, or the Buckle of Harlem’s Black Belt (125th Street)
125th Street (Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard) has long been known as "Harlem's Main Street." Other terms used less often include "the buckle of Harlem's black belt."

In response to recent and anticipated development activity in Harlem, the Department of City Planning has initiated the 125th Street/River-to-River Study to generate a development framework for the entire 125th Street corridor between the Harlem and Hudson Rivers. 125th Street, alternatively known as Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, boasts a unique character and many distinct assets upon which to build. It offers a multitude of cultural, religious and institutional resources, many of which have historic importance for the Harlem community. It is well-served by public transportation, providing both local and regional service. And the recent reactivation of the Hudson and Harlem River waterfronts highlights the corridor's potential for additional amenities. This is a pivotal time for leveraging the public and private investments and initiatives to continue the rejuvenation of Harlem's "Main Street".

Even McDonald's has improved the threads in one of their restaurants. Staff in a McDonald's on 125th Street in New York City, Harlem's Main Street, have been uniformed in African Kente cloth designs by Carol Reilly.

Catching up with Harlem
Actors, writers and even an ex-president are being drawn to the vibrant, revitalized landmark neighbourhood

Saturday, October 18, 2003 Page T7
Special to The Globe and Mail

HARLEM, N.Y. -- Tourists who include Harlem in their New York City itineraries are only following a path well-worn by a long list of trend-setters who have recently made their way north of 110th Street between the Hudson and Harlem Rivers.

Most famously, former U.S. president Bill Clinton opened an office on 125th Street, Harlem's main street. His pre-diet attendance at local soul-food restaurants such as Sylvia's and Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too is like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

Less fortunate was Hurtig and Seamon's. When the Little Flower nudged it out of business, owner Sidney Cohen was left holding a $60,000 note. So Cohen, with little to lose, had his manager, Morris Sussman, reopen the place as the Apollo, "The Finest Theater in Harlem."

The bill on opening night, Jan. 26, 1934, included Cooper, Aida Ward, Benny Carter, the Three Rhythm Kings, Norton and Margot, Troy Brown, Mabel Scott, the Three Palmer Brothers and "Sixteen Gorgeous Hot Steppers." Plus a film. This created a problem for Schiffman. His Lafayette had name and muscle — but the Apollo was on 125th, which by now had become Harlem's Main Street.

Originally published on November 16, 2004

27 July 2005, New York Times, pg. ZCI:
Whichever way you travel, 125th Street is the hub, the "buckle of Harlem's black belt";...

Posted by Barry Popik
Streets • (0) Comments • Tuesday, August 16, 2005 • Permalink