This final chapter of the Tale of 125th Street is titled “Demolition Depot,” after an actual establishment on the street, if only because everything between 3rd and 2nd Avenues at least looks slated for the wrecking ball. Nothing may come in the way of gentrification’s relentless juggernaut.
At 2nd Avenue, on-ramps take vehicles up and away from Harlem, onto the Robert F Kennedy Bridge to New Jersey. There is a melancholy stillness here, as though the street itself is sad to leave Harlem – all glass and chiffon – behind.
A billboard with Gisele’s face on it looms high above street level. It lures incoming traffic with visions of the American Dream – a dream that has as its basis, freedom to consume, and the absolute negation of identity.
Goodbye Harlem! Hello America!