Sunday, August 05, 2007


Harlem drums
are talking,
but the news

ain't good!!

The Saturday ritual of drumming in Marcus Garvey Park goes back decades and has attracted many local residents and visitors from a far. However, now that residents of the recently completed 2002 Fifth Avenue have moved in, they want the park drummers to move out.

Stand back, they're use to getting their way. Besides consuming a vacant lot, the condo complex also demolished a historic brownstone, the former 2002 Fifth Avenue (identical to its remaining neighbors) to make way for what is their architecturally undistiguished building. Now it's on to removing any pre-existing culture and its accompanying audience if it so displeases them.

The famed Nigerian drummer
Olatunji (1927-2003)
performed several times in
Marcus Garvey Park

Harlem One Stop welcomes and will post your comments.


Blogger Black Radical said...

I lived on madison ave. on 123 for several years. There were times I enjoyed the drumming and times when I did not. Many people in the coop did not, and organized and made the drummers move to another location in the park. Now, that location is near some new developments. This is not about white vs. black, (wasnt when we asked them to move) this is about your living environment.

The sound of the drums are in our living spaces as if they are in the house with us. This isn't about whether or not you like drums, or african drumming, or respect your culture, at least not for me. There is a lot of noise pollution in Harlem. Young guys with Cars blast music from their double-parked cars all night. Or young people hang out until the wee hours of the night talking laughing, yelling, etc. This drumming isn't the same is that, but if you are trying to enjoy some peace and quiet in your home, it might as well be.

My mother explained it best:

I love Luther Vandross, but if Luther was to sing a concert in that park as loud as those drums are every weekend, I would be calling a councilmember, a senator, and the mayor to get rid of him.

I think Harlem is changing alot, in some good and bad ways. I think there are some tragic things happening that need to be addressed. I dont think this is one of them.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody keeps "reporting" on this issue as though (1) there is not a legitimate noise concern, (2) that the drummers have never been asked to move before by residents bordering the park and (3) there are plans to run the drummers out of the park and change the name.

The simplest explanation is most often the truth.

(1) There IS a noise issue. The drums start too early, end way too late and are MUCH TOO LOUD. The old location (to nobody's surprise) was awful for residents of the building across the street.

(2) The drummers have moved SEVERAL times before. The most recent move, as Black Radical made reference to, was from in front of Maple Court over on Madison. Where did they move? Across from a vacant lot, where nobody was disturbed. Now that people are again disturbed, it is incumbent on the drummers (who can locate themselves anywhere) to move to a location where they again disturb nobody, not on the residents to tolerate it. Same as it ever was.

(3) All the conspiracy theories are dumb. People just want to live without noise coming into their space - whether from drums or loudspeakers or whatever. Nobody I have ever heard talk about the issue has EVER said that they want the drummers to leave. There is widespread recognition of the history and importance of this cultural element of Harlem. The "kick the drummers out of the park" conspiracy promoters are clearly looking to play on people's fears. Same with the name of the park. Can't say I've ever heard anybody say that they care what the name of the park is. Simple explanations are most often right - this is a noise issue - and it is definitely the right explanation here.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous HARLEM OBSERVER said...

Next they will change the name of Marcus Garvey Park. Arrogant whites and their negro appeasers who hate their neighbors and welcome the "new settlers" in with open arms. The wholesale of Harlem and the ethnic cleansing of long time harlem residents is happening now. Are you a participant in the cultural and people removal or supporting a Harlem where fairness and unity can prevail. There is no reason why projects, low income housing and luxury housing can exist in Harlem. Unless you are the type that do not want to be around us long time Harlemites and have a distain for the culture and want it to be just like below 96th street.

4:11 PM  

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