Saturday, November 3, 2007
Last night I saw the highly anticipated American Gangster. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, Denzel did a stellar job once again. His talent is downright overwhelming at times. No one else could have played Frank Lucas but Denzel. And dang that man gets more attractive as he gets older! Or maybe he gets more attractive as I get older… Anywho, I caught the flick in Harlem, went to Londel’s (also in Harlem) to eat dinner afterwards and then chilled at another uptown lounge/bar following that. It was all by design. I suggested to my girls that we spend the evening in Harlem after the movie to keep the sprit of the flick alive. Sorta like a theme night type thing.
Since I missed the advanced media screening in Vegas during the NABJ conference (sorry, I’m still a lil’ salty ‘bout that) I promised myself I would watch the movie in Harlem. On opening night. Like we used to do back in the day when movies first came out. See, although I’m Queens born and bred, I’ve always had a little fascination with Harlem. The Brooklyn bandwagon is full enough. Plus, I think I’m caught up in the romanticized Harlem Renaissance stories. From Langston Hughes and Romare Bearden to The Rucker. There’s even an entire line of sneakers nicknamed after the place. To date, whenever I head up to the Manhattan neighborhood between 116th and 155th Streets, river to river - I always, always check for what folks are wearing. Or more importantly how they’re wearing it. It’s really no surprise then that The Denim Library was born in this very place. (I know that was an awkward transition; sue me.)
The Denim Library is located at 2326 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. (at 135th St.)/212.281.2380. I was first put on to this denim mecca nearly two years ago. I wrote about it for a magazine when it was just a couple months old but the piece was cut from the issue. Since, The Denim Library has been recognized by The New York Times, Travel & Leisure and CBS News. However, it is still below the radar of most NYC shoppers outside of Harlem. Why should The Denim Library be on your radar? Well, the store itself is just exquisitely designed. The walls are covered with denim fabric and the jeans are stacked on the shelves like books. It’s a ‘library’ - get it? TDL carries hard to find brands such as William Rast to classic faves like True Religion. It’s also owned and run by a Harlem native, So Hunter who truly cares about his community. (That’s him at the store in the pic.) I have no doubt that if TDL were located in Soho or Midtown, it would have triple (or more) the business that it currently has. But, I’m glad that it has remained in Harlem, so residents there can enjoy an upscale but comfortable shopping experience in their neighborhood without going to a large chain retailer. TDL carries both men’s and women’s apparel, and sportswear to round out their extensive denim offering. I raved about it to one of my co-workers who went and said she experienced less than excellent customer service when purchasing her jeans. That’s not cool. But fortunately, I don’t think it’s the norm. (She loves her jeans, by the way).
That little word with the huge effects called gentrification has Harlem turned upside down as of late. For better or worse, the neighborhood is undergoing a major transition. I suspect more Denim Library type retailers will begin popping up in Harlem over the next few years. Regardless, Harlem’s swag is here to stay. Hopefully The Denim Library is too.
Now, if you haven’t already - go see American Gangster!