Best Place to Wish You Could Still Sing Donny Hathaway's 'The Ghetto' (2008)

Harlem's West 140th Street

Chase Manhattan done gone and converted the majority of the tenements on Harlem's West 140th Street into refurbished, low-income housing. The block recently looked like Beirut, its bombed-out, fire-ravaged hulls a glaring contrast to its shining, pristine Italianate neighbors to the immediate south at Striver's Row. Today, the gulf within the block—between the restorations and a graffitied, bricked-up eyesore that's the lone holdout on the street's south side—still underscores the bittersweet half-life of dwelling in the Black Bottoms of urban America. Hathaway's first huge hit indelibly gave voice to that tension. Stand on the trash-laden stoop of the holdover building, and give thanks for what you got.


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