Following economic migration away from the neighbourhood in Manhattan during the previous decade, what was left behind in Harlem was a group of residents that held high crime and unemployment issues as less important than having fun and promoting a strong sense of community.
Broadly, it’s an attitude typical of people in dire circumstances; that the community ethos and making the best of a bad situation prevails as much as all the negative stuff. It must have been a fascinating time to live there though and this is reflected in the perpetual fascination with the city during this period.
Jack Garofalo’s photos certainly tell a tale. See the full collection of images doing the rounds here.