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What’s happenin' in Harlem?

| 05:45 UK time, Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Apart from the usual last minute technical nightmares?! They’re just too boring for you, and too upsetting for me to talk about at this time, so instead I’ll tell you about the seriously good corn bread and sassy wings at Sylvia’s Soul Food restaurant, the venue for our New York programme.
A whole host of people are ready to talk to the world, ranging from the Major of Harlem to the youth of Harlem...

I’ve spent a couple of days here now at the wonderful 102 Brownstone Boutique, and met some amazing people – I don’t think there will be too much of problem encouraging people to talk to each other! (Maybe with the rest of the world hearing the conversation...!)

Walking around Harlem, I've spotted a Starbucks and an estate agent with properties in the window selling for well over half a million dollars, evidence of the gentrification the residents in the area have expressed concern about during the telephone conversations I've had over the past few weeks.

Beautiful brownstone buildings, much like the one I've been staying in this week, are either burnt out or restored to former glory. But to the benefit of who? This article expresses concern over the beneficiaries, but I'm sure there are people who could argue the benefits of gentrifying Harlem...

And it's certainly not unique to the district, I'm certainly keen to hear your stories, good and bad, of the developers moving into your area.

The front page of the local Harlem paper, the Amsterdam News this week reports that "the black male unemployment rate is unacceptably high, and it's time for the federal government to do something about it". It's a pretty bold statement that caught my eye whilst I was out and about today, what are your thoughts? Is this a federal issue?

I'll be getting up pretty soon to continue the technical battles with unmentionable company, in the meantime, please send your suggestions for Wednesday's debate by posting below.

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