226 W 150th st.
45 W 139th St
40 Pinehurst Ave.
Photo By: Mathew Henry
By BRG Agent Rick Hernandez
Isn’t it amazing how much people can change with the passing of time? The same can be said of neighborhoods! I’m Rick Hernandez and I have been a Harlem resident for twenty-three years.
When I graduated from college in 1998 I began noticing changes in Harlem. Magic Johnson was one of the first major investors to influence change in Harlem when he opened the Magic Johnson's Theater on 124th and Frederick Douglass. Franchise companies began taking an interest in Harlem. Next came Starbucks, like the ones on 125th and Lenox Ave and 119th and Frederick Douglass Blvd.
As these changes were happening in my neighborhood, great changes began to take shape in my life. After college, I was gearing myself for a career in law, but an unexpected opportunity to travel the world changed my plans. I was offered a position as an international flight attendant, and I simply could not refuse.
I have been an International Flight attendant now for fourteen years. In that time I have seen amazing sights all over the world. The people I have met while on the job, the places I have seen, and the dishes I have tasted have made this career even better than I could have imagined.
In that same period Harlem has flourished with change! As new residences, multiple franchises, and individual businesses were constructed new life was brought to my neighborhood, and with that, new interest in the buzzing real estate market.
Change is what has made this neighborhood great.
In the last twenty-three years I’ve seen a mechanic shop turn into the Harlem Tavern, one of the most popular hang-out spots in the area. I’ve seen the old Harlem Market, in on 116th and Lenox Avenue, transform into a beautiful new residential building called "The Renaissance". I’ve watched “Make My Cake”, started by a local entrepreneur who found success on the Food Network, expand from 110th and Lenox, to two new locations (116th off 7th Ave. and 139th off 7th Ave.). These are just a few of so many examples of how Harlem has, and continues, to change.
Harlem is now a place that blends historic pillars like The Apollo Theater and The Cotton Club, with the spirit of the new. There's so much to explore!
It would be my pleasure to share my experiences in what I have always said is New York’s Best Kept secret. Morningside, Harlem … My Home!