“Two Neighborhoods In Harlem ” is a memoir. But because of its historical content, it feels like more than a memoir only telling my story. I chose this title because Harlem is where I am from and for marketing purposes too. Given Harlem’s high name recognition and given that this is my first book, I wanted my book’s title to do what my name could not.
For being the special place that it is, so little has been written or published about Harlem, and I would like to play a part in filling that void. Though known for its lush history, Harlem’s perception has not always been positive, overshadowing many of the good things that Harlem represents.
Until I was 8 years old my family and I lived in a section of Harlem known as Hamilton Heights, and from 8 to 20 years old, we lived in another subsection of Harlem that is known as Morningside Heights. Before moving to Morningside Heights, I had no idea that something so major was in the works, and the sudden realization that Hamilton Heights was a thing of the past for me shook me to my core. Sadness does not even begin to describe how I felt about being torn away from my beautiful neighborhood and friends. I thought Hamilton Heights would be where I would always live. But as it turned out, the move was a blessing in disguise. Though it was impossible for me to know it at that time, the move changed the direction of my life and opened the world up to me in a way that I can only describe as remarkable; and the 30 chapters that follow my opening paragraph explore the many ways that these blessings were bestowed upon my family and me.
The story provides a unique look at New York City, Harlem, and my two neighborhoods. So if you are at all curious about New York City or Harlem, I made every effort to satisfy your curiosity. And if you like your reading seasoned with culture, history, laughs, sports, suspense, interesting people and places, music, or travel, my story has all of that and more. Wherever you are from, I am almost certain that there is something in it for you, and I would not be surprised if you find some of your own life experiences in my story.
Though “Two Neighborhoods in Harlem” is a positive, funny, adventuresome, inspiring, and upbeat story about growing up and living in Harlem and New York City, by the time you turn the last page you will have spent time with me on my adventures in Berkeley, Oakland, Los Angeles, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Napa and Sonoma, California; the San Francisco Bay Area; Havana, Cuba; Santa Ana, Mexico; the Bronx, and Brooklyn New York; New Jersey; Tijuana and Nogales, Mexico; Hampton, Virginia; South Carolina; Miami; Nogales, Arizona; and Tucson, Arizona. Not only that, but you will have read about the interesting people whom I have had the pleasure of meeting and knowing. Then too, you will have read about how a kid like me from Harlem (with all of my many early-academic challenges) was able to spend time in so many far-away places by this one single move from Hamilton Heights to Morningside Heights.