UC Recap – July 1 – July6

 July 1 – July 6


27 years ago, Washington Heights erupted after the killing of José “Kiko” García. It appeared that the entire world had been turned upside down. At the time, I felt the urge to document what was happening, so I pulled out my cheap little camera and took pictures of what I encountered on the streets of Washington Heights. I was just a teenager in those pictures and could not completely fathom what was taking place all around me, but I knew this event would have a profound effect on our neighborhood. As I look back now on those days, I realized that what had begun as a visceral response to the killing of José “Kiko” García was really the culmination of the utter madness that Crack had wreaked on our neighborhood. Crack changed everything. Washington Heights went from a poor but mostly peaceful place to an outright war zone almost overnight. The lawlessness and outright thuggery had turned Washington Heights into the East Coast’s most active drug market in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The money that flowed into the neighborhood corrupted everything it touched. Please read the piece replete with pictures of a much younger and skinner me at


While we are still in the 4th of July spirit, please check out the short film I executive produced, The Incredibly Spectacular Dyckman Fireworks Company. Filmed entirely on the 4th of July 2013, this short film is an inside look at the Independence Day celebrations in Dyckman City, USA. We enlisted a great group of talented local cinematographers such as Emmanuel Abreu, Emil Báez, José “Lozer Films” Alfonseca, Gabriel Domínguez and Edgar Pena to capture the night as it transpired. Directed by Jon Ullman, of Trouble In The Heights fame, and executive produced by me, Dyckman Fireworks is an ultra-sensory foray into the little known world of Uptown style Americana. Magic, moxie and mayhem – all in just under 18 minutes. Trust me on this one: all hell breaks loose at the end, so watch the whole thing. Check out the entire film here:


The Uptown Tweet of the Week goes to Lin-Manuel Miranda for giving us a little behind-the-scenes love from the In The Heights movie. Don’t forget that Buunni Coffee has a crowd-funding campaign running right now to create a much-needed performance space in Inwood. Please give what you can to support this super important endeavor.


Keep checking us out at


Led Black


The Uptown Collective


The UC’s mission is to become “the” definitive, transformative and community-based force impacting the arts, culture, business and New York City’s overall perception of Upper Manhattan. Its objective is to reset, reboot and positively redefine Uptown’s artistic, political, cultural and business spheres via the online space as well the collective’s initiatives and functions.


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