Upon my initial assessment of the West Harlem area, various thoughts came to my mind. The overall make up of the community ranged from being oppressive to visible signs of growth. The prominent Harlem Hospital is merely a few blocks away from the Fred Samuel Playground. Agencies such as Harlem Temple Forbes Worship and Community Center and the Schormberg Center for Research in Black Culture are very accessible to the community. There is a NYC library also heavily used in the community and provides wheelchair access.
There were no actual banks visible only the ATM portion. Not many franchised store names were immediately visible. There were mostly mom and pops stores varying from bodegas to pharmacies, and department stores. A street merchant was selling the only healthy food available. My classmate observed the fruits to be spoiled or close to becoming rotten. H&R block a tax preparation company had a store in the neighborhood, as well as T-Mobile and Subway.
There were visible signs of a Muslim and Christian faith in the community. A majsid and AME church were located in on a main road for the participants to attend. There were no palmists or spiritualist stores found in the community.
The community appears to be thriving as a result of its residents. The streets were crowded with shoppers going into different stores. A few storeowners did actually live in the community while others lived elsewhere. Several storeowners were indeed of the same cultural and ethnic background of the community they serviced. Many products sold were culturally based; therefore businesses were able to service the community. During my assessment most customers used cash, very few were seen using credit or debit cards. I witnessed one consumer using the ATM machine. After speaking with seasoned resident, he stated that not many residents used the ATM machines because they can become vulnerable to being robbed. That made a negative impression on myself. The stores are lined up on...