Sincerely, Harlem

H.A.R.L.E.M. Walnut coasters


This set was inspired by the map of Harlem drawn by Elmer Simms Campbell (1906-1971), the first African- American cartoonist to be published nationally (in Esquire, Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker and Playboy, among others). The map faces southwest, is bounded by 110th Street (in the top left corner), which runs along Central Park’s northern edge, and concentrates on Lenox Avenue and Seventh Avenue (“or heaven”).

There was no way to completely incorporate the map into each coaster so it's divided into 6 sections of wonderful history.  This being the tail end of Prohibition (1920-1933), not much effort is made to conceal the fact that alcohol is readily available in Harlem nightlife. As the legend states, the only important omission (on the map) is the location of the various speakeasies but since there are 500 of them, you wouldn't have had much trouble finding one.

Other intoxicants are equally easily obtainable. Near the corner of Lenox Avenue and 131st Street, a hunched figure proclaims "Ah’m the reefer man, selling marahuana cigarettes at 2 for $.25." This section of Harlem, bounded on the other side by 133rd Street, seems to have been a particularly active, if not necessarily profitable nightlife hotspot: there are clubs opening and closing at all times – There’s too many to put them all on this map.

Have a look and see what was where you like to go today. 


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