One of Harlem’s restaurant row restaurants is in the news and it’s not appearing good. Bad Horse Pizza in Harlem recently entered into the throes of a public relations nightmare (hope they are prepared!). What’s the deal? Basically, Bad Horse Pizza in Harlem does not want to serve families with kids after 5 pm cause it cuts into their revenue making hours. They made this known to a Harlem parent, who then went on the Harlem4Kids message board and let that be known. Jeff Mays of DNAinfo caught wind of it, wrote a story and now Gothamist is all over the topic asking, could this be a human rights issue? Yikes! And more publications are covering the topic, just Google it.
As a new parent, I definitely sympathize with both sides. However, this story got me thinking, is this incident a sign of Harlem becoming like Park Slope? Hmm. With rising rents, expensive condos going up left and right, a new restaurant every quarter, and more and more families moving into Harlem, I’m starting to believe the answer is a yes. Harlem is heading in the direction of a Park Slope. When families (affluent I might add cause who else can afford pricey condos) and restaurants start to publicly fight each other that is an indicator in my view. What do you think? Is Harlem becoming the next Park Slope?
I vehemently disagree with this assessment. I think the neighborhood is growing, for sure, and going in a positive direction, but it’s about five years away from being truly livable. Where I was in East Harlem was just awful (124th & Madison). 125th and Lex is a nightmare. Between 116th and 125th on the east side is also terrible.
Currently, I live in a food desert without any real neighborhood amenities, not so much as a bar or liquor store. (140th and Saint Nicholas). The grocery store, an unmanaged, unkempt, overcrowded Pathmark is several blocks away, the pharmacy also several blocks away. South to 135th and Frederick Douglass there are similar droughts. Everything is filthy, littered and worn down. Sure, by your office there are some nice options around 110th and Frederick Douglass, but that’s not Harlem, that’s an extension of the Upper West Side.
One thing for sure, as a African American with nationalistic leanings, I have no intentions of supporting any of the new jack establishments. In addition, unless we are going to be serious and delineate the whys of why a food desert does (if it) exist then we have to be real and simply remind ourselves of how racism works in America, it has nothing to do with income or the lack thereof, it has to do with whether or not you are considered valuable enough as a consumer for stores to offer better.This is combined with cultural traditions on what good food means. I have lived in East Harlem most of my life and have found adequate sources of nutrition for the most part and I go back to the days of Jethro Kloss and Adele Davis. There are bars and liquor as well as fast food (if you could consider it such) restaurants everywhere turning huge profits daily! Well, to you “new comers” this is how the “other half” of the 99% have been living!
110th and FDB is not an extension of the Upper West Side – it is Harlem —- the New Harlem that is finally getting all of the amenities of the Upper West Side..Hopefully gentrification will continue at the same rate towards Lenox Avenue.. Of course if you are living on 140 and St. Nick you are not going to have anything but gentrification has not pushed that far north.. That just seems like no man’s land over there… Even with all the fancy brownstones in Hamilton Heights , the numbers of people living in that gorgeous enclave up there are far fewer than the rest of the people to warrant more great restaurants and retail from appearing…. Move south..
Former New York Knicks, John Starks and Anthony Mason are opening a pizza (child friendly) shop two blocks away from Bad Horse Pizza on February 26.
I have just read bits and pieces of this story and don’t usually like to comment unless I know the true story, but any PIZZA place that opens at 5pm that does not want to serve families with kids after 5pm is basically saying they do not wish to EVER serve those families. I gave up on going to Bad Horse a long time ago because they take nearly 45 minutes to make a pie of pizza, but I do order from them frequently
I will have to reconsider that once their competitors open two doors down. I never did appreciate having to spend $50 to feed my kids some pizza. While the pizza is definitely good quality, their pricing is a bit outrageous. If you feel that having families in your restaurant is bad for business, you should probably open a French bistro and not a pizza joint. I don’t know many people (or child haters) who eat at 5pm). I tink Bad Horse will have their wish come true as soon as there is more competition.
This is a sign that the neighborhood is wrestling with it’s “gentrification identity”. Will it become the land of conservative stroller pushing mommies like Park Slope? Or will it become a liberal arts, media & music enclave like Williamsburg? The jury is still out because both types of gentrifiers are setting up shop here. Personally, I think the later is a better fit for integration with Harlem’s existing culture. The later type of gentrifier appreciates Harlem’s literary and jazz history. The later will support local community artists. The former just wants to turn the neighborhood into Disneyland.
My wife and I frequently dine a Bad Horse, and we usually sit at the bar to talk to the owner. We enjoy his pizza and his company. Every time we dine there, we find two things that we identify as staples of the Bad Horse experience: 1) Lots of kids, and 2) lots of African-Americans. Bad Horse does not cater to “new comers,” nor discriminate against families. Bad Horse is great, in terms of both social and culinary character.