A wall in East Harlem with something to tell you

East Harlem is home to colorful murals—chronicling rappers, revolutionaries, even cartoon characters (Mickey Mouse is on 110th Street, go figure).

But the four-story mural on Lexington Avenue at 104th Street is really something. “The Spirit of East Harlem,” painted by Hank Prussing in the mid-1970s, chronicles the domino players, musicians, mothers, and playground denizens of the neighborhood at the time.

The Daily News has some backstory:

“The mural, which survived a building fire in 1974, depicts children and adults from a neighborhood devastated by the housing abandonment and economic hard times of the 1970s.

“‘I saw people that seemed to be living life to the fullest, even though on the outside it didn’t look that way,’ said Prussing, 50. ‘It’s that incredible community spirit that came through. They were all closely knit, like a big family.'”

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6 Responses to “A wall in East Harlem with something to tell you”

  1. nycedges Says:

    Ah ha! I’ve driven past this mural but never knew the story behind it, nor the fact that it’s that old –does the artist touch it up periodically?
    thanks for the low down.

    ps; I’ve finally added a new post to my blog about an obscure ‘hood on Jamaica Bay

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    I know it got a spruce-up recently; I think a community group takes care of it.

    Great post on Ramblersville. I’d like to be there right now.

  3. Force Tube Avenue Says:

    Another Hank Prussing mural can be found on the walls of the auditorium inside the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

    Here’s a link: http://www.lapcbrooklyn.org/AboutLAPC2b.htm

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    Lovely mural, thanks Force Tube.

  5. East Harlem Preservation Says:

    See: http://eastharlemfocus.blogspot.com/2009/06/spirit-of-east-harlem-mural-defaced.html and http://eastharlemfocus.blogspot.com/2009/10/street-talk-public-art-in-east-harlem.html for more background info.

  6. Elsewhere « Visualingual Says:

    […] A Wall in East Harlem with Something to Tell You: The Spirit of East Harlem by Hank Prussing chronicles the domino players, musicians, mothers, and playground denizens of the neighborhood during the 1970s. […]

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