The legendary Lenox Lounge may have officially
closed its doors five years ago. “CERTAIN THINGS ARE NOT SUPPOSED SHOULDN’T
BE REPLACED – BECAUSE THEY’RE IRREPLACEABLE.” But this week, the legendary nightclub officially
broke hearts in Harlem – with the sight of its demolition. “I’M FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OLD. I MEAN, IT’S HARD FOR ME NOT THINK OF HARLEM
WITHOUT LENOX LOUNGE.” It’s not as if anyone needed a reminder
that Harlem – is changing. “WE DON’T’ GOT WALL STREET JOBS. WE NEVER DID.” …Some call it gentrification…others call
it progress. The old…making way for the new. The bottom line – it’s been happening for
some time now. Decades. And the Lenox Lounge is just the latest participant. Still, this place – where Billie Holiday,
Miles Davis, and other greats took the stage….was different. “THIS IS A LANDMARK SINCE I AS A LITTLE
BOY. I WAS COMING HERE WHEN ALL THE GREATS WAS
IN HERE.” So even when it was closed – those who remembered
the nightclub in its heyday could still take solace in the fact that at least, it was still
here…like an old favorite sweater that still hangs in the closet, because you just can’t
give it away. “WHAT I’M USED TO, WHAT I WAS WITH, WHAT
I STARTED WITH. IT’S LEAVING. AND WHEN I LOOK AROUND, EVERYTHING I’M USED
TO IS GONE.” Just a few blocks away, at the Paris Blues
Lounge – its eighty-one year old owner Sam Hargress is still at it…a survivor, a witness
to his neighborhood’s evolution. We met Sam a couple of years ago, while filing
a report on the passing of another legend – B.B. King. Sam credits his club’s longevity to a key
decision that granted him immunity to the forces of gentrification and rising rents. “I GOT SOME GOOD ADVICE WHEN I FIRST STARTED. YOU NEED TO BUY A PLACE FOR YOU TO LIVE, AND
FOR YOUR BUSINESS. I LIVE RIGHT UPSTAIRS. I OWN THE PROPERTY. I LIVE RIGHT UPSTAIRS SO. THEY SAID, YOU WON’T NEVER HAVE TO WORRY
ABOUT ANY PROBLEM, BECAUSE IT’S YOURS.” Sam’s advice for the next generation that
will eventually face the economic forces that shuttered the Lenox? Ownership. WHEN YOU OWN SOMETHING, YOU WORK A LITTLE
BIT HARDER. SO WE NEED TO JUST THINK ABOUT WORKING A LITTLE
BIT HARDER. I GOT A SON, I’M JUST ABOUT GETTING HIM
READY NOW. SO HE JUST GOTTA BE USED TO NOT WORKING EIGHT
HOURS A DAY, BUT HOWEVER LONG IT TAKES TO KEEP THE PLACE GOING. SO THAT’S WHAT EVERYBODY NEEDS TO DO – THINK
ABOUT WORKING. {Jay} there are no shifts? “AIN’T NOT SHIFTS. JUST WORKING.” {Jay} The day ends when it ends. “THE DAY ENDS WHEN IT ENDS. EXACTLY RIGHT. YES.”