Is Harlem Becoming The New Hollywood?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 12/10/2013 | 10:45 AM EST

Many directors are turning to the historic 'hood for its richness

It looks like Harlem is experiencing a new renaissance - this time in film. The historic New York City neighborhood has become a hotspot for many new television shows and films that have turned to its quintessential New York look and vibe.

Period pieces like Boardwalk Empire and the upcoming The Knick have used Harlem’s streets filled with row of brownstones to depict the classic New York look, while the highly anticipated Will Smith-produced Annie remake starring Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Quvenzhane Wallis has utilized the famed neighborhood for its rich history.

"Harlem is world-renowned as a community, and cinematographers are drawn to the excitement of working there," says Katherine Oliver, the commissioner for the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment in a statement.

Other flicks that have recently filmed in Harlem are The Last 5 Years, episodes of Person of Interest, Learning to Drive, and an untitled Chris Rock feature film.

While Harlem is best known for its explosion of Black art and literature in the early 1900s and its strong connection to the Black political and social community throughout the Civil Rights era, over the years it’s been known for its massive gentrification and a spike in its White and Hispanic populations. Still, Harlem residents and community leaders continue to champion for the neighborhood’s strong culture.

(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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