Harlem's New Jazz Club Renaissance?

The famed Lenox Lounge and Minton's Playhouse may reopen amid the neighborhood's economic rebirth.

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Lenox Lounge (LenoxLounge.com)

Many jazz fans and local New Yorkers were saddened when Harlem's famous Lenox Lounge closed late last year, but the historical location may reopen. However, it's complicated, reports the New York Times.

The Lenox Lounge shut down on Dec. 31 after a bitter lease dispute between the club's owner and his landlord. The space was supposed to reopen within weeks under new management. But overnight, Alvin Reed, the bar's operator, removed the fixtures and furnishings and took them to a nearby storefront, where, he has said, he plans to reopen. That prompted a $50 million lawsuit from Ricky Edmonds, the landlord, demanding the fixtures be returned. Their next meeting before a judge, to present a settlement or set a court date, is scheduled for April 4.

For the moment, at least, plans for two versions of the Lenox Lounge are unfolding in parallel: one in the storied original location; the other up the street, with the lounge's fabled interior and trademarked name.

They will have company. Farther south, on West 118th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, another investor plans to reopen the legendary jazz haunt Minton's Playhouse, which before a recent short-lived run had been closed for almost as much of its raucous 75-year history as it had been open.

Maybe it's a long shot. But within the neighborhood's current economic remix, with its new condos and destination restaurants, three businessmen have latched on to the same dream at the same time: reviving a piece of vintage Harlem with a jumping, jamming jazz spot, that this time will outlive the past.

Read more at the New York Times.

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