Welcome to Heavenly Harlem

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This Harlem door has received the attention of Panamanian street artist Franco the Great.  He was born Franklin Gaskin in Panama and is now known as Franco the Great (due to a career as a magician) and as Harlem’s Picasso.

In 1968, in response to the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, storeowners in Harlem installed security gates at their properties, and Franco decided to restore the mood of positivity by decorating the gates.

Since then, Franco has painted over two hundred gates across Manhattan, but many have been removed, partly due to new zoning laws that require the installation of “see-through” gates.  However, on 125th Street you will still see much of his work, and may even see him in action on a Sunday.

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Copyright Debbie Smyth, 6 July 2017

Posted as part of Thursday Doors

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