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Mayor Giuliani at Ceremony

The Second Harlem Renaissance

At my 86th Town Hall meeting in Harlem last week, I expressed my pleasure that we were able to reach an agreement with Bill Clinton that allows him to open an office at 55 West 125th Street, where the City's Administration for Children's Services will also be leasing several floors.

I believe that President Clinton's being in New York -- and particularly being in Harlem -- is a very good thing. I think his presence here will say something very significant about where Harlem is now, not only to the people of New York, but to the rest of the country.

Like the rest of the city, Harlem is experiencing a great renaissance. It seems that most anywhere we look in Harlem, we can see a new building under construction or an older one being renovated. As crime goes down, the economy is going up. Millions of dollars are pouring in from all kinds of companies seeking investment opportunities in Harlem.

The City's successful campaign against crime has made Harlem as safe as it's been in decades. In fact, crime reductions in Harlem have outpaced those in the city as a whole -- for instance, homicides in one central Harlem precinct have dropped by 84 percent since 1993, compared to 64 percent citywide.

A dramatic drop in crime and an increased quality of life have laid the foundation for the most significant private sector investment in Harlem in well over a generation. Harlem is being discovered by the businesses that were reluctant to invest in the past.

Companies that invest in Harlem also invest in the residents of Harlem, and in the future of Harlem. It is really inspiring to see nationally-known companies that never had a presence in Harlem now aggressively establishing new businesses and creating new jobs.

The much-anticipated Harlem USA -- a $300 million project -- has brought Magic Johnson Theaters, HMV Music, the Gap, the Disney Store and a New York Sports Club to the heart of Harlem. Residents who used to have to drive miles to get to a supermarket now have Pathmark, Rite Aid, Blockbuster and Starbucks all right on 125th Street. These new businesses are expected to create well over 2,500 new jobs for Harlem residents.

Existing businesses have benefited from the City's elimination of the commercial rent tax north of 96th Street. And over the past seven years, the City's Housing Preservation and Development agency has invested $400 million in Harlem, promoting home-ownership as well as the sale and development of abandoned buildings and empty lots.

With the expanding demand for telecommunications services, our program "Digital NYC: Wired to the World" establishes affordable, Internet-ready office space beyond the traditional boundaries of Silicon Alley. The HI Way 125 high-tech district in Harlem has committed 119,000 square feet of space, with 14,000 available now. RCN has leased 17,000 square feet at 573 West 131st Street.

The families who are buying brownstones and restoring them to their former glory are discovering Harlem, too, and helping to make it an exciting destination in our city. And many city residents who have heard the buzz are taking their first trips uptown to discover Harlem.

But perhaps the most striking fact is that many of our city's record number of tourists come here to discover Harlem. The neighborhood is also one of the city's most popular destinations for international tourists. As people learn about this great and historic neighborhood, they see the positive changes that are taking place. They see a neighborhood that is vibrant and thriving, and the news of Harlem's renaissance grows.

Harlem has always been known for its rich culture, for its creative leadership and vitality. Now Harlem is also known as a community that is helping to power the economic engine of New York and the nation.


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