Exterior views of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, New York City (Claude Johnson)

This southwesterly view of the boarded up Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City on West 138th Street (Odell Clark Place) shows what used to be the building’s main entrance, once graced by an awning that served as the taxi drop off point for incoming patrons. The two story structure, built in 1923, was a ballroom that served as a fashionably located community hub and as the home court for the New York Renaissance Big Five, the first black-owned professional basketball team. The panel beneath its cornice is distinguished by multi-colored glazed ceramic tiles inspired by Hispano-Moresque wares, a specialty of Islamic pottery first introduced by Moors who had conquered medieval Spain. Three of the pinnacles of the west tower of the Abyssinian Baptist Church are seen on the far left.  (Photo: Claude Johnson)

Exterior views of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, New York City (Claude Johnson)

This southerly view of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City shows the southeast corner of the intersection of West 138th Street to the left and Seventh Avenue (Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard) to the right. The triangular rooftop mount once held in place a prominent two-sided vertical sign that extended along the height of the second story past the roofline, with the word RENAISSANCE spelled out, which became one of the most visually memorable features of the entertainment complex. A gathering Sunday morning crowd awaits an upcoming service at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, a popular destination for tourists from around the world, whose pinnacled towers are visible in the background. A real estate arm of the church, Abyssinian Development Corporation, owns the abandoned, neglected, and dilapidated ballroom.
(Photo: Claude Johnson)

Exterior views of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, New York City (Claude Johnson)

In this view of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, looking southeast from Seventh Avenue (Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard), the sun rises above a line of tourists waiting to attend Sunday morning service at Abyssinian Baptist Church around the corner on West 138th Street (Odell Clark Place), while, in a figurative sense, the sun slowly sets on the once-famous now decrepit cultural and sports landmark, about which the visitors are completely oblivious. (Photo: Claude Johnson)

Exterior views of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, New York City (Claude Johnson)

This southeasterly view from Seventh Avenue (Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard), shows an alley space in between of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, on the left, and the Renaissance Theater, on the right, both vacant, boarded up, neglected, and dilapidated. (Photo: Claude Johnson)

Exterior views of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, New York City (Claude Johnson)

The back side of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, New York City looking northeast, now used as a parking lot for the congregation of the adjacent Abyssinian Baptist Church, whose real estate arm, the Abyssinian Development Corporation, owns the vacant building. (Photo: Claude Johnson)

Exterior views of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, New York City (Claude Johnson)

The vacant windows in this view of the rear southernmost corner of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City offer an eerie glimpse into the soul of the once-famous, once-vibrant building, now sitting in ruins. The west tower of Abyssinian Baptist Church is visible on the left. (Photo: Claude Johnson)

Exterior views of the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, New York City (Claude Johnson)

The Abyssinian Baptist Church casts an ominous shadow on the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, in this Sunday morning view looking southwest, which completes our 360º look at the once-proud historically important structure. (Photo: Claude Johnson)