bill-daughtry-espn-98-7On the April 17, 2015 and April 24, 2015 episodes of the weekend community affairs program “New York Sports and Beyond” on ESPN Radio New York 98.7 FM, show host and broadcasting veteran Bill Daughtry interviews Kevin McGruder and Claude Johnson about the recent demolition of Harlem’s famous Renaissance Ballroom entertainment complex by its new owners, that went ahead despite community-wide efforts to save it.

McGruder is a historian, preservationist, and former Abyssinian Development Corporation executive who is now a history professor at Antioch College. Johnson, an author and a historian, is the founder and executive director of the Black Fives Foundation.

Kevin McGruder, April 17, 2015:

Claude Johnson, April 24, 2015:

Daughtry, a Harlem native who grew up living in an apartment that was down the block and overlooking the building, had, like countless others, many fond personal connections to the structure.

The interviews are as a followup to our extensive article about the circumstances surrounding the building’s history, previous ownership, sale, and demolition.

Stripped of dignity, the unidentifiable remains of the Renaissance Casino & Ballroom, a historically important black cultural mecca once known as “The Aristocrat of Harlem,” are removed by wrecking machinery with the property’s former owner, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, framed in the background. (Claude Johnson)

The complete April 17 and April 24, 2015 programs are available here and here as podcasts.

“New York Sports and Beyond,” a community affairs program, is broadcasted on ESPN Radio 98.7 FM on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The show’s complete audio archive is available here.