A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 21, 2006
2-3 (Austin’s 78723 zip code)

The “2-3” is hip-hop for the last two digits of Austin’s zip code—78723.
AustinSoReal - Check this article on rap from the 2-3
In Austin, zip codes are quite important. Especially the 2-3 (as in 78723) where a lot of the cities hottest hip-hoppers reside and thrive. Robert Gabriel put it down and handled the bitnes.
Austin Chronicle
Life Is a Rhythm
A moment of truth in the 2-3

Pulling up to the Northeast Austin intersection of Rogge and Manor Road, an SUV settles at the stoplight, three members of the Public Offenders rap group sitting in back. A hurried yellow school bus screeches to a halt next to them and empties out a couple dozen Pearce Middle School students onto the sidewalk. As one of the boisterous students spots Gator, Public Offenders’ most recognizable member thanks in part to his Black Panther-esque afro, a full-fledged frenzy ensues as 15 or so of the students rush to the vehicle to slap hands and exchange enthusiastic words with their latest neighborhood heroes. Holding up traffic for an entire light cycle, the fanatic scene underscores a reality where proximity and kinship often serve as the most electric of social commodities.

How is it that a local rap group could be so popular within its specific neck of the woods – enough to sell 1,200 copies of their most recent album by hand and foot in the span of four months – yet hardly register outside the 78723 ZIP code? It certainly helps that Gator, otherwise known as Chris Ockletree, served as senior class president at Reagan High School a couple of years back and now spends much of his time pounding the pavement for activist causes. Still, a proper answer transcends the Public Offenders’ story alone, treading deep into the history of a neighborhood that’s grown accustomed to a relationship between isolation and self-sufficiency.

The 2-3, as it’s known by its youngest inhabitants, is bordered by I-35 to the west, Ed Bluestein Drive on the east, Highway 290 to the north, and the intersection of Airport and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards to the south. During the course of the 1970s, the central 2-3 neighborhood of University Hills absorbed a significant influx of African-American home buyers, who were for the most part relocating from nearby neighborhoods including Clarksville, downtown East Austin, and St. John’s. The children raised by these proud, middle-class families discovered common footing at Andrews, Harris, Blanton, Winn, and Pecan Springs elementary schools, Pearce and Kealing middle schools, and Reagan and LBJ high schools.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Tuesday, November 21, 2006 • Permalink

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