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 December 20, 2004
Crack Is Wack
The artist Keith Haring died of AIDS on February 16, 1990, at age 31. His originally unauthorized 1986 "Crack Is Wack" mural at a playground on the FDR Drive and 128th Street still can be seen by passing motorists. It was restored in 2019.

Wikipedia: Keith Haring
Keith Allen Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) was an American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work grew out of the New York City street culture of the 1980s.
His "Crack is Wack" mural, created in 1986, is visible from New York's FDR Drive. It was originally considered as vandalism by the New York Police Department and Haring was arrested. But after local media outlets picked up the story, Haring was released on a lesser charge. While in jail, Haring's original work was vandalized. This mural is an example of Haring’s use of consciousness raising rather than consumerism, “Crack is Wack” rather than “Coke is it.” He later made an updated version of the mural on the same wall.

22 August 1986, Indiana (PA) Gazette, pg. 2, col. 1 photo caption:
CRACK IS THE WHACK, JACK -- Celebrities and residents of New York's Manhattan Plaza film a music video for the anti-drug rap song "Crack is the Whack" Thursday afternoon. Written by 21-year-old actor Gregory Holtz, the song is a streetwise anthem to discourage teenagers and crack users from abusing drugs. Holtz is shown kneeling; behind him, from left are Swoozie Kurtz, Celeste Holm, Jean Stapleton and Sandy Duncan.
(AP Laserphoto)

19 September 1986, New York (NY) Times, "New York Day by Day," pg. B3, cols. 5-6:
$25 Fine Ordered
For "Crack Is Wack" Artist
It might be called artistic justice.

Keith Haring, creator of the "Crack is Wack" mural in East Harlem appeared yesterday afternoon in Criminal Court in Manhattan. He had been charged with defacing public property, The penalty for defacing is up to three months in prison and a $500 fine.

The 28-year-old artist from Greenwich Village painted the mural June 27th on the wall of a handball court at 128th Street and the Harlem River Driver. He did it, however, without authorization and was given a summons.

The mural was shown on television, praised by the Crack Foundation and, apparently, won the approval of the neighborhoood. It has remained free of graffiti,

2 October 1986, New York (NY) Times, "New York Day by Day: Anti-crack Mural Will Rise Again," pg. B5, col. 2::
But when an unknown hand vandalized the mural last Thursday and changed it to read "Crack Is It," then he got really angry.
The persistent Mr. Haring said he would repaint his message on the original site, the wall of a handball court at 128th Street and the Harlem River Drive.

His repeat performance is set for tomorrow afternoon and this time he will do so not only with official authorization but with the Parks Commissioner's personal benediction.

NYC Parks
Keith Haring's "Crack is Wack" mural is back! Join us live with the conservator at this icon in East Harlem.
NYC Parks
Keith Haring's "Crack is Wack" mural is back! Join us live with the conservator at this icon in East Harlem. — Manhattan, NY, United States
10:36 AM · Oct 2, 2019·Periscope

Iconic 'Crack Is Wack' Keith Haring Mural Is Back
OCT. 8, 2019 2:22 P.M.
It was restored in 1995, 2007 and most recently in 2012; then a few years ago, the Parks Department covered it to protect it from construction happening nearby. The covering was finally taken off this summer for another much-needed restoration, commissioned by the Keith Haring Foundation and Parks Department and overseen by artist Louise Hunnicutt.

Untapped New York
Keith Haring’s Crack is Wack Mural is Completely Restored in Harlem
Michelle Young 10/24/2019 ARTS & CULTURE, NEW YORK, NEWS
Exciting news: Keith Haring‘s Crack is Wack mural on the handball courts in East Harlem is now fully restored. It’s been a while since New Yorkers have seen the mural — it was under protective covering for four years during road construction and had been undergoing a restoration since August. The beloved mural, which served as a warning to crack cocaine addiction, has undergone numerous paint overs and repaintings since it was first created by Haring in 1986. The first paint over came shortly after Haring finished the work, prompted by the Parks Department. Haring was fined, but later asked to recreate the mural. The mural has had several more repaintings since, most recently in 2012. This means the original mural the artist did was lying beneath layers and layers of paint.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNames/Phrases • Monday, December 20, 2004 • Permalink

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