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Date posted:08/03/07

75 Years of News & Candy
in Harlem

by Mary Miles


It's a Diamond: 75 Years of News and Candy in Harlem .

In 1932, a black man had just been inducted into the Black Carpenter's Union. As a present to himself, this man decided to build a newsstand in Harlem on the corner of West 122 nd Street between Lenox and 7 th avenues. Today, this newsstand is known as Mike's Newsstand and Candy Land.   As one of the original landmarks of Harlem, Mike's Newsstand and Candy Land has been keeping adults and children happy for 75 years.

            This is more than just a location to get your daily newspaper and candy. It is a warm, friendly place where everyone knows each other and where you do not mind staying to mingle with the owner who makes sure that everybody, old or young, feels welcome and appreciated as a customer. The proprietor of this small corner newsstand, Mr. Michael Chappell, plays a different type of jazz music everyday. This only adds to the bubbly atmosphere of Mike's Newsstand and Candy Land.

                  This newsstand sells many magazines and newspapers. A few examples of newspapers sold here are The New York Post, The Amsterdam News, The Daily Challenge, and The Beacon. A few magazines that Mr. Chappell sells are XXL, Vibe , and many others affiliated with Black publishing companies.

                 The Man behind the Newsstand: The Story of Michael Chappell.

Today is a beautiful summer day in Harlem when I met Mr. Michael Chappell. He is a middle-aged southern black man born in Tuskegee, Alabama, relaxing in a metal chair as I turned the corner to the newsstand. Mr. Chappell gave me more than I bargained for today. Chappell not only let me know the story behind the newsstand but he also told me his life story, which is as follows.

                  Nine years ago, Mr. Chappell was selling clothes out of a shopping cart up and down the Harlem streets. Growing tired of this, Chappell decided that he wanted to set up a stationary booth and gain the trust of the customers that he sold to. One day, Chappell rested his cart on 116 th and Lenox; he ended up staying there for a week. Eventually, Mr. Chappell rented a booth on 116 th and Lenox, which was known as the Harlem Market back-in-the-day, and remained there for three years. As business started to slow, Chappell "hit the streets again." This is when he saw the newsstand around the years 1998 or 1999.

   To Mr. Chappell, running the newsstand was, at first, an opportunity for him to flex his entrepreneurial muscles. Shortly after deciding to take this chance, Mr. Chappell spoke to the building manager and asked if he could take over the newsstand since the previous owner had passed away. After having a friend vouch for him, Chappell was able to open back up the newsstand for business. Since that day, Chappell has become a fixture on the corner of West 122 nd Street. In fact, the quote "Customers LOVE me, kids LOVE me even more" proves just how much a part of the West 122 nd St. block Michael Chappell has become.

                  Although Mr. Chappell's lease runs out in 2012, he hopes that his lease will be renewed. Mr. Chappell says, "I'm glad to be here and this newsstand is an institution in Harlem and I will be sad to see it go."   This statement is in reference to the fact that his lease for the property may not be renewed.

   During Chappell's time at Mike's Newsstand and Candy Land , many movies have been filmed there. Some movies with scenes filmed at this landmark corner are Carlito's Way, The Miracle Boys, an African movie where a man is trying to find his descendants and American Gangster with actor Denzel Washington.




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