A Send-Off for a Harlem Funeral Director

George Bernard Benta, a funeral director in Harlem for more than six decades, delivered his personal brand of service for luminaries known and little known. (The New  York Times)

Harlem Says Goodbye to the Lenox Lounge

The Lenox Lounge, where Billie Holiday had a table, Dizzy Gillespie played his trumpet, and James Baldwin soaked up the scene, Art Deco light fixtures and zebra-print wallpaper stir up memories of other eras, and where, even now, everybody knows everybody, is set to close. (The New York Times)

In Changing Harlem, a Mosque Struggles to Pay Rent

The mosque has been crammed into its run-down, rented space for about 16 years, serving the mostly West African congregation of more than 1,000. But after a persistent rent dispute with its landlord, the mosque finds itself in housing court facing eviction. (The New York Times)

A Watcher of the Police Says He Is Now a Target

Joseph Hayden is a familiar presence with his video camera on the streets of his native Harlem, ready to document interactions between the police and the residents. But Hayden, 71, recently found himself on the receiving end of police scrutiny, arrested on charges of weapons possession after a traffic stop. (The New York Times)

Effort to Save Harlem’s Murals From a Grittier Time

One of the first murals that Franco Gaskin, known as the famed artist Franco the Great, noticed missing was of a weeping Martin Luther King Jr. on the dreary metal front gate of an abandoned store on Harlem’s 125th Street where Dr. King was said to have had a book signing. Now as new businesses and higher rents remake the strip, much of Gaskin’s work – some 200 murals – has disappeared. (The New York Times)

They’re Still Swinging for the Rooftops

For old-time stickball players, much of their neighborhood has disappeared. But on Sunday mornings, the pride in their “poor man’s game” is on full display. (The New York Times)  

Legal volunteers help those seeking a clean slate and a new start

A group of voluteers, called the Philadelphia Criminal Record Expungement Project, holds monthly clinics to help those arrested but never convicted establish a clean slate. And, they hope, secure the lives their criminal records have held back. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Point Breeze’s uneasy greeting of better times

On tiny Fernon Street, where sneakers dangle from power lines and vacant lots outnumber houses, the memorial painted on a wall two decades ago still looms vibrant, with its blue sky and butterflies around the names of dozens of young people cut down by violence, a testament to the community’s weary soul in the midst of sprawling redevelopment. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Keeping standards high at Boys Latin

David Hardy believes every young man at Boys’ Latin is “the architect of his own fortune.” But to build that future, students must first pass inspection. The high school also embodies Hardy’s vision of getting more boys, particularly African American boys, into college, an uphill battle. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Joining forces against one-man crime storm

There it was. The picture of Laguna Beach that Alan Horowitz snapped while on vacation, the turquoise water staring at him from the screen of his stolen GPS. Records would reveal his GPS was one of many sold within days to the same pawnshop. (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

Earlier complaint against 2 officers similar to another harassment allegation.

As with other cases of alleged police misconduct, this one has two disparate accounts. However, it is significant because the two officers involved are under investigation by Internal Affairs for a similar encounter that occurred last month. And there is no court record of defendant who said they arrested him, and the disposition of his case remains a mystery. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)