For nearly three decades, Al Sharpton has been perennially in New York City's public eye. He's a reverend, a civil rights activist, a radio show host, and a one time presidential candidate that's been arrested, jailed, and stabbed.
Rev. Al supports gay rights and animal rights and was, at one time, James Brown's manager, a man he considers a surrogate father. Brownsville's own has risen to be among this city's long-standing, polarizing, elder statesmen that's both revered and despised, but seldom ignored.
Sylvia's - "Sylvia’s was the premiere soul food spot in New York and it still is. You can go to Sylvia’s and anyone from Jay Z to the Mayor, to a guy running for President or a local peddler might be there sitting at the counter eating. It’s down home food and even though it's been there for decades, she never lost her grassroots touch."
Junior's - "I'm a Brooklyn guy and I can't even tell you how many times I've slipped into Junior's after midnight for a pastrami sandwich and slice of cheesecake. They're part of the reason why I have to work on my weight."
Stage Deli - "You've never even had a salami sandwich until you've gone to the Stage Deli. Back when I would hang out with James Brown, he would look over at me and say, you know, 'I got me one of those Stage Deli urges', and we'd rush right over there and get us something to eat."
Galaxy Diner - "I grew up in Brownsville, a very poor area, and the spot out there is the Galaxy Diner. It's been there since I was a kid. It's nothing famous but the food is obviously good, otherwise it wouldn't have lasted 40 or 50 years."
Lindenwood Diner - "If you drive out on Linden Boulevard, almost to the Parkway, you'll see one of those diners that you picture seeing in the middle of the night. The Lindenwood is that type of spot, and inside you'll see a lot of political figures and preachers. You'll also see a lot of everyday people just using it as a neighborhood meeting spot."
Hue Man Books & Cafe - "I travel a lot and I've been all over the place but there is no place that seems to find the types of books that Hue Man finds. They have books I've never even heard of and a place to eat, too."
Ed Koch - "In New York, we like to argue, holla, and scream - that's how we like to deal with things. I did one of my marches while Koch was mayor and he had me arrested but now we're the best of friends. We realized we wanted the same thing - our parts of the city protected."
Robert De Niro -"Robert De Niro is someone I think represents the city, and he's done a lot of good things for this town."
Spike Lee - "Spike Lee's films are an absolutely correct portrayal of the different people of New York."
Jay Z - "I think Jay, as an artist, represents New York in his own unique but real way."
LL Cool J - "There's a certain type of cockiness, self-assuredness, self confidence that a lot of New Yorkers have. You can't explain it - you have to be a New Yorker to understand it, and I think LL Cool J has it."
Apollo Theater - "The Apollo Theater in Harlem is where most people in the entertainment industry get their baptism...their fire. You haven't performed until you've performed at the Apollo. For me, this is where my father, before he left my mother and my sister and I, would take us to see shows. I met James Brown, my new father, there and that's where I would spend a lot of nights. I said goodbye to him there too and if I were to take people on a tour of New York, I would definitely take them to the Apollo because that’s where dreams came true for people who had nowhere else to go."
Washington Temple Church - "The Washington Temple Church in Bed Stuy is a mega church from before there were mega churches. It seats about 3000 and that's where I learned to preach and greet the Gospel."
National Action Network - "I'm head of the National Action Network, which is a national organization headquarted on 145th street in Harlem. We have rallies every week that everyone from presidential candidates to governors to local everyday people come to. Our gatherings are every Saturday morning in Harlem."