Rev. Al Sharpton

Civil Rights Activist

Produced by Scott Newman & Marc Santo
Camera by Frank Arostegui
Edited by Michael Chance

For nearly three decades Al Sharpton has perennially been 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.

Reverend Al supports gay rights and animal rights and was, at one time, the manager behind James Brown—a man he considers to be his surrogate father. Brownsville's own has risen to be amongst this city's long-standing elder statesmen, a man who's both revered and despised, but seldom ignored.

Rev. Al Sharpton's NYC


James Brown and Reverand Al Sharpton
  • "Whenever I leave New York for a while, the first thing I do when my plane lands is get me over to Nathan's in Coney Island for a hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard."
  • "I'm a Brooklyn guy and I can't even tell you how many times I've slipped into Junior's afer midnight for a pastrami sandwich and slice of cheesecake. They're part of the reason why I have to work on my weight."
  • "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."
  • "This is the spot in Midtown and believe it or not they still make the biggest sandwich in the whole-wide world."
  • "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 its been there for decades, she never lost her grassroots touch."
  • "I grew up in Brownsville, a very poor area, and the spot out there is the Galaxy Diner. Its 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."
  • "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."
  • "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."

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