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1520 Sedgwick Ave, A Place That Matters

1520 sedgwick ave

1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the west Bronx, nominated by Mark Naison, where DJ Kool Herc initiated the “breakbeat” that played a central part in the development of hip hop.

In 1973, Kool Herc (Clive Campbell), who emigrated here from Jamaica at the age of 12, held the first of many parties in the community room of the General Sedgwick Houses, where he lived with his family. The music he played that night caught everybody by surprise. Using two turntables and two copies of the same record, he cut back and forth between them to prolong the “break”–the instrumental solo in a song when percussion takes over. This gave the young dancers time to dance to the rhythms provided by the break–thus breakdancing. Herc was so good he could make his cuts without the aid of headphones. Most of the music’s worldwide fans know that hip hop started in the Bronx. 1520 Sedgwick is one of its birthplaces.

The nomination for 1520 Sedgwick comes from the Bronx African American History Project at Fordham University.