HARLEM — Spirits were high and sunshine was abundant as supporters announced Thursday that the beleaguered National Black Theater of Harlem would remain open and active after more than four years of dispute with their partners.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer stood with the children of Barbara Ann Teer, the National Black Theater's founder, and announced that the agreement would ensure the survival of the "iconic Harlem Landmark."
"The National Black Theater will be here for a very long time," Stringer said to a round of applause.
The theater has been through a host of fiscal difficulties in recent years, facing foreclosure, racking up $1.8 million in property taxes, and reportedly facing displacement by a proposed Applebee's restaurant.
Teer's daughter and current theater director Sade Lythcott, Stringer, and others touted the resolution of the dispute, but were vague on the details, saying only that it was very financially tangled and complicated and that what was important was that, in Stringer's words, "people came to the table and negotiated their differences...and the financial disputes that threatened to shut down the theater were resolved."
Lythcott was adamant that all disputes, financial and otherwise, had been resolved, and that the NBT's new partner, Baltoro Capital Management, was "helping with their financial stabilization."
Zane Tankel, the CEO of Apple-Metro, Inc., which owns Applebee's said Thursday that he was glad to see the resolution of what he called a "misunderstanding."