Who says nothing happens in March? That it is just a long month, transitioning from winter to spring, with everyone trying to shake the winter doldrums? Another way to look at March is that it’s Women’s History Month, the Ides of March occurs, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (where everyone is Irish) marches up Fifth Avenue and this year we celebrate Easter on March 27. Enough to keep us busy.

Staying very busy is Barbara Askins of the 125th Street Business Improvement District. Most interestingly, Askins reports that renovations have begun on the Lowe’s Victoria Theatre, the stately movie house located at 233 W. 125th St. that has sat abandoned for more than a decade. I can recall going to the movie house as a child to see Bruce Lee’s Kung Fu movies. I was so sad to see it close, and even sadder to see it fall into such despair. A sure sign of changing times, plans for a new Victoria have been approved, and you are not going to believe what’s in store.

As construction crews waded through the darken theatre, they found some of the original marble fixtures still in tact, and others only in need of repair as opposed to total demolition. Unnoticeable to the naked eye of those passing by on the main drag, the asbestos has already been removed, and construction is well underway and on schedule to meet a 2017 completion date. But the vision doesn’t stop with the theatre. There’s more.

Added to the plans are a 5,000-square-foot ballroom and 25,000 square feet of dedicated space for local cultural institutions, a 26-story Renaissance Hotel by Marriott and a 206-unit apartment tower (that includes affordable housing), as well as parking and retail space. Can we expect a monorail service connecting 125th Street to LaGuardia Airport? While all of this sounds a little ambitious to some, maybe even most of us, it’s a piece of cake to the high rollers who dream big.

We can expect this development to significantly raise the bar for Harlem and dramatically change the face of 125th Street for the better. Meanwhile, many of the stores on 125th Street, particularly between 7th and 8th Avenue, have gone out of business, and the ones that are left have very little to offer, unless of course you are looking for a good pair of sneakers.

I was surprised to enter CVS on the corner of Lenox Avenue to find the self-checkout kiosks have been removed, and the store has reverted back to the cashier-only checkout lines. The good news is the cashiers have jobs, and people in line get to chat with one another while they wait their turns. The bad news is I have yet to see any successful store going backwards. Might they have left one or two of the kiosks? Additionally, the store is not as well stocked as it once was. Merchandise is missing from shelves throughout the aisles, and the cosmetic section is very unappealing as it is lined with so many discount sale tags, which only serve as a distracting. And so I wonder.

Along with the new plans may be the demise of the 125th Street peddlers. Sorry to say, but the peddlers have been an eyesore since the day they lined the street from Lenox to 8th Avenue, more than two decades ago. The unsightliness has chased away stores of quality merchandise and customers, who, lets face it, don’t want to wade through the chaos. Although a few of the big chain stores have recently come back, the in-store experience is less than stellar. I love you guys, but you gotta go.

Many don’t even know that the Rev. Dr. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (1908-1972), who was a civil rights activist, member of the U.S. House of Representatives and pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, led a protest march across 125th Street because Black people could not jobs on 125th Street.

Finally, the day came when the Black entrepreneurs were able to open businesses on 125th Street, providing jobs, training, education and services. However, one by one, they were ran out of business when the street peddlers came along, underselling merchants and chasing away cash-paying customers who were too frightened (Yes, guys. Sorry, but they were frightened. I wasn’t, but many were) to walk along the corridor. Unable to meet the operational expenses and raising rents (which peddlers don’t pay), one after the other, the shops went out of business, until here we are today, divided and dismayed as the bulldozers come in, and we’re moved out.

Someone else who may have been moved out are the gun-slinging, shootout boys from the area surrounding the Lincoln Projects. The police have surrounded the O.K. Corral and lit up the area with high-intensity spotlights, from dusk to dawn. The lights have been strategically placed to provide enough illumination so that there are no longer any dark haunts in which to dwell. Guys who use to stand at attention on the corner all night are no longer visible. The sound of gun shots no longer permeates the night air, and although half of the shootings did occur during the light of day, anywhere from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., they, too, have abated—for now. No one escapes the glare of lights, whether it’s the ceiling or your whole apartment that’s lit up, no one is in the position to do anything about it, and until those in charge decide otherwise, so it is.

Speaking of Women’s History Month, did you know Olga Mendes was the first Latina woman elected to the New York State Assembly, serving from 1978 to 2004, and Geraldine Daniels, who was well-known to many throughout the community, was the first African-American woman elected in the 70th Assembly District, serving from 1981 to 1992. There is hope that the village we call Harlem will remain a welcoming place to reside, work and visit and will always be a safe haven for all. In the words of the late and great Rev. Dr. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., “Keep the faith, baby!”

Until next week … kisses.