Michael Henry Adams, an architectural historian, author of “Harlem Lost and Found” and fervent preservationists told The Politicker today that he is running for a district leader seat in Central Harlem.
“I am doing this because I see an opportunity for me to do some good in the world,” Adams said. “As a historian, I look at how many people have been able to make an impact in Harlem and who started out as district leaders.”
The vote could set off a fierce proxy battle for supremacy in Central Harlem as the pols up there position themselves to take over for Charlie Rangel’s eventual retirement.
Sources say that Adams will be running against Rev. Jamaal Nelson, a pastor at the Champion Center Church and who has already received the backing of former Mayor David Dinkins. Typically, Dinkins and his fellow lions of the Harlem political establishment–Rangel, Assembly member Keith Wright, act in concert, and Perkins and Wright have a long-standing rivarly.
The seat is currently held by Martin Smith, who sources say is likely to retire.
Adams already took a couple of shots at his likely opponent.
“He hasn’t lived anywhere near this district for less than a year, but he managed to get on the community board,” he said. “He just uses this as a some sort of stepping stone to higher office but I have no such ambition.”
Adams said his focus would be to continue his work on preservation issues.
“I have an ambition to establish historical preservation advocacy organization for Upper Manhattan, since none exists and one so desperately needs to exist.”
Adams has long been a familiar face around land use issues in Harlem. He protested a vote of the rezoning of Harlem in 2008 by waving dollar bills at members of the city’s Planning Commission and shouting, “Rich, rich!” throughout the proceedings.
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