Vy Vy “Mama” Higginsen has lived on 126th Street all of her life. Four generations of her family have been there for nearly 100 years. View Full Caption

DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

HARLEM — Vy Higginsen has been an advertising executive, a disc jockey, theater producer, gospel choir teacher and, most recently, a small business owner with a best-selling hot sauce flying off the shelves at Whole Foods Market.

Her family has lived on 126th Street for nearly 100 years. She remembers Harlem before gentrification and the drug epidemic, when it was a neighborhood of middle-class black families.

Higginsen welcomes change: “When I was


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