Tuesday’s September HNBA Gathering Will Be At 6 PM, At East 129th Street and 5th Avenue

Next week – September 13th (Tuesday) at 6:00 – you’re invited to gather at East 129th Street and 5th Avenue (southeast corner) to celebrate the unveiling of Ann Petry Place.

The acclaimed African-American author, Ann Petry, lived at 2 East 129th Street when she engaged in much of her activist writing for African American newspapers such as The Amsterdam News and The People’s Voice, and The Crisis. 2 East 129th Street was also her home when she wrote the seminal novel: The Street.

This novel, The Street, was the first novel by an African-American woman to sell a staggering 1.5 million copies. With time, The Street has become a canonical text that continues to be widely read throughout the United States as a literary exploration of the grinding and oppressive impact that systemic racism and sexism in mid-century America had on Harlem residents, and African-American women in particular.

Ann Petry stands as a crucial bridge between activists and writers from the Harlem Renaissance with those of Harlem’s Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1950’s and beyond.

The gathering will include Manhattan Borough President, Mark Levine, the Chair of Community Board 11, and the Chair of Uptown Grand Central.

After presenting Liz Petry (Ann’s surviving daughter) with a copy of the street sign that will be unveiled tomorrow, The Harlem Rose Garden (next to Ann Petry’s former apartment building) will open and present a musical selection for all to enjoy.

Come out and meet new (and vintage) HNBA members as we gather outdoors, together.

Ballot Initiatives Coming in November’s Election

Next month, New York City voters will have four proposals to decide on:

  • a statewide proposal that would boost spending in Albany on future environment-related projects
  • creating a “statement of values” for NYC’s government
  • creating a NYC racial equity office
  • defining how the cost of living is calculated in NYC

If approved, the four ballot questions — one that pertains to the state and three to the city — would each take effect right away. 

The four ballot proposals as they will appear on the ballot are listed here. The full proposal language for Proposal 1 can be read here; Proposals 2, 3 and 4 can be read here.

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Proposal 1: Environmental Bond Act of 2022

This proposal would allow New York State to borrow $4.2 billion through a bond issuance for specific environment-related projects and policy efforts.

That includes $250 million for improving stormwater systems, $200 million for wastewater infrastructure, $500 million for zero-emissions school buses and $1.5 billion for climate mitigation such as wetland protection and renewable energy projects.

This would be the first environmental bond act enacted for 26 years in New York, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

Proposal 2: Statement of Values for City Government

This measure would create a mission statement of sorts for New York’s government by adding a preamble to the city charter that includes a statement of “values and vision,” the ballot proposal says, that aims to create a “just and equitable city for all.”

The proposal, will be a preamble to the NYC charter that “acknowledges and speaks to historical wrongs” in order to “reconstruct, revise and reimagine our city’s foundations, structures, institutions, and laws to promote justice and equity for all New Yorkers.”

Proposal 3: Racial Equity Plans and Office

This measure would bring three new requirements to the city charter: mandating that all city agencies create “racial equity plans” every two years, establishing a new Office of Racial Equity to coordinate racial equity planning across city government and creating a Commission on Racial Equity. That commission would identify and propose priorities for racial equity planning, and review the racial equity plans for each city agency.

Proposal 4: True Cost of Living

This measure would mandate that the city government use a new method to calculate the “true cost of living” in the city without taking into account public, private or informal assistance a person or household may receive. Instead, the proposed “true cost” measure would be based on “actual household income required to meet the essential needs of people living in New York City,” the commission said. It would include costs related to housing, childcare, food, transportation, healthcare, clothing and shoes, hygiene products, household items, and telephone and internet services, among other things.

Party on Park, Tomorrow!


Uptown Vinyl Supreme will be bringing vinyl to the people from 12-4 p.m., followed from 4-6 p.m. by the Ted Smooth afterparty.

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Lace up your rollerskates for our street skate rink with the African American Roller-Skate Museum and UME Rollerskate. Rollerskates will be provided for the sessions, while supplies last.

You can also check out a Citi Bike for free, or join in on a bike ride led by Urban Upbound!

There’s also be live street art by BC1, plus the street art sanitation truck from the NYC Department of Sanitation.

And get the latest on the Second Avenue Subway coming to East Harlem.

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Health screenings for nearly every body part: Flu shots from Walgreens; COVID vaccines and boosters from NYHRE; blood pressure, depression and glucose screenings from Boriken Neighborhood Health Center; foot exams from the NY College of Podiatric Medicine; HIV screenings for the Center for Comprehensive Health Practice; and overdose prevention kits from Mt. Sinai & Odyssey House.

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Pad up and try out a skateboard, with beginner clinics and obstacle courses from our friends from Bronx Girls Skate and Go Sports. Skateboards and safety gear will be provided for the sessions, while supplies last.

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Under the tracks: Facepainting and art-making all afternoon with Union Settlement, Art In the Park and Hi-ARTS, snacks from NYC School Food, plus storytime at 3 p.m. by Drag Queen Story Hour!

West of the tracks: Rock wall, bouncy house, and big street games.

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Neighborhood resources, plus explore a fire truck with FDNY Engine 35, Ladder 14, Battalion 12.

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Exercise classes and obstacle courses to get you moving for fall from Harlem Kettlebell Club and Leo Zumba.

Plus an obstacle course all day with Fun Fit Kids!

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Under the tracks: Bike fix-its thanks to Get Women Cycling, and adult Learn to Ride classes with Bike New York.

West of the tracks: Free bike helmets for all ages from the NYC Department of Transportation. Note that the line for helmets closes at 3:30 p.m.

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Drop by the East Harlem Community Board 11 office to check out this location for year-round resources. The office of Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine will also be in the house!

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Explore local small business Urban Garden Center, then get environmental in artmaking with the Blue Bus Project and NYC Fair Trade Coalition.

GrowNYC will be on hand with affordable vegetable options, and Edible Schoolyard’s bringing worms!

Plus talk cultural and historic preservation with East Harlem Preservation and Landmark East Harlem.

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The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance presents Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Los Pleneros de la 21, Rebolu & Yasser Tejeda (at La Placita, 1-7 p.m.).



Enjoy samples from the vendors from La Marqueta (while supplies last!).

Then gather around One Big Table provided by Street Lab, and share your stories with WNYC!

Then finish the day off by learning about the Park Avenue Viaduct Replacement Project — which will rehabilitate this 130-year-old structure that we’ve been partying along.

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West of the tracks: Water station from Carter Hospital at 122nd Street.

East of the tracks: Water station at Lydia’s Magic Garden at 118th Street.

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Harlem Newsboy and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Reports

Ebay has this image of a newsboy from 1943 up for sale:

To the left is an ad for an upcoming feature in The People’s Voice – Adam Powell Reports On His 8,000 Mile Cross Country Tour.

A Librarian From Puerto Rico

Chalkbeat is reporting on the Puerto Rican Librarian who broke the NYPL color barrier in 1921 to be the first Latina librarian in the country’s largest library system.

Pura Belpré was born and raised in Puerto Rico. In 1920, she came to New York City for her sister’s wedding and never went back. In 1921, Belpré was hired by the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library as an “Hispanic Assistant,” a position created to serve the increasing Spanish-speaking population of Harlem. In 1929, she was assigned as a librarian to the 115th Street branch. Later, Belpré was transferred out to the 110th Street Aguilar branch in 1939. 

In 1982, the year she died, Belpré received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Public Library. And every year since 1996, the American Librarian Association has given out the Pura Belpré Award to outstanding works of literature by Latino authors.

Literacy Across Harlem March (10th Annual)

Book Drive & Community Celebration 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.




Capping a decade of reading-related activism, service, and community building, this year’s Literacy Across Harlem March is a fun and meaningful opportunity for Harlemites of all ages to lead for literacy, deepen your knowledge of our community’s rich literary history and landscape, and celebrate Harlem’s identity as a world-renowned hub of literature by and about Black and Brown people.


12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. RALLY FOR READING! Join your neighbors at 12:00 p.m. sharp at your choice of these legendary institutions: El Museo del Barrio (1230 5th Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets) or Sister’s Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center (1942 Amsterdam Avenue at 156th Street). Then get to know your community from a new perspective on an inspiring tour of Harlem’s reading-related landmarks en route to Marcus Garvey Park. Bring two books to march with: a personal favorite (or current “read”) and a gift-quality children’s book (perhaps one of these) to donate to a local homeless shelter.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – CELEBRATE with your neighbors at the Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater, in the heart of Harlem, with hands-on activities for all ages, raffle prizes, and more!

How Bad is the M35 Bus?

The numbers are not good.

The M35 has only got an average weekday ridership of 176 people per day:

The worst in Manhattan.

Not only that, the drop in ridership, from 2016 to 2021 is also the most precipitous. The M35 lost 83% of its ridership between 2016 to 2021. Again, the worst in Manhattan:

The M35 is a ghost bus.

The Intelligencer Reports on NIMBYs and YIMBYs

The Intelligencer has an article on how a few of New York’s socialists are coming to terms with the data analysis from NYU’s Furman Institute that building market-rate housing does not increase nearby rents.

The author of the Furman Institute’s article notes that market-rate development actually slightly decreases nearby rents:


There is a growing debate about whether new housing units increase rents for immediately surrounding apartments. Some argue new market-rate development produces a supply effect, which should alleviate the demand pressure on existing housing units and decrease their rents. Others contend that new development will attract high-income households and new amenities, generating an amenity effect and driving up rents. I contribute to this debate by estimating the impact of new high-rises on nearby residential rents, residential property sales prices and restaurant openings in New York City. To address the selection bias that developers are more likely to build new high-rises in fast-appreciating areas, I restrict the sample to residential properties near approved new high-rises and exploit the plausibly exogenous timing of completion conditional upon the timing of approval. I provide event study evidence that within 500 ft, for every 10% increase in the housing stock, rents decrease by 1%; and for every 10% increase in the condo stock, condo sales prices decrease by 0.9%. In addition, I show that new high-rises attract new restaurants, which is consistent with the hypothesis about amenity effects. However, I find that the supply effect dominates the amenity effect, causing net reductions in the rents and sales prices of nearby residential properties.

You can read the full article here:


Harlem’s City Council member is mentioned in the Intelligencer article and is contrasted with Council Member Caban:

In this particular manner, a darling of the left behaved like a typical politician. And so did Kristin Richardson Jordan, a self-identified socialist city councilmember (the DSA did not support her campaign) who blocked a proposed development that would have built over 900 units of housing in Central Harlem. Half of the development would have been designated affordable housing, though not quite at the deep levels Cabán won in Astoria. Richardson Jordan called the development “nothing less than white supremacy,” a statement that was hyperbolic and absurd — a mixed-use housing development has nothing to do with racial terror. But more telling, perhaps, was another comment the councilmember made to a local publication. “I would rather have lots sit empty than have them filled with further gentrification,” she said. A NIMBY couldn’t have put it better.


A true piece of Harlem ephemera, a matchbook for a Harlem locksmith for sale on Ebay.

The copy promotes a great deal.

Today, a ‘Gourmet’ smoke shop and deli occupy this location:

Affordable Housing vs Truck Depot

Streetsblog has an examination on the fallout of Council Member Kristin Jordan’s axing of a 50% affordable housing project at Lenox/145th Street.

“This is a particularly clear example of what happens when politicians prioritize opposing every zoning change over their constituents’ needs,” said Logan Phares, the political director of Open New York. “New York’s people, not its vehicles, urgently need a roof over their heads. Amid climate change’s recent effect on the five boroughs, as well as a rise in homelessness and traffic deaths, it’s disappointing to see that the Council member took the route that will lead to more trucks on the road rather than more residents with a place to sleep at night.”

The article looks at the history, hijinks, and potential health fall-out from the On45 development project:

Basketball Clinics

WNYC Reports on The Amazing Work Of Uptown Grand Central

This morning WNYC and Gothamist reported on the amazing work that Uptown Grand Central and the clean-up crew do to keep the East 125th Street corridor clean and vibrant. Carey King is quoted at length, as is Jason McDavid who cleans and supervises much of the cleaning activity that works under and around the 125th Street Metro North station

Jason McDavid cleans the city streets near the Metro North station on 125th Street in East Harlem.SAMANTHA MAX / GOTHAMIST

Whenever you see the men and women working to keep our community clean and safe, make sure to thank them for their work.

To read the full article, and learn how threatened this clean-up program is (from funds running out):


Note that the article has this factual error:

a team of street cleaners works 40 hours a week filling yellow garbage bags with discarded coffee cups, cigarette butts, and dirty needles.

The clean-up crew use proper sharps disposal protocols and never place needles/sharps/syringes in common plastic bags. Remember, if you see a sharp on the ground, use your phone and call or text 311.

As Seen In East Harlem

Mapping Social Capital

Social capital – the strength of our relationships and communities – has been shown to play an important role in outcomes ranging from income to health. Using privacy-protected data on 21 billion friendships from Facebook, Opportunity Insights measure three types of social capital in each neighborhood, high school, and college in the United States:

  • Economic Connectedness
    • The degree to which low-income and high-income people are friends with each other
  • Cohesiveness
    • The degree to which social networks are fragmented into cliques
  • Civic Engagement
    • Rates of volunteering and participation in community organizations

The site visualizes where different forms of social capital are lacking or flourishing and allows you to explore how likely children in a given neighborhood, will be able to rise out of poverty.

One measure from the Facebook data was volunteerism. The map below shows how likely community members were to be engaged in volunteering in some sort of community group/action:

Note how the Bronx and East Harlem have very low volunteering rates, but then again, so do parts of the Upper East Side.

In the screenshot (above) the Upper West Side shows the highest rate of volunteerism – reflecting the attributes of social capital – time, status, connections, and financial stability – which permit/foster volunteerism.

To see more about what 21 billion friendships on Facebook can tell us about our communities, see:


Party on Park Returns – Sunday, October 2nd

Build the Block

Uptown Vinyl Supreme TODAY


All-vinyl D.J.s, vinyl swapping and selling, analog lessons, plus skateboard: That’s this month’s installment of Open Sounds at Open Streets with Uptown Vinyl Supreme.

All-vinyl D.J.s, vinyl swapping and selling, analog lessons, plus skateboard: That’s this month’s installment of Open Sounds at Open Streets with Uptown Vinyl Supreme.

This Sunday from 2-5 p.m. at our Open Street at 100th & Lexington, there’ll be skateboards and safety gear available to borrow, plus skate obstacles where you can show your skills. Newbies are welcome for a beginner clinic hosted by Bronx Girls Skate from 2-3 p.m., followed by a free skate session from 3-5 p.m.
All while we build our Open Streets community playlist with tunes that reflect the streets of East Harlem …

Harlem Celebrates Joe Louis’ Victory

A silent film with Harlem joy at Joe Louis’ victory over Max Baer on this day in 1935.

Hilarious is not the word we’d likely use today, but the enthusiasm of the community is palatable even without sound to accompany the short clips.

Harlem Teacher Rises From Homelessness to New York’s Teacher of the Year

Nick Garber at Patch.com has an amazing story of a Harlem teacher who just won the 2023 teacher of the year for New York State.

Billy Green, who is now a chemistry teacher at Harlem’s A. Philip Randolph Campus High School, focuses on engagement, creativity, and student success.

You an read the whole article, here:


New York, Ukraine

Um, I have to admit this came as a shock when reading news about the shelling of New York while reading a report on the situation in Ukraine. I did a double take on the map, and sure enough, Wikipedia has a page on it:

The settlement first appeared on maps in 1846 under its original name of New York and was then situated in the Yekaterinoslav Governorate of the Russian Empire. The wife of one of the founders was from the United States.[6][7] According to official data, in 1859, the village consisted of 13 households, 45 male residents, 40 female residents, and a factory and was formally named Oleksandrivske.[7][8] The precise origin of the settlement’s name is unclear.[9]

New York’s Crest

Before the war it had a population of 10,000.

Handmaids of Mary

You may remember the convent on the north side of Marcus Garvey Park that was the home for the (predominantly) Black Handmaids of Mary for many years. The building was knocked down and only a field of rubble seemingly remains.

Looking closely in the back right corner, however, you can see a garden raised-bed, a potted tree, and a secluded, outdoor shrine that would have been for private devotion, now forlorn and exposed.

Stop and Swap, Tomorrow


First Annual Jazz Appreciation Jam – Tomorrow

Jazz is an art that has been part of our community since the 1930’s and continues to be appreciated in Harlem to this day. We will continue this tradition Saturday afternoon with State Senator Cleare’s First Annual Jazz Appreciation Jam in honor of jazz legend John Coltrane.

Music will be performed by jazz’s finest artists including; Camille Gaynor, Sweet Lee Odem, Zockia, Yayoi, Patience Higgins and Omar Edwards, who will be playing in the Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater from 1:00pm-7:00pm