March 9th, HNBA Meeting

Mark your calendars. On Tuesday, March 9th we’ll have 3 amazing presentations.

7:00 PM – We will have a Q+A with Kristin R. Jordan, who is a candidate for Council District 9 – [email protected]. In addition to giving us a sense of who she is and what her key platforms are, Kristin will address the burden that our part of the district bears with 2 sanitation garages, the M35 Bus, numerous homeless shelters, and the Lee Building’s infamous role as a regional methadone megacenter.

7:30 PM – Nicole from – rankthevotenyc – will help us all understand Ranked-Choice Voting that will affect us all in the voting booth this June and later in November, and beyond. If you have questions about ranked-choice voting, and how you can use this new form of voting to strategically vote for more than one candidate, Nicole will answer all. 

8:00 PM – Ray McGuire, will join us to introduce himself, and to present his plans for New York City’s post-COVID recovery. Ray was the first in his family to graduate from college and after Harvard University and a law degree, he worked on Wall Street for many years. Ray will introduce himself, his platform, and talk about his impressions of, and plans for East Harlem and New York City as a whole (he has spent significant time in our community, listening to business owners and neighbors at Ginjan Cafe, and knows many of our issues well.). Come out to learn more about RayForMayor.

Ray McGuire as a young man

Made in Harlem

Join the Maysles Cinema for free screenings of seminal documentaries on Harlem.

The films listed below are streaming (for free) from March 5-19. See the Maysles site for more details:

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From These RootsWilliam Greaves, 1974, 28 min An exploration of the extraordinary artistic, cultural and political flowering that took place in Harlem during the “Roaring 20s.” This vivid portrait of the Harlem Renaissance is created entirely with period photographs. Narrated by the actor Brock Peters, with original music specially composed and performed by Eubie Blake, From These Roots is a winner of 22 international film festival awards.
The Quiet OneSidney Meyers, 1948, 65 min.Considered one of the earliest docudrama films and one of the first mainstream American films to feature a Black child as its protagonist, The Quiet One follows a young boy named Donald and his transformation and adjustment after attending the Wiltwyck School for Boys. Nominated for two Oscars: Best Documentary Feature and Best Screenplay.
The Torture of Mothers: The Case of the Harlem SixWoodie King, Jr., 1980, 52 min.In 1963 a group of young Black boys living in Harlem were involved in an incident that earned them the nickname “The Harlem Six.” Intent on protecting and clearing the names of their sons, several mothers bonded together to make their story known. This work emerges as a powerful close up of police brutality, and of power dynamics of 1960’s Harlem.
A Dream Is What You Wake Up FromLarry Bullard and Carolyn Y. Johnson, 1978, 50 min..While using a documentary/drama hybrid style, filmmakers Larry Bullard and Carolyn Y. Johnson follow three Black families, one of which is living in Harlem, as they share their stories and strategize toward their survival. The film speculates across several time jumps and migrations to create a visual
In The Face of What We Remember: Oral Histories of 409 and 555 Edgecombe AvenueKaren D. Taylor, 2019, 45 min.This documentary captures the story of two legendary buildings in Harlem’s Sugar Hill whose residents included W.E.B. DuBois, Elizabeth Catlett, James Weldon Johnson, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, Louise Thompson Patterson, Joe Louis, Cassandra Wilson, and more.

Pre-Register for a COVID-19 Vaccine

The Manhattan Borough President’s Office is asking any Harlem residents who qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine, to fill out this form:

The Borough President would like to prioritize Harlem residents in the queue for vaccines, and this is asking you (if you qualify) to preregister using the link, above.

Token of Hope Inc. New York is working hard to connect the Harlem community to much needed resources and help. In partnership with the Manhattan Borough President Office, Token of Hope Inc. is collecting names of residents in the Harlem community in need of the vaccine.  This information will be provided directly to the Manhattan Borough President’s staff for expedition and attention. Please complete this survey as soon as possible to ensure that you receive service as the vaccine is available.

Community Level Violent Crime and Incarceration Rates in NYC

It is interesting to compare the map above with the jail incarceration rate map, below.


Free COVID-19 Testing

Cayuga wants to get the word out that they are offering free COVID -19 testing at 2183 3rd Avenue on Monday, March 8th, 9:30-4:00

Mount Sinai and Methadone in Our Community

With new data from a FOIL request to OASAS, we are able to contextualize the size/impact that Mount Sinai has on our community with their two major methadone hubs – West 124th Street, and East 125th Street (The Lee Building at Park Avenue).

Looking at the screenshot below, you can see how large Mount Sinai’s presence is in Harlem and East Harlem.

To see the entire city and the uneven distribution of Opioid Treatment Programs, see the map below:

Celebration of Langston Hughes

   Join AGM Theater Company for an evening of laughter, joy and lively music; as we celebrate the phenomenal work of Langston Hughes.

*Click the link below to register for the presentation*

Candidate Forums on Monday, March 1

City Council District 9 – Show Me The Money

There is a new map out showing how much political candidates have been able to fundraise.

The race that has generated the largest amount of donations is, unsurprisingly, the mayoral race and that race is headed by Ray McGuire, the Wall Street former finance executive who has received over $85,000 from Harlem.

Eric Adams has pulled in a distant second of $29,000.

Turning to the City Council District 9 Race, you can see in the map below, money has come from all over the city to fuel the 15 candidates.

Zooming in closer, Kristen R. Jordan is far and away the leader with more than $55,000 raise – her base being the lower edge of the district.

Mario Rosser is close behind with almost $48,000 raised. His (financial) support is weaker in the north and south of the district but with strong support in the central core.

And in third place, Keith Taylor – who came to February’s HNBA meeting to introduce himself and his campaign – has raised over $20,000. His support is mostly in the west, with weaker support in the east and north of the district.

And lastly, the dominant force in the Manhattan Borough President’s race in our community, is Mark Levine, by far. Mark has raised well over $400,000 total, and a significant amount has come from the Harlem community, whereas other candidates have had very, very limited fundraising success in Harlem and East Harlem.

To view the map and see who’s been fundraising and who’s viewing this election cycle as a vanity project, go to:

Environmental Justice

Last week, the Mayor announced the launching of the community engagement effort for New York City’s first comprehensive Environmental Justice for All Report: This is an unprecedented comprehensive study of environmental justice issues that will lead to the development of a citywide Environmental Justice Plan. East Harlem has been listed as an Environmental Justice Area, so it’s important that our residents are engaged in the formation of the environmental justice report. See below for opportunities for engagement.

Environmental Justice Town Hall

How to leave a public comment:  

Public comments will help ensure the NYC Environmental Justice for All Report is rooted in real-life issues New Yorkers are facing. All comments must be received by April 30, 2021. There are several ways to submit a public comment about the environmental justice report.  

Environmental Justice Areas Map:  

In collaboration with an Interagency Working Group consisting of 19 city agencies, the Mayor’s Office of Climate Policy and Programs published a map of the City’s Environmental Justice Areas. The Environmental Justice Report will identify and analyze the environmental and climate issues in these areas.  

EJ Areas Map:

Hospitals and Their Numbers

When you think of the 3 hospitals serving the Harlem area (Metropolitan, Mount Sinai, and Harlem), how would you rank them in terms of size/capacity? If you thought that Mount Sinai was the largest of the 3, you would, of course, be correct. What you may not know is just how (relatively) large Mount Sinai is.

Harlem Hospital Center is located at 506 Lenox Avenue. Harlem Hospital Center provides a
wide range of medical, surgical, diagnostic, therapeutic, and family support services and is
designated as a Level 1 Trauma Center. In 2015, there were 272 beds in service, 213,626
outpatient visits, and 83,154 emergency room visits.

Mount Sinai Hospital is located at 1468 Madison Avenue. Mount Sinai Hospital is a 1,171-bed
tertiary-care teaching facility. The Mount Sinai Hospital is part of the larger Mount Sinai Health
System, which includes seven other hospital campuses with a combined 3,400,000 outpatient
visits and 425,451 emergency department visits.

Metropolitan Hospital Center is located at 1901 First Avenue and is a full service community
hospital. In 2015, there were 325 beds in service, 313,742 outpatient visits, and 69,583
emergency room visits.

Roy DeCarava – Photographer

Roy DeCarava was an African American artist who received early critical acclaim for his black and white photography.

Initially engaging and imaging the lives of African Americans and jazz musicians in the communities where he lived and worked, DeCarava was a regular presence in Harlem and documented a number of local scenes and people.

This image of a sidewalk, a boy, a car, and a stoop, stands out because the building it is centered on, still exists.

2083 5th Avenue, today, has the same recognizable building/stoop design, and is located almost directly across from the home where the Collyer brothers once lived in their hoarding squalor.

I love that in the DeCarava image you can zoom in to the polished hubcap of the car, and actually see the streetscape on the west side of 5th Avenue between 128th and 129th Streets:

In reverse, of course (note that the rooftop extension on the white building is ‘new’, as is the gap between the white building and the larger apartment building to the north):

And while hidden by the trees in the left of the photo (above), the Collyer’s brownstone is clearly absent in the hubcap reflection. Torn down and made into a Harlem park.

Build the Bench: Why Black Representation Matters

Join Build the Bench on Thursday for a celebration of their first anniversary and to tune into a conversation about increasing Black voices in the halls of power.

To register:

Harlem’s Local Tuskegee Airmen Chapter

The Claude B. Govan Tri-State Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen has an annual scholarship.  The scholarship is for graduating seniors from NY.  Submissions are due by April 15. We would like as many young people as possible to apply.  Sometimes we do not have many applicants!  We would like to change this.

In addition, The Claude B. Govan Tri-State Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen has created a video that is now available on YouTube:

The video is intended to raise awareness about the Tuskegee Airman and our local Harlem chapter by highlighting some of Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen who were members of our chapter. At one point Harlem’s chapter had one of the largest numbers of DOTA’s of all chapters across the country.  The last one who regularly attended our meeting Mr. William Johnson died on Jan. 28th.  He is featured in the video (please remember to ‘like’ the video!)

For your information there were several active members of our chapter who were living in the Harlem community at the time of their deaths.  Just to point out three

  • Dabney N Montgomery – There is a street named for him on 136th street and ACP Blvd.
  • Reginald Brewster – One of the first Black attorneys in NY
  • Wilfred R. DeFour Sr. – Was very active with the old Harlem Real Estate Board

We hope you will forward this application to any college-bound high school seniors you know.

Harlem Laundry – 1765

One of the oldest views of Harlem (looking at Harlem from the South Bronx, near the site of today’s 3rd Avenue Bridge, is found in the collection of George III – now housed by The British Museum.

The view makes Harlem look like a quiet, sleepy hamlet. Note the church with pointed steeple on the right, the small boats, and the homes.

I was, however, interested to see that there is not only one, but two laundry lines represented here.


To see the image and zoom in, see:


Talk to Ruth

Housing Units in New Buildings Since 2010


Harlem’s Jewish Past

The Jewish presence in Harlem before The Depression has given us a number of landmarked structures that have (often) since been converted into churches. One of the most elegant of these buildings is, of course, the Mount Olivet Baptist Church which was once Temple Israel.

But Jewish Harlem had more than houses of worship, they also had houses of amusement. This article from the New York Times details the construction of a new Harlem Yiddish Theatre:

Note the transition from a white church, to the First Colored Church, to a Yiddish theatre.

As the neighborhood changed, this building, 11 West 116th Street, would also change hands and become a church, again.

Today this location is a construction site where a residential building (with commercial below) is being built.

A few doors east – The Mount Morris Theater – would also start as a Yiddish theater and Harlem movie house, but by the 1930s, become probably the most popular of several Spanish-language movie houses in New York. Spanish-speakers from all over the city would come to “Spanish Harlem” to enjoy the stage and screen shows offered at the Teatro Campoamor, which would later be known also as the Teatro Cervantes, Teatro Hispano and Radio Teatro Hispano.

This former theater/movie house is now an Apostolic Church

Food Drive