On this day I wanted to post part of a piece from John Jay College that interviews Dr. Keith Taylor, a Harlem resident, 9/11 first responder, CUNY professor, and community leader.

Twenty years ago on September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 lives were cruelly taken away from their family, friends, and colleagues. They senselessly lost fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and even young children at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. As a New York City college focused on educating firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical professionals, the toll on our community was steep—John Jay lost 67 heroes that day. These brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice to save others in need. Now, after two decades, the emotional, psychological, and physical pain of that tragic day still runs deep. First responders and civilians continue to face life-threatening diseases because of the toxic air they inhaled; while many others have died because of the exposure to deadly dust and debris. As a community committed to public service, we honor the legacy of our fallen heroes, and we strive to ensure that a tragedy like 9/11 never happens again.

The morning of September 11, 2001 began like any other workday for Keith Taylor, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration, who at the time was a New York Police Department (NYPD) Missing Persons Detective Sergeant. “I remember it was a beautiful day, the sky was clear, the weather was great. I reported to work at One Police Plaza, not too far from the World Trade Center, when word got out that there was a plane crash,” recalls Taylor. “I looked out the window and saw what appeared to be plumes of smoke coming from the top of the North Tower. I thought it was a small plane that had crashed into the building, but just as we were preparing to get over there, the second plane hit. Once we saw the second plane hit, we knew it was a deliberate act of terrorism.”

To read the complete article, see:


Mount Morris Park’s Fire Watchtower

In this photo, looking north on 5th Avenue from 117th Street or so, you can see the fire watchtower in the distance.

Note that the text at the bottom is incorrect. You can clearly see that 120th Street – the southern border of Marcus Garvey Park – is at least 2 if not 3 streets further north.

The brownstones you see in the top right – just over the white fence – cannot be in the park.

See the original photo, here: https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/bcdf3fbe-a5a7-88d6-e040-e00a1806445a

Car Insurance?

One of our neighbors is investigating car insurance and Harlem. If you have a story/experience about car insurance, here’s how to get involved:

Dear neighbors,
Like many people, I bought a car during the pandemic. I then discovered how expensive and difficult it is to get a car insured and keep it insured – at first I thought it was true throughout the city, but my initial research suggests that that’s not the case. I’m a journalist, so I’m considering writing a piece about this. I am interested in talking to people who have cars in Harlem. Have you seen your insurance rates rise precipitously over time? Have you been dropped by your insurance company? Have you found that some companies won’t sell you insurance at all? I want to hear from you even if none of these things have happened to you and you have been able to maintain reasonably priced insurance.
I don’t need to use your name in the final article, but please be willing to share it with me and to give me all the same information that an insurer asks: your age, gender, whether you own or rent your home, the make and model of your car and whether you are making payments on it, where you keep the car (street or garage), whether the car has anti-theft devices and which ones, how you use your car (leisure or daily commute), your zip code, whether you are married, and what accidents or violations you and your spouse (if you have one) have had in the last five years. And I will also ask how much you are paying for insurance, the name of your insurance company, and whether your policy is for 6 or 12 months. I can be contacted at [email protected].
Thank you,
Masha Gessen

Thoughts or comments on this post?