Salvation Army

The Salvation Army wanted to let everyone know that it continues to offer its regular feeding program to anyone in need at their 125th Street location. Additionally, they reported to HNBA that their music school for children is running in a virtual format and currently have 35 children registered this semester.

Their East View residence has availability: and their Social Service Office is open every Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.


Victorian men and women boarding a steamship in Westchester (this part of The Bronx – under the High Bridge – was not yet a part of The Bronx or New York City), to head south to Harlem at 120th Street:

The larger night view of the precarious wooden pier and the High Bridge water tower looming above, can be seen below in the Harpers Magazine’s illustration:


Hotels in 1851

In 1851 you could go to two hotels in our neighborhood. One would be where the (MTA) train line on Park Ave. meets the Harlem River, and the other would be at 128/3rd, where a public school now exists:

Also note that from 125 to 127th, between Park Avenue and 5th Avenue, there was a nursery (Floy’s Nursery).

CB11 Full Board Meeting

Tonight CB11 will have a full board meeting and discuss budget priorities.  Harlem Neighborhood Block Association is asking for two things to be highlighted in the budgetary report including:

  • We are requesting a City Council analysis of the distribution of addiction programs throughout the five boroughs, with a mandate to recommend how the rebalancing of these programs can be implemented. In conjunction, we are requesting a City Council agreement on a moratorium of any new or expanded addiction programs in CB11.
    • New York City must address how the persistence of OASAS and DOHMH licensed addiction programs in CB11 that exceed community need (and primarily serve New Yorkers from other communities) – is a form of systemic racism.
    • OASAS and DOHMH have quietly avoided acknowledging that their siting decisions are not based on their own data regarding proportionate community need, but are racially and economically driven instead, and along with indifferent city agencies and politicians, they routinely oversaturate Black and Latinx communities with the addiction programs that wealthier and whiter neighborhoods reject.
    • The impact of this decades-in-the-making form of systemic racism has been to brutalize the quality of life for East Harlem residents, degrade the economic viability of the East Harlem business community, and discourage tourism and development in the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue corridors.
  • Marcus Garvey Park is a jewel in our community. We ask that CB11 request and advocate for security cameras to be installed in this park to enhance public safety for the children, teens, families, and residents who enjoy it.

If you are interested in joining the conversation, tonight starting at 6:30 please follow the calendar link, here:

Oral History

The Schomburg has an amazing collection of oral history of Harlem residents. Some names you’ll certainly know as big-name political and cultural figures. Others, are neighbors:

This is a neighborhood oral history project that works to both preserve and document Harlem history through the stories of people who have experienced it. This project will collect oral histories of people who have lived or worked in the surrounding Harlem neighborhood and train community members to conduct these interviews. Both longtime and more recent residents are invited to share their neighborhood stories, documenting Harlem’s past and present history. Interviews will be preserved at The Milstein Division, available in a circulating collection, and accessible here at the New York Public Library website.

Take a moment and listen to the voices:

Chester Himes

After reading a collection of Chester Himes’ short stories and having previously read most of his novels, I was intrigued to watch the film Come Back Charleston Blue.

Come Back, Charleston Blue is a 1972 comedy film starring Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques, and is based on Chester Himes’ novel The Heat’s On. It is a sequel to the wildly popular 1970 film Cotton Comes to Harlem.

Come Back, Charleston Blue is great for a number of reasons but for residents of Harlem, the street scenes of our neighborhood in the early 70’s are fantastic (much of the film was shot in the winter of 1971/72 and snow abounds).

The viaduct under Riverside Drive:

Cars on Harlem Streets:

125th Street looking east from Lenox:

The Mosque on 116th Street:

And the National Memorial African Bookstore on 125th Street:

To watch the film:

Up in Harlem Wilds Remote

When visiting my mother last February (pre-COVID) she mentioned that she had recently reread one of her childhood nursery rhyme books and flagged a poem that happened to mention Harlem (and is clearly a New York-based poem).

Aside from the rather casual violence in what was supposed to be children’s literature, it was interesting to see this early 20th-century poem refer to Harlem as ‘wilds remote’:

Given New York’s recent experience with tropical storm Isaias, the line about ‘a cyclone’ also seemed rather dark in tone.


Hello Harlem Neighbors,

With COVID, many of us have thought about the plight of our neighborhood’s restaurant owners, workers, and delivery people. This is an interesting time to look back into Harlem’s historic places to eat, and The Schomburg is a great place to explore historic menus and other ephemera.

Here is the Savoy’s floorplan:

And two restaurant menus from 125th street:

To browse historic menus in Harlem, see:

Tourists vs. Locals

There is often a huge difference between where New Yorkers go when they ‘visit’ the city and where tourists (remember them…?) go (how often do you head to the Empire State Building in a given year). As a result, many guides for New York are skewed by the reviews of millions of tourists.

Ilia Blinderman has created a fantastic map that shows what tourists like/review/visit in New York, and what New Yorkers do when they want to visit their city:

As you can imagine, tourists are going to New York’s ‘greatest hits’ whereas New Yorkers are often headed to less crowded, less touristy, local sites:


to see this map for yourself (and to look at other, non-New York destinations) see:


As a New Yorker who first arrived in 1993, I still think of the bridge (or the bridges) as the Triboro, or Triborough. RFK is in my mind, but Triboro always comes out first.

I came across this great image of the Triboro’s span raising (the part that goes over the Harlem river to connect Manhattan to Randall’s Island) in order that the newly constructed Willis Avenue Bridge could be floated up to its site:

Imagine doing that with only 5′ to spare on each side. For more, see:

Census, Racial Types, and Time

The Pew Trust has a fascinating visualization of the complicated way in which Americans (and the American census in particular) classified people into racial categories:

The census years are aligned across the top, and the inclusion and evolution of categories is reflected in the horizontal colored bands.  Note that citizens could only choose their own racial categories in 1960. Before this, census enumerators would choose your race.