Preservation in Harlem Conference

Register here to Save YOUR Spot.  Seating is Limited. 

2023 Harlem Historic Preservation Conference: Harlem and the Future 22023 Historic Preservation Conference -Harlem and the Future 2: Preserving Culture & Sustaining Historic Character in a Changing

“Harlem and the Future 2: Preserving Culture & Sustaining Historic Character in a Changing Environment” will discuss the current state of housing, neighborhood character, cultural identity, and houses of worship in a changing environment of city policies, development pressures, and displacement at the intersection of historic preservation.

Harlem One Stop and the West Harlem Community Preservation Organization, with CB9 Manhattan and community partners will host a day-long conference bringing together legislators, housing, community planning, and preservation experts to discuss available resources and tools for community empowerment and creating a sustainable and livable environment for all.

This conference targets affordable housing issues, the preservation and rehabilitation of HDFCs, co-ops and homeownership, and the importance of the creative arts as a neighborhood stabilizer and economic driver.

A breakout session on Financing Historic Preservation Properties is scheduled for those seeking answers to specific questions or guidance. To attend the break-out session, on-site sign-up is required at the first panel session. Space is limited.

Learn from experts about the potential financial resources available to property-owners to restore, rehabilitate and renovate historic buildings. 

Participants will be given opportunities to discuss specific projects.

AIA credits available for conference.

Lite Breakfast and Lunch will be served.

Suggested donation $10

Seniors and Students Free. ID Required at Check-in.


Title: Historic Neighborhoods in the Path of “Get Stuff Built” – Can both co-exist?

New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams is an unapologetic cheerleader for “Getting Stuff Done”, which is greatly needed in our city today. From the economic effects of COVID to the lack of affordable housing, it’s obvious that only direct action from City Hall will enable New York to continue to thrive. As America’s largest city and one of its oldest, managing change which is equitable to all community stakeholders is a complex undertaking. We look forward to engaging experts on these public initiatives and learning more about how the “City of Yes” impacts New York’s historic neighborhoods and cultural communities.


Title: Housing Harlem: Strategies for the Preservation and Rehabilitation of Affordable Housing Stock

Topics: affordable and subsidized housing, adaptive reuse, Historic Tax Credits, State and Federal Housing Programs, State and City Designation, Management, AIA credits LU|Elective

New York City has long suffered from a lack of affordable housing. Creating new housing is one solution but the areas of the city most suited to affordable housing development are often among the most historic. What are the available tools to reconcile New York’s need for affordable housing with the city’s existing historic building stock? This panel will discuss both public and privately funded strategies in which historic preservation efforts can aid the development and retention of affordable housing while maintaining neighborhood character and avoiding community displacement.


Title: Defining & Retaining Neighborhood Identity/Planning for Growth

Topics: Defining Neighborhood identity, Community development, Place Making and urban planning, public space and design, urban challenges, local business and neighborhood economy, cultural identity, cultural and heritage tourism, creative culture (food, art, music), building as-of-right. AIA credits LU|HSW

Neighborhood identity is determined by many elements; historic buildings, local businesses, gathering places, public spaces, cultural communities, urban design and heritage tourism. So much of what helps define a neighborhood and makes it valuable are intangible elements: such as creative culture, local economies, and community identity. These factors are both critical to a community’s character and susceptible to pressure brought on by larger economic trends. This panel will ask what measures can be taken to ensure that economic development benefits the existing community. How can a community build on its existing cultural and historical character to encourage investment to create a unique place which is accessible, inclusive and sustainable? Who are the stakeholders and decision-makers who help shape this growth?


Title: Financing Historic Preservation Projects

Learn from experts about the potential financial resources available to property-owners to restore, rehabilitate and renovate historic buildings. Participants will be given opportunities to discuss specific projects.


Title: Advocacy – Building Community Voice for a Livable Neighborhood

Topics: community engagement and planning, activism, political agency in the built environment

Preservation brings people together by connecting them through their passion for places and sense of community. By providing opportunities to affirm and empower communities, alliances are created to galvanize solutions for shared concerns for the city’s future. When communities are empowered through historic places, New Yorkers throughout the city can come together to share different perspectives on a common goal. Connections are made and voices are lifted together. Local preservation leaders will lead an action-oriented discussion with the goal of establishing a shared policy agenda for reform.


Title: Congregations and Communities: Preserving Sacred Architecture for Community Benefit

Topic: historic church design, preservation, religion and community, AIA credits LU|Elective

Churches function as community anchors and gathering points even for non-congregants. How can the community help in sustaining and enhancing these important places? What are the opportunities and challenges of houses of worship today? This program will discuss the role of historic churches in Harlem and the community’s involvement in reimagining the adaptive reuse of their social and architectural features, so that they might continue to thrive and serve their greater community for generations to come.

Register. Suggested donation $10. Conference fee. Light breakfast and lunch included. Limited Seating.

Questions? email [email protected] or call 212-939-9201

For more information visit or

This day-long conference is made possible with the generous support of the West Harlem Development Corporation, Harlem Community Development Corporation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Saving Places.

This Sunday! Harlem Rose Garden Tree Tour

Join the New York Botanical Garden’s Levi on an extensive  tour of the Harlem Rose Garden identifying trees, noting their diversity, and diving into a range of topics from ecology, plant diversity.

Save the Date! Harlem Talks Trash!

On Tuesday, June 13th at 7:00 PM you are invited to the June HNBA meeting where we’ll talk trash!

Come out to hear from local elected officials, Community Board 11, DSNY, and others on inequity in the Department of Sanitation’s services provided to our community.

We’ll meet in the ground floor community room at the Henry J. Carter Hospital (entrance at Park Ave. and 122nd Street) and look at new research on DSNY’s litter basket distribution and budget allocation. You are welcome to share your thoughts on how we can improve community cleanliness and the look of your block.

All welcome.

Sponsoring Organizations:

A Sanitation and Data Equity Project

Harlem City Council Candidates’ Forum

Please join NAN at their 2023 Harlem City Council Candidates’ Forum on Friday, June 9th:

Figure Skating in Harlem Wins The International Olympic Committee’s Women And Sports Trophy 2021 For The Americas

Figure Skating in Harlem, a not-for-profit organization located in New York City that provides girls with innovative year-round health, education and fitness programs was (finally) officially presented with the IOC Women and Sport Award 2021 Trophy for the Americas.

The ceremony for this 2-year-old award took place during a side event co-hosted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) alongside the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which is currently taking place at the UN headquarters in New York. 

The ceremony had been delayed due to COVID.

At the heart of its success in transforming its young students’ lives has been figure skating. The confidence, resilience, and determination that come with setting and reaching goals on the ice are the cornerstone of the Figure Skating in Harlem’s model. In 2017, the NGO began a new chapter of its incredible journey by expanding its reach to Detroit. An increasing number of girls of color continue to see their lives transformed by the selfless contributions of Figure Skating in Harlem.

The IOC Women and Sport Awards are given to women, men or organizations who have made remarkable contributions to the development, encouragement, and reinforcement of women and girls’ participation in sport.

Eartha Kitt

Austin Hansen photographed Kitt leading a dance group at the Harlem YMCA in the early 1950’s.

Eartha had been a professional dancer, dancing and touring with the Katherine Dunham Company between 1943 and 1948 before she became more widely known as a singer.

Note the photo below, and the vents under the windows as the space appears today (not to mention the basketball and other line markings):

This photograph is part of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s collection and is held just down the block from the site of the photograph itself.

There Go The Porches

There are not a lot of homes with front porches in Harlem. Some, but not many. Obviously, the most well-known example is Astor Row, but until recently, there was a small group of row houses on East 129th Street near Park. Obviously the row was a bit forlorn and had been an auxiliary space for the the Storefront Academy, across the street:

Nevertheless, it was sad to see them shaved off, unlikely to return:

Inez Dickens Demands Fair Share for Harlem

The empty and imposing building on Central Park North that began its existence in 1914 as a branch of the Young Women’s Hebrew Association (YWHA) (and housed recently immigrated Jewish women in need of assistance), was sold in 1942 to the U.S. Army and briefly used as a rest-and-relaxation center for local soldiers. After the war it was a school and a child development center. In 1976 it became a NY State prison.

Looking north from Central Park sidewalk across 110th Street at New York State facility.

Now Mayor Adams has just received permission from the governor to use this building as a shelter. Below is the statement by Inez E. Dickens on the plans to repurpose Lincoln Correctional Facility:

“Harlem is sick and tired of being sick and tired. Neighborhoods south of 96th Street must also share the responsibility of taking in the tired, poor and hungry. For years, taxpaying Harlemites have fled to other states because of a continued lack of affordability. We are currently oversaturated with pop up shelters, illegal cannabis shops and drug treatment facilities, and reassurances that these accommodations are temporary ring hollow. Already on that proposed block is a shelter and there are multiple social service facilities within a five-block radius. If the state chooses to overburden Harlem with these programs, then Harlem deserves an influx of funding and services for our residents that are bearing the brunt of the impact.

“We respect the long journey asylum-seekers have made, but for far too long our neighborhood has been seen as a dumping ground for the city’s sheltering issues. As New Yorkers, we must all exercise the words at the feet of the Statue of Liberty in deeds and actions.”

(Un)Common Stock

This rather dull piece of Harlem ephemera – a 5 shares worth of stock in the Harlem Stock Exchange – doesn’t on it’s surface have much going for it.

Almost the only thing of interest here is that of the $100,000 total amount of stock, a certain Julius D. Westmoreland owned 5 shares.

And this stock was certified on this day, February 1, in 1921.

What makes this dull document interesting is this stock exchange was an investment vehicle to pool Black Harlem’s assets into a Black real estate company that could transform Harlem.

The brochure (below) is from the collection of the University of Massachusetts and would have been printed to distribute and encourage investment in a large, Black firm that would be capable of financing the purchase and management of real estate throughout Harlem.

The brochure lists trustees and directors – note the inclusion of John E. Nail, of Nail and Parker real estate. John Nail got his start in the real estate business working for Philip A. Payton, Jr.’s Afro-American Realty Company, another real estate firm catering to African American customers in New York City. In 1905, he founded the Nail-Parker Company with Henry G. Parker and bought real estate in Harlem.

By 1925, Nail’s business owned around fifty apartment buildings in the Harlem area. Nail became the most important Black real estate agent in New York City, and sat on the Real Estate Board of New York and the Housing Committee of New York; in each case he was the only Black member.

In the brochure (below), the section on “The Need” notes how white capital’s racist refusal to back Black investment opportunities or Black businesses demanded a Black collective (monetary) response in order to build moneys available for the Black (business) community.

After the Great Depression struck, Nail’s business entered bankruptcy in 1933. Nail died in 1947. Harlem developed as a Black community of renters rather than owners.

To read the full brochure, see:

As Seen In Harlem

Lost Church – Part 2

A month or two ago I’d mentioned that The Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital, just east of Marcus Garvey Park (between 122nd and 121st Streets and Madison and Park Avenues) replaced a Harlem church (outlined in green below)

The fuzzy photo (below) showed the rock rubble in Marcus Garvey park before the depression era work to revitalize the park, with the church in the distance.

Zooming in, you can see the church, and the brownstones that used to line Madison Avenue.

One of the readers mentioned that this church was a Russian Orthodox church, and she was able to provide this (much, much) better photo of the church, looking northward on Madison Avenue:

Note the total lack of trees on Madison Avenue, and the brownstones lining the way north to 123rd street. It must be a warm day, as the shadow indicates its early in the morning, and the kids all seem to have shorts on.

As Seen In Harlem

Harlem Rose Garden Tree Tour

Join the New York Botanical Garden’s Levi on an extensive  tour of the Harlem Rose Garden identifying trees, noting their diversity, and diving into a range of topics from ecology, plant diversity.

Harlem’s Julia De Burgos At Lincoln Center

East Harlem’s poet – Julia De Burgos – is currently being celebrated with massive murals and a quote on the wall of Lincoln Center: