Calabar Imports

Over on Frederick Douglass Blvd at West 134th Street, Calabar Imports has a great selection of local and imported handicrafts. The imported work is almost exclusively from the African continent, and the stateside artists and artisans are either diasporic Africans or Black Americans.

This gallery/store is well worth checking out. We bought some small batch preserves (unable to resist the idea of smokey peach jam).

NYS Tourism

So many Harlem businesses have been devastated by the virtual end of tourism over the last year. The restaurants, stores, cultural sites, lodging, and more, all have been hit so hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the incompetence and indifference of the Trump administration.

I was pleased, however, to see that the latest from I Love New York – the state tourism board – that Harlem (as represented by the Apollo) was featured on the first page. Let’s all hope that 2021 will see a return of the tourism industry and to brighter futures for our local businesses and their employees.

The Biden Presidency!

4 very, very long years.

The nightmare of the Trump presidency has finally ended.

There is, as everyone knows, a huge amount of work still to be done to heal the scars of the hate that Trump fomented and unleashed. Still, today, we can look past the 4 years of lies, unchecked greed, and the betrayal of America’s promise and rule of law.

Let’s all pledge to work towards a more perfect union together – as citizens and as neighbors.

Uptown Grand Central and Positive Workforce

https://www.ny1noticias.com/nyc/noticias/noticias/2021/01/15/juntos-podemos-limpiar-nuestra-comunidad–voluntario-en-east-harlem

A great article about the amazing cleaning going on at Park/Lex and 125th Street.

Bodega Cat

Sometimes, there is nothing more to say, other than this is my bodega’s cat wanting some attention.

Racial Healing Hub

Join the Harlem Wellness Center today by either dropping by the NW corner of Marcus Garvey Park for a drop-in, socially distanced interactive labyrinth walk sometime between 10am-4pm or virtually gathering on Instagram Live at either 11 am or 3:30-pm for a virtual labyrinth walk.   

Click here for complete info along with a link to the lead up to the labyrinth installation:

Harlem Wellness Center: #HWC4racialhealing Hub 

Harlem Wellness Center joins individuals and organizations across the country in amplifying values for social justice, equal rights and healing the racial divide on Tuesday, January 19, 2020, the 5th Annual National Day of Racial Healing. Harlem Wellness Center will kick off its #HWC4racialhealing hub series on the day between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day and the 2020 Presidential Inauguration. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic and a massive movement to address systemic racism, we remember Dr Martin Luther King Jr‘s dream and honor it with action. The Racial Healing Hub centers and promotes principles of truth, reconciliation and transformation through art, reflection, facilitated conversations, mindfulness practices, and ceremony. It cultivates a space for community members to hear and see each other by inviting self expression, understanding and sincere human connection.

Baldwin

Every so often it’s important to go back and reread something of James Baldwin in order to see just how far we’ve come, but, more importantly, how far we haven’t come as a nation and as a city.

In 1965, James Baldwin debated W.F. Buckley at Cambridge University in what became an immediate classic and a touchstone moment in the (intellectual) history of the civil rights movement. Baldwin notes in this debate that:

If you walk out of Harlem, ride out of Harlem, downtown, the world agrees what you see is much bigger, cleaner, whiter, richer, safer than where you are. They collect the garbage. People obviously can pay their life insurance. Their children look happy, safe.

And while the garbage may be collected in our community in 2021, Baldwin’s old neighborhood hosts not one, but two DSNY depots, and the income and wealth gap among Americans has never been more acute.

For the full debate, see:

2nd Avenue Subway, Still Coming…

The governor has said that:

“We will further extend the Second Avenue Subway from 96th Street to 125th Street,” Cuomo said Thursday during his State of the State address. “That will open up the East Side all the way up to Harlem for new, exciting possibilities.”

Note, however, it’s unclear where the money is coming from, and what the new (post-pandemic) timeline is.

Nick Garber at Patch.com has more: https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/2nd-avenue-subways-east-harlem-extension-move-forward-cuomo

Dorrance Brooks

Private First Class Dorrance Brooks – World War I Hero & Beloved Son of Harlem

As president of the Dorrance Brooks Square Property Owners and Residents Association, I am proud to announce that our application submitted in December 2019 to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission has been calendared for consideration by LPC on February 1st, 2021. Private First Class Dorrance Brooks (d. 1918), was an African American soldier who died in France shortly before the end of World War I. A native of Harlem and the son of a Civil War veteran, Brooks was a Private First Class in the 15th Infantry/369th Infantry Regiment. 

In World War I, African-American soldiers served in segregated regiments and were not eligible for aid from the Army Nurse Corps or the American Red Cross. In spite of these discouragements, Brooks distinguished himself as a faithful and patriotic soldier. Brooks was praised for his “signal bravery” in leading the remnants of his company after his superior officers were killed.

Dorrance Brooks Square was dedicated on June 14, 1925 and was the first park in New York City to be named after an African-American. If approved by the NYC LPC, this will be the first historic district in New York City to be named after an African-American.

Dr. Keith Taylor

President, DBPORA 

www.dorrancebrookspora.org

3rd Avenue Bridge

A charming stereoview showing the 3rd Avenue Bridge is for sale on eBay for $10: https://www.ebay.com/itm/154176687581?ul_noapp=true

Notice the clock-tower in the back-right, indicating that we are looking from Harlem, north, towards the bronx. The woman’s outfit, the horse wagon and the Belgian block paving all add to the charm.

Join Your Community Board

2021 Community Board application is now “live”

ON Apply now to join your Community Board, the most grassroots form of local government. The Boards are pivotal in shaping their communities and work to enhance and preserve the character of the city’s many unique neighborhoods. Applications close Monday, 2/1/2021. Click here to download a PDF to study the questions and prepare your answers before applying online (the online application does not allow “sessions”– you must complete the application all … Read more

Biden/Harris and MLK Weekend of Service

Volunteers wanted to help distribute masks in the community: https://www.mobilize.us/wakedems/event/368212/

Join volunteers across New York as we honor the legacy of Dr. King and celebrate the Biden+Harris administration with a day of service to distribute masks to those in need and educate our neighbors about Covid-19 and its vaccine.

This event has two options. Please sign up for one or both:

Daytime – In-person volunteer opportunity. 2-hour volunteer shift (10am, 12pm, 2pm). Sign up to distribute masks and materials in a socially distanced manner to your community. Masks and resources will be provided by our team and shared with you so you can distribution them to NYCHA residents, seniors, families, restaurant workers, and commuters in your local neighborhood.

Evening – Virtual educational opportunity (6:30pm – 8pm) Hear representatives from the Dept of Health present an update on Covid transmission rates by zip code and information about access to the vaccine for your community: https://www.mobilize.us/wakedems/event/368212/

Greater Harlem Coalition Meeting Tonight

Join the Greater Harlem Coalition meeting tonight to learn more about Mount Sinai’s plans for new security at its Park/125th Street methadone programs and its plans for their new facility being built on West 124th Street.

Register here for the 7:00 PM Harlem Town-Hall

The Crown

While I’m not watching The Crown on Netflix, the image comparisons that are making the rounds on social media are incredible.

What did interest me, however, was that Princess Diana visited Harlem Hospital in 1989.

As Untapped New York notes:

During her last day at New York, Diana went to the Harlem Hospital (filmed at the Reynold Building in Manchester) to pay a visit to babies who were struggling with AIDS and HIV, an issue the Princess cared about deeply. In 1987, she opened the first purpose-built ward for AIDS patients at Middlesex Hospital in London. At Harlem Hospital, “she picked up a little boy who has AIDS and hugged him,” Margaret Heagarty, Director of Pediatrics at Harlem Hospital, said in a news interview. “This community and this hospital has been delighted with this charming young woman who showed with great sensitivity and compassion and interest in concern for poor children.” Throughout her life, Diana’s compassion for the sick and less privileged helped reduce the stigma of those suffering from AIDS and other diseases.

And below, and image of the hospital entrance today.