Double V Celebration

The location of this Double V photo intrigued me as it was only labeled as being taken in “Harlem”.

The Double V campaign attempted to draw attention to the racism that kept Black Americans unable to work in many (lucrative) industries in the US, while permitting them to risk their lives fighting fascism abroad (in, albeit, segregated units).

The racial terror that threatened Black Americans before, during and after WWII had many aspects that paralleled wartime rhetoric about Axis society. The Double V Campaign sought to force white America to reckon with this issue and to ensure that Black GI’s coming back from risking their lives, would not return to another ‘Red Summer‘ – the intense, racial violence that sought to intimidate Black Americans who returned from the battlefronts of WWI.

The photo was dated from 1942. The exact address on 119th Street, between Lenox and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd is tough to pin down – notice how there are so many more trees on the street.

Yes, The Super-Wealthy Can See Harlem

A recent listing for the top-floor penthouse at 1,396-foot-tall tower 432 Park Avenue has been publicly listed for the first time ever, asking $169 million. It is the most expensive listing currently in New York City, and if it fetches the asking price, it would become the second-biggest sale in the city’s history and set a record with its $20,500 per square foot price tag.

The 96th-floor unit is currently owned by billionaire Saudi real estate developer Fawaz Alhokair, who bought the apartment for only $88 million in 2016. The apartment unit has 8,225 square feet and has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, as well as 240 linear feet of glass windows. The home is being sold with all of its art and furniture, which includes pieces from Hermes, Fendi, and Bentley.

Build the Block on Thursday

Building Emissions

Pollution from buildings (think heating oil burning)

125th Street is Deadly is reporting that 125th Street is one of the most deadly streets for pedestrians in New York City.

Between 2001 and 2016, 9 people were killed on 125th Street between Fifth and Second avenues. That made it one of the most deadly streets in New York, alongside sections of thoroughfares like Canal Street and Bowery in Manhattan, and Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn.

To read the full article, see:


How Calculated: Estimated number of adults classified as overweight or obese; based on the Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated from self-reported weight and height, expressed as a percent. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is classified as overweight, and a BMI of 30 or greater is classified as obese.

Source: New York City Community Health Survey (CHS)

As Seen in a Bodega Window on ACP

Ice Cream in Harlem

Two Harlem ice cream spots won praise in for their amazing offerings:

Sugar Hill Creamery: New York, NY

Serving out of two locations in the Harlem area, Sugar Hill Creamery is a labor of love built by wife-and-husband team Petrushka Bazin Larsen and Nick Larsen. With combined backgrounds in arts, culture, fine dining and community, they opened their first location in 2017 and have been producing seasonal and classic flavors inspired by Harlem. The handmade flavors to order include a blueberry cheesecake dubbed “Chairperson of the Board,” “Fly Girl,” a honey and lavender-flavored homage to the movie “Honey” and a salted caramel flavor named after Langston Hughes’s poem “Harlem Sweeties.”

The shop is currently delivering pints everywhere in the U.S. (except Hawaii and Alaska) through Goldbelly and will be launching its Ice Cream Sandwich of the Month Club this summer.

Mikey Likes It Ice Cream: New York, NY

Mikey Cole created his brand of ice cream following the advice of his late aunt: “If you are cooking with love, someone should receive that same food with love.” Now serving from two locations in NYC, on the Lower East Side and in Harlem, he will soon sell his ice cream at MoMA’s Cafe 2 as well. Cole’s take on banana pudding with vanilla wafers a flavor called “Brady Bunch,” and “Pink Floyd” is a take on a double-strawberry cheesecake. He even serves up a flavor that encourages you to eat your greens, called “Incredible Hulk.”

Cole also continues to donate food to the community and hopes his ice cream brings people together. Plus, if you’re a kid with an A on your report card: Congrats — your scoop is free!

Former Sign/Plaque?

At the point where 5th Avenue intersects with 120th Street, Marcus Garvey Park has a curious remnant of a former sign or plaque.

You can see the former bolt holes, and someone chiseled the rock to allow the sign to lay flat.

If anyone knows what it was or said, do tell.

Local Restaurants vs. Chains

A dataset of nearly 800,000 independent and chain restaurants for the contiguous U.S. was used to examine the total number of restaurants with the same name and created an average “chainness” score, which measures the likelihood of finding the same venues in other parts of the country.

The paper that examined how “chainy” a community is, by examining how geographic, socioeconomic and infrastructural factors relate. It finds that high rates of chainness predominate in the midwestern and the southeastern U.S., especially in places that are more car-dependent, closer to highways, and with high percentages of people who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. 

A zoomed-in look at chainness in Montgomery, Alabama. The chainness score in this area is above the national average.

Independent restaurants were more prevalent in coastal cities and were associated with more pedestrian- and tourist-friendly environments, wealthier and highly educated populations, and more racially diverse neighborhoods.

A look at San Francisco’s low chainness. 

The analysis and maps show where chains proliferate, and where independent restaurants tend to thrive.

The View South on 5th Avenue

The view, looking through the old Bellevue Hospital gates (hence the BH mullions), south on 5th Avenue.

A Flag?

Seriously? Manhattan (as a borough), has a flag?

It looks suspiciously like the NYC flag with the only difference being details on the circular seal.

The Manhattan Latin motto is gone. The 1625 is replaced with two stars. In the end, it’s pretty underwhelming. Perhaps the confusion between the flags means that we’ve seen the Manhattan one in the field, but without close inspection, just assumed it was the city flag…

Ice Cream with A Topping of Nostalgia

One of our HNBA members mentioned going to Thomforde’s Ice Cream Shop at 351 West 125th Street at Nicholas Avenue with her mother.

Thomforde’s Ice Cream Shop or “Soda Fountain” was established in 1903 and closed in 1983. It was a classic soda shop with diamond-shaped black and white floor tiles, a counter with chrome and bright red leather seat stools. They served big meaty hamburgers, pickles, fries and they were said to have the best “homemade” ice cream soda’s in Harlem.

In the book from Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X, long-term Harlem activist Yuri Kochiyuma, said she:

…remembered Malcolm X holding court (at Thomforde’s) over banana splits where she was a waitress for many years.

Falls Requiring Emergency Room Visits by Seniors

About falls among older adults in New York City

Each year, one in three older adults (65 years and older) falls. Among New York City’s older adults, there are approximately 30,500 emergency department (ED) visits, 16,600 hospitalizations, and 300 deaths each year. Falls are not a normal part of aging, and research shows that many falls can be prevented.

Falls and the environment

Although falls can occur anywhere, falls among older adults frequently happen at home. More than one-half of fall-related hospitalizations among older adults were due to falls in the home. There are many risk factors for falls among older adults including previous falls, gait or balance problems, and use of multiple medications that interact with one another or cause side effects. Physical features of the environment can also put seniors at risk. Common fall risks hazards in homes include slippery surfaces, inadequate lighting, and tripping hazards, such as clutter, loose rugs, or uneven flooring.

About the data and indicators

Falls indicators presented on this site are derived from administrative emergency department (ED) and hospitalization billing records from the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS). Fall-related ED visits and hospitalizations are identified using diagnostic codes from the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, Clinical Modification, as defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s external cause-of-injury matrix and using diagnostic information from any diagnosis field. Place of injury codes for these ED visits and hospitalizations allow for identification of falls that have occurred in the home. Data are based on address of the patient, not the address where the fall occurred.  Only falls resulting in outcomes severe enough to require treatment in the hospital ED or an inpatient stay are included; falls resulting in no health outcomes or outcomes treated outside of a NYC hospital are not captured. ED visit counts include treated and released visits, and hospitalization counts include only live discharges. ED visits and hospitalizations include NYC residents aged 65 years and older discharged from a NYC hospital.


To help prevent falls, older adults should:

  • Stay physically active to strengthen muscles and improve balance
  • Remove slip and trip hazards in the home, such as throw rugs, electrical cords or other clutter
  • Improve lighting in and around the home
  • Ask building owner, landlord, or super to make all necessary home repairs, and install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet
  • Ask doctor, nurse, and/or pharmacist to review all medicines
  • Talk with doctors about previous falls and prevention strategies

Kristin Jordan

We’ve all seen her posters for the election. Now a new variation has come out where you can schedule a listening time with the Democratic candidate for City Council 9, Kristin Jordan:

Walking Distance to the Subway

How Calculated: 

Walking distance to a subway station is defined as 1/4-mile or less. Distance was measured between the centroid of 2010 Census blocks and the nearest station entrance. Census block populations within areas defined as walking distance were summed across the neighborhood and divided by total neighborhood population.

Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority ,United States Census

The Verge Measures UES vs. East Harlem Temperatures

The map above shows which neighborhoods in New York City are considered the most “heat-vulnerable.” In heat-vulnerable East Harlem, The Verge documented average land surface temperatures reaching as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That was more than 20 degrees hotter than readings we took in the affluent Upper East Side. The Verge took these readings with a thermal camera on June 24, 2021, when air temperatures at the nearest NOAA weather station in Central Park only reached a high of 77 degrees.

To listen to the full article, see:

HNBA September Meeting on THURSDAY the 16th

Because of scheduling issues, the first HNBA meeting of the season will be held on Thursday, September 16th, at 7:00 PM. We’ve decided to continue to gather on Zoom at least until December because of the threat that the Delta Variant poses to our community.

At our September 16th meeting, HNBA will host Kristin Richardson Jordan at 7:00 PM to talk about her historic upset of the Harlem machine, her plans for City Council District 9, the upcoming November election, and what she means by Radical Love for Harlem.

To join in and get the Zoom link, please reach out to Shawn, Hallia, Cecile, Saiyda, or Kat for the link, or email: [email protected]

Lenox Coffee

A great cafe. Outdoor seating. Wonderful vibes. 129th Street at Lenox.

Odd Fellows Temple

Landmark East Harlem – a fantastic local group that highlights the history and beauty of East Harlem has a wonderful piece out on the (former) Odd Fellows Temple at Park/106. I highly recommend you get on their email list and explore East Harlem through their efforts.
421 East 116th Street, New York
NY 10029 United States

The article and images below is from Landmark East Harlem and an incredible introduction into this rich landmark:

The former Manhattan Odd Fellows Temple located at 105 E 106th Street has been home to numerous establishments throughout the years, including the first recording studio in Harlem.In 1971, Burnetta “Bunny” Jones founded Astral Recording Studios and rented out the fifth floor for her label Gaiee records. The studio and label provided a much-needed platform for recording artists and engineers throughout Harlem. Jones was also known for employing members of the LGBTQ+ community stating that she wanted her label “to give gay people a label they can call home.”She ended up penning the lyrics to “I Was Born This Way” which would later become a disco hit. Written as a LGBT anthem, the many iterations of the song would ultimately inspire Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Listen to the original recording and subsequent versions and get the full backstory here.Jones was forced to shut down her studio 16 months after opening due to expenses. Yet even in that short time, Jones made a sizable impact in the music industry, having worked with Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Wonder (to name a few), and even collaborating on Stevie Wonder’s blockbuster hit “Isn’t She Lovely.”Astral Recording Studios (also known as Astral Sound) is said to be the first Black, woman-owned recording studio in the United States. Learn more about Bunny Jones’ trailblazing career here.
The grand and expensive construction of the Odd Fellows Temple was a reflection of pre-Depression era lavish spending of the Roaring 20s. Built in 1928 for $1.2M ($19M present day), the Odd Fellows Temple was created as a grand hall for the Odd Fellows fraternal organization. Designed by Hugo Taussig in the Romanesque Revival style, the Indiana limestone, brick, and terra cotta structure is 11 stories high, measures 100’ x 100’, and originally contained an auditorium, bowling alleys, dining rooms, club rooms, and 15 lodge rooms. In the fall of 1930, only a year after completion and the 1929 Stock Market Crash, the New York Times recorded a foreclosure and auction notice, with the building selling for $552,000 or less than half its construction cost.
In the fall of 1945, RKO-Pathe News and Pathe Industries, Inc., purchased the building for a motion-picture studio and film laboratory. Pathe would be the major tenant but rented spaces to other tenants. The building came to be known as the Pathe Building, for the newsreel company. NBC -TV became involved as a client of Pathe’s newsreel and film processing labs and by the late 1940s was producing shows in an “uptown” studio space there, including—according to its current owner—the beloved children’s program “The Howdy Doody Show” and a Friday night variety show hosted by Dave Garroway of the “Today” show.
By 1960, the building was vacant again. In ensuing years it saw various uses, with Astral Recording Studio and other media studios setting up in the 1970s, as well as office space for the NYC Department of Transportation.Around 2000, Phil Mancino purchased the building and opened Metropolis Studios, the only fully-digitized recording studio in Manhattan at the time. It hosted the production of music videos featuring Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Ringo Starr. Cable TV cooking shows, game shows, and judge shows were also filmed there.Many will remember it as the original home of the BET show, “106th and Park” before BET was purchased by Viacom and moved the show to its own studios downtown. Today, the building also hosts the Young Women’s Leadership School, an all-girls high school established in 1996.
Though there have been many owners throughout it’s almost 100 year history, the façade has remained remarkably intact. The building is not yet a city-designated individual; landmark, but it certainly is an icon of East Harlem’s architectural and cultural heritage . The building is currently undergoing exterior renovations and LEH commends Mr. Mancino for his decades of thoughtful stewardship of this important building.