Wish Tree: Imagine Peace

If you had the chance to walk by 5th Avenue at 126th Street, you might have caught this fantastic community art project:

The beautifully tended tree pits nearby, and the messages of hope that made up the project were really magical:

A few of the wishes, left by our neighbors, are shown below:

Fred R. Moore

The Fred R. Moore School between 5th and Madison, and 130th and 131st, is restrained mid-century gem of New York City’s public architecture. This school and the associated playground take up a whole city block: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/schools/M133

When you walk on Madison between 131st and 130th, just inside the playground’s gates, you’ll see a wonderful bas relief of schoolchildren racing towards school and their future:

The school is named for a prominent Black journalist and publisher who wrote for and ran the New York Age during the Harlem Renaissance.

Moore was an editor and publisher who became closely associated with Booker T. Washington until 1915 when Washington died. He worked to promote the National Negro Business League founded by Washington in 1900. He became editor and publisher of the Colored American Magazine in 1905, through Washington’s influence. He had the reputation as one of the most important newspaperman in the US.

Again through Washington who bought New York Age, Moore became editor and purported owner in 1907, a position he held until his death

The Parks department notes:

In October 1949, community members, government officials, teachers, and students gathered to dedicate the new Fred R. Moore School/P.S. 133 at Fifth Avenue and 130th Street in Harlem. Mrs. Marian Moore Day, youngest daughter of the late editor, spoke at the ceremony. The site of the neighboring playground had been acquired by the City of New York in 1946. It was developed with basketball and handball courts, as well as a softball diamond and a large open area for rollerskating. The playground opened on December 22, 1951.

Former Council Member (now Manhattan Borough President) C. Virginia Fields funded the $885,000 reconstruction of Moore Playground in 1998. As they enter the playground from the northeast, pupils at P.S. 133 and community members encounter a granite and cast-stone replica of the front page of the New York Age, announcing the achievements of Fred R. Moore. The playground features new play equipment, safety surfacing, benches, spray shower, climbing turtles, drinking fountain, drainage and water supply, and resurfaced tennis and basketball courts. The entire site is enclosed with new fencing adorned with steel silhouettes of turtles, birds, and marsh plants.

COVID Antibodies

As you likely know by now, the presence of COVID antibodies indicates people who have had COVID (knowingly, or completely asymptomatically). The DOHMH for NYC has released a map of COVID antibody testing. Our (East Harlem) data is based on 6,258 tests:

The city on Tuesday released the results for roughly 1.5 million coronavirus antibody tests conducted since mid-April. The new data confirms earlier reports that the virus has hit people of color and low-income communities harder than more well-off neighborhoods in New York City. At 33 percent, the Bronx saw the highest rate of people who tested positive for COVID-19; in Manhattan, 19 percent of antibody tests were positive. A new map and table released by the city’s health department break down antibody testing rates by ZIP code, age, borough, sex, and neighborhood poverty.

As you can see, our community is somewhere in the middle of Manhattan’s range. Many more people in Washington Heights have had COVID, and many people south of is in the upper East Side, for example, have not had COVID.

The lowest rates in Manhattan, which had the lowest overall rate of positive antibodies, were found on the Upper East Side and Upper West, both at 12.6 percent positive. No neighborhoods south of Harlem saw rates higher than 20 percent. In the ZIP code 10036, which includes Midtown West, 19.6 percent of those tested had antibodies.

Some researchers say those with COVID antibodies are likely protected from getting the virus again or as severely, possibly offering some relief to those neighborhoods hardest hit early on in the crisis. But there are still too many unknowns, and the city wants everyone, antibodies or not, to consider themselves at risk for infection.

See: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data-testing.page

Howell Binkley

One of our Harlem Neighbors has passed.

Howell Binkley died from lung cancer. Howell was a two-time Tony award-winning lighting designer, most notably for his work on Hamilton

From Playbill:

Two-time Tony winner Howell Binkley, one of Broadway’s most prominent contemporary lighting designers, passed away August 14, 2020, at the age of 64. The cause was lung cancer. His wife, Joyce Storey, confirmed the news to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Among his designs were the original Broadway productions of Jersey Boys and Hamilton, both of which won him the Tony Award in 2006 and 2016, respectively, along with an Olivier Award for the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical’s staging in London’s West End in 2018. The recently released Disney+ capture of Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre immortalizes Mr. Binkley’s work for generations to come.

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Howell Binkley

The designer made his Broadway debut as the lighting designer for Kiss of a Spider-Woman in 1993, earning a Tony nomination for his work on the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Terrence McNally musical set in an Argentine prison. His additional credits include Avenue QIn the HeightsCome From Away, and Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations, all of which also earned Tony nods. In total, he competed nine times for Broadway’s highest honor.

Born in Winston-Salem, Mr. Binkley attended East Carolina University before moving to New York City in 1978. In 1985, choreographer David Parsons and Mr. Binkley founded the Parsons Dance Company, a modern company that has toured all over the world.

By end of the ’90s, Mr. Binkley was firmly established as one of Broadway’s most sought-after lighting technicians. In addition to original productions like Summer: The Donna Summer MusicalEscape to Margaritaville, Prince of Broadway, Allegiance, Memphis, and The Full Monty, the designer handled a number of revivals on the Main Stem, including Gypsy in 2008, West Side Story in 2009, and Jesus Christ Superstar in 2012. In total, Mr. Binkley designed lighting for 52 Broadway shows.

Help Our Trees

As the recent hurricane showed, our street trees take a huge beating in extraordinary events like Isaias and in the world of day-to-day life on the streets of New York.

You may not know this but the moment a tree is planted in the sidewalk, the open patch of dirt and anything contained in it miraculously (okay, legally) changes from DOT control to Parks Department. Flowers, mulch, tree guards, trees, whatever – if it’s in a tree pit, Parks owns it – even if you planted it!

There is no (legal) such thing as ‘my’ tree in the sidewalk. The city owns it and manages it via the Parks Department irrespective of origin. That said, we all exist in a realpolitik space where we can’t necessarily count on city agencies to respond to every minute need, and thus we, as concerned citizens, need to take the initiative and do what’s right.

After paving (think Park and 5th Avenues this past week), block parties, film shoots, and family gatherings, ‘our’ street trees often remain taped with notices. Please, if you see taped notices on trees, remove it as carefully as you can.

Tape traps moisture, that both rots bark, and provides a moist haven for damaging insects. (Think of bandaids you might have left on a bit too long.)

Always, remove taped/stapled notices from trees (once the event has passed) and help a struggling street tree.

HARLEM WEEK 2020

FROM SUNDAY, AUGUST 16 TO SUNDAY, AUGUST 23

What originally started as a one-day tribute to one of the most culturally rich neighborhoods in the world has now become a month-long celebration enjoying its 46th year. Recognizing this year, 2020 is unlike we have ever seen HARLEM WEEK this year will take place from August 16 – 23 and it will take place virtually. For many years people have planned their vacations around the dates HARLEM WEEK to travel to Harlem to participate in our festival. This year HARLEM WEEK goes to the world as a virtual event sharing the culture, history, resilience and strength of Harlem.

Upcoming Events

AUG165:00 AM – 11:59 PMSupport Harlem Now Virtual Harlem 5K Run Honoring Percy 100 and Charles Rangel 90

The traditional Harlem 5k Run will this year be a virtual event taking place throughout HARLEM WEEK 2020!AUG165:01 AM – 11:59 PMVirtual Exhibitor Vendor Village

Shop, get information, win prizes, get free gifts when you visit the HARLEM WEEK Virtual Exhibitor Vendor village. Shop with local businesses from around the world and visit with reps from Fortune 500 corporations. The HARLEM WEEK Virtual Exhibitor Vendor village has something for everyoneAUG166:00 AM – 11:59 AMHARLEM WEEK/Imagenation Film Festival

Enjoy Films that speak to our HARLEM WEEK Theme of “Movement of The People”, celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Negro Baseball League and the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance.AUG1610:00 AM – 11:00 AMChildren’s Corner

Parents, have your kids join us each morning of HARLEM WEEK in the Children’s Corner. Our daily space just for kids up to age 12. Youngsters can enjoy book reading, performances, cooking classes (done with adult supervision) and more.AUG1611:00 AM – 12:00 PMDance Workshop Presented by NJPAC

Every day during HARLEM WEEK take time to dance, move and groove with us and our partners at New Jersey Performing Arts Center with special guest instructors .AUG163:00 PM – 7:00 PMA Great Day In Harlem

Join us online and celebrate A Great Day In Harlem, featuring performances and appearances from local, national and international performing artists including Hezekiah Walker, Erica Campbell, Dance Theater of Harlem, The Harlem Music Festival All Star Band led by Ray Chew and much more!AUG167:00 PM – 7:10 PMA Taste Of Harlem

Harlem has some of the worlds most iconic restaurants and we invite you to experience them virtually throughout HARLEM WEEK 2020. See how some of the mouth watering dishes and delicious beverages are made, join us and enjoy “A Taste of Harlem.”AUG175:00 AM – 11:59 PMSupport Harlem Now Virtual Harlem 5K Run Honoring Percy100 and Charles Rangel 90

The traditional Harlem 5k Run will this year be a virtual event taking place throughout HARLEM WEEK 2020!AUG175:01 AM – 11:59 PMVirtual Exhibitor Vendor Village

Shop, get information, win prizes, get free gifts when you visit the HARLEM WEEK Virtual Exhibitor Vendor village. Shop with local businesses from around the world and visit with reps from Fortune 500 corporations. The HARLEM WEEK Virtual Exhibitor Vendor village has something for everyoneAUG176:00 AM – 11:59 AMHARLEM WEEK/Imagenation Film Festival

Enjoy Films that speak to our HARLEM WEEK Theme of “Movement of The People”, celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Negro Baseball League and the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance.SEE FULL CALENDAR

Kamala Harris in Harlem

Marcus Samuelsson recently Tweeted this about meeting Kamala and added in a photo of her in Harlem in 1966:

Marcus [email protected]I recently met @kamalaharris at @RoosterHarlem and am proud and hopeful for her leadership. When I look at this photo of her as a young child visiting Harlem in ‘66 I hope all the boys and girls in our community see themselves in her and realize the heights they can achieve.

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HNBA and Greater Harlem Coalition Member Interviewed

Yesterday a neighbor and HNBA member was interviewed to present her (and Harlem’s) perspective on how the Upper West Side seems to have gotten its knickers in a twist about homeless men living in their community:

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/nypd-responds-to-hotels-for-homeless-on-the-upper-west-side/2560908/

The Harlem Neighborhood Block Association seeks an equitable and fair share distribution of homeless services and shelters throughout all communities in New York City and all 5 boroughs.

Advancing Black Entrepreneurs in the COVID Era

Chase for Business has a program they would like to promote in our community: Advancing Black Entrepreneurs. If you know any Black entreprenures who would benefit from a free education program designed to help Black business owners recover and move forward in the wake of the current global pandemic.

Advancing Black Entrepreurs is a collaboration between Chase for Business and: Black Enterprise, National Urban League and the US Black Chambers, Inc. They’ve developed a series of information-sessions – the first of which focuses on Reclaiming the Future: How Your Business Can Rise to the Challenges of COVID-19.

This ninety-minute guided digital session, offered at no cost, will cover topics including:

  • The increasing importance of bookkeeping
  • Pivoting your business model in this new economic environment
  • Helping your customers feel confident and safe
  • Developing contingency plans for the future
Register Now