National Black Theater Drills Down

Walking past the National Black Theater the other day led me to take a photo of the drilling crew.

This kind of activity typically means the property is going to change hands or be refinanced (the purchaser or the lender will want to evaluate the potential buildable height and if there are any restrictions on development indicated by the coring operation). Or it could mean that the current owners could be interested in restarting the development of the site.

If you recall, in 2017 the project was to include 240 residential units would be located on the fifth through 20th floors, of which 72 units would be made permanently affordable.

The project then changed, and by 2019, The National Black Theater project was going to move the affordable housing units off site, out of CB11, and into CB10 on West 118th Street (working a deal with HCCI – https://www.hcci.org/).

When word of how the National Black Theater wanted keep any affordable units away from it’s new theater/condo leaked, the outrage at how the National Black Theater was turning its back on the Harlem community caused an abrupt about-face.

Ruth

The Smile

New images and marketing material from The Smile. Luxury at Lex/126.

The design of the building slopes inward as it rises upward, providing great views of the Harlem River and Manhattan skyline. The cantilevering footprint over 125th Street allows for a mix of apartment sizes layouts, while the facade’s interlocking checkerboard pattern gives every unit floor-to-ceiling windows.

“The homes rise above and beyond the Gotham Retail Plaza, cantilevering over to 125th street as it captures the views and sunlight from the south,” Ingels said in a statement. “The Smile is designed for the desires of Harlem’s residents of today – joining the diverse Harlem neighborhood, integrating wellness amenities and offering generous roof gardens.”

The Smile will officially launch leasing this summer, led by Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing. According to a new teaser site, availabilities include $2,299/month studios, $2,795/month one-bedrooms, and $3,814/month two-bedrooms, with concessions of up to 3 months free rent on a 15-month lease.

Tree Pits and the Madison/127 Garden

New York and Harlem tree pits are often under appreciated sites of beauty in this urban world. I just thought I’d share 2 photos of flowers in my tree pit to add a bit of beauty to your day:

On a more somber note, the wonderful garden that has graced Madison Avenue just above 127th Street is about to ‘end’. John, the gardener who’s managed that lot (actually a collection of lots) for a very long time now, is leaving the city and retiring to the midwest. It will be sad to see him go, and his garden go untended. He did note that the owner of the lot has been showing it, or was, at least, in the spring.

It’s actually kind of fitting that Google Street View caught John in the garden as it drove past:

We’ll miss you, John.

Pathmark Site and Target Coming to West 125th Street

A new rendering is out for the Extell project that will replace the old Pathmark building:

It’s hare to imagine retail here, given the M35 bus, and the tenants they may be after are social service agencies who deal with the issues in the immediate neighborhood.

Further down 125th Street, Target looks like a prospective tenant in the new construction slated for the lot east of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Building, according to 6 Square Feet: https://www.6sqft.com/target-to-open-at-major-mixed-use-development-in-harlem/

A deal to bring the National Urban League back to Harlem was reached last month as part of a mixed-use development project planned for 125th Street. In addition to affordable housing, office space for nonprofits, and the city’s first museum dedicated to civil rights, the $242 million project, known as the Urban League Empowerment Center, includes a new 44,000-square-foot Target, as the New York Post first reported.

Manhattan Community Board 11 is Seeking Your Input

Help determine East Harlem’s greatest needs and budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. You can participate in the annual budget process in the following ways:

  1. Fill out the Public Input Survey by Friday, September 25, 2020. Access the survey here: https://forms.gle/BEVYsJZnf97UzoTA9
  2. Testify at the Public Hearing on Draft FY 2022 Statement of District Needs. The hearing will occur during our Full Board meeting on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 6:30 PM.

    Register to attend here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/3615998323216/WN_bZqKJAOrQASa1DzCjdF34Q

Tell NYC What You Think the Budget Priorities for CB11 Should Be

CB11 is collecting your opinions on what the city should budget for our community. Here is a quick Google Form for you to fill out. HNBA has already submitted a larger statement, but you can offer your own thoughts/ideas below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdI4pwQMMuSCoAzc4xucERaaF9u2XhvA-IuDySoMkrrajy-Ew/viewform

How Old is Harlem, Anyway?

From the beginning we need to acknowledge that the idea of Harlem being ‘established’ is a Eurocentric and colonial concept that has been repeatedly used to overwrite the histories of indigenous Americans. And, for the Lenape people who inhabited Manahatta for centuries before Henry Hudson passed by searching for a route to the orient, the area we call Harlem was a seasonal hunting and fishing ground.

On this Welikia Project screenshot, you can see our part of Manhattan as it was in 1609 before the direct contact with Europeans:

And in more detail, here is Marcus Garvey Park – a treed hill with flatlands nearby:

It was, in fact, those grassy areas where Harlem is now centered, that attracted the Dutch settlers – there was less forest clearance necessary to plant crops. Indeed a number of farms were established in Harlem during the early years of Dutch colonial rule and then abandoned after hostilities with the Lenape and other First People. Eventually, in 1658, Peter Stuyvesant

at the session of the director-general and council held at Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 4th of March 1658, established ‘Nieuwe Haarlem‘.

NYPD Crime Response Time Still Lags Three Months Post-Protest

The City reports that:

NYPD response times to incidents remain snagged three months after protests against police spurred long delays — while other emergency responders are getting to the scene faster than before the coronavirus took hold.

That’s the conclusion of THE CITY’s comparison of medical, fire and police response times so far in 2020, a year defined by sudden and intense demands on those rushing to incidents.

Starting in late March and running through mid-May, the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a jump in ambulance calls. Then anti-racism protests that peaked in mid June put the Police Department to the test.

Data from the 911 call system shows that the delays have affected every type of NYPD call, including what police call “critical crime in progress” — encompassing armed violent incidents, robberies and burglaries.

Responses to those incidents — measured from the first call to the arrival of the first unit — took an average of 8 minutes and 5 seconds in the last four weeks of August 2020, compared with 6 minutes and 49 seconds during the same period a year earlier.

For more, see: https://www.thecity.nyc/2020/9/14/21437309/nypd-crime-response-time-still-lags-three-months-post-protest

Ask The 2021 Mayoral Candidates Your Questions

While the most important election of our lifetime is now only 47 days away, our city will also be reshaped by the 2021 elections which include electing a new mayor.

The City (an online NYC new organization) is soliciting your questions for mayoral hopefuls.  
Please take a moment and go to:  

https://www.thecity.nyc/politics/2020/9/14/21437265/ask-the-next-mayor-new-york-city-2021-city-hall

and (among other things) please ask the candidates to address the issue of how systemic racism has resulted in an oversaturation of addiction programs being located here, in Harlem and East Harlem, and what (as mayor) they would do to ensure that wealthier and whiter communities take their fair share of new and existing programs.

We want this issue to be on their radar, early in the process.

Racism, Heat, and Barriers to Access

WeAct for Environmental Justice has an interesting paper out on how public access to open, green spaces maps remarkably onto redlined Manhattan:

The heat stressed communities (mapped in dark red) are clearly similar to the redlined map (above):

Correlation is not causation, of course, but it does point to how systemic (and multimodal) the complex issues of racism, history, policy, economics, and more are. All these causes and consequences are not just intertwined, but also reinforcing.

As the authors note:

Northern Manhattan is home to beautiful parks, but many less visible barriers remain, limiting access to these spaces for surrounding residents. Another recent analysis revealed “parks serving primarily nonwhite populations are half the size of parks that serve majority white populations and are five times more crowded.” This poses significant safety challenges to urban residents of color who are turning to these public green spaces to practice social distancing and cool down amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, people of color may be deterred from spending time in green spaces by fear of unfair treatment by police. Other occupants of the green space, namely white people, also pose potential threats to the safety of people of color, as demonstrated by the recent example of Amy Cooper threatening Christian Cooper in Central Park.

For the whole paper and more analysis, see:

https://www.weact.org/2020/08/public-green-spaces-racism-heat-and-barriers-to-access/

Hello Harlem friends, neighbors, and yogis, this could be you! 

Lucia Russett has been teaching outdoor, in-person yoga classes through Harlem Yoga Studio–and they’re now extending their schedule! 

Lucia will be there every Monday starting tomorrow, 9/14, from 5:30-6:45pm, as long as the weather holds. Here are the details:

  • We’ll meet in the NE corner of the park at 124th and Madison. At 5:30, we’ll walk up the path together to the fire watch tower area, which has a quiet, open space for yoga.
  • Bring your own mat. The ground there is paved, so extra padding would be helpful.
  • Sign up in advance on the HYS website.
  • Other park classes (with a rotation of teachers) are Wed. evenings at 5:30, and Sunday and Tuesday mornings (on the grass) at 10.
  • Mats will be spaced; wear a mask until you’re on your mat.
  • http://harlemyogastudio.com/schedule/

Reminder: 25th Precinct’s Community Council Meeting Tonight at 6 PM

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81120463238?pwd=VDdzd1UrR2NYbTYwSHRSdzE1Ui9zQT09

Meeting ID: 811 2046 3238
Passcode: 2525PCC

The Central Park U-Boat

Untapped New York has a great piece on the captured German U-boat from WW1 that was brought to Central Park for display as a War Bonds promotion. Proof of the purchase of War Bonds allowed entry into the U-boat:

When reading the article I was struck by the fact that it was brought to Central Park via Harlem.

The U-boat had been cut in 3 section for transport to the park. The pieces were unloaded at the Manhattanville docks (by the now defunct Fairway store) to begin travel through the city:

On arrival to New York, it “was hauled from the North river at 132nd street via Manhattan street, 125 street, 7th avenue, 110th street, and Central Park West to the 66th street entrance to the park and ‘docked’ on the Sheep Meadow.”

While I know it was in 3 pieces, but still, the image of a submarine going down 125th Street and then turning south on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. is arresting.

For the whole story and more images, see:

Manhattan Community Board 11 is Seeking Your Input

Help determine East Harlem’s greatest needs and budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. You can participate in the annual budget process in the following ways:

  1. Fill out the Public Input Survey by Friday, September 25, 2020. Access the survey here: https://forms.gle/BEVYsJZnf97UzoTA9
  2. Testify at the Public Hearing on Draft FY 2022 Statement of District Needs. The hearing will occur during our Full Board meeting on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 6:30 PM.

    Register to attend here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/3615998323216/WN_bZqKJAOrQASa1DzCjdF34Q

Elections and Population Density

With the 2020 elections fast approaching, I wanted to share a fantastic visualization that shows population density. The map is fascinating and allows you to really get a sense of major metropolitan areas and the vast (population) deserts that separate them:

In the illustration above you see us, in New York, and the tail of Long Island tapering out to the east. You can probably make out some of the Ohio cities (2020 battlegrounds) and then Detroit up at the top.

Here is a full view of the US:

And you can look at the high resolution image of it all, here:

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/density-map-full-usa.html

And to see the incredible urban areas of the Indian subcontinent and east Asia:

Click here: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/density-map-full-world.html

More on the map, here: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/3d-mapping-the-worlds-largest-population-densities

Harlem African Burial Ground Project Put On Hold

Patch.com reports that the Harlem African Burial Ground Project is a victim of the NYC budget crisis stemming from COVID-19. It’s not over, but it has stalled:

The burial ground site has been subjected to a "long tradition of disrespect," with the building atop it being used as a beer garden, army barracks, a movie studio and, most recently, an MTA bus depot.
The burial ground site has been subjected to a “long tradition of disrespect,” with the building atop it being used as a beer garden, army barracks, a movie studio and, most recently, an MTA bus depot. (Google Maps)

HARLEM, NY — A long-planned project to construct a memorial at the site of a historic African burial ground on 126th Street has been put on hold due to the pandemic, a community board leader told members this week.

Angel Mescain, district manager of East Harlem’s Community Board 11, said Wednesday that the city’s Economic Development Corporation has put the project “on pause” like many other development projects across the city, which is facing a $9 billion budget deficit due to the coronavirus.

The project has not been canceled, Mescain told CB11’s Land Use Committee, adding that “they’re just not rolling along the same schedule they had anticipated.”

See: https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlem-african-burial-ground-project-put-hold

Harlem Woman Turns 100, Urging Neighbors To Vote, Fill Out Census

From Patch: https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlem-woman-turns-100-urging-neighbors-vote-fill-out-census

Katie Nichson celebrated a century in Harlem on Saturday, commanding her well-wishers to “Get up off your butt and get out and vote!”

“I want people to learn that elections come up not just when there’s number 45 in there,” she said. “No, every time there’s an election, go out and vote, because the community is closer to you than the presidency.”

Community has indeed been the driving force of Nichson’s decades in the neighborhood. A longtime member of Mother AME Zion, she has also served in the neighborhood’s Democratic club since its inception, and is a regular guest at neighborhood community meetings — including one in 2017 where she made news for unloading on Mayor Bill de Blasio over the poor conditions of Harlem’s sidewalks.

Nichson said the importance of civic engagement wasn’t lost on her, as someone born the same year that women — at least some women — were guaranteed the right to vote.

“The fact [is] that at one time, women could not vote,” she said. “Then white women could vote and we couldn’t vote.”

NYC’s Marathon is 50 Years Old

Harlem is often the deciding stretch of the NYC Marathon – where leaders pull away, and dreams are won and shattered. This year, with COVID-19, we are not going to have the NYC Marathon pass through Harlem.

See: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/13/sports/new-york-city-marathon.html

Piano – Free if you pick it up!

Robert is offering a piano for free if you are willing to pick it up and take it home. It’s a Story & Clark. It needs tuning and some repairs.

Please email: pgreen5.rg at Gmail if you’re interested.

Preparing for the 2nd Wave

The data regarding the impact of COVID-19 continues to be terrifying. The CDC has documented well over 6 million COVID-19 cases, and the numbers in states like Georgia, Florida, Texas, and California continue to increase:

See: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases

With the coming fall/winter season, health officials continue to remind New Yorkers to remain vigilant. Wear your masks (over your nose and mouth), socialize outside and maintain social distance.

To learn more about the science behind masks: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

To learn more about the science behind not getting infected: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

To get free testing near you: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you

Patch – Report on New Yorkers’ Attitudes to COVID-19

New Yorkers who fear the coronavirus pandemic could come back worse than ever aren’t alone — it’s a worry shared by 62 percent of people in the state, a new survey found.

A Siena College Research Institute survey found widespread doubt COVID-19 will stay contained in New York. A 70 percent swath of New Yorkers largely support government efforts to stop the virus’ spread even if it hurts the economy.

“Majorities of every demographic, except Republicans, think that we haven’t seen the worst of the pandemic, and majorities of every demographic want the government to concentrate on containing the virus even if the economy suffers,” said Don Levy, the institute’s director, in a statement. “Nearly 80 percent are concerned that they, or another member of their household, will get sick with COVID-19.”

The survey indicates New York’s swing from coronavirus epicenter to success story isn’t making its residents, including those in New York City, complacent.

Beyond the 62 percent who fear the worst is yet to come, 82 percent of those surveyed think it’s likely the state will face another large COVID-19 outbreak in the fall.

Large numbers of New Yorkers still adhere to public health recommendations, the survey found. For example, 73 percent always wear a protective mask outside their homes and 56 percent follow social distancing recommendations completely.

Between 56 and 64 percent of New Yorkers feel comfortable with eating outdoors at a restaurant, going to a playground or park, going to a barbershop or salon and visiting a beach.

But when asked about indoor dining — a growing hot topic in New York City, where it is still banned — 65 percent were not comfortable eating inside a restaurant, according to the survey.

Read the full results here.

Advancing Black Entrepreneurs

Black Enterprise is excited to announce a new partnership with Chase for Business to offer Advancing Black Entrepreneurs — an education program designed to help Black business owners recover and move forward in the wake of the current global pandemic.



Joining us in this important effort are National Minority Supplier Development Council, National Urban League and the US Black Chambers, Inc.

Together, we’ve developed a series of information-packed 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 bookkeepingPivoting your business model in this new economic environment

Helping your customers feel confident and safe

Developing contingency plans for the future

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to get the financial guidance and expertise you need to grow your business.

Join us:
Black Enterprise Webinar
2pm EDT
September 16, 2020

  
 © 2020 BLACK ENTERPRISE | New York, NY, 10016, USA   

Henry Hudson

In 1609, on September 13th, Henry Hudson weighed anchor at West Harlem on his way up what would become known as the Hudson River:

[September 13]
The thirteenth, faire weather, the wind Northerly. At seuen of the clocke in the morning,
as the floud came we weighed, and turned foure miles into the Riuer. The tide being done wee
anchored. Then there came foure Canoes aboord : but suffered none of them to come into
our ship. They brought great store of very good Oysters aboord, which we bought for trifles.
In the night I set the variation of the Compasse, and found it to be 13.degrees. In the afternoone we weighed, and turned in with the floud, two leagues and a halfe further, and anchored
all night, and had fiue fathoms soft Ozie ground, and had an high point of Land, which shewed
out to vs, bearing North by East seuen leagues off vs.

Robert Juet, Hudson’s first mate’s diary contains the (above) entry.

Help Manhattan Community Board Determine What Your Budget Priorities Are

Manhattan Community Board 11 is seeking your input to help determine East Harlem’s greatest needs and budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. You can participate in the annual budget process in the following ways:

  1. Fill out the Public Input Survey by Friday, September 25, 2020. Access the survey here: https://forms.gle/BEVYsJZnf97UzoTA9
  2. Testify at the Public Hearing on Draft FY 2022 Statement of District Needs. The hearing will occur during our Full Board meeting on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 6:30 PM.

    Register to attend here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/3615998323216/WN_bZqKJAOrQASa1DzCjdF34Q
  3. Submit written testimony on the Draft FY 2022 Statement of District Needs to [email protected] by Friday, September 25, 2020.

For more information, please contact the community board office at
(212)831-8929 or [email protected].