1932 was an amazing year in Harlem:

Arthur Schomburg was appointed curator of the ‘Negro Division’ of NYPL at the 135th Street Branch (managing the priceless material he donated to NYPL that documented the life and achievements of the Black diaspora

The renowned sculptor Agusta Savage opened The Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts (you have to love that name). The studio was located at 163 W. 143 Street

Agusta Savage

The Harlem Harlicans were introduced by Lillian Armstrong (Louis Armstrong’s wife – divorced in 1938) to the Harlem scene. The Harlem Harlicans were an all woman swing band

Lil Armstrong

The Rockland Palace and Savoy Ballroom host drag balls. One of the Black contestants – Bonnie Clark protests that the judges favor white drag queens

Drag Performers

Mount Morris Park 1848

A fascinating map of Mount Morris Park from 1848 is up for sale for $3,400:


This map shows land owned by Samson Adolphus Benson, which extends north of Harlem creek, and south of Kingsbridge Road (all of the detailed blocks on the map are part of this Benson portfolio.

In addition to showing the land that Benson owned and was now selling, the map also shows us 3 Dutch colonial-era roads that are no longer in existence (wiped out by the commissioner’s grid of streets and avenues that we all experience today).

Harlem Lane:

Kingsbridge Road:

and Manhattan Road:

And, of course, Harlem Creek is now long buried and built over:

Lastly, the map indicates what may be build on given lots, and where sales of the properties were conducted:

A Gorgeous Door – Carver Bank on 125th Street

Election Dates Published

The voting dates are out! 

The New York Primary election date is June 27.  Early Voting starts June 17 and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is June 12.  

Remember to ask your neighbors when you see them and chat, if they’re going to come out to vote, and make a plan to coordinate. Talk to them about the issues. Let’s get activated. Let’s vote!

Another important way to drive change in Harlem is to Join The County Committee, which gives you access to elected officials and allows you to select the Democratic Party nominee for Harlem when there is a special election – which happens when an official vacates their seats before their term ends.  

Each year, many seats are unfilled and so we need your civic engagement to help Harlem. Any registered Democrat who resides in Central or East Harlem can apply. To apply, please fill out this form this week. 

Little work is involved in joining the county committee but you can make big impact. To join, collect 30+ signatures from your neighbors who are registered Democrats. After you joined, you have no obligation to do anything except you have the OPTION to join events and vote. To find out more, you can view this webpage

Have more questions? Email [email protected] or contact District Leaders William Smith and Sharase Du Bois.

As Seen In Harlem

Near Tiano Towers

Juneteenth March/Run/Walk/Roll


Engineering the Next Generation: Students Wanted

Sector Charlie – Build the Block

Residents & Business Owners of Sector Charlie! Join Neighborhood Coordination Officers Lau & Hackeling for their Build the Block on Mar. 16 at 5pm, @ 85 East 125 Street. Not sure this is your sector? Visit http://ow.ly/iUc250MZFC2 & type in your address to find out.

Set Out Times

Dear Fellow New Yorker,

As part of our commitment to keeping our streets clean, the NYC Department of Sanitation is implementing:

  • A new rule to reduce the time that trash, recycling, and curbside composting will sit on sidewalks. The new rule goes into effect April 1, 2023.
  • Citywide curbside composting service for all New Yorkers by the end of 2024

We invite you to join us for an upcoming Info Session to learn more about these exciting changes! Please register at the link below. If you are unable to attend, you can learn more at nyc.gov/SetoutTimes and nyc.gov/curbsidecomposting.

Meeting DateMeeting TimeRegistration Link
3/15/20231:00 PMhttps://teams.microsoft.com/registration/x2_1MoFfIk6pWxXaZlE77w,rYmh4LvA10CJA3mwZT0llA,vPW-k9nXBU63wY1_0IMYKw,xsKSk2Y7oEiVt5-HEEOdBA,jb7qgevsukyAFwXbVdzVfA,lQJFP6E2x063r0OVMFcn2A?mode=read&tenantId=32f56fc7-5f81-4e22-a95b-15da66513bef&webinarRing=gcc
3/21/20231:00 PMhttps://teams.microsoft.com/registration/x2_1MoFfIk6pWxXaZlE77w,rYmh4LvA10CJA3mwZT0llA,vPW-k9nXBU63wY1_0IMYKw,z2ZlKputvEWZ4dlNvV4qpg,fs6yXau58UiImT2Ds6tYrQ,gG-g05TdpUGk5xGfC-Pdng?mode=read&tenantId=32f56fc7-5f81-4e22-a95b-15da66513bef&webinarRing=gcc
3/23/20231:00 PMhttps://teams.microsoft.com/registration/x2_1MoFfIk6pWxXaZlE77w,rYmh4LvA10CJA3mwZT0llA,vPW-k9nXBU63wY1_0IMYKw,eP04DUy9GEOR768A0HTfew,yKWPJp8Xd0uhkgOz0KUltw,gIECFdpq6ESQCSnwGclZwg?mode=read&tenantId=32f56fc7-5f81-4e22-a95b-15da66513bef&webinarRing=gcc

We look forward to seeing you at one of our info sessions!

August Robles

This photo of East Harlem caught my eye with the Botanic sign and the police carrying Tommy guns:

Note that the officers also have gas masks:

And bullet proof vests that look more like aprons when compared to the ones we see on the police these days:

Lastly, there appears to be a laughing priest in the mix, outside 67 East 112nd Street:

The location is now part of the Sendero Verde complex:

The address of the Botanica was 67 E. 112th Street. August Robles was in the building, resisting arrest in 1955. Police gathered outside the tenement:

And on the roof:

Note the tear gas billowing out, and a closeup of the police on the rooftop:

For details on the story, see:

Twenty-Fifth Annual Women of Excellence

“Awards Reception”



NEW YORK, NY 10039


1:00 PM

TICKETS:  $75.00 per person

All roads lead to West 145th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard.


Dawn L. Jones, National Board Member and

Member, NANWA

NAMA The Gift Shop:  Imani’s Creations & Entertainment, Inc., Holistic Harlem, DJ CARD CREATOR and Angel Star Foundation will be on display at Monday Night Jam Sessions at The New Amsterdam Musical Association 107 West 130th Street New York, NY 10027 each and every Wednesday evening @ Harlem Late Night Jazz.  Come out celebrate “Women Telling Our Stories.’  Stop, shop, sip and save big with us!  Special Discount to all Women and Social Workers this monthly only!  Social Work Month 2023:  Thank Your For All You Do To Break Barriers!

Head To Albany! Make Your Voice Heard!

Here is your chance to head to Albany and make a difference!  Get on the bus this Saturday!

What: Somos Albany Conference When: Saturday, March 11, 2023

Time: 7:00am-4:00pm

Bus Pick-Up: 116th & Madison Ave (right hand side corner–in front of Mt. Zion Church)

Leaves: 7:00am sharp

Departs Albany: 4:00pm sharp

This is an invitation only (non-transferable)

Please confirm if you able to attend for your free slot on the bus as soon as possible as seats are limited. Please RSVP to Christal Williams (917) 517-1187 (Mobile) via text/call.


Three decades after legislation pushed for the return of Native American remains to Indigenous communities, many of the nation’s top museums and universities still have the remains of thousands of people in their collections.

ProPublica has a fascinating project to map any remains of indigenous first peoples. It’s amazing to see the numbers:

And the map of the issue:

The reason this is appearing here, in a blog on Harlem is that we too have indigenous first-peoples’ remains held here in Harlem:

Columbia University’s Department of Anthropology has acknowledged 14 Native American remains. All 14 come from North Dakota:

To see the full map, and learn more about the project, see:


The Harlem Riots As Seen Through Nazi Eyes

Ebay has/had and interesting photo of La Guardia and two police officials taken by a Life photographer in December 1943 up for sale in Europe. The photo is not particularly flattering for La Guardia, who is seen as significantly shorter than the two police officials who virtually crowd him as he leans against and wraps his arms around a banister.

If it weren’t for the somewhat bemused look on one of the police official’s face and the casual arms behind the back of the other, this might appear to be a photo of an arrested and cornered man.

(Note the foreground rifle, presumably whitened by the powerful flash and held by an officer).

And, as interesting as the photo is, it’s the back of the photo and the pasted, typewritten text which really stands out.

The text is in Geman and titled “Freedom from Want”. After transcribing it, running my transcription through a German spell check, and then using a Google German>English translation tool, I was able to come up with this text:

This picture from the American magazine “Life” shows the Mayor of New York La Guardia in a New York police station, during the food riots in Harlem, New York’s Negro district. He orders more food to be brought to the starving Negro district to fight the riots . While Roosevelt, as one of the Four Freedoms, promises the rest of the world “freedom from want” in the event of an American victory, the mayor of his country’s largest city has ordered welfare measures for its own starving population. Make the world see how freedom from want should, in reality, be laughed at. 22/14/1943

Nazi Germany and the other Axis powers were, of course, at war with the U.S. since December 1941. The text on the back of the photo (which presumably accompanied the photo in an article in a war-era German newspaper or magazine), sought to highlight the poor model that America presented to the world when racism and discrimination continued to undermine the internationally/publically espoused ideals of the United States.

Paris in Harlem!

The images speak for themselves. Burlesque, 5x a month in 1932:

Zoe Anderson Norris

Recently a New York historian – Eve Kahn – reached out to residents on East 126th Street regarding a former resident from the block – the reformer/publisher/writer Zoe Anderson Norris (1860-1914).



Zoe Anderson Norris lived at 57 East 126th Street around the turn of the 20th century.  In addition, as an author, Zoe would write about and describe her life on East 126th Street, including her view of rose gardens out the back window and the sound of nearby church bells (most likely St. James).

On either side were other back yards of the same shape and pattern, better tended, being private back yards, the roses held primly against the wall by strings. Further on yet rose the rear of a church, covered with vines, the tinkle of whose chimes told the half hours and the quarters


Eve Kahn is putting together an exhibition on Zoe Anderson Norris, which coincides with Women’s History Month.


The exhibition is open 10-7 weekdays and 10-5 on Saturdays, March 1-May 13.  All are welcome to attend the March 1st opening

These links are about a few of Zoe’s many interesting friends!



She said Zoe was a strong willed woman, believed in God in her own way.  Eve Kahn said she’s thrilled to learn that Zoe’s former house is still full of empowerment and rejoicing!

Black Minds. Black Creativity.

Alice H. Walker was working as a cook in New Jersey in 1919 when she patented a central heating system that led to the creation of modern home heating systems used across the globe.

Garrett Morgan, the son of formerly enslaved parents, had only an elementary school education when he created the stoplight that is still used at intersections today.

Mark Dean led the team of computer scientists at IBM who invented color computer monitors—the technology that allowed for modern computers and smartphones.

Valerie Thomas is the NASA physicist who invented a transmitter in 1980 that could project 3D images onto a screen, thus paving the way for the 3D movies playing in theaters today.

And in 2020, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett became the lead scientist at the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center. Her work led to the creation of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Under The Tracks

(from Uptown Grand Central’s newsletter)

“The overhead lights in the back of a public plaza in East Harlem, mounted on a rusty viaduct that supports the Metro-North Railroad, were not working. And Carey King was panicking.

Ms. King, who runs the plaza as the director of Uptown Grand Central, a nonprofit group formed by local merchants, was getting ready to reopen that section in the spring of 2021 after two years of construction to make it nicer. It was so dark that neighbors stayed away. Drug addicts shot up in the shadows and others found hidden corners to urinate and defecate.

When Ms. King tried to get the lights turned on, the Metro-North Railroad, which is operated by the state, said they were not its lights. She went to the city’s Department of Transportation, only to be told to check with Metro-North. After months of going back and forth with different agencies, she finally got city transportation officials to take ownership of the lights.

‘It’s a bad joke: How long does it take to change a light bulb?’ Ms. King said.”

👉🏽👉🏾👉🏼 Big thanks to The New York Times for giving our spot under the train tracks some shine! And to the NYC Department of Transportation for getting the boxy white lights on.

Also grateful to the Design Trust for Public Space and NightSeeing for the colorful string lights that are making our space even brighter and better.

Head here for the full article on the city’s new public space director and problem-solving plans.


There’s just a little while longer to enjoy the Winter Lights that are glowing here along East 125th Street.

Our trees are lighting even more blocks than ever before, from Fifth to Second avenues. We’re grateful as always to local small business Urban Garden Center for the many weeks they spend to bring you the holiday magic.

The lights will be up through the end of February — adding not only festive cheer, but extra shine and safety on the sidewalks on these dark winter nights.

Join Your Community Board

New Majority NYC Endorses Inez Dickens to Represent Harlem in City Council

City and State has an article on New Majority NYC formerly known as 21 in ‘21, a women-in-elected office advocacy group that played a key role in bolstering the number of women represented in the City Council. Since its founding in 2017 the group has surpassed its initial goal two years ago when voters elected 31 women to the body – the majority of whom were women of color. Members’ work has since shifted into a new stage of sustaining the majority of women in the city’s political leadership for years to come. The group’s endorsements for the 2023 City Council elections were staked around that premise.

“We’re thrilled to see so many women who are stepping up and saying that they want to represent their communities,” said Yvette Buckner, executive board chair for the New Majority NYC. “It’s so critical and important because they are seeing what’s happening on the ground from very different perspectives.” 

That’s not the case in District 9 in Harlem, where the New Majority NYC endorsed Assembly Member Inez Dickens over Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan. Richardson Jordan got the group’s second-ranked endorsement two years ago, but the socialist has courted controversy in her first year, voting against Adrienne Adams as speaker, tweeting apparent justifications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and opposing a controversial rezoning that would have created some affordable housing units. The Democratic primary has already taken on a fairly competitive tone, and Richardson Jordan is likely to lose other mainstream endorsements that some incumbents take for granted. 

Richard Jordan’s racially divisive and nationalist rhetoric has also alienated many Harlem residents who have noted (for example) that she did not attend a vigil for Yao Pan Ma, a 61-year-old from China, was murdered in 2021 while collecting cans on busy 125th Street, and has failed to attend any of the Upper Manhattan Asian American Alliance cultural events.

The Studio Museum Grows

Facade work continues to climb on the new Studio Museum of Harlem building.

Columbia Journalism Student Wants to Hear From You

My name is Morgan Desfosses, I am a staff writer at Columbia Daily Spectator’s long-form magazine The Eye. In case you are unfamiliar with us, we are the branch of Spectator that focuses on nuanced, in-depth, human-centered reporting.

I am currently working on an article about Columbia University and New York City’s overdose prevention efforts including the new overdose prevention centers provided by OnPoint.

I have met with several leading researchers in this field and will be meeting with a NYC DOH commissioner and OnPoint themselves. As residents and community stakeholders in these neighborhoods, your voice is necessary to understanding the complexity and nuance of these issues, and as such I am eager to hear your perspective.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you!
Morgan DesfossesStaff Writer | 

Columbia Daily SpectatorB.A. Candidate, Sociology & Creative Writing, Columbia University ’25

[email protected]

Ph: +1 (917) 868-6343