Open House NY Weekend: Grandscale Mural Project

More than half a mile of murals, created by more than 100 artists: The Grandscale Mural Project is now part of Open House New York Weekend!

Since its start nearly two decades ago, OHNY shines a spotlight on the places, people, projects and ideas that define New York and its future. This year’s event includes some 200 different in-person and
virtual tours, talks and self-guided walks at select locations citywide.

Join Uptown Grand Central this Sunday, October 17, from 1-5 p.m. to walk the walls of the Grandscale Mural Project that stretch along East 125th and East 124th streets, and Park, Lexington and Third Avenues:

The murals feature a wide range of street art styles, and many of our participating artists will be on hand to tell their stories and answer your questions. In-person artists include: Mark Musters, BC1 NBA,
Blanka Amezkua, Laura Alvarez, Erica Purnell, Ysabel Abreu, Yeksoe, Carla Torres, One Rad Latina, Social Icon, Gia Gutierrez, Alexis Vanity, Danny Peguero, EunHea Kim, the CCC Art Collective and SJK 171.

Blazay (from the DMX mural fame) will also be live-painting portraits next to the fire station at Third Avenue & 124th Street.

To start, come find us under the yellow tent just outside the Harlem-125th Street Metro-North Station.

The Victoria Tower Residences

The Victoria Tower Residences on 125th street is starting to show apartments. The building is behind, yet incorporates the facade of the old Victoria Theater.

The 27-story high rise shares its space with the Renaissance Marriot Hotel and is being marketed as a luxury building with a two-story lounge, multiple meeting rooms, a fitness center, and adjacent restaurants that will offer residential tenants hotel services.

To schedule a tour, see:

35 West 110th Street

This may be the only externally mounted clock in Harlem. 35 West 110th Street.

Note the address is on the clock itself and yes, the time is correct.

November 2, looms

Nov. 2 is when we’ll lock in our choices for a ton of open seats in city government. Not only are we choosing a new mayor, comptroller and five new borough presidents, term limits mean the bulk of the City Council is turning over, too. 

New York’s crowded primary this past June had relatively high turnout, as nearly three in 10 registered voters cast ballots. (It’s a low bar.) 

Now, the city returns to the polls to finalize our picks in the General Election on Nov. 2.

But Election Day is merely the last day you can cast your ballot: Keep these key earlier dates in mind:

  • Oct. 18 — Last day you can request an absentee ballot online or by mail to vote at home or outside of the city. Request your absentee ballot from the city Board of Elections (BOE) here. You can mail your ballot in any time before Election Day.
  • Oct. — The early voting period begins, running through Halloween. 
  • Nov. 1 — Last day to request an absentee ballot in person.
  • Nov. 2 — Election Day and the last day to postmark your absentee ballot.

Halloween Events from MMPCIA

Children Tested With Elevated Lead

How Calculated: Number of children less than 6 years old tested in a given year with blood lead levels of 15 mcg/dL or greater, divided by the number of children less than 6 years old who were tested for lead poisoning in a given year; expressed as cases per 1,000 tested. The numbers in this table include all children tested within a given calendar year, regardless of whether they were tested in previous years with the same or different blood lead levels. While children can receive more than one test during the calendar year, children are only counted once using the highest confirmed blood lead level during the calendar year. If the child does not have a confirmed test in a given year, the child’s blood lead level is based on the highest capillary or unknown test type. This measure differs from the rate of children newly identified with blood lead levels of 15 mcg/dL or greater reported by the Health Department in other publications. 

Read more about different measures used by the Health Department for surveillance of childhood lead poisoning.

Source: New York City Healthy Homes Program

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is Open

After a long pause during COVID, the National Jazz Museum is open. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Head to their website to grab a timed ticket:

Harlem Rose Garden Concert

A People’s History of Strings

Created by Puerto Rican-American violinist and educator Skye Steele, A People’s History of Strings is an interactive musical and multi-media journey that traces the evolution of fiddles around the world. Starting from the first bowed instruments in Central Asia two thousand years ago, audiences travel through the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and back to the USA.

Woven into the narrative is Skye’s own family history of immigration, acculturation, and re-discovery, as reflected in the musical lineage of his grandfather, his mother, and himself.   

A People’s History of Strings explores relationships between cultures by exposing the connections between musical traditions that range from jazz and salsa to the classical music of Europe and the Middle East, all while offering a deeper and de-colonized understanding of an instrument we thought we knew so well.


Skye Steele – Narration; European, Turkish, Ghanaian, and Brazilian fiddles, vocals.

Gilbert Mansour – Middle Eastern and Latin percussion, drum set, vocals.

Mayteana Morales – Latin percussion, vocals.

Michael LaValle – Brazilian percussion, bass, cavaquinho, vocals.

Willerm Delisfort – piano, percussion

Refinancing Workshop from MMPCIA and Chase

Chase/MMPCIAMortgage Refinancing Workshop
Thursday, October 14th, 6:30 pm
an interactive workshop hosted by the Chase Community Branch Team to learn more about opportunities to refinance your home mortgage. 
In person (limited space) or via Zoom.

Registration link:

Traveling While Black

Make sure to visit the Schomburg Library before the end of the year to see the fantastic exhibit “Traveling While Black”. The Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Kevin Young notes:

Since the start of their experience in the Americas, Black people have been defined by travel, displacement, and resistance. 

Whether in the horrors of the Middle Passage or the rebellion of Maroon communities made up of escaped slaves, travel has meant much—and something much more—for Africans in the Americas. This exhibition, our first as we celebrate The New York Public Library’s 125th anniversary and the Schomburg Center’s 95th, explores over a century of travel. Moving from the Great Migration of African Americans north and west at the start of the twentieth century to the restrictions and resistances of travel in the Jim Crow South and the Jane Crow North, Traveling While Black examines a history of travel, from those who found themselves exiles within their own country down to the pilgrims and pleasure seekers of our time. 

War marks many of the peregrinations of the last century, often offering African American soldiers their first glimpse of other cultures beyond the United States. They returned with a new energy and renewed hope, whether in the offerings of jazz after the Great War, or the opportunities abroad for expatriates after World War II. The freedom that African Americans sought at home and fought for abroad they often found in travel. Returning Black officers and recruits started motorcycle clubs and organized tour groups, traditions that continue today. The somewhat open road and the mostly great outdoors provided Black sojourners with literal and emotional vistas to revel in. 

While confronting restrictions from Jim Crow laws and surveillance by would-be law enforcement agencies stateside, everyday travel meant obeying unspoken rules of the road. Domestic journeys involved ingenuity, often employing the Green Book, that guide for Black travelers developed in Harlem by Victor Green. Carry your Green Book with you…you may need it! reads one tagline for the guides. The Schomburg Center retains the largest and most complete collection of Green Books in the world; in many cases we hold the only known copy. But as any number of African American guidebooks found here indicate, from runaways to resorts, the idea of escape has had larger resonances for Black culture. Questions surrounding Black bodies in motion—whether driving, walking, or traveling while Black—still persist, asking us to consider the meaning of migration, movement, and freedom. 

—Kevin Young

It’s My Park Day

Art Kane on Choosing East 126th Street

If you’ve ever wondered why Art Kane chose East 126th Street for his iconic photo, here is his explanation:

And, while 17 East 126th Street was the ultimate location, few know that in the middle of the project, everyone moved a block eastward, to 52 East 126th Street, but after a few test photos (and dissatisfaction with 52) the whole group returned to 17 East 126th Street where the final photos were taken, and A Great Day In Harlem was born.

Below is 52 East 126th Street – the building is demolished – that awaits redevelopment as an Odyssey House facility.

Fall Events at The Harlem Rose Garden

Join The Vitafusion Fruit Tree Project Planting With Concrete Safaris In East Harlem

The vitafusion Fruit Tree Project is making a stop at Jefferson Houses in East Harlem to partner with the local nonprofit Concrete Safaris.

Come join the fun on October 8, 2021, to plant 35 apple, plum, and pear trees as well as blueberries and blackberries.

The planting will mitigate poor air quality in East Harlem, a neighborhood that is polluted by multiple truck and commuter routes and faces devastating impacts of climate change including heatwaves.

Since 2017, vitafusion Gummy Vitamins and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation have partnered to create the vitafusion Fruit Tree Project. So far, the project has planted over 200,000 fruit trees around the globe, with tree planting and/or distribution events in the U.S. and internationally.

These fruit trees have helped increase access to 28 million pieces of fresh fruit in underserved communities, combat global pollution by reducing CO2, and generate 33 million pounds of oxygen each year.

These fruit trees have helped increase access to 28 million pieces of fresh fruit in underserved communities, combat global pollution by reducing CO2, and generate 33 million pounds of oxygen each year.

Since 2008, Concrete Safaris has prepared youth in East Harlem and beyond to lead healthy lives and shape their environment through outdoor education, play, exploration, and community engagement.

Approximately 400 daily, direct-service participants are enrolled in after-school or internships, and 5,000+ community members get active outdoors at the garden and street-based events led by youth in East Harlem.

Approximately 400 daily, direct-service participants are enrolled in after-school or internships, and 5,000+ community members get active outdoors at the garden and street-based events led by youth in East Harlem.

To attend the planting event, local event hosts are requiring proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within the prior 72 hours and masks. The event remains rain or shine, and experience is not necessary.

Anyone who would like to attend must register at this link:

Interested? Great, here’s the details on Friday, October 8th: Meet at 10:30 am EST outside Jefferson Houses Management Office at 300 East 115th Street New York, NY, the Planting will begin at 11:00 am.

Ephesus Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Some great stonework on the outside of Ephesus Church – Lenox and West 124th Street.

And Underground…

A short distance north, and under the street, are these great mosaics:

Faith Ringgold is the artist behind these amazing works.

Ms. Ringgold took inspiration for the title of her mosaic from a Lionel Hampton song, Flying Home. First recorded by the Benny Goodman Sextet in 1939, the tune is based on one that Mr. Hampton hummed earlier. As a member of Mr. Goodman’s band, Mr. Hampton, along with the other band members, was waiting to board a flight from Los Angeles to Atlantic City to play an engagement. To calm his nerves, because he had never flew in an airplane, Mr. Hampton hummed a tune. When asked what it was by Mr. Goodman, Mr. Hampton said he did not know. The song was developed from those innocent beginnings. It would go on to become Mr. Hampton’s theme song.

Becoming Othello at The Harlem Rose Garden

Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 2PM

The Harlem Rose Garden is delighted to host a special event by the acclaimed Harlem actor/producer/director Debra Ann Byrd.  We will present a free special sneak peek preview of her solo show based on her life.  Attendees will also have the chance to purchase a limited amount of discount tickets to her upcoming performance in November at the United Solo Theater Festival at 42nd St. in November. 
“Becoming Othello:  A Black Girl’s Journey” was presented this summer at a sold-out show at Lincoln Center and received a standing ovation. Debra Ann is the founder and director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival and Take Wing and Soar Productions a theater company presenting award-winning classical theater for actors of color.

Please see more details below along with some video links:

OFFICIAL SELECTION OF THE UNITED SOLO THEATRE FESTIVAL – NYC 2021Award-winning classical actress Debra Ann Byrd performed her one-woman show, BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl’s Journey, in Lenox, Massachusetts, this July and Lincoln Center Restart Stages in August. The autobiographical show is about the period in Byrd’s life from her tumultuous childhood in Harlem to her founding of a classical theater troupe after discovering a love for Shakespeare. Byrd incorporated hundreds of lines from the Bard’s own writing into the story. In the Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout praises Byrd’s “limitless charisma” and compares the “riveting” show to Hal Holbrook’s Mark Twain Tonight.

In addition to her current show, Byrd has played the lead in three all-female productions of OthelloShe will be performing

Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey at the United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC on November 4 at Theatre Row, produced by Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group for the Harlem Shakespeare Festival.

Protest the Treatment of Harlem

STOP GOVERNMENT SPONSORED CHILD ABUSE       Tell the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Support (OASAS) that is NOT OKAY to put over 20% of NYC’s drug treatment facilities in our community. 
OUR STREETS BELONG TO OUR CHILDREN.       Not drug dealers who prey on vulnerable substance abuse patients, shelter residents, and the street homeless.
Ways to participate:    3:30pm – meet on the corner of 126th Street and Lenox to start the March.
4pm –meet in front of 290 Lenox ave in recognition of substance abuse disorder victims. 
4:30pm- rally in Marcus Garvey Park surrounding the baby playground to show solidarity with city, state, and law enforcement representatives who support our demand for equitable distribution of treatment facilities throughout NYC.
Sponsored by The Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association (MMPCIA) in collaboration with the Greater Harlem Coalition, the 125th street Business Improvement District,  and The Nation of Islam. 

Black Entrepreneurs Day at the Apollo

Black Entrepreneurs Day curated by Shark Tank’s Daymond John will be held at the Apollo Theater on October 6th.

We would love to invite Harlem Neighborhood Block Association members to join us at the live filming of Black Entrepreneurs Day on October 6th at 5pm-8:30pm. The The Harlem Neighborhood Block Association stands with the right values and aligns with the same mission as Daymond and the Black Entrepreneurs Day platform. We will be offering tickets to your group 100% free of charge. This will be a closed studio audience as we are filming the event to broadcast online.

Black Entrepreneurs Day is an annual celebration of Black Business aiming to empower entrepreneurs everywhere.. Joining Daymond John live from the Apollo will be Tyra Banks, Michael Strahan, Rev Run, Marcus Samuelsson, and Janice Bryant Howroyd. These amazing guests will be sharing their entrepreneurial story, their challenges, successes, and so much more. To end Black Entrepreneurs Day – KHALID will be joining us live at the Apollo for a special music performance. Last time Khalid was in NYC he sold out MSG and has received multiple accolades including six Grammy Award nominations, six Billboard Music Awards, three American Music Awards and a MTV Video Music Award. So certainly super cool to get to see him for free at the Apollo!

We can offer as many tickets as your group needs. Per NYC law and guidelines – everyone will be required to be vaccinated. Additionally, since this is a filming event we would need everyone in their seat at the Apollo by 5pm and they must stay until the end of the show which will end around 8pm.

Leave your first name, last name and email so we can issue out e-tickets directly. Can you please send a request for tickets to:

Before the end of TODAY (Friday, October 1st)

Heart to Heart Concert Video

Hi Everyone!
Labor of Love Association pulled off yet another successful virtual concert and we’re so appreciative of each of you who joined us last week to enjoy the music. To each of you who made a donation to help us meet our fundraising goals, DOUBLE thanks!
If you missed watching the virtual concert, we are airing it again now for a limited time! It was an astounding night, and we hope that you’ll watch or experience it again with your family and friends!
The Labor of Love Ensemble
We’ve got a Super Fan in the house!Our lead guitarist’s daughter, Lulu, sent us her video during the show dancing to the song of her choice! She selected “I Don’t Know What You Came To Do” and she impressed the judges so much, we declared her the WINNER! Her video is adorable, so be sure to watch it.
Lulu, thank you and congratulations. You are forever our honorary VIP guest!
Instructions to access the broadcast:
Step One: From any device, go to our website
Step Two: At the top of the home page, you’ll see the H2H Virtual Edition image.
Step Three: Sit back, enjoy the show, and get your PRAISE ON!
We are still accepting donations.  A donation in any amount will be deeply appreciated as Heart to Heart is our annual fundraising project.
Make a donation payable to The Labor of Love Association, Inc.
Mail to: The Labor of Love Association, Inc.
57 East 126th Street, Suite 2, New York, NY 10035
Attention: Shkigale Baker, Treasurer

Uptowner Reports on the Co-Naming of 126th Street

The Uptowner – a project of the Columbia University school of journalism, reports on the co-naming of 126th Street:

By Tazbia Fatima

Flowerpots hang from the railings along a tree-lined sidewalk in East Harlem; neighbors sitting on the stoops have conversations across the street. Time seems to stand still along this row of four-storied brownstones. One of them at 17 E. 126th St, is etched in history as the backdrop for the photo, “A Great Day in Harlem,” that photographer Art Kane shot on August 12, 1958, on assignment for Esquire.

The photograph, officially named “Harlem 1958,” represents a sort of  graduation picture featuring four generations of jazz legends — Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and 56 other musicians, two of whom, Benny Golson and Sonny Rollins, are still alive. The city renamed this iconic block between Madison and Fifth Avenues last month, calling it “Art Kane Harlem 1958.”

But a group of residents are contesting this decision, arguing that Kane, who was white, wasn’t local. “It’s not about race. It’s about contribution to the community,” said Tina Bristol, a resident of the block.

To read more from the article, see:

Meet Brad Lander and Tell Him What You Want for Harlem


Thursday, September 30

6 – 8pm EDT


This event’s address is private.

About this event

Join Brad Lander, Democratic nominee for New York City Comptroller and other community leaders for an in-person listening session, focused on the issues and priorities of Harlem.

Brad is excited to use the position of NYC Comptroller to best serve New Yorkers by making sure that city government is working for the people effectively and efficiently, and that city government is held accountable to its promises. To do this, we want to hear from you! Join us to speak directly to Brad, let us know what you want to see from city government, and what changes you would like to see in the coming years.

Event Partners and Co-hosts:

  • Representative Adriano Espaillat
  • Al Taylor, NYS Assemblyman
  • Diana Ayala, City Councilmember District 8

Brad has represented the 39th District in Brooklyn as a member of the New York City Council for over ten years, building a track record of defending workers rights, protecting tenants, and fighting to align the budget with progressive values. Brad serves as the Council’s Deputy Leader for Policy and co-founded the Council’s Progressive Caucus, helping to bring participatory budgeting to NYC.

Through his roles as Council member, community advocate, and long time New York City resident, Brad is eager to learn more about Harlem and connect with this community.

Exact location to be provided upon RSVP. Face mask required for entry.

And Up the Acropolis

If you haven’t taken the time to head to Marcus Garvey Park and see Susan Stair’s work, Ascending the Mountain, 2021, take the time.

07062021 Susan Stair artwork in Marcus Garvey Park eastside on steps going up to Watch Tower part 1&2.. part 3 in a few weeks

The public artwork is installed in three distinct sections along the staircase that leads up to the Harlem Fire Watchtower in Marcus Garvey Park. The first section is at the base of the stairs near the basketball courts which is also the best place to start and follow the story that the artwork tells. Image captions below share more information about how an urban forest that self seeded and grew up the mountain of Manhattan Schist in Harlem

07062021 Susan Stair artwork in Marcus Garvey Park eastside on steps going up to Watch Tower part 1&2.. part 3 in a few weeks

Created with mosaic tiles and clay impressions of bark, leaves and small branches from nearby trees.

Head to the staircase leading up from the basketball courts to view the work.

Also, in Marcus Garvey Park

Colleagues and Friends,

I invite you to the last presentation of Counting Tales, a video projection series where my work is featured by the collective ArtFormsUs in conjunction with Marcus Garvey Park; they will present a series of 7 original short videos whose general theme is “counting.”

Wednesday, September 29th

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Marcus Garvey Park Richard Rodgers Amphitheater
18 Mt Morris PW | Harlem NYC

The resounding theme appears in myriad forms: from the sounds of whales echoing the belching sounds of a bus, the artist’s movements reflect the sounds of the city; Ripples in street puddles are chanting numbers of family members. The middle passages losses are given new echoes in our current times; Consumption is demonstrated by the artist, hooded in plastic, roaming the city as she knits an endless train of plastic bags; Jazz, trees, and breathing underscore a sympathy for humanity; Counting leaves symbolizes the litany of counting deaths by Covid; the surreal slapstick of 3 disparate artists converges into bonding, and a ritual examines two of the foundational objects that brought Latinos and African Americans to the “New World.”

The roster of ArtFormsUs video artists include Capucine BourcartDominique de CockNoreen Dean Dresser, Undine Groeger, Salem KriegerLeah PollerViviane Rombaldi SeppeyXavier Roux and Allicette Torres. The members are multi-national, multi-disciplinary artists residing in Harlem.

For further information, visit:

ArtFormsUs thanks its sponsors Marcus Garvey Park, El Barrio Artspace, LMCC, WCA, Parlour 153, Red Seeds Art Studio, NYC Cultural Affairs, 77th Parallel Productions, Marcus Garvey Public Art and Wind Support.