One of the joys of Harlem is visiting the galleries, large and small, that display such a range of amazing art.
The Calabar Gallery, at 2504 Frederick Douglass Blvd, (646-964-5062) focuses on representing underserved artists locally and globally, with a special interest in African, African American and Caribbean artists.
The gallery is an exhibition space, community space, retail location, and well worth checking out.
538 has a fascinating article on how the expected tsunami of evictions not only didn’t happen, but evictions are below historic norms:
Tomorrow (Fri) at 10 am, you are invited to a vigil in memory of Mr. Yao Pan Ma. Join us to grieve with the Ma family and wish that justice will be served. We will lay down white flowers and light white candles at the location of the attack.
Come join Harlem’s residents our officials to recommit to unity. We will call for better safety in the area where Mr. Ma was attacked and more social services for our vulnerable people, including our seniors and our homeless population. May something good come out of this tragic event.
PLEASE HELP spread the word about the event to the media and residents. Your support would be a great solace for the grieving family and to our large Asian senior population in Harlem.
You can also help repost and retweet on social media here: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
For more information, write to Upper Manhattan Asian American Alliance at [email protected] or call 415 215 2035. Anyone interested in supporting the Asian residents in Harlem can sign up to volunteer or donate on our website here.
Ancient Greek stone architecture with its bleached symmetry and powerful ornamentation often looks as though it’s survived for more than 2,000 years simply through force of presence. A closer look, however, at the stones that make up classic Greek architecture reveals curious channels and depressions inside the centers of the stones that were carved to make up columns.
When the current restoration [of the Parthenon] began in 1975, backed by $23 million from the Greek government, the project’s directors believed they could finish in ten years. But unforeseen problems arose as soon as workers started disassembling the temples. For example, the ancient Greek builders had secured the marble blocks together with iron clamps fitted in carefully carved grooves. They then poured molten lead over the joints to cushion them from seismic shocks and protect the clamps from corrosion. But when a Greek architect, Nikolas Balanos, launched an enthusiastic campaign of restorations in 1898, he installed crude iron clamps, indiscriminately fastening one block to another and neglecting to add the lead coating. Rain soon began to play havoc with the new clamps, swelling the iron and cracking the marble. Less than a century later, it wasclear that parts of the Parthenon were in imminent danger of collapse.
The use of lead to hold iron in stone persisted in Harlem through the early 20th Century. The former All Saints Church at 129th and Madison is surrounded by a substantial iron fence – mostly to protect pedestrians from falling into the moat-like window well that permits sunlight to enter the basement level of the building.
A close look at the fence (embedded in limestone kerbs) shows that the builders of All Saints understood the peril of embedding iron in stone. (The danger is mostly in the process of oxidization, or rusting, which swells larger than the original iron with pressures that can split the stone while simultaneously rotting the iron.)
In the image above and below you can see the grey/white lead (think of the paint color – now not made because of its toxicity – lead white, which was made from oxidized lead…) around the iron fence vertical – which is itself rusting, but not splitting the soft limestone in which it is placed.
Today, quality contemporary construction embeds a non-ferrous vertical rod (typically aluminum) in the ground/support and then joins the ferrous fence (steel, now, not iron) which remains susceptible to rusting over the decades, to the aluminum post.
The example, below, shows the Choir Academy school’s fence, steel attached to embedded aluminum.
Classic TV commercials from the 70’s
Join Your Community Board Meetings
CB10 and CB11 Human Services and Public Safety committees meet on a monthly basis and regularly cover topics related to #FairShare4Harlem. Join to share your voice
The January HNBA meeting will be virtual, and you are invited.
We’ll gather on Thursday, January 20th at 7:00 PM to hear from, and ask questions of, NY State Senator Cordell Cleare. If there is something you want Albany to do for you, or Harlem, here’s your chance to speak directly to our state senator.
In addition, we’ll have a brief presentation from the West Harlem Art Fund on Florence Mills, and the Art Fund’s effort to name the plaza in Historic St. Nicholas Park after her.
Make sure to invite a neighbor.
Click COMMENT (below) to request the Zoom link.
A number of scenes from the blockbuster film of the 70’s, Serpico, were filmed in East Harlem.
This site details them all and shows how the area around Pleasant Avenue, Rao’s, and Jefferson Park was crucial for a number of scenes.
Each board has up to 50 members, all volunteers. Board members serve via staggered two-year terms, which means half must be reappointed or replaced every year.
All of those people are appointed by their own borough president. City Council members can recommend new applicants, but the final call rests with the BP.
You can apply to join Manhattan’s boards and get chosen without special access or expertise, you just need to care about the issues that are relevant and important to the community. There are no prerequisites to join a board, except that you must live or work in the district where you’d like to serve. Any city resident 16 or older can join. Community Boards are particularly lacking New Yorkers without cars on boards.
Attend a board meeting, or several, before you apply. It’ll give you a sense of how — and how well — your local board is run, and votes are cast. Many of the board applications ask whether you’ve attended meetings, so be prepared. Bonus points if you attend a committee hearing!
A board application is a bit like applying for a job. You may be asked for a resume or references. Bear in mind, applications are subject to the Freedom of Information Law, meaning they could be made public down the line.
Usually, new members “have an issue that’s hard in their minds that they want to deal with,” said Winfield — parks funding, or homelessness. But whatever it is, he tells new members: “Don’t lose it. Once you get on the board, keep that issue and join the right committee.”
Don’t count yourself out. Boards don’t necessarily need experts, people of a certain professional class, or veteran movers and shakers. Washington said a community gardener with 20 hours a month to dedicate to the housing committee is worth way more than “the best accountant in the world” with only “two minutes a month.”
That said, if you’re accepted, get ready to dedicate a good chunk of time to it, Washington said. He estimates it may take up between 10 to 15 hours every month between meetings and brushing up on the issues on the agenda. For super-members like Winfield, it’s even more. “It’s a lot of reading and it’s a lot of investigating,” Winfield said.
Get ready for some… spirited debates! Much of board life is a bit mundane, or procedural, but when there’s a divisive issue on the agenda, it can get heated. Keep your cool — and bring snacks and water for occasional long meetings.
Many people looking to work in government or run for office in New York get their experience at a community board first. The proof is in the pudding: current Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, and former Speaker Corey Johnson all served as chairs of boards, in southeast Queens, Harlem and Chelsea, respectively.
“You learn a lot about the city government structure,” said Winfield. “It’s a learning place.”
The New York photographer, Percy Loomis Sperr, was interested in everyday people and how their lives were lived in the 1920s to the 1940s. Sperr sought to document and preserve the city as fully as possible.
Born on December 27, 1899, Sperr attended Oberlin College, and by the 1920s was venturing into East Harlem to document the culture he encountered there. He was, in particular, attracted to the immigrant culture of Halrm, describing with sympathy the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua in Manhattan.
The photo (above) focuses on a large ex-voto, constructed in East Harlem to thank Saint Anthony of Padua (in 1932) for saving an Italian-American man from death at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan.
The photo is at the corner of 1st Avenue and 106th Street, a dense Italian immigrant community during the depression.
Sleighs in 19th Century Harlem
25th Precinct’s Community Council January Meeting
2022 has come in like whirlwind. We have a lot to cover. Many of you have reached out about a number of things and I would like to do some due diligence in covering the topics. Please send your questions and/or concerns to me in a separate email so that I can invite appropriate people/personnel to join the meeting to respond to your inquiries. This month’s meeting will be totally remote. If there is anyone that needs accommodations to meet a different way please let me know and I will do my best at helping you out. If it means that I have to set up in the Precinct we will follow all necessary precautions outlined by NYDOH.
Until the late 19th Century, New York’s middle class identified with the single-family home – a house that was only occupied by one family (servants were not considered in this calculation). Part of this strong class identification with the single-family home was a reaction against the crowded conditions in the tenements of the time. Multiple-family dwellings were seen as “lowly”, and in response, developers of the 19th century covered farmland in Manhattan, Harlem, and Brooklyn with row upon row upon row of brownstones – a row-house compromise between the developers’ desire for density and the middle-class owner (or renter’s) desire for singularity.
The promotion of “French Flats” – what we would simply call apartment buildings – was only possible once the elevator not only came into existance, but was mass produced enough to make it economically viable for inclusion in a 6 story (or taller) residential building. With the elevator, middle-class (and wealthy) New Yorkers could be tempted to imagine themselves living in an apartment building with other families. In addition to elevators, perks like security, laundry facilities, central (steam) heating, garbage removal, etc. were heavily promoted as class signifiers and as tempting amenities for the apartment curious.
The first true apartment building in Harlem still stands on the corner of 120th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. The Washington boasted a number of amenities that were meant to signal high-class, leisure, and labor-saving.
Well lighted, ventilated rooms, elegantly decorated, cabinet finished, elegant gas fixtures, mirrors and cornices, private halls, refrigerators, dumb waiters, electric bells, speaking tubes, sanitary open plumbing, steam heat, etc., were all promoted heavily on the advertising copy. The apartment, at the time, listed as ranging from $600 to $1,200 (per year).
(Note the use of the adjective ‘elegant’ which today has been replaced by ‘luxury’ in real estate marketing.)
East Harlem in a Video Game
East Harlem is featured as a location in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition. The look of the video game is inspired by the movie Spider-Man: No Way Home. In Marvel’s Spider-Man game, you play as Peter Parker as he tries to balance his normal life with saving New York City from Mister Negative, who wants to unleash a new virus called the Devil’s Breath, while also having to deal with some of his iconic villains.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales takes place after the events of the original game, and follows Miles as he tries to learn how to be a hero himself, while defending East Harlem from both the Tinkerer and the Roxxon Power Corporation. Both games feature many suits that callback to various points in each characters’ comic book history, and a lot of Easter eggs from both Spider-Man and Marvel lore. Being able to get both games at once now will be great for anyone that’s a fan of either Peter or Miles’s version of Spider-Man.
The Ultimate Edition of Miles Morales is available now as a Playstation 5 exclusive. You can check out the trailer for the new edition below.
Bx 15 will be split into a new M125 bus route The M125 is a new route that will replace the southern portion of the Bx15 that runs along 125 Street in Manhattan and to the Hub via Willis Avenue. The new routing will preserve an important interborough connection and improve reliability for both routes created from the existing Bx15. The M125—where it will replace Bx15 service—will largely serve the same stops as the existing Bx15. However, 14 percent (7 of 49) of these Bx15 stops will be removed, improving the average distance between stops along this segment from 728 feet to 853 feet. View the full stop list here. As a new route replacing the M100 and Bx15 on 125 Street in Manhattan, the M125 will run 24 hours a day, with an all-day weekday frequency of 8 minutes or better. Due to the routing change, ridership will be closely monitored, and schedules will be adjusted accordingly. Learn more here.
A wonderful old ad, painted on the side of a building.
Omega Oil for Sun Burn, for Weak Backs, For Atheletes, Trial Bottle 10 cents, for Joints.
With the 2nd Avenue Subway getting (theoretically) closer and closer to becoming a reality for East Harlem, it’s interesting to ask where does all the soil and rock that used to take up the space the tracks, tunnels and trains now occupy.
First of all, it’s important to note that Donald Trump held back funding for the East Harlem portion of the 2nd Avenue Subway for the entirety of his term. It was only when President Joe Biden and the Democrats passed President Biden’s infrastructure bill that New York finally had/has the funds to begin the East Harlem portion of the subway.
This is interesting given that Trump himself benefitted from the earlier Upper East Side section of the 2nd Avenue subway. First of all, a number of his properties on the East Side benefitted from the increase in accessibility and thus the value of the property itself. But, more interestingly, the Trump golf course that was built on the Bronx side of the Whitestone Bridge was made from some of the rubble from the Upper East Side portion of the 2nd Avenue Subway.
All those ‘features’ you see on the golf course – an attempt to mimic the windswept rolling landscape of coastal Scottland – were built by piling load after load of rock that was quarried below 2nd Avenue.
But what about other subways in our community? What happened to that subway rock that was removed so the trains could travel underground?
East Harlem’s other lines – stressed and desperately in need of the 2nd Avenue Subway – the 4/5/6 were constructed under Lexington and the rock and rubble from that construction went into New York Harbor to extend Governors’ Island to the south. The large (mostly) parkland area, furthest away from Manhattan, was built from 4/5/6 subway excavation material.
Rubble was not just used for golf courses and island expansion, the gorgeous Manhattan schist that gives the historic City College of New York’s buildings their black, sparkling look, was also material from subway construction. The digging of the 1/2/3 lines brought tons and tons of Manhattan schist to the surface and City College used this material to create some of the most impressive neogothic buildings in New York City.
Mulchfest 2022 will run from today through January 9. New Yorkers will be able to drop off holiday trees at one of 74 sites—35 are chipping sites—across the five boroughs, including parks and GreenThumb gardens. The trees are then chipped and recycled, and the mulch is used to nourish city trees and plants in every corner of the city.
During the chipping weekend—January 8 & 9—residents can bring their tree to a chipping site and watch their tree being chipped, and bring a bag of nutrient-rich mulch home with them. Weather-permitting, DSNY will also collect and compost clean trees left at curbs from Thursday, January 6, 2022, to Saturday, January 15, 2022.
Mulchfest, part of the New York City holiday tradition, encourages New Yorkers to make greening a family activity—turning holiday trees into mulch which can be used for gardening and to increase soil fertility.
Bring your tree to Marcus Garvey Park and give your tree a starring role in helping the community gardens of New York.