National Geographic Travel Guide to Harlem

National Geographic UK has a (mostly) culinary guide to Harlem which does highlight many of the places to see in our community:

[Note the prices in British pounds at the end.]

One quibble is that the definition of Harlem is given as:

Harlem, a 45-block stretch from Central Park to 155th Street — clipped by Fifth Avenue to the east and the Hudson River to the west — isn’t somewhere many first-time New York City visitors see.

And yet the opening title photo is soundly in the heart of East Harlem – below the top of Central Park, and east of 5th (it looks like it was shot from Saint Cecilia’s Parish, east of Park Avenue and on 106th Street)

Still, the article is worth checking out and comparing to your top list of places you’d recommend a visitor check-out.

Earthquakes? Seriously?

Ready New York Question of the Week
What was the magnitude of New York State’s biggest earthquake?
a) 5.8
b) 6.3
c) 7.2
d) 8.7

See the correct answer here.

Good News For Marcus Garvey Park

Some great CONFIRMED news coming up for all of us at Marcus Garvey Park & there is more good stuff brewing.


1.  $12 million designated by Mayor Adams for stone repair and rat abatement / awaiting information on timeline as this was recently announced.

2.  $1.7 million allocated by City Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan for “Green 2 Greener Initiative”/ sustainable energy solutions (we are working with her office & capital & planning offices at Parks now to finalize this plan)

3. $1.6 million committed by State Sen. Cordell Cleare for NW small playground  / awaiting information on timeline as state funding moves more slowly than city funding

4. State of Good Repair Grant for repaving of the entire NW and SW sections of the park which will add new curbing, paver stones and (5) ADA entrances and fix the drainage issues inside the 123rd & MMPW entrance where the “lake” forms (expected to begin in early November 2023)


— $50,000+ pledged by New York Junior League to finish needed work and open this to the public in June 2023

You may have noticed (2) greenhouses set up at the east end of the pool. Mike, Erick & I have been building out our plan to create a horticultural headquarters (HQ) that will do the following:

1. enable us to cultivate our own plants for Marcus Garvey & for the other (3) historic Harlem parks

2. enable us to offer free public horticulture programming (workshops, demonstrations, author talks, arts horticulture events, etc) by our Parks horticulture experts and with interested partners including GreenThumb, Partnerships for Parks, Harlem Grown, City Gardens Club, Horticultural Society & others

3. offer a meetup spot for the uptown gardening/hort community such as GreenThumb gardeners who have never had a central meet up site

4. create a hort volunteering meet up place where schedules can be posted, signup and pickup of tools, gloves, etc, can happen

5. offer a beautiful positive space for the community that can be used for events, meditation, etc.


Harlem Grown submitted a grant to Mellon Foundation to provide support to Marcus Garvey as a cultural heritage site. This grant will provide the following:

1. support / fund new & existing community programming

2. support more public art in the park

3. support the mobile Harlem Grown teaching food kitchen in the park

4. support community engagement for the park


The new comfort station between the ballfield and amphitheater has a community room inside of it that I can begin scheduling now for use by community partners such as Marcus Garvey Park Alliance, MMPCIA, Harlem Little League and others. Please contact me if your group wants to schedule time in the room for a meeting, community engagement forum, a membership recruitment event, etc. We are very excited to officially open this room with our great park partner — Harlem Little League in April as they kick off another season !


State NY Parks office has taken the lead working with me and our 2 parks groups to submit nomination paperwork for Marcus Garvey Park to be named to the National Register of Historic Places. We have moved forward to the next nomination round. If selected, this would provide more opportunities for needed funding such as for the acropolis.


Our partnership with On Point, a drug treatment center on E. 126th, has helped us reduce the following:

1. # of needles in the park

2. the # of drug-addicted people choosing the park to inject/use

3. the # of people our PEP unit (Parks Enforcement Patrol) saves the lives of via NARCAN, which enables PEP to focus on its primary job of public safety


I have been working with Harlem Eat Up to move their great food event from Morningside Park to Marcus Garvey Park, which is confirmed. Red Rooster’s own local & global celebrity Marcus Samuelsson created this local focus on great Harlem restaurants. The official event will take place September 9-10. We are finalizing logisitics and working with our Parks special events team. I will keep you informed on this great news.

Other key programming of our April – November schedule includes events being planned / confirmed per below:

MARCH – Bethel Gospel Social Justice & Community Volunteer Event

APRIL – Earth Day Community Volunteer Event

MAY – Mother’s Day Gardening Day

JUNE – Harlem HQ Opening Weekend  and later in the month the 3rd Annual Juneteenth Festival

JULY – Classical Theatre of Harlem with annual free Shakespeare in the park & Jazzmobile Fridays

AUGUST – Jazzmobile Fridays continue & Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

SEPTEMBER – 3rd Annual Opening Night of MET Opera

OCTOBER – 2nd Annual Halloween Fright Night


I have submitted for budgeting approval for (2-3) trail boards — bulletin boards – to be installed in the park to share news from Parks / city agencies and our (2) park groups, Marcus Garvey Park Alliance & MMPCIA with the public. 


Please consider volunteering for the park as we always need interested people from the park community, partner park groups, schools, churches, etc, to help our small staff with the following:

– trash cleanup

– gardening volunteering (weeding, raking, planting, etc)

– painting (benches, fences, etc)

– programming in the park

– weekly walks of the park

– marketing of events & information in the park

+ more.

Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions and if you want to schedule the community room, volunteer, etc & feel free to share!


Jana La Sorte

Administrator of Historic Harlem Parks

W 212.830.7896

[email protected]

Shelter on Wards Island Closes

Gothamist and WNYC are reporting on the quiet closing of a disfunctional, dangerous, and troubled shelter on Wards Island.

The shelter which took up a few floors of the NYS psychiatric center (pictured above) was part of former Governor Cuomo’s family legacy – with his sister taking the helm most recently.

Tweet Regarding The 25th Precinct Community Council Meeting Gets Thousands of Views

Free Tickets


Hello! Please be our very special guest this week for two of “the most anticipated plays of 2023!” (NY Mag, Vulture). Complimentary tickets for WICG friends & family are available for select performances, Tue – Sun, details via the RSVP links below.

Redeem 1-2 tickets for yourself, and please share this link with colleagues. A confirmation email with etickets will arrive the day of your performance. See you soon!

Sarah Ruhl’s Letters from Max: A Ritual, is based on the book by Ruhl and Max Ritvo, directed by Kate Whoriskey, and features Jessica Hecht, Ben Edelman and Zane Pais. In this lyrical play, Ruhl shares a personal correspondence with her former student, the late poet Max Ritvo (Four Reincarnations), who openly discusses his terminal illness and tests poetry’s capacity to put to words what otherwise feels ineffable.

RSVP here.

WICG – 2312 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030-2604


A great photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. at Abyssinian Church, conducting a new conference.

Asian Americans in East Harlem

Bloomberg has a report on the growing number of Asian Americans living in East Harlem:

Two of our Harlem neighbors – Eva and Lilian – formed the Upper Manhattan Asian American Alliance to support this growing community and to celebrate its contribution to the beautiful diversity of Harlem.

Get Stuff Done (On Your Block)

Reach out to: [email protected] to learn more.

Harlem Ephemera

Ebay had a rare item of Harlem ephemera up for auction – a noisemaker from the original Cotton Club.

Note the reference to Cab Callaway on the back.

Today’s view of Lenox and 142nd Street:

Musica De Camara Concert


Musica de Camara
1215 5th Ave, Suite 1B
New York NY 10029
email: [email protected]

Haarlem vs. Harlem

The oldest map that shows habitation in Harlem is the Manatus Map from 1639.

You can see Staten Island, Hell Gate, the Hudson river, etc. It’s unclear who the cartographer was, and the original drawing is lost. As a result, the image above is one of two later 17th-century copies made in the same studio with slight differences.

When zoomed in, note what Harlem ‘looked like’ in the mid 17th century (see the houses marked 18 and 19 as being around 2nd Avenue and 103rd street:

Recently, in Boston, I spotted a Haarlem town hall painting from the Museum of Fine Arts, which depicted Haarlem at almost the exact same time (1630), across the Atlantic:

The work is by Pieter Saenredam and commemorates the entry of the Prince of Orange into Haarlem. Pieter Post painted the figures while Pieter Saenredam painted the townscape.

Harlem Cultural Festival Returns (this July)

Are you ready?

Community Harm Reduction

The Greater Harlem Coalition’s Response to the Supervised Injection Site’s Partial Data For Their First Year In Harlem

New York’s Nonprofit Media has released some of OnPoint’s data for year one of operation in East Harlem and Washington Heights (November 2021 to 2022):

  • 2,147 people have used the injection sites 48,284 times
  • Of those 48,284 visits, 633 used either a lethal mixture of, or a sufficient quantity of, illegal drugs to overdose
  • All 633 overdosing events were reversed by OnPoint staff
The Greater Harlem Coalition firmly supports compassionate intervention and the goal of saving lives. We understand those who use OnPoint’s injection site(s) require complex and thoughtful engagement and we support the overarching goals of harm reduction. 

Unfortunately, however, OnPoint’s Harlem site has repeatedly failed to engage in Community Harm Reduction – a model that approaches addiction treatment holistically within a public health model.  Community Harm Reduction not only serves and supports the people who use OnPoint’s services, but it also centers a goal of not harming neighboring businesses, neighbors, children, and families.  

Community Harm Reduction engages and supports local businesses. 

Community Harm Reduction works with local businesses to reduce loitering and theft. 

Community Harm Reduction ensures that children who attend local schools do not repeatedly encounter used syringes, or have to cross the street just to avoid open-air drug sales. 

Additionally, Community Harm Reduction would engage in approaches that support Harlem residents’ right to be able to get to the train, walk to the park, welcome their family, and enjoy their streets without fear of encountering drug dealers brazenly selling narcotics.

The open-air drug dealing on OnPoint’s doorstep that brings dealers and users to our community is unacceptable.  We need OnPoint and New York City’s Department of Health to acknowledge that Harlem’s vibrant and diverse community should be protected, strengthened, and not simply dismissed as their program’s unavoidable collateral damage. 
Click to Tweet NYC’s Department of Health Click to Tweet NYC’s Health Commissioner
Read the New York Nonprofit Media article HERE
Click HERE to learn more about The Greater Harlem Coalition’s fight for #FairShare4Harlem

Submit Your Ideas On Harlem’s Eastern Waterfront

The city wants your guidance on developing the waterfront next to the FDR, from 96th Street to 125th Street. Please fill out this form to submit your ideas:

Connie’s Inn

The nondescript apartment building on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. between 131 and 132 Streets (shown above) was (during the Harlem Renaissance) the home of Connie’s Inn, an entertainment hot-spot and comparator with the Cotton Club. As with the Cotton Club, Connie’s Inn featured Black performers but did not allow Black audience members – restricting its audience to whites only.

The food menu is fascinating to peruse, as is the drinks menu:

Connie’s Inn was popular during the 1920s and 1930s and was founded by Connie Immerman – a successful businessman and entrepreneur (a description at the time that often not so subtly meant that he was a bootlegger and gangster).

One of the most famous performers to grace the stage at Connie’s Inn was Duke Ellington, who played there regularly throughout the 1930s. Other notable performers included Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, and Cab Calloway. The club also featured a wide range of entertainment, including jazz bands, comedians, and dance troupes.

In addition to its entertainment, Connie’s Inn was also known for the glamorous nature of its opulent Art Deco decor. Connie’s Inn had plush velvet seating, sparkling chandeliers, and intricate plasterwork.

The covers of its menu (below) however, are a world unto themselves:

The menu with the illustrations (above) is for sale for $888 at Ebay.

Connie’s Inn eventually closed its doors in the 1940s.

New York State’s Teacher of the Year Teaches in Harlem

The 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year, as chosen by the state Board of Regents and Department of Education, Billy Green teaches chemistry and math at A. Philip Randolph High School in Upper Manhattan, making a difference in the lives of young New Yorkers after his own childhood was marked by homelessness and other significant hurdles.

Sundial. Not.

If you’ve ever been headed northbound on Madison Avenue and at 118th Street noticed the Subway and the curious ‘sculpture’ on the wall next to the restaurant, you may have been puzzled as to what’s going on with what looks like a sundial.

You’re right to be confused because something clearly was messed up between the designer and the installer. The sundial is upside down:

The photo (above) was taken around 8 in the morning, yet seems to be indicating that it’s 9 pm at night.

What has happened is the gnomon has been mounted upside down, and as a consequence, the numbers and their position make no sense.

Take a look at the image below, with a gnomon correctly aligned on a downward 45 degree slope:

If you’d like to try making one yourself, here’s a great place to start:

The Harlem Cultural Festival

The Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969’s original poster, highlighting the acts and activities

Extreme Couponing

Caribbean Club

The Caribbean Club sounds (and looks) great at this time of the year. This photo (for sale on Ebay) was taken in June 1945.

Note the wrap-around balcony, and the dance barriers to keep dancers and diners from bumping into one another too much.

The location near 139/ACP is now given over to Harlem Discount, below an apartment building.

Queenie: Godmother of Harlem

A new graphic novel is out on Madame Stephanie St. Clair, a Harlem renaissance era numbers queen.

In stark black and white, the novel traces the rise and fall of Harlem’s most notorious Godmother.

St. Clair was an anomaly in a business clearly dominated by men, but she successfully carved out a position of power. An immigrant from Guadeloupe, in the West Indies, St. Clair was brilliant and nimble, outsmarting the many systems that made her success so implausible. She continuously called out the corrupt police and government and advocated for Harlem’s Black community.