Jimi Hendrix in Harlem: September 5th, 1969

On September 5th, 1969 Jimi Hendrix performed at the Harlem Street Fair at the corner of 139th Street and Lenox Avenue. Only 26, Hendrix had wanted to reestablish a relationship with Black fans “my people”. He arrived characteristically late only to find that the crowd had dwindled to a few hundred Harlem residents.

Harlem had been Hendrix’s home on the east coast before being whisked off to London by a British promoter who saw Jimi Hendrix as having incredible megastar potential.

This homecoming couldn’t have been more different from what he expected. Residents had given up, and considered the show nearly over and his international star power was not holding the community in thrall.

After taking to the stage, a crowd member threw a bottle at Hendrix, which shattered against one of the speakers. Added to this, barrages of eggs covered the stage, a testament to just how the local community felt they had been let down by Hendrix. Nevertheless, Hendrix and his band played while the angry crowd gradually dispersed.

“They didn’t like him,” Charles R. Cross says in his Hendrix biography Room Full of Mirrors. “He was jeered. People heckled him.”

This was deeply ironic, of course, as race had deeply frustrated Hendrix and he hated that he was caught between being reduced to a stereotype by many white fans while being rejected by many in the Black community.

The YouTube link (below) while not a video recording, gives a sense of just how much the performance might have come off as artful noise to those who remained on Lenox and 139th Street that evening.

A Town Hall on Property Taxes and Sanitation

28th Precinct Community Council Meeting

Wednesday, June 8th – 6:30 PM

Home To Harlem

Join the Maysles Cinema in celebrating our community:

June 9-June 30, 2022
“Home to Harlem” presents Harlem through an archival lens as both an actual home for Black citizens and families and as a location in the popular imagination of African Americans, by exploring the various intersections of documentary, amateur films, home movies, musical shorts, nontheatrical materials, family archives and the preservation of cultural artifacts in Harlem. The series will also spotlight film exhibition in Harlem, innovated by Jessie Maple and LeRoy Patton’s 20 West: Home of Black Cinema.
Curated by Ina Archer and Emily Apter.
Tickets Here
Screening #IntheCinema
June 9, 7:30PM | America’s Negro Metropolis
June 17, 6:30PM at City College | Diary of a Harlem Family
June 23, 7:30PM | Cab Calloway and Many More
June 24, 7:30PM | Jessie Maple’s Home for Black Cinema
Streaming #Virtually
June 20-June 26 | Diary of a Harlem Family
Events #IntheCommunity
June 10, 7:45PM at St Nicholas Park | Home to Harlem in the Park screening Cotton Comes to Harlem
June 11, 9AM-2PM at 619 West 14th st | West 145 Street Arts Crafts & Health Fair presented by Centro Civico Cultural Dominicano
June 12, 12PM-4PM at Children’s Art Carnival | Community Archiving Pop-up event

Hike the Heights

Hike the Heights
Hike the Giraffe Path, a six mile trail that connects the Cloisters to Central Park through the cliffside parks in Northern Manhattan and then head to the Sunken Playground for games and a potluck. 

Saturday, June 4, 10:00 am

Stand Against Gun Violence

Good Afternoon Friends, Family and Colleagues,

My hope is that you are all doing well.  The last few weeks have absolutely been very emotional for our Nation.  Seems like every time we turn on our television we are dealing with yet another senseless shooting.  As National Gun Violence Awareness Day is approaching I am asking you to come out and stand together to condemn this public health crisis and promote love and peace.  You may be asking yourself, how will this combat gun violence? and the answer is that coming together in unity is actually the first step because it shows that we will not continue to tolerate this, it shows that we are coming together to say Enough is Enough.  

We won’t keep you long.  We ask you to wear orange and come together in solidarity as we speak out, have a moment of silence, call on the Most High for assistance and discuss action plans to continue the movement to combat gun violence.  This event is a COMMUNITY EVENT hosted by SAVE/GOSO and the Community Council. 

What small sacrifices can we individually take today, to preserve a healthier and safe nation, state, and neighborhood tomorrow? We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo.  These are the words of Matthew McConaughey.  We owe it to our children to come together in unity and stand together to create an unbreakable bond and a powerful punch so that we can make change for the good. 

I have attached the flyer for your perusal with the hopes that programs will bring out their participants and families will come out from around the city. We need you there.

I thank you in advance for coming out and rallying for the cause.

Sincerely,

Kioka Jackson

Concert in Harlem Rose Garden

Open Garden Day and the performance by the Harlem School of the Arts singers at 4PM. 

Poop and Harlem’s Hidden COVID Numbers

In September 2020, New York began to sample and test wastewater at New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wastewater plants for COVID-19.

If you recall an earlier post on wastewater and New York – https://hnba.nyc/where-does-my-sewage-go/ – you may remember that virtually all of Harlem’s wastewater (basically anything that goes down your drain or toilet) ends up at Wards’ Island’s DEP complex. New York Open Data has made the wastewater sampling data available, so I decided to plot COVID-19 as detected in our (Harlem’s) poop.

September 2020 December 2020 December 2021 April 2022

As you likely know, wastewater sampling can only give a community average of sorts, but what it does (that swab sampling of individual New Yorkers can’t do) is integrates information on the people who never or rarely test.

The chart above is amazing and terrifying at the same time. The left-hand side is September 2020, and the right hand side is April 2022.

That crazy spike is from 12/27/2021 – after Thanksgiving 2021, around Christmas – when Omicron converged in the US. Holiday travel, family gatherings, shopping, and the shift to socializing indoors, all combined with a more contagious COVID variant.

Juneteenth Celebration on East 111st Street

(between Lex/3rd)

Memorial Day

As always, this weekend we remember the men and women of Harlem who served in the armed forces. As many of us know, many Harlem service members had (and have) to fight discrimination within their ranks and their country, in addition to fighting the enemies of the United States.

The 369th, or Harlem Hellfighters, who fought in WW1 as the most decorated American soldiers in that horrific conflict, are memorialized in a small triangle of land, between the 369th Armory and the Harlem River Drive.

The simple obelisk – inscribed with the names of battlefields and battles, fought more than a century ago – did not appear until 2006, and even then was a copy of a 1997 obelisk that is located in Northern France where many of the 369th’s battles were fought.

The 171 members of the 369th Regiment (formed as the New York Colored Infantry Regiment)received the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War), and one member received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The 369th Armory was built in 1933 (but had taken over a decade to build) is now both home to the 369th Sustainment Brigade and a recreation center that the Harlem Children’s Zone uses and manages.

And, while memorializing this storied group of warriors is appropriately in front of the armory’s entrance, it’s telling that its location is not in Central Park, for example, where memorials to white companies are located.

The 107th Infantry memorial, dedicated on September 29, 1927, was located on the east side of Central Park because of its proximity to the Regiment’s Armory just to the east on Park Avenue. The soldiers of the Seventh Regiment’s 107th Infantry helped to break Germany’s Hindenburg Line of defense at the conclusion of World War I. The sculptor, Karl Illava, was a sergeant with the infantry and sculped this massive life-size bronze work.

Veterans of the 307th Regiment ceremoniously planted 16 oak trees in a small landscape at the end of the Mall, between 1920-22, just south of the Naumburg Bandshell. Each tree represented one of the regiment’s companies and was marked by a plaque with the names of the soldiers from that company who were lost in the war. Over time, some of the trees died or were removed, but the plaques remain. A large boulder provides an additional memorial, listing all the companies and the names of the members who died.

The Negro Soldier

The 1944 documentary Negro Soldier was commissioned by the United States Army to encourage Black volunteerism and address racial tension in the home front.

Frank Capra produced the film as a follow-up to Why We Fight.

His Harlem Wife

eBay has a very rare piece of ephemera, a theater card for the film “His Harlem Wife” (1944), which was a rerelease of the 1938 film, titled “Life Goes On”:

The publicity material shows a highly stylized art deco set:

Note how the repetitive banding (typical of Art Deco) is placed on columns, shelving, light fixtures, and even present in the roulette table with its distinctive tuck-under legs.

You can see the full listing, here.

For more information on Louise Beavers – the eponymous Harlem wife – see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Beavers

As Seen In East Harlem

Cotton Comes to Harlem

The ground-breaking film Cotton Comes to Harlem featured a number of live action scenes that were shot here in our community. In one chase scene, after the robbery of the community’s investment money, the lead characters head away from a fundraising rally, and pass a building with a set of very distinctive windows:

The relatively treeless location looks quite different now, but the two New York City Board of Education crests that are just above and to the right of the white car (the crests are blurry yellow and green) indicated that this spot was a school.

The school is now PS 138 and located on the block bounded by 127/128th Streets and Lexington and 3rd Avenues.

To see the chase scene:

Rally for Parks

Mayor Adams promised New Yorkers that 1% of Mayor Adams’ Executive Budget to go towards NYC Park.

Suddenly, that 1% has dropped to .6% of the Executive Budget

Join the Play Fair Budget Rally on Thursday, May 26th from 10:00 to 11:00am at City Hall to remind the Mayor that a promise is a promise.

Register Here to attend the Rally

Finally, remember to register to testify for parks at the Executive Budget Hearing on Wednesday, May 25 at 10 AM. Register here ASAP – registration is first-come-first-served. Expect testimony talking points shortly.

#NewYorkersForParks

Langston Hughes and Brian Benjamin

I was struck by where former Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin chose to announce he was withdrawing his name from the ballot in the upcoming election. He made the announcement through a video he posted on Twitter near the spot where Arnold Newman photographed Langston Hughes in 1960.

This location (overlooking 5th Avenue) was also featured in the classic Harlem film, The Cool World:

Union Settlement House Presents: East Harlem Nights

A fun evening with food, drink, entertainment, and El Barrio welcoming all.

Friday June 10th, 6-9:00 PM

Manhattan’s Safe Disposal – Saturday, June 5th

Get rid of your dangerous/toxic/electronic stuff

Student Film Screening

The 4TH ANNUAL NYC PUBLIC SCHOOL FILM FESTIVAL featuring films by student filmmakers will be held this SATURDAY MAY 21 830PM at the 135th Street Plaza and the James Baldwin Lawn.

Bring your blankets & snacks for a beautiful evening with us – the weather looks amazing.  

Uncovering the History of Astor Row

(& Other Buildings Worth Preserving)

Take a stroll with Save Harlem Now! to learn about the history of Astor Row and additional Harlem structures that deserve individual landmark status.Our tour starts at Astor Row, with a cautionary tale of how the landmarking of an important building could not prevent its being torn down.SHN! board member Roberta Washington, the original architect for the Astor Row porch restoration projects and a previous NYC Landmarks Preservation Commissioner, will be our guide.Date: Sunday, May 22, 1-3 p.m.Details: Attendance will be capped at 15 participants in order to keep the group small and leave time for discussion. Because tours bring attendees in close proximity to each other, we ask that all attendees wear their mask regardless of vaccination status.
TICKETS HERE
ABOUT ASTOR ROWIn 1981, twenty-eight paired brick townhouses with wooden porches on West 130th Street were designated as individual landmarks by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. Built by William Backhouse Astor, Jr., between 1880-1883, most porches and some buildings were re­stored starting in 1992 with initial funds donated by Brooke Astor in an effort led by the Land­marks Conservancy in association with the Abyssinian Development Corporation.The Harlem community welcomed the repair and restoration of this group of unique individual landmarks — which is why the community which has also encouraged landmarking of more buildings in Harlem was shocked to wake up to the news that one of the Astor Row homes had been demol­ished. The demolition has raised questions including: What construction controls are there on sites which once contained an individual landmark? (Hint: fewer that you think.) Is there a way to prevent such tear-downs in the fu­ture?On this tour, see Astor Row and other buildings proposed by SHN! as individual landmarks.
Tickets are free, with optional donations accepted to support ongoing SHN! preservation work.
JOIN US!
Logo

1950 Census, Released

On April 1st, the 1950 US Census was released to the world. US law only releases the detailed/full census details 72 years after the census year. Thus 2022 is the year for the 1950’s census full debut.

If you want to find detailed information about relatives or others, you can start here at this site:

https://1950census.archives.gov/

Because the hand-written census sheets have not been transcribed, there is no easy search (yet). You can begin by using the census search page: https://1950census.archives.gov/search/ with these suggestions/parameters:

In my case, I was not interested in people, but rather the building where I live. To start I focused on New York County within New York state:

https://1950census.archives.gov/search/?county=New%20York&page=1&state=NY#

And clicked on one of the “ED Maps” (Enumeration District Maps) links;

and saw that map P2 showed Harlem:

By zooming in you can find the book you’re looking for:’

Unfortunately, when I finally managed to find the book/sheet I was looking for I got this:

No one had been at home when the census taker had tried to get information. Fortunately, there was a “See Sheet…” that I could then use to find out what was learned in a follow-up visit from a census worker. Sure enough, on an “Out of Order” sheet:

I was able to find out information based on the following headings/questions:

And here’s what I found:

  • 11 people lived in this building, 9 of which were listed as Lodgers
  • 6 men, 5 women (no children – the youngest was 25 years old)
  • 2 people are listed as “White” (one of whom was Italian) and 9 are listed as “Negro”
  • the majority came from the south (South Carolina, Texas, Virginia) while two were born in New York
  • professionally they were dress operators, porters, tailor shop workers, waiters in restaurants and night clubs, hospital attendants, and post office clerks

121st Street Health Fair

All Welcome! June 4th.

Tell The MTA What You Think About the M35 Bus

https://www.questionpro.com/a/TakeSurvey?tt=qnxnuk8h0js2u6iZCW6YAXs9MN0zTEZ8

Dear MTA Bus Customer,

Your input is valuable as my team and I work to improve the customer experience on board buses. The results will help inform decision making and improve service.

This survey should take about five minutes of your valuable time. It will remain open until Tuesday, May 24. Customers who complete our survey will be entered into a drawing to have lunch with me so I can hear your concerns firsthand.

Thank you,
Richard Davey
New York City Transit President

Today at 2:00 at Harlem Rose Garden

Harlem Wall.JPGArticulation-Dream Mother .jpegHRG 2.JPG
Baby Doll
One woman’s struggle with domestic violence
Written by Cesi Davidson
Directed by Jeannine Foster-McKelvia
Featuring Deidre Monique Benton
Short Plays to Nourish the Mind & Soul in association with the Harlem Rose Garden invites you to a play reading followed by a brief community conversation about domestic violence. There will be a book signing by the author at the conclusion of the event.
Harlem Rose Garden
6 East 129th St. (Between 5th and Madison Avenues) Harlem, NYC
TODAY at 2 PM
(Rain Date-May 22, 2022)
Free and open to the public
We thank our community partners: Articulation NY LLC, ART MOVEZ, Ideacoil, Jacob Restaurant, Juicery-Harlem, Lrg Enterprises, Sister’s Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center, WARM, and Wines by Mozel. We Need Safe Homes Now Domestic Violence doesn’t discriminate.
At least one in four women has been a victim of sexual violence. The street art presented on this flyer was displayed on 5th Avenue between 125th and 126th Streets. Throughout Harlem, we’ve mourned the deaths of women killed by senseless violence. We grieve for all of the recently slain women including:
Akemi Houssai Balde
Brittani Nicole Duffy
B’Jana James
Anna Nieves
Flora Elasia Recio Noble
Jennifer Schlecht
Nisaa Walcott
Shanice L. Young
REST IN PEACE. REST IN JUSTICE.