Craftspeople, Doctors, and Domestic Servants in 1880

Mapping Historical New York allows you to look at the geographic distribution of trades in 1850, 1880, and 1910. Given how sparsely Harlem was settled in 1850, it’s really only the 1880 data and beyond that shows clear patterns.

This first map is of Craftsmen in 1880. Note their presence in the Upper East Side and in East Harlem along the river where warehouses, industry, and assorted forms of commerce would have required many skilled laborers.

Doctors and surgeons in 1880, however, are limited to a small part of Harlem, mostly in the brownstone blocks above 125th Street in Central Harlem:

The distribution of Domestic Servants is also very telling in its compactness:

Again, mostly above 125th Street, in Central Harlem.

See more at Mapping Historical New York.

Listening to Harlem

The Harlem Connection is a weekly radio show where a trio of music lovers joins forces with the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce to provide you the artists and the sounds that helped establish Harlem as a cultural Mecca.

Come aboard Friday at 10 PM or Sunday at 3AM on 99.5FM (in NYC) and/or www.WBAI.org/listen-live and/or www.RhythmAndSoulRadio.com (worldwide)… then available on demand via https://WBAI.org/archive (as all past episodes are) under “The Harlem Connection” (filed alphabetically by “T.”)

Wards Island Sewage Treatment Site

Completed in 1937, the Wards Island Sewage Treatment plant was the first to use the activated sludge process to treat sewage by removing solid matter, known as sludge, to leave behind clean water that could be released back into the environment. Prior to this only a fraction of the city’s sewage received treatment. Instead, most spilled from sewers directly into surrounding waterways where it strangled marine life and polluted city beaches. The project was realized with more than $11 million in grant monies from the Works Progress Administration. By 1939, both the Bowery Bay and Tallman Island sewage treatment plants were also in operation with more being planned. Today 14 Wastewater Resource Recovery Facilities treat over 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater every single day and New York City’s waterways are cleaner than ever.

Below is a photo of the sewage treatment plant in 1950.

The area to the north, where the FDNY training facility now exists, was a marshy peninsula, sticking out towards the Bronx.

Here is an image of this plant being build during the New Deal 1930s:

And the completed Administration building:

New Uptown Gallery and Exhibition

Be sure to check-out the AHL Foundation’s new gallery in Harlem (on FDB at 139). Their inaugural exhibition features Buhm Hong, Gyun Hur, Devin Osorio and Dianne Smith and is well worth visiting.

The exquisite drawings and digital art by Buhm Hong is mesmerizing and somehow both calming and disquieting at the same time.

https://www.ahlfoundation.org/ahl-foundation-announces-opening-of-new-gallery-in-west-harlem-in-april-2022-inaugural-exhibition-featuring-buhm-hong-gyun-hur-devin-osorio-and-dianne-smith/

New York, NY – AHL Foundation is proud to announce the opening of its first gallery in West Harlem in April 2022. The wheelchair-accessible gallery is located on the ground floor 2605 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY with a basement space for additional programming. The new space houses the Archive of Korean Artists in America (AKAA) and an educational space for the community.

Following AHL Foundation’s move to Harlem after its 19 year history, it is fitting that this inaugural exhibition in the new space uptown responds to its new neighborhood. Guest curated by Amy Kahng, the inaugural exhibition, Space Uptown opens to the public on April 30, 3-6pm and is on view until May 21, 2022.

An exhibition about locality and neighborhood history, the exhibition features artistic practices that reflect the local neighborhood. Participating artists Buhm Hong, Gyun Hur, Devin Osorio, and Dianne Smith, three of whom live and work in upper Manhattan, consider the communities, histories, memories, and environments that make up Harlem and Upper Manhattan more broadly.

Dianne Smith’s dynamic video work, The House of Lois K. Alexander-Lane, celebrates Harlem’s Black cultural history by weaving together footage from Smith’s participation as a young model in the 1985-1989 iterations of Harlem Fashion Week. Buhm Hong’s intricate and labyrinthine architectural designs, rendered both digitally and on paper, draw on various architectural references from his personal biography including his current homebase in Harlem. Devin Osorio’s fantastical paintings and sculptural works document his neighborhood of Washington Heights, highlighting the quotidian experiences of community, work, commuting, and familial connections. The twelve teardrop vessels filled with Hudson and Harlem River water by Gyun Hur reflect on loss, commemoration, and memory, particularly for the victims of the 2021 Atlanta Spa shooting. Installed here in Harlem, Hur’s work takes on new resonances within the current and historical movements for racial justice that have taken place in this neighborhood.

Summer of Soul Redux?

Summer Of Soul (… Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), the Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson-directed film that won the Oscar and the Grammy for documenting 1969’s now-famed Harlem Cultural Festival, has inspired a reboot of the landmark music event.

Ambassador Digital Magazine editor-in-chief Musa Jackson, who attended the 1969 event and appeared in Summer of Soul, said Tuesday that he, BNP Advisory Group strategist Nikoa Evans and event producer and Captivate Marketing Group president Yvonne McNair are teaming to launch the Harlem Festival of Culture in the summer of 2023.

The multi-day outdoor concert event will be a reimagining of the 1969 fest and take place in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, where the original took place when it was known as Mount Morris Park. Official dates have not yet been announced.

“The original event was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that I will never forget,” Jackson told Billboard. “With this initiative, we want to create something that evokes that same sense of pride in our community that I felt on that special day in 1969. We want to authentically encapsulate the full scope: the energy, the music, the culture. We want people to understand that this festival is being built by the people who are from, live and work in this community.”

Photography at the Schomburg

Make sure to check out Been/Seen – an exhibit of historical and contemporary photography at the Schomburg Library Gallery – on display now.

This exhibit juxtaposes classic images in the Schomburg’s collection with new work.

Compost Project Launch

May 14th at 3:00 PM

Abyssinian Tot Lot at 130 West 139th Street

MMPCIA Meeting on Tuesday

Join MMPCIA on Tuesday at 6:00 PM

Here’s the link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86847234917

NYC’s Landmarks Preservation Commission

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) regulates what can and cannot be built/altered in historic districts across the city. The Historic Districts Council (HDC) reviews every public proposal to the city’s landmarks and historic districts and provides testimony on whether or not HDC believes the architectural changes should be changed or supported.

An empty lot, formerly occupied by a neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by Cleverdon & Putzel and built in 1885, and demolished between c. 1940 and 1980 has an application is to construct a new building at 137 West 131st Street in Central Harlem – part of the West 130-132nd Street Historic District.

HDC writes:

HDCis generally comfortable with this proposal but we find two items to be in need of modification. First, the proposed windows should be aluminum-clad wood windows, these will provide finer detailing more appropriate to a house of this scale. Second, we question the need for the bulkhead on top of the roof top extension. We believe that the code does not require this bulkhead and that the requirement for rooftop access could be accomplished with a steel ladder on the front of the extension. We ask that the applicant verify this understanding as the bulkhead adds an awkward element to an already excessive protrusion.

Exhibit at Kente Royal Gallery

Make sure to check out the current exhibit at Kente Royal Gallery:

2373 ADAM CLAYTON POWELL JR BLVD NEW YORK NY 10030
Wednesday – Friday
2pm – 8pm
Saturday & Sunday 12pm to 8pm
[email protected]

Pelham Fritz Center Has Re-Opened

The Pelham Fritz Recreation Center has reopened In Marcus Garvey Park after a 2+ year hiatus!

During the height of the pandemic, the Center was repurposed as a food distribution hub in support of COVID-19-related services. The center remained closed while they made improvements to the building—including reconstruction of the front lobby, retaining walls, and park entrance.

The center now features a new vestibule, new signage, and front windows, and enhanced ADA accessibility.

They’re excited to welcome members back and they’re inviting the Harlem community to join.

Membership is free for New Yorkers 24 years and under and low-cost for adults and seniors.

Evictions

The impact of COVID-19 will be felt for decades to come. A look at eviction filings in New York show the plummet to near 0 in the early days of the pandemic:

To get a sense of how this graph of 2020 compares to filings in pre-pandemic 2019, see:

Removing 2020 (a highly anomalous year) and comparing pre-pandemic 2019 to the significantly anomalous year of 2021, the significant decline in eviction filings was a defining state for 2021:

As for the geographical distribution on evictions, and for a closer look at how Harlem fared, this map shows the general trend of an increase in eviction filings, the further one travels from Manhattan’s financial district.

The exception was Staten Island, which saw more eviction filings closer to downtown Manhattan.

To see the data for yourself, explore the NYU Furman Center’s amazing portal on eviction:

https://furmancenter.org/eviction-tracker

Amor

The People’s Church on East 111th Street had this wonderful example of yarn art on its wall. And truly, we all need more amor.

CB11 Meetings

Public Safety & Transportation Committee Meeting
Tuesday • May 10th • 6:30pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Request for parking regulation change to install “No Standing Anytime” sign at 2290 First Avenue (118th St). The new regulation would facilitate the deliveries for the food distribution operation of Fraternite Notre DameInformational presentation re: Concrete SafarisInformational presentation re: Assertive Community Engagement & Success (ACES)
Land Use, Landmarks & Planning Committee Meeting
Wednesday • May 11th • 6:30pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Update on planned 126th Street Harlem African Burial Ground Memorial and Mixed-Use ProjectUpdate on planned ECF Project at the School of Cooperative Technical Education (Coop Tech) on East 96th Street Committee discussion on the 421a Property Tax Exemption

Brother Sister Sol

The Brotherhood Sister Sol is poised to open on 143rd Street after a journey to get a new building to house this youth-focused community center. Bro-Sis’s new building is shaped like a torch and its fragmented facade contrasts strongly with the surrounding buildings – intending to speak to the enlightenment of young people

CBS has a piece on the project and why the new center means so much to youth in Harlem.

Bro Sis was very active during the pandemic and provided an astounding 1,000,000 to New Yorkers in need.

For neighborhood youth, Brotherhood Sister Sol has been a beacon, a refuge, and the foundation of community.

Mosaic

On Lexington, just below 128th Street, a small mosaic celebrates Harlem and its musical heritage.

Speeding and Red Light Cameras

Streetsblog has a fascinating article on how speeding and red light cameras function in light of conversations about bias in policing and traffic enforcement. The map of traffic cameras shows that relative to the rest of the city, few tickets are given in Harlem and East Harlem by these automated systems.

In the map below, darker colors indicate more tickets for speeding and running red lights:

In a more detailed view, the Upper West Side, and the South Bronx both have more tickets:

On the map, you can zoom i n to see the location fo the cameras – their size indicating the number of tickets served from that camera:

“There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done around infrastructure in communities and communities of color. And I would be lying to you if I told you that tickets don’t impact communities in different ways,” he said. “I believe you should follow the law, but those tickets are going to impact a single mom living in public housing differently than somebody who may be making six figures or more a year.”

Just. No.

As seen at Madison/118…

HNBA Meeting On Tuesday, May 10th, 7:00 PM

All are welcome to come out on Tuesday at 7:00 PM to hear from (and ask questions of) Delsenia Glover and Inez Dickens – two candidates for New York State Assembly District 70.  

In addition, we will have our neighbors from the HDFC Coop at the corner of 5th Avenue and 126th Street stop by to talk about their plans for block parties this summer on East 126th Street.  The focus of these events will be on youth in the community.

Topic: HNBA Meeting
Time: May 10, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83251761996?pwd=M1RLcG1PN1pRcUN1ckwzS1YxWDJ5Zz09

Meeting ID: 832 5176 1996
Passcode: 027073

Dial by your location
        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

See you on Tuesday!

Art In The Park

Join Art in the Park, East Harlem’s amazing resource for families at Lex/128 for free activities, fun, and creative expression for children.

Go to ArtInThePark128.org to see more about the incredible work they do.

It’s amazing. It’s free. And it’s a jewel in Harlem.

A Modest Proposal: Density

Gotham Gazette has a well thought out essay on how density should be a planning goal for our community in light of the 2nd Avenue Subway extension:

High-quality planning and significant upzoning could boost ridership on the new line and remake East Harlem into a place that more comfortably accommodates current and future residents–of all income levels. The New York City Department of City Planning, the MTA and its New York City Transit division, and NYCHA need to plan proactively and “think big” for the neighborhood’s future.

The first phase of the Second Avenue line (with stops at 72nd, 86th, and 96th Streets) serves the Upper East Side. This affluent district is characterized by large apartment buildings permitted primarily by R8 and R10 zoning. Major institutions like Hunter College and hospital complexes attract thousands of daily subway commuters. The first stops of the Q Line quickly attracted about 200,000 riders per day, and patronage is rebounding amid pandemic recovery.

This strong ridership was predictable. Upscale, high-density redevelopment of the East Side tenements has been a civic priority since the 1940s. Big, bulky apartment buildings are often frowned upon in NIMBY circles, but the vitality of the Upper East Side demonstrates the value of concentrating hundreds of thousands of people together in suitable housing near transit. The apartment buildings frequently have stores at the base and wide sidewalks. Many remaining tenement buildings have been renovated for higher-income renters. Population density of this type is one of New York’s enduring assets–and a key to its rebounding fortunes in the post-covid era.

Extending the subway line in East Harlem along Second Avenue between 96th Street and 125th Streets is a different story. The neighborhood’s threadbare low-rise tenements remain a dominant feature. Developers, due to redlining, ignored the area for decades. Overcrowded apartments, rent-burdened families, and building code violations in the area are well documented. The longstanding Puerto Rican and Black communities in the area have thrived despite widespread housing exploitation and poor living conditions.

The city and NYCHA redeveloped sections of the district since the 1940s, but these efforts have lost their luster. East Harlem retains one of the nation’s largest concentrations of “tower in the park” public housing. The iconic red-brick towers, built far below the allowable zoning envelope, were once a showpiece of the city’s social vision. Today, however, growing maintenance issues, because of limited capital and operating subsidies, have undermined resident quality of life.

Despite their Manhattan location and the Lexington Subway line running nearby, planners built the NYCHA housing projects at low-density levels with acres of lawn and surface parking. The local stations through which the current Lexington Subway runs (103rd, 110th, and 116th Streets) have modest ridership compared to stations below 96th Street. Very few NYCHA developments have stores at ground level, creating empty zones along major Avenues.

Read the full article, here:

https://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/11193-east-harlem-nycha-second-ave-subway-housing-transit

New Art Exhibit

Make sure to head over to 2605 Frederick Douglass Blvd (at 139th Street) to AHL’s Space Uptown, for a new exhibit featuring a number of uptown artists, including our neighbor Buhm Hong:

https://www.aaartsalliance.org/events/space-uptown

The exhibit will continue until May 21.

Watch Blurring the Color Line

Blurring the Color Line is being shown at the Harlem International Film Festival.

Following director Crystal Kwok’s personal journey of discovery, BLURRING THE COLOR LINE digs deep into how her grandmother’s family navigated life as neighborhood grocery store owners in the Black community of Augusta, Georgia during the Jim Crow era.

This documentary serves to disrupt racial narratives and bridge divides.

To watch a conversation about this film see:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/16dtI5Ao4do8NYs0OMG8D4u2uDIUqImqn/view

And here is more about the film:

https://www.blurringthecolorline.com/events

Join Jane (Walking East/West Harlem)

Event Registration

Jane’s Walk 2022: A Great Day in Harlem: Crossing the 5th Avenue Divide

05/08/2022 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM ET

Admission

  • Free

Summary

Take your mother for a stroll around East and Central Harlem above 125th Street, straddling Fifth Avenue, the traditional dividing line between East and Central Harlem. Members of Landmark East Harlem (LEH) will introduce you to the treasures of the second historic district that LEH has proposed for listing on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Featured sites include 19th-century wood frame houses, Victorian-era rowhouses, landmarks associated with James Baldwin and Langston Hughes, former church buildings that have been given new purpose, and the brownstone stoop that served as the site of the iconic 1958 photograph of jazz musicians by Art Kane for Esquire magazine. A virtual live stream will be available on Landmark East Harlem’s Instagram channel: @LEH_NYC.

Free Concert in MGP

Gabriel Chakarji Group
Join us for a concert with an amazing composer and musician: Gabriel
Chakarji. As a Venezuelan immigrant in NYC, by linking together his
past and present, he combines contemporary jazz and improvised
music techniques, with elements of the rich Venezuelan music culture,
especially the African influences of rhythm and drum parts, call and
response, and the spiritual and social context of the music.


Wednesday, May 4, 2022 || 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

This event is FREE, but space is limited. To RSVP, go to jazzpf4.eventbrite.com
Pelham Fritz Recreation Center | 18 Mount Morris Park, New York, NY 10027
Located at 112th St. Phone (212) 860-1373

The First Use of the Term “The Big Apple”

The term “The Big Apple” was first used on this day – May 3rd, 1921.

John J. Fitz Gerald, a sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph was the first to use the term in print. Its popularity since the 1970s is due in part to the promotional campaign spearheaded by the New York tourist authority.

In February of 1924, John J. Fitz Gerald, a columnist covering horseracing for the New York Morning Telegraph, debuted a new column he called: Around the Big Apple, further popularizing the term.

In it, Fitz Gerald wrote “The Big Apple, the dream of every lad who ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There’s only one Big Apple, that’s New York.”

Journey to Better Health | AWARE for All – NYC

WHAT:                Join this free community event, hosted by The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), to learn more about clinical trials and hear personal experiences from those who are involved in them. Free health screenings provided by Harlem United and free dinner will be available at the event. The first 50 people to register and attend will receive a $20 Walgreens gift card. Pfizer, Harlem United, New York Academy of Medicine, Mount Sinai’s Tisch Cancer Institute, and other organizations will be exhibitors. 

WHEN:                Thursday, May 19, 2022

5 PM – 8 PM EST

WHERE:              The New York Academy of Medicine

                             1216 5th Ave

New York, NY 10029

WHO:                  The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP)