19th Century Views of East Harlem

Some of the images of East Harlem’s shanty towns that were soon swallowed by the grid and development, are remarkably striking. This one is from 1870:

And is looking at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 117th Street.

This photo (above) is not located, but dated 1894 and called East Harlem Shanty town.

Debate Watch Party

A number of HNBA members had a great time in June of 2019 when we joined the first night of the Presidential Primary Debates in Harlem, NYC. Now it’s time to prepare for the Election 2020 debates!

New York for Biden+Harris has been asked to coordinate an official statewide Debate Watch Party for Tuesday, September 29th at 8pm!

Please share the image and link below far and wide.
Instagram: @newyorkforbiden2020 / Facebook: @newyorkforbiden / Twitter: @newyorkforbiden

We have to move quickly as our democracy, humanity, and sanity are on the ballot this November.

Let’s show the world who we are! #NewYorkStrong #ItsUpToUs

Your Sister in this Movement,

NYS Lead,

New York for Biden+Harris

Elections and Population Density

With the 2020 elections fast approaching, I wanted to share a fantastic visualization that shows population density. The map is fascinating and allows you to really get a sense of major metropolitan areas and the vast (population) deserts that separate them:

In the illustration above you see us, in New York, and the tail of Long Island tapering out to the east. You can probably make out some of the Ohio cities (2020 battlegrounds) and then Detroit up at the top.

Here is a full view of the US:

And you can look at the high resolution image of it all, here:


And to see the incredible urban areas of the Indian subcontinent and east Asia:

Click here: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/density-map-full-world.html

More on the map, here: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/3d-mapping-the-worlds-largest-population-densities

Harlem African Burial Ground Project Put On Hold

Patch.com reports that the Harlem African Burial Ground Project is a victim of the NYC budget crisis stemming from COVID-19. It’s not over, but it has stalled:

The burial ground site has been subjected to a "long tradition of disrespect," with the building atop it being used as a beer garden, army barracks, a movie studio and, most recently, an MTA bus depot.
The burial ground site has been subjected to a “long tradition of disrespect,” with the building atop it being used as a beer garden, army barracks, a movie studio and, most recently, an MTA bus depot. (Google Maps)

HARLEM, NY — A long-planned project to construct a memorial at the site of a historic African burial ground on 126th Street has been put on hold due to the pandemic, a community board leader told members this week.

Angel Mescain, district manager of East Harlem’s Community Board 11, said Wednesday that the city’s Economic Development Corporation has put the project “on pause” like many other development projects across the city, which is facing a $9 billion budget deficit due to the coronavirus.

The project has not been canceled, Mescain told CB11’s Land Use Committee, adding that “they’re just not rolling along the same schedule they had anticipated.”

See: https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlem-african-burial-ground-project-put-hold

Harlem Woman Turns 100, Urging Neighbors To Vote, Fill Out Census

From Patch: https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlem-woman-turns-100-urging-neighbors-vote-fill-out-census

Katie Nichson celebrated a century in Harlem on Saturday, commanding her well-wishers to “Get up off your butt and get out and vote!”

“I want people to learn that elections come up not just when there’s number 45 in there,” she said. “No, every time there’s an election, go out and vote, because the community is closer to you than the presidency.”

Community has indeed been the driving force of Nichson’s decades in the neighborhood. A longtime member of Mother AME Zion, she has also served in the neighborhood’s Democratic club since its inception, and is a regular guest at neighborhood community meetings — including one in 2017 where she made news for unloading on Mayor Bill de Blasio over the poor conditions of Harlem’s sidewalks.

Nichson said the importance of civic engagement wasn’t lost on her, as someone born the same year that women — at least some women — were guaranteed the right to vote.

“The fact [is] that at one time, women could not vote,” she said. “Then white women could vote and we couldn’t vote.”

NYC’s Marathon is 50 Years Old

Harlem is often the deciding stretch of the NYC Marathon – where leaders pull away, and dreams are won and shattered. This year, with COVID-19, we are not going to have the NYC Marathon pass through Harlem.

See: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/13/sports/new-york-city-marathon.html

Your 2020 Voting Options in New York

This year, registered voters can vote three ways: By absentee ballot, in-person early voting, or in-person voting on Election Day, November 3, 2020.

All registered voters can request an absentee ballot if they are concerned about COVID-19 for the November 3 election. Signed absentee ballots can be returned to drop boxes without a wait at over 300 locations statewide.

REQUEST AN ABSENTEE BALLOT You may return the ballot in any of the following ways:

  1. Put it in the mail ensuring it receives a postmark no later than November 3
  2. Drop it off at an early voting poll site between October 24th and November 1
  3. Drop it off at a poll site on November 3 by 9pm
  4. Drop it off at your County Board of Elections Office starting September 8 until no later than November 3 by 9pm:

Manhattan Absentee Ballot Dropoff Location

200 Varick Street, 10 Fl
New York, NY 10014

Tel1-212-886-2100 Fax1-646-638-2047

 Refer to these instructions on completing your absentee ballot.

25th Precinct Community Council Meeting

From Kioka Jackson, President of the 25th Precinct’s Community Council

Good Afternoon Everyone,
It is my hope that everyone is doing well and I welcome you all back from Summer 2020.  
2020 has been a very peculiar year with a unique set of challenges.  I am sure it has taken a toll over us in different ways.  One of the most amazing things that I have realized is that in times of trouble our community finds a way to come together and take care of one another.  So let me thank all of you for your commitment to the community and for the love of your neighbors.  The saying, “It takes a village” is not just about raising children, in my opinion, it is about creating and sustaining community.  Kudos to you all!! 
Our next Community Council Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 6:00PM Via Zoom.  We look forward in having everyone join us.  I will send out an agenda prior to the meeting.  If you have any specific questions or topics that you want to discuss or any presentations please email me at [email protected].  
K. Jackson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: 25th Precinct Community Council Meeting
Time: Sep 16, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 811 2046 3238
Passcode: 2525PCC

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Meeting ID: 811 2046 3238
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Questions for the Commanding Officer at the 25th Precinct

We asked HNBA members to submit questions they would like Captain Henning to answer today at 7:00 PM at the September HNBA meeting. Here are the questions posed by your neighbors:

What are you and your fellow precinct and department leaders doing to ensure that your officers, most of whom do not live in this neighborhood, have the necessary levels of investment in our communities and connectivity to us as residents to ensure they patrol our streets with the respect we deserve? I think I speak for myself and my neighbors when I say we’re tired of being viewed as “other” by the cops that are supposed to be working for and with us.

Why are NYPD officers not always wearing a mask in the street?

Why is there absolutely no police presence around 6am – 8am in the morning around 125th street and Lexington Avenue?

What is being done about the homeless and drug activity around 125th and Lexington? I’ve never seen it so bad.

What is being done about the homeless and drug activity around 125th and Lexington? I’ve never seen it so bad.

With unrest in the Black community, a horrible lack preparedness to the Coronavirus, and despite that fact Trump is not supported by the majority of New Yorkers, why would the NYPD – which is supposed to be non-partisan – back Trump as President?

The Sergeants Benevolent Association this year has issued declaration of “war” on the Mayor, and appeared with QAnon material in interviews. Understanding SBA is not NYPD, but do officers at the Precinct understand, nonetheless, that these incidents have an impact in some residents’ ability to trust the police?

I’m still seeing a lot of officers without masks. I also notice around 125 and Lex they are often standing around chatting in groups of four, without masks. I asked an officer once why he wasn’t wearing a mask and he told me he was immune. Tried to tell him that was nice but he could still infect someone. He wasn’t particularly interested in hearing that. I’m trying to say “Hello” and be friendly but am not thrilled with the response I’m getting.

There are often groups of people hanging around Madison between 125 and 126, sitting in their cars and playing very loud music. I can’t imagine what the local residents feel about it but I have been told that these are drug dealers and am wondering why the police never seem to do anything about it.

What is your relationship with the MTA officers at the MetroNorth station? There was a fire in my on 125th the other day. The building on fire backed up to my garden (I’m on 126th). I wanted to tell a firefighter that if they needed to get into the rear of the building they could go thru my ground floor apartment. I asked 2 officers how to get that info to the firefighters but the officers just walked away while I was talking to them. They might have been MTA police, didn’t really think to look. But a third officer who was definitely NYPD kept dismissing me and not hearing what I was saying. Finally I got him to tell a firefighter but the whole experience got me angry.

If you are a member of HNBA (Join Here) and would like to join in the conversation tonight, email Shawn for the zoom link.

Sculpture Exhibit on West 132nd Street

A new exhibition of sculpture in a community garden is opening today. Take a mask and walk on over to the gorgeous West 132nd Street Block Association’s Community Garden.

4 international artists have created works that celebrate the theme of ‘Encircle’ and ‘Sanctuary’. All are welcome. Friday + Saturdays, 3:00 – 6:00 PM until October 3rd.

Heart to Heart Concert 2020!

Saturday, September 26, 2020
Starting at 6:00pm EST 
Online from the comfort of your own home! 

Live events are on hold, but, Labor of Love Association will still host the Heart to Heart Concert, New York’s Premiere Event for Authentic Traditional/Contemporary Gospel Music.  
The Labor of Love Ensemble
Brother Alson Farley, Jr
Reverend Vandell Atkins
Elder George Heyward
The Richard Curtis Singers
Hammond Organ greats: Brother Richard Page and Brother Henry Mitchell

This year we’re doing something NEW and EXCITING and CLEVER:
Streaming live into your home on Saturday, September 26th with the music you love, PLUS a high-energy *virtual show* that includes our *new educational initiative* called OXYGEN! (Learn more below)
Fundraising: In lieu of ticket sales, we hope you’ll support our purpose and mission with a donation. Give what you can and make a difference. Your support is deeply appreciated. 
NEW this year…It’s OXYGEN – Just Breathe!  We’re blending some education into the evening that will provide you with resources to sustain and manage YOUR wellness!   We’re honored to have Dr. Sherika Newman, founder of Doctor in the Family, as our featured speaker.  Throughout the evening, she’ll share valuable information about how you can have managed, organized care and break down all the confusion many of us experience getting what we need from our medical partners.   

OXYGEN: It’s as easy as “just breathing”.Plan to have a virtual seat at Heart to Heart Concert & Oxygen!

Donate now!

You won’t want to miss this year’s experience! 

From Amnesty International

The New York Police Department didn’t have a warrant to arrest Derrick “Dwreck” Ingram, a prominent organizer of Black Lives Matter events. So instead, on August 7, they brought dozens of officers, a helicopter, riot gear, and police dogs to his front door, in a five-hour-long siege, attempting to coerce him into leaving his home.

Make no mistake: this is a clear attempt to intimidate Black Lives Matter protesters and chill free speech. The NYPD aimed to mislead Derrick about his rights, threatened to break down his door, attempted to interrogate him without counsel, and stationed dozens of officers in his hallway, on his fire escape, and in positions in and around nearby buildings. The police left onlyafter Derrick livestreamed the events, a large crowd of protesters gathered, and the media began asking questions.

We MUST speak up for everyone’s right to organize and protest without intimidation. Send a message to New York District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. to demand that the investigation into the NYPD’s actions against Derrick Ingram and the right to protest is done in a prompt, impartial, independent, and transparent manner.

This wasn’t simply a case of police misuse of power: it was a signal to all would-be protesters. Derrick is a co-founder of Warriors in the Garden, a collective of activists dedicated to non-violent protest propelling social and legislative change. The group was a prominent organizer of Black Lives Matter protests in New York City following George Floyd’s death, and received wide national and international media coverage.

Amnesty International interviewed Derrick for our June 2020 report, The World is Watching, which documents 125 incidents of human rights abuses by police in the U.S. over the course of one week of Black Lives Matter protests. During the interview, he observed that the police seemed to be seeking ways to disrupt Warriors in the Garden events. “They find ways to intimidate and inconvenience us,” he shared with us.

After being the target of the NYPD’s intimidation tactics, Derrick said, “I have never been as frightened, intimidated, and anxious as I was on that day.” The next day, he went to the local police station accompanied by his attorney and a crowd of supporters and allies. He has been charged with two misdemeanors: an alleged assault on an officer by shouting loudly into a megaphone, and obstruction of government administration during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 14.

Even if it weren’t part of a pattern, we’d need to speak up against this police intimidation. But in the past few months, police violations of human rights are regularly documented and watched by millions. It’s impossible to see the NYPD’s conduct as anything other than retaliation against this prominent protester, and we are gravely concerned about the due process Derrick has been and will be afforded. While the District Attorney of New York has just revealed his office has opened an investigation into his case, he must ensure it is prompt, impartial, independent, and transparent. 

Act now: speak up for the right to protest and demand fair and just treatment for Derrick Ingram.

We will continue to speak out in full support of all peaceful protesters in New York, across our country, and around the world.

Thank you for your voice on this important matter.

Denise Bell
Amnesty International USA

They Want Your Opinion and Labor Day Cleanup!

(For FY 2022 District Needs & Budget Requests)

Each year Community Board 11 (CB11) compiles a Statement of Community District Needs (SDN) that is submitted to the Mayor’s Office as part of the City’s budget process. CB11 wants to hear what you’d like NYC to focus on regarding funding in your neighborhood.

CB11 is seeking input from its constituents (individuals that live, work, or have an otherwise significant interest in this community) to help determine the greatest needs in our district and determine budget priorities.

The following survey is organized by policy area and should take no longer than 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Please provide a clear written explanation for each response and be sure to include specific location information (i.e. address, site or cross street references), when applicable.

Access the survey here.

And, to have more of an impact, attend the (Zoom) meeting and voice your priorities at the CB11M Full Board & Public Hearing on Draft FY 2022 Statement of District Needs – Sep 22, 2020 06:30 PM

Register to attend the Public Hearing here

137th Street Block Clean Up

If you’d like to get out and meet some neighbors up on 137th Street, they are holding a block clean up (rather than a block party) on Labor Day. All welcome. Details on the flyer (below):

Backpack Giveaway and Clean-Up Day

The 25th Precinct Neighborhood Coordination Officers, the Youth Coordination Officers, and Community Council are hosting a Bookbag Giveaway on Friday, September 4th, 3:00 – 8:00 PM at the PS155 Playground at 331 East 118th Street:

A huge thank you to our Council Member, Diana Ayala and all the other sponsors for making this possible.

Clean-Up Day

Yellow trashbags? Check. A street in need of love? We got one.

Uptown Grand Central is hosting another community clean-up along East 125th Street this Saturday, September 5, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in partnership with Ginjan Cafe and Blkk Saturday.

Gloves, masks, trashbags and brooms will be provided, plus for volunteers Blkk Saturday will have T-shirts and Ginjan will offer 15 percent off all menu items.

At 11 a.m. we’ll also be joined by special guest Councilwoman Diana Ayala, who will give background on community improvement efforts.

Register here to join us!