Ballot Initiatives Coming in November’s Election

Next month, New York City voters will have four proposals to decide on:

  • a statewide proposal that would boost spending in Albany on future environment-related projects
  • creating a “statement of values” for NYC’s government
  • creating a NYC racial equity office
  • defining how the cost of living is calculated in NYC

If approved, the four ballot questions — one that pertains to the state and three to the city — would each take effect right away. 

The four ballot proposals as they will appear on the ballot are listed here. The full proposal language for Proposal 1 can be read here; Proposals 2, 3 and 4 can be read here.

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Proposal 1: Environmental Bond Act of 2022

This proposal would allow New York State to borrow $4.2 billion through a bond issuance for specific environment-related projects and policy efforts.

That includes $250 million for improving stormwater systems, $200 million for wastewater infrastructure, $500 million for zero-emissions school buses and $1.5 billion for climate mitigation such as wetland protection and renewable energy projects.

This would be the first environmental bond act enacted for 26 years in New York, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

Proposal 2: Statement of Values for City Government

This measure would create a mission statement of sorts for New York’s government by adding a preamble to the city charter that includes a statement of “values and vision,” the ballot proposal says, that aims to create a “just and equitable city for all.”

The proposal, will be a preamble to the NYC charter that “acknowledges and speaks to historical wrongs” in order to “reconstruct, revise and reimagine our city’s foundations, structures, institutions, and laws to promote justice and equity for all New Yorkers.”

Proposal 3: Racial Equity Plans and Office

This measure would bring three new requirements to the city charter: mandating that all city agencies create “racial equity plans” every two years, establishing a new Office of Racial Equity to coordinate racial equity planning across city government and creating a Commission on Racial Equity. That commission would identify and propose priorities for racial equity planning, and review the racial equity plans for each city agency.

Proposal 4: True Cost of Living

This measure would mandate that the city government use a new method to calculate the “true cost of living” in the city without taking into account public, private or informal assistance a person or household may receive. Instead, the proposed “true cost” measure would be based on “actual household income required to meet the essential needs of people living in New York City,” the commission said. It would include costs related to housing, childcare, food, transportation, healthcare, clothing and shoes, hygiene products, household items, and telephone and internet services, among other things.

Party on Park, Tomorrow!


Uptown Vinyl Supreme will be bringing vinyl to the people from 12-4 p.m., followed from 4-6 p.m. by the Ted Smooth afterparty.

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Lace up your rollerskates for our street skate rink with the African American Roller-Skate Museum and UME Rollerskate. Rollerskates will be provided for the sessions, while supplies last.

You can also check out a Citi Bike for free, or join in on a bike ride led by Urban Upbound!

There’s also be live street art by BC1, plus the street art sanitation truck from the NYC Department of Sanitation.

And get the latest on the Second Avenue Subway coming to East Harlem.

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Health screenings for nearly every body part: Flu shots from Walgreens; COVID vaccines and boosters from NYHRE; blood pressure, depression and glucose screenings from Boriken Neighborhood Health Center; foot exams from the NY College of Podiatric Medicine; HIV screenings for the Center for Comprehensive Health Practice; and overdose prevention kits from Mt. Sinai & Odyssey House.

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Pad up and try out a skateboard, with beginner clinics and obstacle courses from our friends from Bronx Girls Skate and Go Sports. Skateboards and safety gear will be provided for the sessions, while supplies last.

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Under the tracks: Facepainting and art-making all afternoon with Union Settlement, Art In the Park and Hi-ARTS, snacks from NYC School Food, plus storytime at 3 p.m. by Drag Queen Story Hour!

West of the tracks: Rock wall, bouncy house, and big street games.

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Neighborhood resources, plus explore a fire truck with FDNY Engine 35, Ladder 14, Battalion 12.

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Exercise classes and obstacle courses to get you moving for fall from Harlem Kettlebell Club and Leo Zumba.

Plus an obstacle course all day with Fun Fit Kids!

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Under the tracks: Bike fix-its thanks to Get Women Cycling, and adult Learn to Ride classes with Bike New York.

West of the tracks: Free bike helmets for all ages from the NYC Department of Transportation. Note that the line for helmets closes at 3:30 p.m.

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Drop by the East Harlem Community Board 11 office to check out this location for year-round resources. The office of Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine will also be in the house!

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Explore local small business Urban Garden Center, then get environmental in artmaking with the Blue Bus Project and NYC Fair Trade Coalition.

GrowNYC will be on hand with affordable vegetable options, and Edible Schoolyard’s bringing worms!

Plus talk cultural and historic preservation with East Harlem Preservation and Landmark East Harlem.

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The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance presents Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Los Pleneros de la 21, Rebolu & Yasser Tejeda (at La Placita, 1-7 p.m.).



Enjoy samples from the vendors from La Marqueta (while supplies last!).

Then gather around One Big Table provided by Street Lab, and share your stories with WNYC!

Then finish the day off by learning about the Park Avenue Viaduct Replacement Project — which will rehabilitate this 130-year-old structure that we’ve been partying along.

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West of the tracks: Water station from Carter Hospital at 122nd Street.

East of the tracks: Water station at Lydia’s Magic Garden at 118th Street.

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CUNY’s East Harlem Restaurant Guide

CUNY has come up with a somewhat pedantic restaurant guide for East Harlem.

They’ve covered most of the bases, but oddly have some restaurants that haven’t been open for 2 years now and others are located firmly in Central Harlem. It seems surprising that they didn’t check whether or not the restaurants were still in business, and you wonder if they really know the geography of East Harlem?

Nevertheless, it’s worth checking out to see if some of your old favorites are there, or if something new worth checking out is listed:

City College Postcard

Ebay has a postcard of City College, with eye popping color and wonderful framing under a gothic arch.

The request (to South Dakota) to exchange postcards, is charming:


This black and white documentary of a Harlem family was made in 1968 by the famous photographer and filmmaker, Gordon Parks. Using his still photos for Life magazine, Parks illustrated the crushing effect poverty had on every member of this Harlem family who lived on Frederick Douglass Blvd., in the 130’s.

Gordon Parks noted that “I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against all sorts of social wrongs. I knew at that point I had to have a camera.”

Sticker Advice on St. Nicholas Ave.

Redistricting Update

Public hearings on the proposed new City Council districts begin next week. This is a critical stage of the redistricting process that ensures the views of Harlem and East Harlem are reflected in the drawing of council district lines.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to look at the draft maps proposed by the districting commission, you can do so by clicking here. You can also check out the CUNY website Redistricting and You, which allows you to easily compare the old and the proposed council lines, along with various other dynamics of your district. In addition to the Commission’s preliminary map, you can also see other proposals, like the Unity map, created by the advocacy organizations LatinoJustice PRLDEF, The Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).
The commission will hold five public hearings in one week, starting on Tuesday August 16. You can sign up to testify here. Each hearing will be hybrid, meaning you can testify virtually or in person. There will be one hearing held in each borough, but if you cannot make your borough’s hearing, it is OK to testify on any date. You can indicate any translation or accommodation needs you may have as you sign up to testify.
Time: Tuesday August 16, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm
Location: Museum of the Moving Image, Sumner Redstone Theater, 36-01 35 Ave Astoria, Queens 11106
The Bronx:
Time: Wednesday August 17, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm
Location: Lehman College (CUNY), Gillet Auditorium, 250 Bedford Park Blvd West, The Bronx 10468
Staten Island:
Time: Thursday August 18, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm
Location: Staten Island Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace Rm 125
Time: Sunday August 21, 2022 @ 3:30pm to 7pm
Location: Medgar Evers College (CUNY), School of Science Health & Technology, Dining Hall, 1638 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn 11225
Time: Monday August 22, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm
Location: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd., Harlem, Manhattan, 10037
Testimony Registration:
You can register to testify at any of the hearings by filling out this form
Testimony Email:
If you would like to submit written testimony, you can do so at any time by emailing [email protected]
Recent Advocacy:
In response to reports about possible backroom deals between appointing authorities, and their influence over mapping decisions, Citizens Union along with several other advocacy organizations, sent a letter to the Commission urging them to hold mapping deliberations as part of an open public meeting and provide the public with a detailed explanation of how and why the new Council lines are drawn. You can read and promote that sign on letter here.

If you have any questions, or if we can help in any way, contact:

Dan Kaminsky (he/him)
Policy Manager
Citizens Union/Citizens Union Foundation 
P.O Box 140917, Staten Island, NY 10314
[email protected] |
Help shape future City Council districts – more info at

Sugar Ray’s

eBay has a great postcard for sale, a promotional item for Sugar Ray’s Cafe (7th Avenue and 124th Street) . The interior shots show a well-stocked bar, sports paraphernalia, and a dapper manager ready to welcome you.

To see the listing, click here.

The East Harlem African Burial Ground Development May Be Back On

Patch’s own Nick Garber is reporting that the development site between 1st and 2nd Avenues between 126 and 127th Streets may be up again for consideration.

The former MTA bus depot sits on an East Harlem African Burial Ground – in a new tab – that will be examined before any new development is begun.

Read Nick’s full article here:

Harlem Week

August 12-21

Make sure to plan on attending the virtual and/or in-person events during Harlem Week 2022.

Sponsored by The Greater Harlem Chamber of CommerceHARLEM WEEK is now 48 years old. Since its founding, the festival has grown to showcase the diaspora of African, Caribbean, Hispanic and European cultures, alongside Harlem’s rich social, economic, and political history.

There will be 10 days of live and virtual celebrations of the people, arts, culture, and entertainment that reaffirm Harlem as the source of this nation’s cultural heartbeat. The theme this year is “INSPIRATION. IMPACT. LEGACY,” and there will be events for seniors, teens, families, music lovers, film buffs, live performances, virtual dance parties, as well as a jobs and careers fair.

  • Virtual Dance at Home Party every night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., beginning Friday, August 12, 2022. The dance parties will feature DJs spinning a wide spectrum of music that definitely will make you want to dance!
  • Uptown Saturday Nite Virtual Concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2022.
  • Charles B Rangel Systemic Racism Summit at noon (ET) on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. This summit will feature the tough discussions the entire country needs to continue. It will offer an unfiltered examination of systemic racism in our country and probe the effects on the African-American, Caribbean-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American populations.
  • Economic Development Day on Wednesday, August 17, 2022. The live and virtual summit will feature key discussions on community development, cyber security, digital development, and inclusion of small businesses.
  • Virtual Health Summit at noon (ET) on Thursday, August 18, 2022. This summit will bring together some of the foremost medical experts to discuss the effects of health issues and disparities on communities of color, including the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program also will cover alternative medicine modalities and mental health issues
  • Arts & Culture/Broadway Virtual Summit at 3 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, August 18, 2022. This summit features conversations with actors, producers, directors, and those behind the scenes, discussing The Impact of Building a Culture of Diversity on Broadway–Environmental Justice

Panelists include: Aaliytha Stevens, Founding member of Black Theatre Coalition

Brian Moreland, Producer “Thoughts of A Colored Man”/ “The Piano Lesson”

Khady Kamara, Executive Director, Second Stage Theater

Vy Higginsen, Producer, “Mama I Want to Sing”

Gennean Scott, Diversity Officer, The Broadway League

Shanta Thake, Chief Artistic Officer, Lincoln Center

  • Healing, Joy, and Liberation: Mental Health and the Arts Virtual Gathering at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, August 18, 2022. Presented by The Apollo Theater; the CUNY School of Medicine at the City College of New York; the American Composers Orchestra; the National Black Theatre, and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.This event features artistic rituals for healing, visual art, musical performances, and a panel discussion with mental health experts to encourage participants to get, keep, and spread joy.

And if you’re anywhere near Harlem, be sure to check out these in-person events:

  • Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run & Anti Gun Violence Health Walk at 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2022. Sponsored by New York Road Runners and The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the event starts at 135th Street and Nicholas Avenue.
  • Great Jazz on the Great Hill from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2022, at Central Park’s Great Hill.
  • Jobs & Career Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, at City College of New York.
  • HARLEM WEEK/Imagenation Outdoor Film Festival on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park.
  • The two-day NYC Children’s Festival begins Saturday, August 20, 2022, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Howard Bennett Playground on West 135th Street, between Malcolm X Boulevard and 5th This live event for children, ages 5-12, and their family members, will include storytelling, dance performances, step shows, theater, poetry and vocalist. There also will be arts & crafts, a double-dutch competition, face painting and information on health services.
  • The Alex Trebek Children’s Spelling Bee will also be held August 20, 2022, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for children in first through fifth grades. The event will take place at the Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture.

You will find the full HARLEM WEEK 2022 schedule at this link

Redistricting – Learn More

Join the Philip Randolph Square Neighborhood Alliance in a conversation about Harlem’s redistricting.


The Africa Center recently displayed a fantastic quilt that celebrates African and African American contributions to this country’s foodways,

You are invited to participate by submitting someone or something, that deserves a square:

Check with the Africa Center about viewing this amazing artwork:

Head Start and Pre-School Program

The West Harlem Community Organization is encouraging families in 10026, 10027, 10030, 10037, and 10039 to check out their Head Start and Pre-School Program:

Clean-Up With Congressman Espaillat

Late-breaking news is that Congressman Adriano Espaillat will also be joining the clean-up at Park/125. Here’s your chance to have one-on-one time with a number of your electeds — to both give feedback and ask questions. If you have something to say or ask, here’s your chance.

We’ll meet up under the tracks at 125th & Park, and we’re shortening the time to 12-1 p.m. since it’ll be a little toasty. And we’ll have plenty of cold drinks on hand. 


Be sure to check-out Terenga, the amazing African restaurant at 110th and 5th Avenue. The food is amazing, the portions generous, and the spacious seating is welcoming.

Free Admission Tickets

Urban Advantage Schools – – and free admission to NYC museums, zoos, and gardens:

Africa Center + MOFAD

Make sure to head down to 5th and 110th Street to see the collaboration between the Africa Center and the Museum of Food and Drink, before the current exhibition closes:

The exhibit – African/American: Making the Nation’s Table – celebrates the contribution of African Americans to the nation’s culinary culture (both historic and ongoing). By focusing on Black foodways, the exhibit argues that all Americans have experienced the impact African Americans have had on farming, cooking, drinking, and where/what we eat.

The exhibit begins with the contributions of enslaved Africans and flows through to Black entrepreneurs in the food space, today.

Opera in MGP

Make sure to head over to Marcus Garvey Park on July 16th at 7:00 PM for Harlem’s Opera Festival 2022.

Go Africa Carnival 2022

Saturday, July 16, 2022 @ 10:00am
116th Street, btwn Adam Clayton Powell Bvd. (7th Ave) & Frederick Douglass Blvd. (8th Ave), New York
Presented by Go Africa Network Inc.

New Group Exhibit At Claire Oliver Gallery

Be sure to check out the new group exhibit at the Claire Oliver Gallery on ACP, just below 135th Street.

It’s a strong selection of artists represented by the gallery and scheduled to have a solo show in the next year: Barbara Earl Thomas, Adebunmi Gbadebo, Robert Peterson, Stan Squirewell, Gio Swaby, and introducing the work of Simone Elizabeth Saunders.

Ebony’s Test Kitchen

The exhibit of African/American foodways will close soon at the Africa Center (5th Avenue at 110th Street).

Run, don’t walk, to see the Ebony Magazine’s test kitchen in all its funky, psychedelic splendor.

Words can’t describe the experience of walking through it. You’ve just got to go.

You’ve only got until the end of the month!