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. 

The Negro Soldier

Yesterday’s post on a Nazi critique of America’s racial and economic reality suggested that the film The Negro Soldier – produced as WWII American propaganda is worth a watch:

This 1944 documentary, directed by Stuart Heisler and produced by Frank Capra was a part of the United States Army’s First Motion Picture Unit for The Department of War. The film was produced to encourage enthusiasm for the World War II Allied effort while making the case for Black enlistment and participation at a time when the armed forces were still officially segregated.

Council Member Jordan Explains Why Saying No To 458 Units of Affordable Housing Is A Good Thing For Harlem

Harlem and The Bronx

This image from the 1930’s from a high vantage point (likely from the towering 555 Edgecombe Avenue), shows Harlem in the foreground and The Bronx in the background.

What is now Jackie Robinson Park is immediately below (in the foreground) and you can see the distinctive kiosk shown in another 1930’s photo and from Google Streetview:

Note how the 1930s streetscape north of 152nd Street (up to 153rd Street) is fully intact. It also appears as if the vacant lot on the south-east corner of the block has been vacant for almost 100 years.

Harlem’s Poet Laureate

CBS has the story from Governor Hochul’s inauguration on how a 9-year-old from Harlem came to be her poet laureate:

“I was outside the Apollo Theater, it was Amateur Night,” Hochul recalled at the beginning of her speech Sunday. “And there’s a long line around the block, and I saw this young man standing there. I said, ‘You’re going in to watch somebody?’ He goes, ‘No, I’m a poet. I’m going to go recite.'”
“I was excited,” Hern remembered feeling. “Yeah, because at the Apollo, I just wanted to take a picture with her. And then she asked me, what do I do? And I said, I draw. I also write poems.”
Hern did not throw away his shot, performing his way straight to the top.
“I figured he’d whip out a piece of paper and read it to me,” Hochul continued. “He had memorized it … I stood there on the spot and I said, ‘If I win this election, you are my Poet Laureate and I want you here.'”

What’s That Tree

Ever wondered what that tree is in front of your apartment? NYC’s Department of Parks has a new, interactive map of NYC’s trees, and you can explore the arboreal side of your neighborhood.

The color coding of dots (trees) above, show different varieties. You can, of course, zoom in more and even select on the basis of tree variety or size (as denoted by trunk diameter):

Looking at a random tree on West 124th Street (across from Marcus Garvey Park), the map brings up that it’s a Thornless honeylocust and has a trunk diameter of 15″:

To explore on your own, try this link:

As Seen In Harlem

On East 116th Street. Sadly, closed.

New City Council Boundaries

Community Council Districts 7, 8, and 9 have slightly altered boundaries. Here are the new lines for Community Council Districts 7 and 9:

And (below) are the new boundaries of Community Council District 8:

For the full map of Manhattan, see:

As Seen In Harlem

As seen in Harlem, on West 117th Street.

La Sinagoga

On East 125th Street, just east of Park and the tall Lee Building (that boarders Metro North) a low 3 story building with dormer windows and arched brownstone 2nd floor windows was a vaudeville venue called The Orpheum. The view of The Orpheum (below) is from 1904:

After that, the building was called The Harlem Strand Theater for a while, until its owners were sued by Mitchel H. Mark Realty Corp (owners of the Strand Theater near Times Square) for trademark infringement.

After the theater operated as the Strand from 1914-1917 the building shifted to a movie house and again and was renamed as The Grand:

Today the building is owned by a Pentecostal church that calls itself “La Sinagoga”.

The name La Sinagoga originated from an earlier location for this church in the basement of a synagogue on 109th Street between Madison and Park Avenues. 

As Seen In Harlem

Augusta Savage. Sculptor, artist, educator, and activist.

Generational Wealth

Free Generational Workshop from the Blacklining Foundation.
Learn more about creating generational wealthLife Insurance, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, and more!

Marcus Garvey Park Glacier

Perhaps it’s not technically a glacier, and it was spotted earlier, during that cold snap, but the sight of the park weeping water and freezing into an ice waterfall is fascinating.

Harlem in Song

Fordham University’s radio station (back in August) had a segment on Harlem in song to celebrate Harlem Week 2022 and played these tracks:

  • Duke Ellington “Take the ‘A’ Train”
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band “Midnight in Harlem”
  • Bob & Earl “Harlem Shuffle”
  • Aretha Franklin “Spanish Harlem”
A couple whirls across the dance floor of Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom in New York, April 24, 1953. (AP Photo/Hans von Nolde)

As is often the case, the comments section of the post of WFUV is rich in suggestions and old favorites.

“The Joint is Jumpin’” – Fats Waller
“It’s Christmas Time in Harlem” – Louis Armstrong
The Last Poets – On The Subway
Harlem River Blues, Justin Townes Earle
Harlem Shuffle, Bob & Earl, or Rolling Stones
Spanish Harlem, Mamas and Papas version
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, Elton John
Bill Withers – Summer Night in Harlem
Luther Vandross – Nights In Harlem
Can Calloway – The Man from Harlem

Harlem’s Little Blackbird” – Kaia Kater
Joe Lewis Walker “Uptown To Harlem”
Sarah Vaughn “Stompin’ At The Savoy”
Touch & Go “Tango In Harlem”
Tim Curry “Harlem On My Mind”
The Drifters “Up In The Streets Of Harlem”
Beck “Waiting For The Man”
Nat King Cole “Harlem Blues”
“Angel of Harlem” – U2

Make sure to click on the link below and see if your favorite was suggested by listeners.

As Seen On Park Avenue

 Program Aims to Help 5,000 People of Color Achieve Home Ownership

A new effort to help more people of color in New York City become homeowners is launching today with the support of a $7.5 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. The grant was awarded to a new collaborative led by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) NY, in partnership with the Center for NYC Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City (NHSNYC).

The donation comes from Wells Fargo’s Wealth Opportunity Restored Through Homeownership (WORTH) initiative, a $60 million national effort to address systemic barriers to homeownership for people of color. New York City is one of eight markets across the U.S. to receive a WORTH grant, which aims to help create 5,000 new homeowners of color across the city by the end of 2025.

The announcement took place during NHSNYC’s Homeownership Expo at the TWU Counseling Center, where participants learned about the homeownership process, how to find and secure mortgages, and how to navigate down payments and closing costs.

“As a company, we’re committed to creating opportunities for more people of color to buy their own homes,” said Otis Rolley, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation and head of Philanthropy and Community Impact. “We know that without deliberate interventions from the public and private sectors, there is risk that the racial homeownership gap will continue to grow. Today’s donation in New York City is about accelerating actions that will build homeownership, and in turn, generational wealth.”

Armistice Day

A photo of Armistice Day in Harlem. The photo is taken looking up Lenox Avenue (you can see the 134th Street sign and the subway entrance on the crowded sidewalk).

One lone soldier appears in the crowd.

25th Precinct’s Community Council Meeting


We made it to 2023!  New beginnings…….. 

I just wanted to remind you that our next Council meeting is scheduled for:

Wednesday, January 18, 2023 @ 6:00PMat the 25th Precinct120 East 119th StreetNew York, NY 10035
We look forward to seeing you there for this month’s conversation.  Our guest for this month is TBD.Many thanks to all of you for your dedication to contributing to making our community safe. 

Kioka Jackson

Follow your dreams………