Community Clean-up on Saturday

Fish Fry!

A staple of Harlem political organizing and fundraising is coming up on Saturday (after the clean-up noted above) with the Frederick E. Samuel Democratic Club. All welcome!

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage at Boriken’s Community Health Fair

% of A-Grade Restaurants

How Calculated: Percent of currently operating restaurants with an “A” grade in the window, divided by all currently operating restaurants, including those with a “Grade Pending” in the window.

Source: New York City Food Safety and Community Sanitation Tracking System

Preserving The Legacy of Black Harlem

K. Taylor – Founder of While We Are Still Here

A fantastic article on the women of Harlem (Thanks Valerie Jo Bradley!) who are working to preserve the buildings, places, and spaces that defined Black history in Harlem, New York, America, and beyond:

Valerie Jo Bradley – Founder of Save Harlem Now

The Big Fix

If you have not already received the news about #BigFix Day over the last two weeks, I’m taking these last moments  to reach to make sure you know– On this weekend Saturday Sept 11 from 10AM-4PM on Randall’s Island, The Brown Bike Girl will be holding the 2nd annual Big Fix Day free bike repair & covid relief event on Randall’s Island.

2021 big fix flier v4.png

#BigFixDay is my NYC People’s Bike Mayor COVID initiative, established in Sept 2020 with the goal of fixing as many bikes as possible to restore and expand mobility options PoC neighborhoods hard-hit with COVID diagnoses & hospitalizations.  In 2021, your home and service areas – the adjacent neighborhoods of North Central & East Harlem and South Bronx – are still affected places! So we are coming to centrally located Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island! 

Community Gardens

Localize has an analysis of which boroughs have the most proximate community gardens:

Their map shows how bereft of community gardens Queens is:

Here in Harlem we are blessed with a number of community gardens in relative proximity to many of us. The garden I manage is an East Harlem jewel, Lydia’s Magic Garden:

Come and visit. Park Avenue (east side) between 117/118.

National Grant Winner

Lydia’s Magic Garden has won a Pure Growth Project grant for 2021/2022.

This national grant contest will help Lydia’s Magic Garden in our 2021/2022 Dirty GoGo project.

Dirty GoGo is a root vegetable project where each gardener commits to Growing One, Giving One of the root vegetables in 2022. We want to share our produce with the community and some give to neighbors in need, some give to local pantries, and some give to other nearby not-for-profits that support food-stressed East Harlem residents.

Congratulations, Lydia’s Magic Garden:

Ice Cream in Harlem

Two Harlem ice cream spots won praise in for their amazing offerings:

Sugar Hill Creamery: New York, NY

Serving out of two locations in the Harlem area, Sugar Hill Creamery is a labor of love built by wife-and-husband team Petrushka Bazin Larsen and Nick Larsen. With combined backgrounds in arts, culture, fine dining and community, they opened their first location in 2017 and have been producing seasonal and classic flavors inspired by Harlem. The handmade flavors to order include a blueberry cheesecake dubbed “Chairperson of the Board,” “Fly Girl,” a honey and lavender-flavored homage to the movie “Honey” and a salted caramel flavor named after Langston Hughes’s poem “Harlem Sweeties.”

The shop is currently delivering pints everywhere in the U.S. (except Hawaii and Alaska) through Goldbelly and will be launching its Ice Cream Sandwich of the Month Club this summer.

Mikey Likes It Ice Cream: New York, NY

Mikey Cole created his brand of ice cream following the advice of his late aunt: “If you are cooking with love, someone should receive that same food with love.” Now serving from two locations in NYC, on the Lower East Side and in Harlem, he will soon sell his ice cream at MoMA’s Cafe 2 as well. Cole’s take on banana pudding with vanilla wafers a flavor called “Brady Bunch,” and “Pink Floyd” is a take on a double-strawberry cheesecake. He even serves up a flavor that encourages you to eat your greens, called “Incredible Hulk.”

Cole also continues to donate food to the community and hopes his ice cream brings people together. Plus, if you’re a kid with an A on your report card: Congrats — your scoop is free!

Former Sign/Plaque?

At the point where 5th Avenue intersects with 120th Street, Marcus Garvey Park has a curious remnant of a former sign or plaque.

You can see the former bolt holes, and someone chiseled the rock to allow the sign to lay flat.

If anyone knows what it was or said, do tell.

Walking Distance to the Subway

How Calculated: 

Walking distance to a subway station is defined as 1/4-mile or less. Distance was measured between the centroid of 2010 Census blocks and the nearest station entrance. Census block populations within areas defined as walking distance were summed across the neighborhood and divided by total neighborhood population.

Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority ,United States Census

The Verge Measures UES vs. East Harlem Temperatures

The map above shows which neighborhoods in New York City are considered the most “heat-vulnerable.” In heat-vulnerable East Harlem, The Verge documented average land surface temperatures reaching as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That was more than 20 degrees hotter than readings we took in the affluent Upper East Side. The Verge took these readings with a thermal camera on June 24, 2021, when air temperatures at the nearest NOAA weather station in Central Park only reached a high of 77 degrees.

To listen to the full article, see:

Adults Who Walk or Bike for Transportation

How Calculated: Estimated number of adults who reported having walked or bicycled more than 10 blocks to get to and from work, school, public transportation or to do errands, in the past 30 days, divided by all adults in the area; expressed as a percent.

Source: New York City Community Health Survey (CHS)

Constructed 1937, Renovated 2005

A rarely noticed, circular granite stone commemorates the renovation of Marcus Garvey Park (misleadingly indicating that it came into existence in 1937) in 2005:

The text is particularly hard to make out, but as always, politicians got their names etched into a fairly permanent form of free publicity.

Marcus Garvey Park has been in existence as a common space, if not a park, since the Dutch colonial era, when the rocky outcropping of Manhattan schist was set aside as a common pasture land.

The Parks Department website notes:

The history of Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park reaches far back into the colonial period. Dutch settlers named it Slangberg, or Snake Hill, after the creatures that slithered through the hilly area. In 1835, local citizens won their fight to preserve the land as a public park rather than raze it to make room for city streets. Their park welcomed a community center and child health station in the 1930s. The 47-foot cast-iron watchtower built in 1856 to guard the mostly wooden city against fire was designated a landmark in 1967 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Originally named Mount Morris Park, the park was renamed Marcus Garvey Park in 1973 after the black activist, orator and journalist.

Marcus Garvey Park continues to be a unifying element for the community who once fought to keep it. The Pelham Fritz Recreation Center includes an amphitheater and a swimming pool, and the two children’s playgrounds allow all young visitors of all abilities to play. Families and neighbors can gather together on hot summer days to swim in the outdoor pool and enjoy jazz performances from the City Parks Foundation’s annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. The community also plays a large part in the upkeep of the park with groups like the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance, the Marcus Garvey Dog Run Committee, and the Mt. Morris Park Community Improvement Association, as well as the police and local elected officials working with Parks to ensure its safety and cleanliness for another 100 years.

In 2008 Mayor Bloomberg announced plans for a $5 million renovation of the amphitheater. The project is funded in part by a $1 million contribution by The Rodgers Family Foundation.

In Memory: The 2020 Silent Procession

A video of the 4th Annual (Virtual) Silent Procession for Puerto Rico

Save The Date: September 19th

The White Wall

The novel, the film, and the soundtrack Across 110th Street, reflected a fascinating cultural moment in New York City and Harlem. In the film you see a car driving up through Central Park, a heist across from the Morris-Jumel Mansion, and the unfinished Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Building being used in a horrific scene of violence.

The 2020 Census shows that New York’s borders between the UWS, and the UES in particular, are still firmly entrenched and, as they say, ‘visible from space’.

And while there is some movement in the diversity in the Upper West Side and Morningside Heights, the UES remains a steadfastly predominantly white community.

Photos from Above

The 125th Street BID shared some great photos of Harlem from high vantage points.

This one is looking south on Lenox from 125th Street:

And below is a view 180 degrees different – North on Lenox:

To learn more about the 125th Street BID, see:

Dapper Dan

The impact of Dapper Dan on Hip Hop fashion continues to reverberate in the 20th Century.

L’Officiel has a good story about Dapper Dan and Gucci (among other fashion houses):

Dapper Dan’s 24/7 retail outlet was located on East 125th Street where the Harlem Children’s Zone is now located.

City Aims To Spend $776 Million To Complete Manhattan Greenway

Harlem would get two new connectors that would allow families, joggers, and cyclists to ride around Manhattan, traffic free.

This is a huge project that involves years of engineering and environmental impact analysis, but it really could be a game-changer for enaging with the waterfront in a car-free environment.

See the article below, for more:

Join Concrete Safaris on Friday

On August 13th, youth interns (ages 14-24) enrolled in the Outdoor Play Cohort at Concrete Safaris’ Outdoor Leadership Academy will host JungleGym 2021 Summer Series, a NYC Open Streets event, celebrating its 14th birthday party and 9th annual obstacle race and active living fair on East 106th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues. A 20-obstacle race and active living fair for children (ages 5+) and their families will run from 1:00 to 5:00pm.

The Youth Host Photo Expo & Streetscape Garden Tour will take place on Friday, August 13th from 10:00am to 1:00pm on Second Avenue between 112th and 115th Streets.

In addition, Youth Host Virtual Photo Expo will take place on the same day from 2:00 to 5:00pm.

This event will bring youth interns (ages 14-24) enrolled in the Gardening & Health Media Cohorts at Concrete Safaris’ Outdoor Leadership Academy to host an Outdoor Photo Expo and Streetscape Garden Tour at Jefferson Gardens at Jefferson Houses, 300 East 115th Street in East Harlem. In addition, an online Photo Expo at concrete will take place from 2:00 to 5:00pm.

28th Precinct’s Build the Block – Friday

A Great Day in Harlem on Thursday!

The Celebration of this historic street co-naming event will take place on Thursday, August 12th from 2:00 to 4:00pm. The entrance for guests will be at East 126th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. Click here to Register. This is a free event.

“Uptown is proud to honor the deep-rooted history of jazz here in Harlem, along with the visionary man who conceived and took this iconic photo more than 60 years ago,” shared Diane Collier, Chair of Uptown Grand Central. “Along with the Harlem/East Harlem residents, we are pleased to memorialize this wonderful event with a street sign on the block where it all happened.”

Harlem Week is On

Find out more about fantastic Harlem Week events here:

Affordable Housing at Riverton Square

The affordable housing lottery has launched for Riverton Square, five 13-story residential buildings at 45 East 135th Street and 2156, 2181, 2171, and 2225 Madison Avenue in East Harlem, Manhattan. Overall, the Riverton Square complex consists of 1,229 units across 12 buildings with approximately 1,000 units designated as affordable housing. Available on NYC Housing Connect are 55 units for residents at 60 to 125 percent of the area median income (AMI), ranging in eligible income from $43,852 to $161,125.

Residents have access to 12 acres of park space, 24-hour security, on-site laundry facilities, a children’s playground with water features, a basketball court, assigned parking spaces, bike storage lockers, package lockers, party room, and a private community center serving school-age children and seniors of the property. Units have hardwood floors, sleek kitchen cabinetry and countertops, stainless steel appliances, and charging outlets with USB ports.

At 60 percent of the AMI, there are four one-bedrooms with a monthly rent of $1,279 for incomes ranging from $43,852 to $64,440.

At 80 percent of the AMI, there are six one-bedrooms with a monthly rent of $1,706 for incomes ranging from $58,492 to $85,920; and eight two-bedrooms with a monthly rent of $2,048 for incomes ranging from $70,218 to $103,120.

At 125 percent of the AMI, there are 20 one-bedrooms with a monthly rent of $2,050 for incomes ranging from $70,286 to $134,250; and 17 two-bedrooms with a monthly rent of $2,450 for incomes ranging from $84,000 to $161,125.

Prospective renters must meet income and household size requirements to apply for these apartments. Applications must be postmarked or submitted online no later than August 30, 2021.

Apply here:

New Amsterdam Musical Association

Located at 107 West 130th Street, the New Amsterdam Musician’s Association, is an example of Jazz Age Harlem that continues to this day.

NAMA’s MISSION STATEMENT: “To voluntarily promote and encourage the study and production of instrumental music in all the various branches; to draw together trained musicians in the State of New York, in a musical association for mutual intercourse and encouragement and to establish in the City of New York, a central meeting place for the instruction and for social intercourse between its members”.

In 1904, African American musicians were barred from joining the American Federation of Musician Local 310 (now Local 802), so they started their own union, and New Amsterdam Musical Association was born. The association was conceptualized by James Reese Europe and became a cultural reference point for jazz from the 1920s to the 1950s.

NAMA purchased the brownstone, which once served as a rehearsal space and boarding house for musicians such as Jelly Roll Morton, John Coltrane, and Max Roach among others.

Past notable NAMA members include Buster Bailey (clarinetist), Eubie Blake (pianist), Charlie Parker (saxophonist), William Marion Cook (composer, conductor), Rafael Escudero (tubist, bassist), James Reese Europe and Henry Minton (saxophonist and founder of Minton’s Playhouse) among others.

To learn more, and keep up to date on NAMA events, see:

Car-Free Party and Bicycle Ride

We are biking from Upper Manhattan (Down to Earth Market) to Brooklyn Bridge via Summer Streets and returning using the West Side Greenway to party in East Harlem.

The ride will include rest stops, art and food/drinks available for purchase along the route.
Biking Information:
Arrival Time: 9:00AM
Pedals Down: 9:30AM (to allow enough time to purchase items and arrival)
Miles: 20
Ride Time: Your own pace
Bikers MUST ride their own bicycle
Please note, this ride DOES NOT include a bike share and rain cancels ride.
Bring: water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, bike lock, cash / credit card
LocationDown to Earth Morningside Park Farmers Market
110th St. & Manhattan Ave
Register Now!