Morningside Park View

Ebay has a great postcard (sent with a 1 cent stamp to Newark, NJ) that looks down from Morningside Park to…

Focusing on a very distinctive complex that takes up an entire block with white massed stonework on the lower two floors, and brickwork above:

It’s possible to identify this building as being between 118th and 119th Streets on Morningside avenue:

Borough President Mark Levine Nominates New Community Board Members

Former Community Board 12 member and current Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine announced his 2022 class of community board appointments – the first since taking over the Manhattan Borough President Office (MBPO) in January. 

Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards are composed of 50 volunteer members each serving staggered two-year terms with 25 members appointed (or reappointed) each year. For 2022 the MBPO received 885 applications (the second-highest number of applications received by the MBPO) for the 319 appointments open this cycle. Of those, 91 are first-time appointments to the boards. Half of all appointments were recommended by the City Council Members to boards representing their respective districts.

“We need to ensure our community boards are composed of diverse local leaders so that we can recover from this pandemic equitably and stronger than we were before,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “My experience serving on a board showed me firsthand how having diverse and potent perspectives can turn a good community board into a powerful engine for change. This new class of appointments is the culmination of our efforts to begin to transform Manhattan’s Community Boards into a more fair and representative body that includes all the wonderful voices that together make Manhattan the most well-known community in the world. I look forward to the good work we will do together.”
  
Borough President Levine has made it a priority to shift the boards to better reflect the diverse make-up of the borough during the selection process. This has included adding a car ownership question to the applications for the first time, and emphasizing outreach to New Yorkers who have traditionally been underrepresented. 

The 2022 class saw a more reflective representation in gender, racial and LGBTQ+ identities; age; car ownership; non-native English speakers; tenants; and caretakers among first-time appointments.

  • Of the 91 first time appointees, 70% identify as BIPOC, including a greater percentage of individuals who identify as African Americans, Hispanic/Latinx, and AAPI Manhattanites;
  • 48% of first-time appointees identified as women, 42% identified as men, and 1% identified as gender nonconforming;
  • 26.4% of the new appointees are under the age of 30 years, with six individuals falling under the age of twenty. This represents a significant increase, which reflects MBP Levine’s desire to get younger Mnahattanaties interested in civics and government;
  • 17.6% identify as LGBTQ+, which is a reflection of Manhattan’s vibrant queer culture and community;
  • 79% of first-time appointees do not own a car, a percentage more closely aligns with Manhattan communities and emphasizes the Manhattan Borough President’s desire to ensure that the perspective of pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders is well heard;
  • 40% of new appointees live in rental units across the borough compared to less than 30% having some sort of ownership stake in their domicile. This representation is crucial as we work to address our affordability crisis in Manhattan.

“As a whole, the 2022 class is Manhattan,” said Borough President Levine. “While we have a lot of work still to do to make the Community Boards more fair, more equitable, and more representative, I am tremendously proud of our new appointments and believe we have begun the process of making the shift to what representation should look like on our Community Boards.”

Harlem board members

Community Board 9 (West Harlem)

  • Alex Hunter
  • Annette Robinson
  • Anthony Fletcher
  • Arelis Mejia
  • Barry Weinberg
  • Carlton Davis (new)
  • Carolina Ramirez (new)
  • Carolyn Thompson
  • Daniel Cohen
  • Daria Hardeman
  • David Hanzal
  • Deirdre McIntosh-Brown
  • Derrick Johnson
  • Edwin Torres
  • Georgiette Morgan-Thomas
  • Heather Jason
  • Jonathan Sinagub
  • Hugo Torres (new)
  • Iliana Mercado
  • Jane Arendell-Johnson (new)
  • Jenny Garcia
  • John George
  • John-Martin Green
  • Jonathan Thomas
  • Joyce Adewumi
  • Kelsey Bettis
  • Ken Miles
  • LaQuita Henry
  • Lydia Gerson (new)
  • Maritta Dunn
  • Marti Cummings
  • Michael Palma
  • Miriam Aristy-Farer
  • Monica Dula
  • Monique Hardin-Codero
  • Padmore John
  • Patricia Ramos (new)
  • Patricia Watler Johnson
  • Sean Farrow (new)
  • Shaneeka Wilson
  • Signe Mortensen
  • Solomon Prophete
  • Theodore Kovaleff
  • Tiffany Khan
  • Tina Lumley
  • Victor Edwards
  • Victoria Benitez
  • Walter Alexander

Community Board 10 (Central Harlem)

  • Asena Tuione (new)
  • Bailey Jeremie (new)
  • Barbara Nelson
  • Brianna McClure (new)
  • Charles Johnson
  • Charles Powell
  • Cheryl Smith
  • Christina Curry
  • Cicely Harris
  • Dana Points
  • Daniel Peterson
  • Delsenia Glover
  • Deneane Brown-Blackmon
  • Derek Perkinson
  • Dominick Boyce
  • Donna Gill
  • Elvin Garcia (new)
  • Fatoumata Magassa (new)
  • Genisha Metcalf
  • George Harrell
  • Hazel Dukes
  • Jaran David Manzanet
  • Jose Mendez
  • Kamaria Milford
  • Karen Dixon
  • Karen Horry
  • Kathy James
  • Keith Taylor
  • Kimberly McLaurin
  • LaShanda Myers
  • Leevert Holmes (new)
  • Lisa Downing
  • Lydel Tyson (new)
  • Ma’at Mack (new)
  • Marquis Harrison
  • Maurice Franklin
  • Mikaela Berry (new)
  • Milan Reed
  • Nathan Quist (new)
  • Shadawn Smith
  • Shamier Settle
  • Shawn Brannon
  • Staci Ramos
  • Stanley Gleaton
  • Stephanie Palmer
  • Tahanie Aboushi
  • Tiffany Bowen (new)
  • Valone Brown (new)
  • Verna Diggs
  • Wilma Brown

Community Board 11 (East Harlem)

  • Adem Brija
  • Alonzo Johnson
  • Angela Donadelle
  • Ann Marie Vasquez
  • April Autry
  • Arturo Perez
  • Beverly Pabon
  • Brandon Gillespie
  • Briana Dacosta
  • Carlos Diaz
  • Claudia Perez
  • David Giodano
  • Dawn Sanders
  • Devan Cronshaw
  • Diane Collier
  • Erick Aucancela
  • Ernando “Jason” Villanueva
  • Eugene Rodriguez
  • Giselle Malave
  • Hilda Candy Vives-Vazquez
  • Isaac Scott
  • James Horton
  • Jason Wu
  • Jennifer Meyer
  • Jessica Elliot
  • Jessica Morris
  • Jewel Jones
  • John Green
  • Jordan Wright
  • Jose Altimirano
  • Judith Febbraro
  • Juhaid Choudhury
  • Kenneth Crouch
  • Leroy Andino
  • Malik McCollough
  • Marissa Mack
  • Michelle Wiltshire Clement
  • Natassia Rodriguez
  • Nilsa Orama
  • Osendy Garcia
  • Raja Flores
  • Roberto Perez
  • Rosa Diaz
  • Russell Shuler
  • Shavasia Robinson-Teague
  • Stephanie Arroyo
  • Vincent Torres
  • Wanda Hopkins
  • Wilma Brown
  • Xavier Santiago

City Council Districts to be Redrawn

Here’s How to Have Your Say in the Process:

  1. Here are all the slides from the HNBA power point presentation on redistricting of City Council seats.
  2. Here is the Redistricting Commission website – The website will have the most up to date information on the process, as it unfolds.
    1. The Staff memorandum has a good overview of why they chose the lines they did ten years ago
    2. Here is a mapping software called representable, which allows you to create your own maps, including the population counter.
  3. One tool that is user friendly for people already comfortable with Google is the google map software. That said, the google software does not include a population counter. There is also DistrictR
  4. Click here to view the NYC population fact finder tool, which allows you to view demographic data for specific census tracts and other geographic parameters. It also allows you to create your own map, which can allow you to see the demographic data for any areas of interest.
  5. Click here to see demographic data for your City Council district, and view how it has changed since the last census.
  6. Click here to look at the website “redistricting and you”, which allows you to compare the old council lines with new proposals. It also allows you to look more at the dynamics of your district.
  7. Click here to read Citizens Union’s full report on the council redistricting process.
  8. Here is a recording of a training given to a group in Manhattan last month. It can be sent to people who missed HNBA’s training, but still want to find out more.
  9. Here is Citizens Union’s NYC Council redistricting website which will include everything in this email, plus additional resources as the process unfolds.
  10. Testimony Submission: If you would like to submit written testimony, you can do so by emailing [email protected] at any time.

Maya Angelou – 117th Street

Metropolitan Hospital’s Flood Wall Resiliency Project

On May 25, 2022, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), NYC Health + Hospitals, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray, and community members broke ground for a new flood protection system project at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan in East Harlem. 

The project includes a perimeter flood wall and an upgraded storm water pumping system. The wall will vary in height from eight to twelve feet, and includes resilient floodgates of up to 35 feet wide. The system is designed to keep out water from the hospital campus, which will allow for minimized damage and continued operations in the event of a major storm. Additional improvements will be made to protect loading docks, and to lighting, erosion control, fire protection and security. The basement walls will be hardened and areas of the hospital campus will be reconfigured to support these new features. 

Local artist Miguel Luciano was selected by a committee from NYCEDC, Health + Hospitals, the Department of Cultural Affairs and community members to create artwork for the design of the flood wall. The artwork will integrate infrastructure improvements into the community. 

The project is expected to cost $120 million and will be funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Construction is expected to go until summer 2024. For updates on the project, click here

Mayor Eric Adams stated, “The climate crisis is here, and we must ensure that New York City is ready for more frequent and more extreme weather events, especially at critical infrastructure sites, like our hospitals. This flood resiliency project shows federal, state, and city government partnership at its best — getting stuff done to protect New Yorkers. This flood wall will ensure the health care heroes at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan can continue fully serving their patients and helping them get better for generations to come.”

NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan Chief Executive Office Cristina Contreras stated, “We are grateful for the partnership with both the federal and local government to build a stronger and more resilient protection for our hospital. This comprehensive and innovative infrastructure project will mitigate the weaknesses exposed by Superstorm Sandy and provide our staff with the peace of mind of knowing that if we should experience any future natural weather disasters, the hospital and the community will be protected, and they can focus on what they do best – providing high-quality care for our patients and their families.”

Fathers’ Day is Harlem’s Skyscraper Classic Day

On June 19th, come out to Marcus Garvey Park to watch top talent in cycling do fast-paced loops in Harlem’s Skyscraper Classic Race.

This will be the 47th running of this cycling race.

The excitement starts at 9 and goes to 4pm

Say Their Names 2022

KICK-OFF THE JUNETEETH WEEKEND AT MARCUS GARVEY PARK!

Friday, June 17th
12-3 PM on NW lawn
New York Public Library, Harlem Branch and Studio Museum in Harlem,
with children’s storytime, giveaways and tour/talk about the Thomas J. Price
sculpture curated by the Studio Museum. 

3:15 – 7:30 PM“Say Their Names” by Poet Gold, Suprina & Sounds of Heritage
In recognition of the lives taken by racism including those recently lost in Buffalo, NY and
Uvalde, Texas. Interactive workshops, Silent Processional through the park, and on-stage
performance preceding film screening. Co-sponsors Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and NYC Parks

SPECIFIC DETAILS FOR JUNE 17

3:15 – 4:00 & 4:15 – 5 PM Walkway outside NW Lawn – Look for Themis the 9 foot Puppet. 
Poet Gold’s Dream Out Loud poetry workshop designed to explore how one can be a “Beacon of Change” in the face of oppression and to create poetry that fosters empowerment and raises the voice for social equity. Participants are encouraged to address loss by adding the names of those lost due to racist acts to the cape of Themis, a giant 9 ft. living sculpture created by artist, Suprina.

6 – 7 PM DJ Boogie Blind

7:00 PM Procession line-up Walkway outside NW lawn

Community members line-up for silent procession through the park with Themis wearing the cape on which names from the workshops were added led by Poet Gold, Suprina, and Sounds of Heritage.

7:25 PM PROCESSIONAL arrives in orchestra pit of the Amphitheater

7:30 PM Pre Performance on stage by Poet Gold and Sounds Of Heritage

8 PM at Amphitheater Outdoor screening of Questlove’s Oscar®-winning documentary, “Summer of Soul,” presented by Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage.

Saturday, June 18th

12-3 PM at NW lawn   NYPL Harlem and Studio Museum with children’s storytime,
giveaways and tour/talk about the Thomas J. Price sculpture. 

5:30 – 6:30 PM at Richard Rodgers Amphitheater   
Pre-show conversation with the Federation of Black Cowboys and come meet their horses 

7 PM at Amphitheater  CROSS THAT RIVER
Join the Federation of Black Cowboys and the Federation of Black Cowboys and then Harlem’s own star Allan Harris – globally- renowned for his jazz vocals, guitar and songwriting
in the music & theatrical storytelling of Blu, who runs away from slavery to become a cowboy out west.
Did you know that 1 in 4 cowboys were Black men? Presented by NYC ParksCity College Center for the ArtsJazzmobile and Love Productions.

Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in 21st Century America

Residential segregation manages to color just about every facet of US life. It fuels the country’s sprawling suburban development and the massive carbon footprint that lifestyle demands. It underpins struggling public schools and the increasingly toxic politics around them. It turns would-be neighbors into feared strangers by politicians like Kristin Jordan who oppose the vision of a multiracial community.  

Sheryll Cashin, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and former White House urban policy advisor, has devoted much of her career to documenting how segregation poisons America. Her new book, White Space, Black Hood, examines how radicals work to maintain racial enclaves.

Profesor Cashin, writes that she believes that integration “is the best route to equal opportunity for everyone.” She continues that in a moment when the topic had largely fallen from the national political discourse, she has “…become convinced of this — even as I recognize the nurturing benefits of a racial enclave — because of the virulent inequality that our separation is begetting.”

White Space, Black Hood: Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in the Age of Inequality explores how the Great Recession and the orgy of predatory lending that preceded it wreaked enduring havoc on household wealth in Black and Latino communities, while a national shortage of affordable housing and stubborn patterns of inequality have locked non-white renters into low-opportunity neighborhoods and America’s Public schools have largely resegregated.

To read a Bloomberg interview with Professor Cashin on the collapse of racial integration, see:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-11/tracking-the-disastrous-collapse-of-u-s-racial-integration

Juneteenth Events Next Weekend in Harlem’s Historic Parks

JUNE 17 2nd ANNUAL HISTORIC HARLEM PARKS JUNETEENTH FESTIVAL KICKOFF @ MARCUS GARVEY PARK – FREE! 

12-3PM on NW lawn –  NYPL Harlem and Studio Museum with children’s storytime, giveaways and tour/talk about the Thomas J. Price sculpture. 

3-6PM on NW lawn – Say Their Namesarts performance project gives (2) dream workshops and recognizes the lives of Americans taken by racism. Presented by NYC Parks and Marcus Garvey Park Alliance. 

730PM at Richard Rodgers Amphitheater – NYC Parks and Marcus Garvey Park Alliance present Say Their Names in an opening song and short film prior to the screening of Questlove’s “Summer of Soul” documentary presented by City Parks Foundation.  

JUNE 18 2nd Annual Historic Harlem Parks Juneteenth Festival – FREE! 

MARCUS GARVEY PARK

12-3pm at NW lawn:  NYPL Harlem and Studio Museum with children’s storytime, giveaways and tour/talk about the Thomas J. Price sculpture. 

630PM at Richard Rodgers amphitheater:  pre-show conversation with the Federation of Black Cowboys 

7PM at Richard Rodgers amphitheater: CROSS THAT RIVER – Join the Federation of Black Cowboys and then Harlem’s own star Allan Harris – globally-renowned for his jazz vocals, guitar and songwriting – in the music & theatrical storytelling of Blu, who runs away from slavery to become a cowboy out west. Did you know that 1 in 4 cowboys were Black men? Presented by NYC Parks, City College Center for the Arts, Jazzmobile and Love Productions.

JACKIE ROBINSON PARK 

2-5:30pm at bandshell:  National Jazz Museum in Harlem brings world music and dance – including dance classes! – and the global star Wunmi to Jackie Robinson Park’s bandshell in partnership with NYC Parks for the 2nd annual Historic Harlem Parks Juneteenth Festival. 

ST NICHOLAS PARK

1-8PM at 135th Street Plaza – Ayo and Friends of St Nicholas Park bring back last year’s favorite Black health and wellness and arts event GoodVibesInThePark on the James Baldwin lawn and at the 135th Street plaza in partnership with NYC Parks as part of the 2nd annual Historic Harlem Parks Juneteenth Festival. 

MORNINGSIDE PARK

12-3PM at 114th Street lawn across from the pond – Harlem Wellness brings yoga, African dance classes and drumming to Morningside Park’s lawn across from the pond in partnership with NYC Parks and Friends of Morningside Park as part of the 2nd annual Historic Harlem Parks Juneteenth Festival.

Poop and Harlem’s Hidden COVID Numbers

In September 2020, New York began to sample and test wastewater at New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wastewater plants for COVID-19.

If you recall an earlier post on wastewater and New York – https://hnba.nyc/where-does-my-sewage-go/ – you may remember that virtually all of Harlem’s wastewater (basically anything that goes down your drain or toilet) ends up at Wards’ Island’s DEP complex. New York Open Data has made the wastewater sampling data available, so I decided to plot COVID-19 as detected in our (Harlem’s) poop.

September 2020 December 2020 December 2021 April 2022

As you likely know, wastewater sampling can only give a community average of sorts, but what it does (that swab sampling of individual New Yorkers can’t do) is integrates information on the people who never or rarely test.

The chart above is amazing and terrifying at the same time. The left-hand side is September 2020, and the right hand side is April 2022.

That crazy spike is from 12/27/2021 – after Thanksgiving 2021, around Christmas – when Omicron converged in the US. Holiday travel, family gatherings, shopping, and the shift to socializing indoors, all combined with a more contagious COVID variant.

Juneteenth Celebration on East 111st Street

(between Lex/3rd)

Memorial Day

As always, this weekend we remember the men and women of Harlem who served in the armed forces. As many of us know, many Harlem service members had (and have) to fight discrimination within their ranks and their country, in addition to fighting the enemies of the United States.

The 369th, or Harlem Hellfighters, who fought in WW1 as the most decorated American soldiers in that horrific conflict, are memorialized in a small triangle of land, between the 369th Armory and the Harlem River Drive.

The simple obelisk – inscribed with the names of battlefields and battles, fought more than a century ago – did not appear until 2006, and even then was a copy of a 1997 obelisk that is located in Northern France where many of the 369th’s battles were fought.

The 171 members of the 369th Regiment (formed as the New York Colored Infantry Regiment)received the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War), and one member received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The 369th Armory was built in 1933 (but had taken over a decade to build) is now both home to the 369th Sustainment Brigade and a recreation center that the Harlem Children’s Zone uses and manages.

And, while memorializing this storied group of warriors is appropriately in front of the armory’s entrance, it’s telling that its location is not in Central Park, for example, where memorials to white companies are located.

The 107th Infantry memorial, dedicated on September 29, 1927, was located on the east side of Central Park because of its proximity to the Regiment’s Armory just to the east on Park Avenue. The soldiers of the Seventh Regiment’s 107th Infantry helped to break Germany’s Hindenburg Line of defense at the conclusion of World War I. The sculptor, Karl Illava, was a sergeant with the infantry and sculped this massive life-size bronze work.

Veterans of the 307th Regiment ceremoniously planted 16 oak trees in a small landscape at the end of the Mall, between 1920-22, just south of the Naumburg Bandshell. Each tree represented one of the regiment’s companies and was marked by a plaque with the names of the soldiers from that company who were lost in the war. Over time, some of the trees died or were removed, but the plaques remain. A large boulder provides an additional memorial, listing all the companies and the names of the members who died.

The Negro Soldier

The 1944 documentary Negro Soldier was commissioned by the United States Army to encourage Black volunteerism and address racial tension in the home front.

Frank Capra produced the film as a follow-up to Why We Fight.

Graham Court 1904

At the meeting of Seventh Avenue Drive, St. Nicholas Ave. and 116th St., the largest and most complete apartment house in New York

A few vacant apartments, ranging from $1,020 to $2,000 a year, will be for rent from October 1st.

The completion of the underground R. R. with a station one block from this building renders this location very convenient and accessible, enabling one to reach the hotel and theatre district in about 12 minutes.

His Harlem Wife

eBay has a very rare piece of ephemera, a theater card for the film “His Harlem Wife” (1944), which was a rerelease of the 1938 film, titled “Life Goes On”:

The publicity material shows a highly stylized art deco set:

Note how the repetitive banding (typical of Art Deco) is placed on columns, shelving, light fixtures, and even present in the roulette table with its distinctive tuck-under legs.

You can see the full listing, here.

For more information on Louise Beavers – the eponymous Harlem wife – see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Beavers

As Seen In East Harlem

Invest in Shares (of a Harlem Building)

The Wells Fargo building that sits on Lenox across from Whole Foods sits, of course, on hallowed ground – the site of Lenox Lounge. The latest iteration of real estate news focused on that site involves a unique investment strategy. The building has been taken public as an entity on the stock market, and shares are available for purchase.

The retail and office site at 286 Lenox Ave. – whose three tenants include a Wells Fargo branch – quietly began trading on the over-the-counter markets last week. It’s the first time that a building in New York has been securitized and offered to all investors via the secondary market, according to Jesse Daugherty, co-founder and co-CEO at Lex Markets, which handled the offering.

The building’s stock, which trades under the ticker symbol TESLU, was recently at $250, giving the building a market capitalization of more than $11 million.

According to the company, owners of commercial real estate can use the Lex platform to raise capital by securitizing a portion of their property. This allows them to recapitalize their equity and take out cash while still receiving management fees. At the same time, members of the public can invest in single assets without being accredited investors.

Redlining and Affordable Housing

Decades of disinvestment, planned neglect, and overtly biased policies followed the devastation caused by redlining. The 1938 map below of northern Manhattan shows how our community was redlined:

The on-the-ground consequence of both redlining and its aftermath is seen in short film, shot from a car in the 1980’s. It has taken decades of public and private investment to bring Harlem back from this abyss even if there is still more work to be done.

To view the film as the camera person goes across 128th Street West(?) and then turns south on St. Nicholas and Frederick Douglass Blvd. see:

https://www.facebook.com/CharlieBo313/videos/333563102096166/?extid=NS-UNK-UNK-UNK-IOS_GK0T-GK1C&ref=sharing

Metro-North Viaduct Replacement

The Park Avenue Viaduct — a.k.a. the dark brown elevated tracks that carry Metro-North trains north of Grand Central — was built in 1893 and is in need of an upgrade.

After 129 years of operation, the tracks have started to show signs of stress,
 so the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is making plans to replace sections between 115th-123rd and 128th-131st streets along Park Avenue.

Learn more about the project, here:

https://new.mta.info/project/park-avenue-viaduct