125th Street BID and Columbia University to Look at a Digital Rethink of West 125th Street

125th Street BID’s Partnership with Columbia UniversityWins $26M NSF Grant to Develop Center for Smart Streetscapes
New York, NY—August 10, 2022—The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it is awarding a $26 million, five-year grant to a team led by Columbia Engineering, together with Florida Atlantic University, Rutgers University, University of Central Florida, and Lehman College, for a new Gen-4 NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Smart Streetscapes(CS3). 
“The most exciting thing about this project is the community involvement at the early-on stage, when we’re planning out what Harlem should have as it relates to technology,” said Barbara Askins, President and CEO, 125th Street Business Improvement District. “For the businesses, the arts and culture, the community organizations, the universities, the office tenants, you name it, this project brings all of that together in a way that will take us into the future through technology.”
This win represents a giant step forward for 125th Street and the Harlem Community. We now have a great go to place to develop solutions for numerous monumental problems that we have been struggling with for decades in our streetscape.

CS3 develops hyper-local real-time, interactive, high-precision applications on the streetscape to improve the quality of life by advancing livable, safe, and healthy communities. 

CS3 will explore new technological innovations determined by community engagement that reflect their needs within the initial context of these five applied themes:
Mobility(Pedestrian, cyclists, vehicles and autonomous systems, trash collection)
Ethical security in public spaces(Retail, urban planning-parks)
Assistive technologies for people with disabilities(Street crossing, real time assistance wayfinding
Future outdoor work(Emergency response, sidewalk logistics for deliveries, impacts of construction)
Hyper-local environmental monitoring(Street flooding, infection modeling, drones)

Landmark East Harlem is Awarded $12,000 for an East Harlem Historic Survey

Landmark East Harlem has been awarded a $12K grant from the Preservation League of New York State – their fiscal sponsor and coalition member, Ascendant Neighborhood Development, received the grant to fund a reconnaissance level survey of historic resources in the northern portion of East Harlem.

This project will complete their comprehensive historic/cultural resources surveying for all of East Harlem.

Read the Press Release

East-Central Harlem survey area (Purple); East Harlem Historic District (Teal); East Harlem South/El Barrio survey area (red)
The final EH historic survey (blue) will complete LEH’s reconnaissance for all East Harlem properties.

View of Harlem from City College

Here are a pair of views of Harlem (looking eastward) from St. Nicholas Park (City College):

The photographer is Robert L. Bracklow and the images were taken on August 14, 1909 – 113 years ago today.

Note the gardening that is going on in St. Nicholas Park:

And the laundry out drying:

To see the originals and zoom in:


As Seen On Astor Row

119th And Lexington

There is a wonderful view of Lexington Avenue looking north from 119th Street on sale on Ebay:

Click HERE to see the listing.

The 8″ x 10″ glass negative has a huge amount of detail. Just look at the top image of how the sign for 119th Street wraps around the streetlight so the street name/s would be illuminated at night.

Below, you can see a horse-pulled hearse, stopped outside an undertaker’s. While the closest horse is clear, notice how the further horse’s head is a blur.

More clearly, however, is the blurring of the driver. With the long exposure times, a restless leg (swinging back and forth) would not be captured. Nor would a head that turned back and forth over the course of the exposure. The result is that the driver almost appears to be head and legless as the detail below, shows:

110 years later, the fire hydrant shown below is recognizable, but distinctly differently styled from contemporary models.

The image looking up Lexington (below) can be compared to the Google street view below it.

Harlem 1936 and Harlem Now

Join #HarlemRevisited 
A Convening about the Past and Now

Conditions in Harlem Revisited:
From the 1936 Mayor’s Commission Report to Today
The lessons of the past have much to teach us today. Join this convening if you care about a better future for Harlem and New York City.

Panelists and participants will discuss the 1936 Report on Conditions in Harlem, which was presented to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in the aftermath of civil unrest. The 1936 report was not released by City Government but was published by The New York Amsterdam News.
The convening will also present current-day concerns gathered from 62,000 New Yorkers by the NYC Speaks initiative. The day’s discussion topics will include Crime and the Police, the Economy and Employment, Hospitals, Health and the Environment, Education and Housing. Conveners will consider recommendations from the 1936 report, data from NYC Speaks and implications for the current City government.
Learn more about the conference and the 1936 Mayor’s Commission Report at harlemconditions.cityofnewyork.us.Register to attend the convening, either virtually or in person, at bit.ly/harlem-1936.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 
9:30 AM – 6:30 PM
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard 
New York, NY 10037
#HarlemRevisited is presented by The NYC Department of Records and Information Services, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research and Vital City.
Conditions in Harlem Revisited:
From the 1936 Mayor’s Commission Report to Today

RSVP to Attend

Jamel Shabazz Photography

Make sure to get up to the Bronx Museum to see the fantastic photography show of Jamel Shabazz’s work (1980-2020).


Jamel Shabazz was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of fifteen, he picked up his first camera and started to document his peers. Inspired by photographers Leonard Freed, James Van Der Zee, and Gordon Parks, he was marveled with their documentation of the African American community. In 1980 as a concerned photographer with a clear vision he embarked on a mission to extensively document various aspects of life in New York City, from youth culture to a wide range of social conditions. Due to its spontaneity and uniqueness, the streets and subway system became backdrops for many of his photographs

Shabazz’s photographs capture the intricate ballet of daily life in the metropolis, where everyone is both part of the audience and on display at the same time, where everyone is at once a stranger and an equal. At the core of his practice is his steadfast sense of empathy with the common man and woman he meets on the streets, regardless of their race or social status.

Through his lens, everyone gets the same share of exposure; whether black, white, Native American, or Latino his subjects are presented as the natural proprietors of the street. His images cast an impartial gaze on everyone he meets, including inmates, or fellow correction officers he met during his twenty-year tenure at Rikers Island; dapper b-boys, or young Muslim men and women dressed in their finest. The photographs in this exhibition were all made between 1980 and 2020. All of the people shown in these photographs reside within the five boroughs of New York City.

The show ends on September 4th.

Ukrainian Graduate Student Needs Accommodation

Fordham University is hosting a Ukrainian graduate student from Kharkiv.

They are looking for a sublet or an affordable small apartment for him. It could be a room, a small apartment, housesitting option, ideally until May but even for a few weeks would work, giving him time to find something else.

Please email us here: https://hnba.nyc/contact-us/ for more information

Family Activities on West 120th Street, Today

All Saints > Capital Prep

Last winter I snapped a picture of the Gothic script that made the 130th Street entrance to the former All Saints Elementary School #52 so charming. The gilt letters, hidden behind a protective mesh still glowed.

This week I noticed that Capital Prep – the charter school that will occupy both the former Catholic All Saints school, as well as the former church itself, had not only replaced the text, but faithfully put their name in equally impressive gilt Gothic font.

A wonderful detail showing that someone truly cared.

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:

Harlem Flats (Back Lot Laundry)

In 2011 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (outside LA) acquired the “Harlem Flats (Back Lot Laundry),” an important early painting made in 1907 by Ernest Lawson, one of a group of Ashcan school artists called The Eight.

“Harlem Flats” was purchased for The Huntington by Kelvin Davis.

Notice that the boys are walking on an outcrop of the ubiquitous Manhattan schist which forms the foundation of many northern Manhattan buildings, and is the grey, sparkly stone used in the neo-gothic buildings of City College.

Salem Methodist Church

Ebay has a postcard of the church at 129/ACP and a proposed community center addition – further west on West 129th Street.

Below is the view today, with the community center used by The Harlem Children’s Zone:

Affordable Housing

The conversation surrounding affordable housing so often focuses on the distorted nature of New York City’s AMI calculations, what percentage of a given project will be affordable, and what an affordable rent really is. Much less common is a conversation with the developers who build affordable housing.

The Commercial Observer has a great interview with Lisa Gomez, the CEO of L+M Development Partners. L+M is currently building the new hip-hop museum in The Bronx (on The Bronx side of the 145th Street Bridge, and Sendero Verde, a 361-unit affordable project in East Harlem that will be built to passive house standards (between Madison/Park and 111/112).

Lisa notes how three main current issues are pushing affordable housing developers out of the market and into other forms of development:

…the expiration of 421a, a major development tax break; understaffed city housing agencies; and rising construction costs

To read more about how her company navigates between the simultaneous call for affordable housing from city council members with passionate anti-development reflexes, see the full article:


W.E.B. DuBois


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 – https://hnba.nyc/why-cant-we-have-nice-things/(opens in a new tab – that will be examined before any new development is begun.

Read Nick’s full article here:


Playstreets: Summer of 1968

The city’s Parks Department opened a new photography exhibition at Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery that displays more than 40 archived photographs from the department’s collection. Called “Streets In Play: Katrina Thomas, NYC Summer 1968,” the exhibit features images taken by the late photographer Katrina Thomas, who in 1968 was hired by NYC Mayor John Lindsay and tasked with capturing the city’s summer initiative, “Playstreets,” in which residential blocks were closed to vehicles and instead equipped for recreational activity.

The Arsenal Gallery is located on the third floor of NYC Park’s Central Park headquarters at Fifth Avenue and 64th Street. The hours are Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Admission to the exhibition is free, and more information on the gallery can be found on the department’s website. “Streets in Play” will be on display through September 2.

Tree In The Middle

This is the only tree I know of in Harlem that has grown in the middle of a sidewalk.

Safe, Family Bicycle Ride from Harlem to Astor Place

Join Transportation Alternatives for a bicycle ride along the newly-extended route for NYC DOT’s Summer Streets! For the first time in city history, the DOT will be extending Summer Streets Uptown into East Harlem.

To celebrate, we will be hosting a ride that starts in Harlem at the State Building, travel along Adam Clayton Powell and then heads east on 110th Street toward Park Avenue. We will then ride Park Avenue all the way down to Astor Place where TA will have free bike valet so we can all hang out and build together.

Along the route, we plan to highlight various campaigns our TABxUP and TAMAC activist committees are currently working on (Central Harlem Bikeway, Bike Crosstown and Fifth Avenue). We hope you can all join us!

This free, family-friendly event will start at 9 a.m. on August 13 by the ACP State Office building. We’ll meet at the Citi Bike station, near the corner of W 125th St & Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, and depart at 9:15 a.m. for a 90-minute ride down Summer Streets to Astor Place.

Please make to register and share with your friends!


*The course map will be emailed to attendees the week of the event.*