NYC’s Neighborhoods

In November, NYC released an updated map of neighborhoods, and while there is not likely anything too controversial in the designations, the generational shift from “West Harlem” to Morningside Heights, Manhattanville, Hamilton Heights, and Sugar Hill, is evident.

To see the full map, click HERE.

Roadtrip!

Amazon’s Prime Video has announced season 2 of Harlem is set to drop on February 3rd. There’s a lot to catch up on—including a newfound love triangle between Camille; her ex-fiancé, Ian; and her current boyfriend, Jameson; as well as Quinn exploring her sexuality; Tye confronting her physical health; and Angie working toward financial stability.

“Thematically, this season is overwhelmingly about Black joy and finding our happiness in the little things in life and learning to accept our version of womanhood, whatever that may be, instead of what society dictates,” Oliver tells BAZAAR.com. “There’s lots of fun adventures in Season 2, but the one I’m most excited about is our girls go to Puerto Rico for a girls trip.”

Spatial Equality NYC – The Wild News

The truly off the charts…

Spacial Equality NYC provides an easy-to-use online tool to explore how our community compares to the rest of NYC in a wide range of environmental, health, and infrastructure concerns. Here are the areas in which Harlem is doing better than the city’s average(s):

Our bus speeds are horrible. The MTA and the city really need to look at this. Busses should not be this slow:

On the flip side, Harlem residents’ access to parks is well, well above the city average. Most of us can reasonably walk to a park:

Noise pollution? Wow, Harlem is a quiet community – much, much quieter than other NYC neighborhoods:

Traffic fatalities? Wow, Harlem is really doing well here (not, of course, that any fatality is acceptable) in comparison with many other (clearly) more dangerous neighborhoods:

Last Day for East Harlem Toy Drive

Spatial Equality NYC – The Bad News

Unfortunately…

Spacial Equality NYC provides an easy-to-use online tool to explore how our community compares to the rest of NYC in a wide range of environmental, health, and infrastructure concerns. Here are the areas in which Harlem is doing better than the city’s average(s)

Harlem has a lot of traffic, and it’s worse than the traffic in most other communities in NYC:

Coupled with Harlem’s bad traffic is the linked high level of air pollution:

Permeable surface coverage (how much of our community is NOT paved over) is sadly lacking. Essentially, we have too much concrete and asphalt covering the ground:

In terms of bicycle lanes, Harlem is far behind the majority of NYC neighborhoods, forcing cyclists onto busy streets and discouraging seniors, children, and others from taking up a bike and going places with it:

Tree Selling Never Ends – Sleep Comes In Harlem

Christmas tree sellers work day in day out in 13-hour shifts to get New England trees into Manhattan homes. Working near Columbus Circle, but sleeping in Harlem.

Spatial Equality NYC – The Good News

It’s always best to lead off with good news…

Spacial Equality NYC provides an easy-to-use online tool to explore how our community compares to the rest of NYC in a wide range of environmental, health, and infrastructure concerns. Here are the areas in which Harlem is doing better than the city’s average(s).

While no amount of asthma is either good or acceptable, it’s interesting to see that Harlem’s adult asthma rate more or less parallels the city’s average:

Similarly, Harlem’s rank in terms of bus lanes is more or less the city average (lower than it should be, of course, but certainly average):

On the other hand, the surface temperatures of our community are certainly close to NYC’s city averages, if slightly better:

Bicycle parking (those circular or tubular bicycle racks) ranks slightly better than the city’s average:

Similarly, Harlem’s public benches are above the city’s averages:

Traffic injuries are more or less similar to the city’s average:

And, finally, our tree cover is slightly better than NYC’s average:

Tonight! The Last Night Market of 2022!

Ugly Sweaters Wanted (today)

Moth Proof

A photo from the 1930s of a street scene in Harlem with a pawnbroker’s, a fruit and vegetable stand, and a grocery store.

The pawnbroker promotes that his business is “moth-free” and thus a safe location to pawn an article of clothing.

The grocery store has a number of brands that we would recognize today, even if the prices are quite different.

The fruit and vegetable stand has at least one customer peering in to look at what’s on offer – under the canvas shades (and burlap bags) to shield against the sun:

This otherwise quotidian scene has another component, a protest on the sidewalk against the fruit and vegetable stand:

The three men shown in the detail above look challengingly towards the photographer – perhaps wondering what is the purpose of the photographer as at least one of them protests the unfair labor practices of the fruit and vegetable stand’s owner.

Below is the street scene today. The Salvation Army dominates the block north of Harlem Hospital, with a speed camera and bus stop, and none of the vibrant street life depicted in the photo from the 1930s.

Holiday Concert

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It’s that time of year where we celebrate family, friends and holiday spirit.  After years of social distancing, we are finally coming back together to celebrate the season with our Annual Holiday Concert. 

Join us at East River Plaza on Saturday, December 17 at 11 am and 1 pm as we welcome the Sing Harlem Choir to fill the air with the sounds of the season.  Please share this invitation with your family, friends and neighbors.  The more the merrier! 

Looking forward to seeing you.

Happy Holidays! 

25th Precinct’s Community Council Meeting with Borough President Mark Levine

Kioka Jackson, the president of the 25th Precinct’s Community Council writes:

Good Morning All,

It is my hope that everyone is doing well.  Hope you guys are preparing for the Holiday, to purposely spend quality time with family and friends.  

We are planning our last meeting of 2022.  Yikes!  2022 is coming to an end.  We started this year off with a literal bang – with one of our Officers being shot in the head by a stray bullet.  We are thankful and lucky that he is alive and well sporting his long beard, still protecting and serving the East Harlem Community.  We have so much to be grateful for but yet still so much work to do together to provide a safe community for all.  So don’t bail out on me yet.  One more meeting this year to go.  

Come join us to discuss public safety concerns with not only our Commanding Officer and his team, but also with Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.  Let’s show BP Levine some love and show up in numbers like last month.  Riverbend—- STAND UP! Where yall at?  Don’t fail me now.  LOL!  Love yall. Not just my Riverbend people – My East Harlem community Family come out and join us for our last meeting of the year.  We will also have a few other guests as well.  

Lastly,  We are preparing for our  Annual Toy Giveaway on December 20th.  It will be held at the East River Plaza on 116th and Pleasant.  Bring out a young person to receive some Holiday Cheer from the 25th Precinct Collective Body, East River Plaza associates, and friends.  There will be some surprise pop up guests there too.  Who might it be????? I can’t tell – you have to come out to see.  If you would like to volunteer for the event please email me or call me (646-294-3906) If you know me…… Wherever and whenever there is music – I’m going to dance and sing.  So if nothing less…. Come out and shake a leg, sing a holiday tune and spread happiness to anyone we grace with our presence.

 —

Kioka Jackson

Follow your dreams………

Patch.com Reports on Plans for Central Park’s ‘Gate of the Exonerated’

Patch.com’s Nick Garber reports on the progress to name a north-east gate into Central Park for the Exonerated 5.

“It was such a long journey to get to where we are,” Karen Horry, a CB10 member who helped lead the effort, told Patch on Monday. “The community’s voice has been heard.”
An unveiling ceremony will be held on Dec. 19, and the Conservancy has already chiseled out the soon-to-be-installed sign, according to the New York Times, which first reported on Monday’s vote.

https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/exonerated-5-be-honored-central-park-entrance-harlem

Inez Dickens Expresses Concern Regarding The 125th Street Cannabis Shop Across From the Apollo

Rhum Boogie

Ebay has a 1943 image of Rhum Boogie, and three dapper men walking past:

The song, Rhum Boogie has the following lyrics:

All Harlem’s got a brand new rhythm
And it’s burning up the dance halls
Because it’s so hot.
They took a little rhumba rhythm,
And they added boogie-woogie,
And-a look what they’ve got

Rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie-woogie.
It’s Harlem’s new creation
With a Cuban syncopation –
It’s a killer.

Rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie-woogie.
A native is a monkey
Both barbaric and a donkey –
It’s a killer.
Just plant your toes
And both feet in Honeyside –
Lets both hit the Jodeside.

Just through your body way back rhyme
Sing a little bit of the –

Rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie-woogie.
The native rhythm haunts you,
It’s barbaric and it taunts you –
It’s a killer.

Just plant you toes and both feet on each side,
Let both your hips and shoulders glide,
Then throw your body a-way back and ride.
Sing a little of
The rhumba
The boogie
The woogie
Then put them
Both all together
You have rhumboogie…

Then all together sing rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie-woogie.
Rhumboogie.
In Harlem or Havana
In Poughkeepsie or Savannah
It’s a killer.
It’s a killer this rhumboogie.

Rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie-woogie-woogie-woogie-woogie.
Do-do-do-do-u-do-do-do-u-do-do-do-u.
There’s nothing like rhumboogie!

Rhum Boogie was just south of the Lafayette Theater – the location where the ground-breaking performance of Macbeth was staged in the 1930’s with Orson Wells directing.

Black Theater Matters: https://blacktheatrematters.org/ has a great look at this period of Black theater.

Rhum Boogie would have been in the building behind the tree in the photo, above, 2221 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd. This location (and entire block) is an apartment building:

Harlem’s Claire Oliver Gallery Represents Barbara Earl Thomas Who Replaces Stained Glass Windows At Yale

In June of 2016, Corey Menafee worked for Yale as a dishwasher at Yale’s Calhoun College, as he was cleaning a dining room Menafee stood on top of a table and used a broomstick to break a stained-glass window. The windows, installed in 1933, depicted enslaved Africans carrying bales of cotton. Menafee said the image was racist and degrading and that he had become sick of seeing it every day. The dining room windows that once contained romanticized depictions of the antebellum South and slavery now showcase the work of Barbara Earl Thomas, commissioned by Yale to produce 6 new windows, replacing the Calhoun stained glass with the artist’s beautiful and healing narratives.

Yale University unveils a major commission of stained-glass windows by Barbara Earl Thomas.

“I’m interested in how we connect the past to the present so that we don’t lose the link,” Ms. Thomas said in an interview. “I think in order to understand how we got here, you very much have to make clear where we’ve come from.”

stained-glass windows by artist Barbara Earl Thomas on display in Yale’s Grace Hopper Collage
Thomas’s new windows illustrate key transitions in the college’s history, honor the people who work in the dining hall, and represent the joyful music and community spirit that brighten the undergraduate experience at Yale.

“These new windows are a wonderful gift to the students and staff of Hopper College and the entire Yale community,” said President Peter Salovey. “They honor the strong sense of community that helps us to grow and flourish together.

Artist Barbara Earl Thomas discusses her works with residents of Grace Hopper Collage

It’s Time to Celebrate on 126th Street

The ever-fabulous Labor of Love and United New Church of Christ are putting on their annual Gospel Christmas.

All are welcome on East 126th Street to join in the holiday spirit, build community, and celebrate all that we have to be thankful for.

Mark your calendars! December 16th. 7:30 PM.

57 East 126th Street.

The Hell Gate Bridge, But Small

If anyone in your compound is into trains, then the Bronx’s New York Botanical Garden’s annual train show is undoubtedly on their radar. If you head up on Metro North to view the railroad wonderland, make sure to check out the East Harlem totem, the Hell Gate Bridge.

Criminal Background Checks

New York City Council bill 632 – a “local law prohibiting housing discrimination on the basis of arrest record or criminal history” – if passed, will prohibit owners, managers and brokers from inquiring about criminal record information in rentals, leases, subleases, or occupancy agreements at any stage in the rental application process in New York City. Councilmembers Jordan and Ayala support this measure.

A protest against this bill is scheduled for December 7th:

Harlem Schools’ Trash

You’ve likely encountered this. Piles of trash near NYC Schools and filth that the Department of Education seems to get away with. Now members in Harlem are calling for cleaner streets around New York City public schools and are asking the DOE to follow the same rules enforced on their neighbors in the community.

The Oldest Scaffolding in New York

Patch.com recently had an article on Village residents rejoicing that a long-standing sidewalk scaffolding was coming down.

Harlem residents near Lenox and 115th Street claim that scaffolding on the north-east corner has been there since 1990 – 32 YEARS!

Somehow generations of City Council and NYC Mayors have not found a way to end the practice of erecting a sidewalk shed and then leaving it in place for years and even decades.

Hotel Rooms By The Hour

 Two hotels that have allegedly rented rooms by the hour at 511 and 515 West 145th Street, have been sold. A worker standing outside was asked who bought them. She would only say “going to a good cause”.

The owner at would not divulge who the properties have been sold to. He said they are doing the closing shortly.