Save the Date!

On September 13th (Tuesday) at 6:00, we’ll gather at East 129th Street and 5th Avenue (south-east corner) to celebrate the unveiling of Ann Petry Place.

The acclaimed African-American author, Ann Petry, lived at 2 East 129th Street when she engaged in much of her activist writing for African American newspapers such as The Amsterdam News and The People’s Voice, and The Crisis. 2 East 129th Street was also her home when she wrote the seminal novel: The Street.

This novel, The Street, was the first novel by an African-American woman to sell a staggering 1.5 million copies. With time, The Street has become a canonical text that continues to be widely read throughout the United States as a literary exploration of the grinding and oppressive impact that systemic racism and sexism in mid-century America had on Harlem residents, and African-American women in particular.

Ann Petry stands as a crucial bridge between activists and writers from the Harlem Renaissance with those of Harlem’s Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1950’s and beyond.

We hope you will plan on attending the unveiling and meet Liz Petry, Ann Petry’s daughter, as well as a number of your local officials.

Bethel Gospel Assembly’s 119th Street Side

A dedication to the school that is now the Bethel Gospel Assembly Church, on East 119th Street.

Below is a view of the church from Marcus Garvey Park (looking south, across 120th Street:

Don’t Want Guns In Our Community?

Celebrate Alternate Side Parking

Who knew?

While everyone, even disgruntled drivers, acknowledges that the return to twice a week alternate side parking reduces the trash on our streets, reduces the rat population, and adds to community pride, who knew that it also impacts the presence of guns in our community?

While alternate side parking may seem like an annoyance to those who own cars, but all New Yorkers want cleaner streets. To that end, DSNY’s mechanical brooms are the best tool to clean the most trash, filth, and feces. As DSNY says, “We just want people to follow the law so that we can get the streets clean.”

And those street sweepers? Their mechanical brooms can pick up to 1,500 pounds of trash each go-around. And cleaner communities are safer communities.

The Amsterdam News reports that:

“Some of the spaces I’ve seen [trash is] overwhelming, to the point where you can’t even vaguely consider using the space, because of overgrowth of vegetation and the accumulation of trash—small trash items become massive trash items, they’ll become abandoned cars, and abandoned appliances and abandoned furniture,” said Dr. Charles Branas, chair of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “So to the extent that that can be changed, that’s a real structural change of benefit to communities that brings people closer to their local spaces in their neighborhood and to each other, which lead to all kinds of benefits down the road.”

Branas refers to it as the “busy streets theory,” a counter to the “broken windows theory” that argues that bustling neighborhoods indicate safety and comfort for the locals. Clean streets play a part in encouraging residents to leave their homes to participate in community efforts.

Additionally, Branas mentioned the practice of alternate side parking could potentially offer an inadvertent byproduct for flushing out illegal firearm stashing.

“[In] a couple of the studies we did, one of the mechanisms for the storage of illegal guns is to park a car—often an abandoned car as well—in front of abandoned buildings or lots, and to put illegal firearms in that car,” he said. “So to the extent that you can regularly move that car, there’s opportunities to also disrupt illegal guns in neighborhoods.”

To see the full article, click here.

The Moth at The Schomburg

The Moth x Daughters of the Movement
Date and Time
Tuesday, August 9, 2022, 7 – 8:30 PM
End times are approximate. Events may end early or late.
Location

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Fully accessible to wheelchairs
Free Event
Register
Event Details
Tinted headshots of Gina Belafonte, Hasna Muhammad, Dominique Sharpton and Suzanne Kay.

Join us for an evening of storytelling and conversation with The Moth, featuring Gina Belafonte, Suzanne Kay, Hasna Muhammad, and Dominique Sharpton.

ABOUT THIS EVENT | IN-PERSON

The Moth is true stories, told live and without notes. Gina Belafonte (daughter of Harry Belafonte), Suzanne Kay (daughter of Diahann Carroll), Hasna Muhammad (daughter of Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee), and Dominique Sharpton (daughter of Al Sharpton) are Daughters of the Movement. They represent a group of women who sat at the feet of those who were on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. They carry the oral history, cultural values and wisdom passed down to them by some of the revolutionary leaders who turned the tide of American history. Join us at the Schomburg Center for an evening of Moth-style storytelling and a conversation illustrating a legacy of sisterhood.

PARTICIPANTS |

Artivist Gina Belafonte is the Executive Director of Sankofa.org a non-profit which educates, motivates, and activates artists and allies in service of grassroots movements and equitable change. An award-winning producer, director, and cultural organizer, Gina is driven by the most urgent social and political issues of our time using art as a tool to fulfill the mission of Sankofa.org. As a visiting professor, lecturer, and public speaker, Gina works with diverse artists, activists, and organizations worldwide to promote cultural and civic engagement and has assisted in mobilizing one of the largest cultural gatherings of artists in the world.

Suzanne Kay is a writer and filmmaker currently working on a documentary about her mother, the late actress Diahann Carroll, among other projects. She produced and co-wrote a feature film, Cape of Good Hope, which won numerous awards and nominations, including Honorable Mention for the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, National Board of Review, and NAACP Image Awards. She has been published in Huffington Post, the Southampton Review and BigCityLit.

Hasna Muhammad is a visual artist, writer, and educator whose work focuses on family, social justice, and the human condition. As an advocate for education as justice, Hasna provides professional preparation for executive leadership, diversity management, and community engagement for the purpose of diversifying educational and political leadership forces. Hasna was a 2018-2019 Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Fellow.

Dominique Sharpton is an actress, producer, and activist. As the National Director of Membership for National Action Network, one of the nation’s oldest legacy civil rights organizations with more than 100 chapters and 40,000 members across the country, Dominique works to activate and engage the next generation of community activists and impact systemic change through local community development. She also produces live cultural events to activate and inspire change.

The Moth is true stories, told live and without notes. We celebrate the ability of true, personal storytelling to illuminate both the diversity and commonality of human experience. Our work allows people all over the world and from all walks of life: astronauts, students, a dental hygienist, a hotdog eating champion, a mechanic, exonerated prisoners, veterans, Nobel laureates and everyone in between, to share their stories on stage in front of a live audience. Through live and virtual shows, storytelling workshops, a podcast, Peabody Award-winning Radio Hour, and The New York Times best-selling books, The Moth brings the power of personal storytelling to millions of people each year—creating community and building empathy around the world.


PUBLIC NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER

IN-PERSON | By registering for this event, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending an in-person program at The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold The New York Public Library, its Trustees, officers, agent and employees liable for any illness or injury. If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or suspect you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please stay home.

FIRST COME, FIRST SEATED | Events are free and open to all, but due to space constraints registration is requested. Registered guests are given priority check-in 15 to 30 minutes before start time. After the event starts all registered seats are released regardless of registration, so we recommend that you arrive early.

GUESTS | Please note that holding seats in the Langston Hughes Auditorium is strictly prohibited and there is no food or drinks allowed anywhere in the Schomburg Center.

AUDIO/VIDEO RECORDING | Programs are photographed and recorded by the Schomburg Center. Attending this event indicates your consent to being filmed/photographed and your consent to the use of your recorded image for any all purposes of the New York Public Library.

Lincoln Jail For Women Opposed By Angela Davis

Patch.com is reporting that plans to revive Lincoln Jail (on 110th Street between 5th and Lenox) a women’s “trauma informed” jail has run into opposition from local and national activists.

Most prominent among them is, perhaps, Angela Davis, who has signed a letter opposing the creation of a Lincoln Jail for Women as have hundreds of others. You can see the signatories here:

https://medium.com/@nonewwomensjailnyc/over-200-community-members-organizers-scholars-and-formerly-incarcerated-people-and-their-ce9218e021ba

and you can sign it yourself. Simply scroll down to the bottom, or try this link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfNzfLT7rB7ujYkawyh1STE3ETMcmxJncc8jCM7htD5-3J7sQ/viewform

Claude McKay – Poet, Writer, Activist

Black Nuns

The West 124th Street home of The Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, one of three orders of mostly black nuns in the country, still partly remains – despite partial demolition.

The Handmaids are now over 100 years old, and had occupied this partly demolished site since 1944 before selling it 5 years ago. The order of nuns dispersed to The Bronx, Staten Island and Yonkers.

Here is what the building looked like before demolition:

Harlem+ Brixton, Twinned

The 125th Street BID and the Brixton BID have TWINNED and are launching a local global marketing initiative that is designed to drive traffic to our neighborhoods and at the same time showcase the rich history, culture and contributions made by the two communities. 

This August, the 125th Street BID travels to Brixton with our partner organization Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association to explore common threads at the 

1ST BRIXTON HARLEM FESTIVAL

AUGUST 2ND – 7TH, BRIXTON, LONDON

To learn more:

https://www.brixtonxharlem.com/

https://www.ourtownny.com/news/brixton-comes-to-harlem-DX2066511

Harlem Renaissance Banner 2.0

The Gatekeepers Collective (TGC), with West Harlem Development Corp and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council are launching HARLEM RENAISSANCE 2.0, honoring the Centennial of the Harlem Renaissance and SGLBTQ (same gender loving (SGL), gay, lesbian, bisexual, Transgender, Queer) S/Heroes: a public art and performance initiative including a series of Banners along West 125thSt. celebrating SGLBTQ Sheroes and heroes who pioneered the Harlem Renaissance, as well as a public performance created from the lived experiences of the heirs to this legacy.

The Harlem Renaissance 2.0 Banners feature SGLBTQ s/heroes: Singer Alberta Hunter; artist, writer and performer, Richard Bruce Nugent; actress, Edna Thomas; composer, arranger; Hall Johnson, choral conductor and writer, Dorothy West whose pursuits spanned the social, political and cultural landscapes, and advanced political and social change.

12:00 – 1:30 Tomorrow.

Click this link to learn more and register:

As Seen on 5th Avenue

Uptown Grand Central

Wanna talk trash with us? The NYC Department of Sanitation will roll with resources for a community cleanup this Saturday, July 30, from 12-2 p.m.

DSNY will bring their van full of brooms, trashcans and trash-pickers 
— and we’ll have the chance to not only pitch in, but talk trashcans and basket collection with Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala. Plus learn about needle pickup & the new needle pickup hotline (718-415-3708) with the New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE).

We’ll also have unlimited cold drinks on hand! Click here to register

Mural Unveiling

Join Mattaya and the Hi-ARTS community on August 5, 2022 from 12-3 pm for the Reveal and Celebration of Musa as well as a Planting Workshop with artist Tasha Dougé.

This July we welcomed Mattaya Fitts as our inaugural ONE WALL MOVEMENT muralist. All month she worked on Musa,a mural that now adorns Cherry Tree Park in Harlem, NY.
Free & open to the public. Just show up!

Musa Reveal & Celebration 
August 5, 12-3 pm

Planting Workshop with Tasha Dougé
1:30-3 pm

 A creative planting and community intention setting exercise curated by Tasha Dougé. Tasha Dougé is a Bronx-based, Haitian-infused artist, artivist and cultural vigilante. Her body of work activates conversations around women empowerment, health advocacy, sexual education, societal “norms,” identity and Black community pride.

Workshop capacity is limited to 20 participants. No registration necessary.

Free & open to the public. Just show up!

“At a time when much feels heavy and uncertain, I am interested in conveying themes of personal growth, rest, joy, and transformation. This mural addresses self-care as an extension of community care.” @mattayafitts

Fire Watchtower

This view of the historic Marcus Garvey Park’s fire watchtower by Robert Bracklow shows a bucholic scene of children and adults (no women) relaxing on the extremely well maintained acropolis:

The photo is undated, but assumed to be taken sometime between 1890 and 1910. Note how the watchtower has glass windows, curtains, and is in excellent shape:

The well dressed children and men, seated on benches, enjoying a summer (?) day, serve as a dramatic contrast to the people who hang out at the top of the park in 2022.

Infrastructure

The City has a great article on how we can, as citizens, report what looks like a piece of infrastructure that is rusting, decaying, falling apart, whatever. The trick is knowing who’s the right person to call, and where can you report your concern?

When reporting on a crumbling part of the subway, a road, a bridge, or whatever, the first thing to ask yourself is who’s likely in charge of its maintenance. 

  • The city’s DOT has an online list of roads and bridges under its jurisdiction, and notes those that aren’t. The agency says it will respond within 14 days to a report made either through a borough representative or by calling 311. There is also a case tracking site to see the status of any complaint.
  • On the state DOT’s site, navigate to Region 11, representing the city, to report any damage to bridges and roads controlled by the state agency. 
  • As for the MTA, the agency says using social media can be the fastest way to interact with a representative regarding an issue with their bridges and tunnels, but their site also has mailphone and in-person contacts
  • For the NY State Thruway Authority, there is a dedicated hotline to report road conditions to, which is 800-THRUWAY (847-8929).

If you can’t figure out the right agency to call, two good places to get help are your local community board or the constituent services staff at your council member’s office. 

All community boards in the city have meetings where residents and other local stakeholders can express concerns or ask questions about anything pertaining to the neighborhood. Residents can call their boards outside of meeting dates and times to speak about their concerns.

The World Beneath Your Feet

311 is an amazing resource. One of the unheralded things it can address is if a manhole isn’t well seated, and makes a characteristic Clang-Clang as cars drive over it. If you live on a block plagued by this sound and want it to stop, 311 is your resource.

Utility companies and government agencies have equipment under the City’s streets. They access their equipment using square or rectangular-shaped metal covers. Companies and agencies must maintain their metal covers and the street surface around the hardware. 

You can report utility access covers that are:

  • Damaged
  • Sunken
  • Noisy

You also can report asphalt or concrete damage around the hardware. The Department of Transportation (DOT) investigates the reports and notifies the responsible agency.

Report a damaged, sunken, or noisy street utility access cover.

Seen On Lex

I noticed this manhole cover – although no person could get down this 14″ hole – on Lexington near East 128th Street:

Looking closely, you likely can see IRT – referring to the 4/5/6 line’s initial parent company, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company which went out of business (folded into a unified transit system in 1940). But PSC? That stands for the city agency that managed engineering projects (like the subways) in a part collaborative, part oversight role. The name was the Public Service Commission.

Jackie Robinson Block Party

The new Jackie Robinson Museum is about to open and is hosting a Block Party. And yes, you’re invited.

https://jackierobinson.org/museum/opening-block-party/

Cocktails (or Mocktails) on Randall’s Island

This FRIDAY, July 22, you are invited to make Cocktails on the Farm with RIPA’s very own Farmer Juan Carlos! Spend time with old friends – or meet new ones – here on the Urban Farm. 

There will be three cocktail/mocktail recipe options for you to choose from, all including ingredients picked the same day from the Farm. Enjoy cucumbers, basil, spilanthese, and more! One drink will be on the house for the first 45 attendees, and then more may be purchased. 

The event will take place from 6:30 PM to 8 PM at the Urban Farm here on the Island. Click here for details.

Our next Cocktails on the Farm event won’t be until Saturday, September 10, so be sure to come out to the Urban Farm this Friday! 

11 1/2

With a facade of only nine and a half feet wide, 75 1/2 Bedford Street is the narrowest house in New York City. The interior space is even cozier, at its widest, 8 feet 7 inches, and at its narrowest, only 2 feet. Some sources suggest it was constructed in 1873 on what was a former carriage entranceway, while others believe the narrow home dates to earlier in the century.

In the late 19th century the building was home to a cobbler’s shop and candy factory. In 1923 the building was leased (with its surrounding neighbors) by a group of artists and actors, who established the Cherry Lane Theatre around the corner. Poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay and her husband moved into the building in 1923 and only stayed a year. During their tenure, the building, which was constructed in a typical Italianate style with a cornice at the top, was renovated. Architect Ferdinand Savignano installed a skylight and made the top floor a studio for Millay. The original cornice was removed, and a small Dutch stepped gable was added (possibly as a reflection of the Dutch heritage of Millay’s husband). According to numerous accounts, the house also was the residence (however briefly) to cartoonist William Steig, his sister-in-law anthropologist Margaret Mead, and actors John Barrymore and Cary Grant.

The building was purchased in 1952 by a Greenwich Village local (saving it from redevelopment) and sold and renovated a number of times since the mid-1990s. It was sold in 2013 for $3.25 million.

Homes with fractional addresses are quaint historical reminders of how messy development and human systems (postal routes, zoning, building, etc.) often are.

The NY post had a great article on how many of those 1/2’s came to be:

https://nypost.com/2018/11/07/the-origins-of-new-york-citys-mysterious-fractional-addresses/

but one thing it fails to mention is Harlem’s fractional address, 11 1/2 East 129th Street.

In this case, it’s not a quirk in a postal route, a small lot built inexplicably, or anything like that, it’s simply to avoid the unlucky number 13 in the way that many taller buildings go from the 12th to 14th floor, somehow.

The Historic Districts Council Weigh In

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) reviews every public proposal affecting New York City’s landmarks and historic districts and provides testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) whenever it is needed. Below are their comments regarding the Church of All Saints Parish House:

47 East 129th Street – Church of All Saints (Roman Catholic), Parish House and School – Individual Landmark CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, LPC-22-01916A Italian Gothic Revival style parish house/rectory designed by Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell and built in 1886-1889, as part of an Italian Gothic Revival style ecclesiastical complex. Application is to alter the stoop and install a barrier-free access lift.  Architect: Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell  HDC finds the option with a lower concrete base and increased decorative ironwork to be the favorable design choice. It is more visually stimulating and creates a nicer relationship with the rest of the entryway. However, it should be ensured that the quality and detail of any additional ironwork matches that of the existing.  

47 East 129th Street – Church of All Saints (Roman Catholic), Parish House and School – Individual Landmark CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, LPC-22-01916A Italian Gothic Revival style parish house/rectory designed by Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell and built in 1886-1889, as part of an Italian Gothic Revival style ecclesiastical complex. Application is to alter the stoop and install a barrier-free access lift.  Architect: Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell  HDC finds the option with a lower concrete base and increased decorative ironwork to be the favorable design choice. It is more visually stimulating and creates a nicer relationship with the rest of the entryway. However, it should be ensured that the quality and detail of any additional ironwork matches that of the existing.  

August Primaries will be held for the State Senate and US House of Representatives.

How To Apply For An Absentee Ballot
Deadline MONDAY 8/8/22; BUT DON’T DELAY Request by FRIDAY 8/5/22

Absentee Ballot Application portal: https://absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov/
OR go in person to your local county board of elections Deadline 8/22/22
Note: You can request an absentee ballot even if you are NOT going away. EVERYONE is eligible to request an absentee ballot due to a temporary illness (including being unable to appear due to the risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease).

How to Submit An Absentee Ballot
Put it in the mail ensuring it receives a postmark no later than August 23rd.
Bring it to your County Board of Elections Office no later than August 23rd by 9 pm.
Bring it to an early voting poll site in your county between August 13th and August 21st.
Bring it to a poll site in your county on August 23rd by 9 pm.