Black Baseball

Untapped Cities has a great article on Black baseball teams, stadiums, and history:

The image (above) of The Lincoln Giants is not only a powerful photograph of athletic confidence and poise, it also shows a team that played here, in Harlem.

In New York, the Lincoln Giants (1911-30), became a barnstorming juggernaut, going 108-12 their first season. They featured pitching legend Smokey Joe Williams and shortstop John Henry (Pop) Lloyd, who Babe Ruth believed was the greatest player who ever lived. Alas, there was no house that Pop built; the Lincoln Giants mostly played home games at Olympic Field in Harlem between 1911 and 1919.

The location of their playing ground is where Riverton Houses now lies:

Olympic Field opened in 1904 in the middle of Harlem at East 136th and Fifth Ave. Enthusiastic crowds in the thousands, often significantly white, watched the Lincoln Giants take on challengers there, from semi-pro teams to major-leaguers. They developed a fierce rivalry with the Brooklyn Eagle Giants for the “Colored Championship of Greater New York.”  When the field was razed for a parking garage in 1920, the grandstands were relocated to the Catholic Protectory Oval, the Lincoln Giants’ new home.

Stephen Robertson, in his wonderful baseball blog writes:

In 1911, Harlem gained its own black professional baseball team, the Lincoln Giants. The white brothers, Edward and Jess McMahon, established the team, obtaining a lease on Olympic Field, at 136th Street and 5th Avenue, where the team played home games on Sundays, the only day off for most black workers. Initially managed by Sol White, a well-known former player, the team included five of the best black players in the nation, recruited away from teams in Chicago and Philadelphia. This formidable combination propelled the Lincoln Giants to a dominant record in their first three years.  Many of those wins came against teams of whites, including teams, or all-star teams, from the segregated major leagues.  Those interracial contests drew the largest crowds, including significant numbers of whites; in fact, on several occasions, as many as 10,000 fans packed into Olympic Field, spilling onto the playing area. Whites also attended games between black teams, often making up as many as a third of the spectators. Despite the absence of segregated seating, there are no reports of friction in the mixed crowds; most of the conflict at games centered on the umpires, who were almost invariably white, even in games involving black teams.

In 1914, the McMahons’ financial difficulties forced them to sell the Lincoln Giants and the rights to Olympic Field to two other white men, James Keenan and Charles Harvey.  Many of the players, however, remained contracted to the McMahons, who for three years operated another team, the Lincoln Stars, based at the Lenox Oval, on 145th Street. When that team folded, the McMahons abandoned baseball, but not Harlem: in the 1920s they took control of the Commonwealth Casino, on East 135th Street, where they staged boxing, including interracial bouts, and, from 1922-24, operated a black professional basketball team, the Commonwealth Big  5.

While the Lincoln Giants had regained their position as Harlem’s team, they played in the neighborhood for only three more years. In 1919, developers transformed Olympic Field into a parking garage, forcing Keenan and Harvey to relocate home games to the Catholic Protectory Oval, at East Tremont Avenue and Unionport Road in the Bronx, taking with them the grandstand and bleachers from their former home.  Surrounded by the gothic structures of the orphanage, and shaded by trees, the field was beautiful but very small. To get there, fans from Harlem had to take a long journey by subway to 177th Street and and then take a street car. The Lincoln Giants would play there until 1930.

Detect Coming to East Harlem

At 69 East 125th Street in Harlem, Greystone leased 3,500 square feet to Detect, a COVID-19 data collection center. The retail space was previously occupied by the Mike Bloomberg presidential campaign and has also served as a seasonal Ricky’s Halloween pop-up store. Detect is a molecular diagnostics company that provides take-home, rapid COVID-19 tests. 

East River Plaza

Most Harlem residents have visited East River Plaza (Target, Costco, Aldi, etc.) at 117th street and Harlem River Drive at least once over the years.

The site – owned by Brookfield Properties – was once a wire factory that made springs, musical wires (think pianos), and industrial and commercial wires of every sort.

I recently came across an item for sale, clipped from a vintage newspaper, that not only showed the huge number of wire products produced, but also the factory itself.

Note that the factory was directly on the water, and a sailing ship was docked at the factory (no Harlem River Drive), showing that the factory was located there precisely for water transportation of supplies and the finished wire products.

For many drivers on the Harlem River Drive, the factory was a landmark until it was razed for the shopping complex.

Here is the link to the item:


Over on the west side of Harlem, a creative entrepreneur built a sidewalk extension out of PVC pipes. It’s a creative strategy that never would have occurred to me, but somehow works.

You might not immediately identify it when you first see it from a distance:

but up close, it’s definitely PVC in all its glory.

Pop-up Vaccinations Today and Friday

Cayuga will be hosting a pop-up COVID vaccine clinic at our location on Third ave location. Here are the details: 
When:  Thursday 05/06 and Friday 05/07

When:  8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Where:  Cayuga Centers (2183 Third Ave, New York, NY 10035)

Brand:  Moderna
Walk-ins will be accepted on a limited basis. If interested in being vaccinated at our clinic please email Yiseily De Los Santos at [email protected]g or call at (646) 988-6718 to secure an appointment.

More on Redlining

The digitized versions of the 1930’s redlining maps are fairly ubiquitous these days.

What is often not discussed is that in the early 20th century the white men who drew these maps predicted that the waterfront of the Upper East Side (then with breweries, warehouses, factories, and a mostly German and Slavic immigrant community) was going to go downhill. We also need to recall that the presence of the 2nd and 3rd Avenue Els were also a source of class-panic in that the depressed land values under the Els and the sorts of businesses that located there, seemed to portend a dark future.

In the illustration, above, you can see the almost complete expectation (by the redlining teams) that the Financial District and the LES + Chinatown, would invariably become ‘hazardous’ investment locations.

Redlining, however, did more than predict a community’s viability as a site of investment, it also determined community’s futures by starving them of capital and slowly consigning any existing property owners in ‘hazardous’ areas to insolvency or bankruptcy.

FDNY and High Winds

Last week with the high winds, the FDNY was called to investigate loose metal flashing that appeared unsafe on the Church of All Saints.

Nothing major was discovered at this recently sold building.

Mom Pics

Here’s something you can do beyond flowers for mom on mother’s day. The tech nonprofit Urban Archive this week launched “NY <3 Moms,” a new crowdsourced campaign in celebration of Mother’s Day.

Urban Archive wants you to submit photos of your mom or caregiver. The caveat is that the photo has to be taken across the five boroughs. Urban Archive will then take all of the crowdsourced images and add them to their extensive digital map of historic images.

For those interested in participating, send the photo of your mom in New York to Urban Archive, along with a few sentences about when and where the photograph was taken, at [email protected] or by direct messaging them on social media.

Don’t forget to include your name and email, the location and date of the photo (if possible), and a brief description.

Urban Archive will accept submissions through May 9. They will wrap up the campaign on Mother’s Day with a story that spotlights all of those “city moms” on Urban Archive. See examples of what they are looking for here.

(or, to see a picture of my mom, search on 1665 Park Avenue…)

Your Stomach Loves Us Launches GoFundMe Campaign to Stop the Hate One Belly at a Time

Rising above racial hostility, a non-profit initiative hopes to heal hearts through food starting early to mid-May this year.

Designed to give an alternative to the violence that has erupted toward Asian Americans since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Your Stomach Loves Us (#YSLU) comes to the rescue. Assured that hate and hangriness needs to hit the skids, the initiative will feed the communities where hostile incidents have occurred; and they’ll do it free of charge. With a full-stop win/win, dishes like Filipino lumpia, Chinese baozi, Korean dukbokki, and Japanese takoyaki will help chefs fight anti-Asian racist hate with the great equalizer – food. It’s the high road where it’s more than okay to stand armed in the streets with bento boxes. Welcome to practicality. Welcome to humanity on its best day. Can someone say, #dumplingpower?

Greg Taniguchi, the founder of Your Stomach Loves Us, said of the campaign, “I’ve seen too many posts and videos recently of anti-Asian violent incidents. This time, I’m not simply closing my browser. I’m doing something about it. I want us on the ground in these walking communities where the incidents took place because that’s how you connect. The person you share food with could, one day, need you to watch their back. It’s bigger than color. It’s a practice of love.”

With GoFundMe contributions, pop-ups from New York to San Francisco will serve curated cultural dishes to people who need to remember that love matters. Served at no cost to the communities where anti-Asian violence has recently occurred, YSLU organizers need financial support to “help fill people’s bellies with some luv’n.” They call for support to turn the 3,800 racist incidents into an opportunity for local restaurants and the people they feed. With a pay it forward approach, YSLU will target residents and restaurateurs in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Denver. The first event will happen in New York City early to mid-May, and recurring events will follow throughout the state. Tips, donations, and the profits from promotional products will fund all future events. But, right now, Your Stomach Loves Us needs contributors’ monetary help as well as expertise and knowledge about how to support and rebuild communities.

Co-founder and owner-operator of KarlsBalls Takoyaki in NYC said, “If we get cut, we bleed the same color. If only the people attacking our elders and community realized there’s a little bit of themselves in every person. And by creating harm, in reality, they’re hurting themselves.”

For more information and to support the campaign, visit

GoFundMe Link:


Greg Taniguchi

Founder, Your Stomach Loves Us

[email protected]

(626) 679-3571

About Your Stomach Loves Us

Your Stomach Loves Us is a non-profit initiative that hopes to address anti-Asian racial hate through food events in communities hard hit by the pandemic.

Checks Stolen From Harlem Mail Boxes

The New York Times reported (in 1910) that theft, forgery, and misrepresentation was uncovered in Harlem

To read the full torrid tale, click on the Download button, above.

Former Sydenham Hospital (now Mannie Wilson Towers) to be renovated

YIMBY NY is reporting that:

Affordable housing development Mannie Wilson Towers in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood just received $18.2 million for capital improvements and system upgrades from Merchants Capital New York, a mortgage banking company. Located at 565 Manhattan Avenue, the structure originally debuted in 1892 as Sydenham Hospital, which closed in 1980. Owned by West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc., Mannie Wilson Towers currently provides restricted-income housing to senior residents.

There are 102 one- and two-bedroom units of restricted-income housing for seniors 62 years of age and older that earn 50 percent or less of the area median income in Harlem. Residents have access to supportive services including cleaning, cooking, transportation, and more.

Sydenham began as a private hospital in a Harlem brownstone in 1892, serving mostly African American patients. In 1944 the staff doctors were all white despite serving a mostly African American community. Soon after, it was the first hospital to have a full desegregated interracial policy with six African American Trustees and twenty African Americans on staff. It was New York City’s first full-service hospital to hire African-American doctors and later became known for hiring African American doctors and nurses when other nearby hospitals would not.

Because of its relatively small size, Sydenham continually faced more financial problems than most private hospitals, and on March 3, 1949, control of it was taken by New York City and it became part of the municipal hospital system. However, in a new practice for the municipal hospital system, the city continued to allow Sydenham’s private physicians to hospitalize their patients there. In 1971 Florence Gaynor became the first African American woman to head a major teaching hospital, taking over as Executive Director of Sydenham Hospital during a financial crisis. She also developed a Family Care Center that included a sickle cell anemia clinic.

Sydenham Hospital received many of the residents of Harlem who were injured in the 1943 Harlem Riot – many of them beaten (or shot) by police officers brought in to stop the disturbance.

Soon after Mayor Ed Koch took office in 1977, during severe economic troubles for New York City, he announced an additional 10% reduction in funding for municipal hospitals, and Metropolitan Hospital (in East Harlem), and Sydenham were slated for closure. There was community support of both hospitals. In January 1979, the Committee for Interns and Residents staged a one-day walkout of doctors at municipal hospitals to protest the cuts, and were often supported on picket lines by hospital workers from District Council 37 of AFSCME. A “Coalition to Save Sydenham” supported legal efforts to stop the closing, organized public rallies and lobbying of elected officials, and helped publicize research to demonstrate the need for the hospital. (In 1977 the federal government designated Harlem a “medically underserved area, with the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano calling it a “health disaster area.”) While a diminished Metropolitan Hospital was saved as an “Outpatient Demonstration:” project, the city insisted that Sydenham had to be closed. In the spring of 1980, as Sydenham was about to be shut down, angry demonstrators stormed the hospital, and initiated an occupation that lasted 10 days under a so-called “People’s Administration.”

Despite the added publicity, this brought, in 1980 Sydenham’s doors were closed for good and eventually, the Mannie Wilson Towers were built within the hospital’s shell.

Harlem Women Strong: City Council 9 Candidates

Today, at 10:00 AM!

Lost Dog in Haarlem

In 1666, a white dog with a blind red eye was reported lost in Rotterdam. His owner placed an announcement in the “Oprechte Haerlemse Courant” offering a reward for returning the dog.

This is one of the first, published lost dog announcements ever recorded.

Oh, and NYC is How Much of America?

If you take NYC’s population, and you head out west/north to fine 8.4 million people, this is how much land you’d have to encompass:

Earth Day Everyday!

Join your fellow neighbors in making a difference. This Saturday, head over to Jefferson Park and show you care about mother earth.

Harlem, Cuba or Harlem, Montana

While looking on Ebay recently I came across a token from Halrem, Montana which led me to wonder how many other places are named Harlem, or Haarlem, for that matter.

The Dutch histories that link South Africa and Suriname are logical sites for Haarlem placenames. (Interestingly, under force in the 17th Century, the Dutch surrendered claims to Dutch North America – including New York and Harlem – for Suriname which was then controlled by the British)

But I had no idea that there were so many Harlems in the U.S.

The Harlem in Cuba, was perhaps the most shocking to me, but the others are fascinating as well.

To look up place names from around the world, see: which is worth visiting if just to see a classic, early 2000’s look and feel website (note the barely functioning banner ad, the cartouche buttons, and the use of ‘placemarks’ – a kind of ads-on-a-map naming possibility.)

Erasing Stone

This looks as if it might have been a costly mistake. A carved limestone cornerstone, detailing the founding of the church on West 128 at 5th Avenue:

When suddenly it was realized that it should read 1932, not 1952 as the ‘Organized’ date.

Whether or not the cornerstone was already cemented in, or the tweak was done before it was laid, nevertheless, someone carefully carved the “5” and tried to make it appear to be a “3”

Dutch New Haarlem

A 19th century sketch map of the Dutch colonial settlement of New Haarlem shows a number of interesting features.

Notice how the streets are oriented to true north/south, not on a ‘Manhattan-esque’ angle as they are now (based on The Commissioner’s Plan). Also, New Haarlem was centered around 122 and 2nd Avenue, not west along 125th Street. The Dutch village ultimately used the Harlem and East Rivers for most travel to/from other settlements.

As you can see below, there was a pond, centered on 125th street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues:

And a road, leaving for Spuyten Duyvel (Inwood) headed due north from the church farm land which was on the outskirts of the village:

Lastly, the churchyard and graveyard were around 125/126 and 1st Avenue, where we now know there is a burial ground of enslaved Africans:

Shoe Polish

If you’ve walked north on Madison from 125th Street you might have seen the faded ad on the side of an east-side building:

Looking carefully, you’ll see it’s an ad for shoe polish. The brand of which I can’t make out:

Shoe Polish

Improves your


Shoe Polish


1930’s New York

A fascinating film that shows the West Side Highway and Riverside Drive, still under construction with freight trains next to cars. Also note the George Washington Bridge with only one level.

Our view of pre-WW2 New York is so often a black and white view, that it’s somewhat disorienting to see the 1930s in color.

Life, Returning

As seen on East 129th Street on a spring day.

Spring Clean-Up, Today!

Got the itch to do some spring cleaning? Then meet up with Uptown Grand Central TODAY to spring clean on a massive scale.

TODAY Saturday, April 10, marks the kick-off of Uptown’s spring cleaning season, with the first of our warm-weather community clean-ups along the East 125th Street corridor. We’re glad to be doing it in partnership with the Sanitation Foundation (who, yes! know a thing or two about trash)!

It’s also the NYPD’s Graffiti Clean-Up Day (so we’ll be brushing up some artwork as well) and the beautification day for Art In the Park (in case you have a green thumb).

We’ll meet up at noon in the Uptown community space under the tracks at 125th Street & Park Avenue. Gloves, brooms and other supplies will be provided, so sign up here to help us get a headcount! Social distancing will be enforced. And most likely there’ll be snacks.


Big hair. Twin Towers.


City Cleanup Corps is Hiring

The City Cleanup Corps (NYC CCC) will employ 10,000 New Yorkers for beautification across our city. NYC CCC workers will wipe away graffiti, powerwash sidewalks, create community murals, tend to community gardens, beautify public spaces, and work with community organizations to clean their neighborhoods.

Available Job Opportunities

Rally for Nurses Today