Where One Gathers the Wood to Make Bows (aka, Manhattan)

William Starna (Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the State University of New York College at Oneonta) has a fascinating short article on the Origins of the Name Manhattan:

The event is a storied one. In 1626, Peter Minuit purchased a large island at the mouth of the Hudson River from unknown and unnamed although otherwise Munsee-speaking Indians, at a yet undiscovered location, for an equally obscure price. The acquisition has been celebrated by any number of paintings and sketches—all of undeniable invention—but also tarnished by the unmasking of a phony deed of sale. The island’s name, however, is no mystery. Indeed, it is the first native language place name recorded by European interlopers between the Maine coast and Chesapeake Bay. Entered in Robert Juet’s log of Hudson’s third voyage of 1609 and engraved on the 1610 Velasco map are the words Manna-hata, Manahata, and Manahatin—today’s Manhattan. And as is the case with all place names, no matter the original language, attempts have been made to pry meaning from this word’s oldest recorded forms.

Although a comprehensive listing is not offered here, a first effort to find a meaning, a translation of Manhattan, is that of the late-eighteenth-century Moravian missionary John Heckewelder, who provided what turns out to be a folk etymology— “the island where we all became intoxicated.” Henry Schoolcraft, an acknowledged authority on Indians, added “people of the whirlpool,” a nod to conditions at the tidal strait called Hell Gate on the East River. J. Hammond Trumball, a philologist of some note out of Connecticut, supplied “island,” echoed some years later by William Wallace Tooker’s “an island” and “a hill island.” Edward Ruttenber, of Hudson Valley history fame and following what others had to say, simply made it the name of the native people who inhabited the island—the Manhattans. Today, however, there is a popular consensus that Manhattan means “land of many hills,” “island of many hills,” or “hilly island.”

In 1907, William Beauchamp, in his notable Aboriginal Place Names of New York, summarized all that was known at the time of Manhattan’s meaning, adding, however, an 1885 account by a Delaware Indian that “Manahatouh” (Man-ă-hă-tonh in the original) was a place where wood to fashion bows and arrows could be found. This Delaware, Albert Anthony, as linguist Ives Goddard tells us, knew full well the meaning of Manhattan as rendered in Munsee, his native language. Educated at Huron College in London, Ontario, Anthony was ordained an Anglican priest in 1873. In the 1880s he worked with ethnologist Daniel Brinton, co-authoring A Lenâpé-English Dictionary (Philadelphia, 1889). Still, what Anthony had offered became lost among the many guesses, misattributions, and inventions where place names are vulnerable to distortion and corruption. But thanks to Anthony, and most recently an expert historical and linguistic analysis by Ives Goddard, beginning with the three original early-seventeenth-century versions of the word “Manhattan,” it can confidently be said that it carries the meanings: “where one gathers the wood to make bows”; “place for gathering the wood to make bows”; and “at the place for gathering the wood to make bows.” As Goddard reminds us, “The true word recovers the true history.

“Information drawn from Ives Goddard, “The Origin and Meaning of the Name ‘Manhattan,’” New York History 92, 4 (2010): 277–293.

The Train Used to Stop at 110th Street

Above is a rendering of the 110th Street station in 1876 on what became the Metro-North line on Park Avenue. Note that above 110th street the train line was not on an iron el platform, and instead was on a solid masonry platform.

You can see spacious upper Manhattan farmland, a few brownstones (long since gone and replaced by projects), the tunnel at 98th Street, and horse and buggies.

The 110th Street station opened in 1876 and Harlem residents could catch up to sixteen trains a day that ran between Grand Central and William’s Bridge.

By 1896-1897 as the line’s grade was raised onto iron girders north of 111th Street and the new viaduct and the new 110th Street station opened in February 1897. However, by 1906, the New York Central Railway discontinued service at the 110th Street station.

The 110th Street station (as seen above) was partially built within the viaduct. The station’s waiting room was built into the northern side of the bridge over 110th Street and was located at street level.

From the waiting room, two staircases went up along the side of the viaduct’s retaining walls–one per side–to the side platforms atop the viaduct.

The stairways to the street still exist and are used in case of emergencies.

Letter Sent to CB11 to Support Converting Shelters in CB11 to Supportive Housing

Households with Someone Who Uses Electric Medical Equipment

How Calculated: 

Estimated number of households reporting someone using electric medical equipment; expressed as percent.

Source: New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey (HVS)

A Sign of Our Times

A month or two ago I thought this sign for Unk’s Place with a masked Unk, is the kind of image that historians will be able to date with casual accuracy as 2020 or 2021. Now with the Delta virus spreading so rapidly and festering amid the unvaccinated, we are again looking at a longer masked future.

Saint Cecilia’s

Landmarks East Harlem and the Urban Archive have a great piece on St. Cecilia’s Church on East 106th Street between Park/Lexington:

https://www.urbanarchive.org/stories/YXyVct8Ucm7

Here is the church in the 19th Century:

By the 1940’s the area had built up (note the white hospital complex on 5th Avenue and Central Park in the distance, above the Metro North train viaduct):

Today, the bright red brick facade highlights St. Cecilia in the center, under the pediment.

Spooky Stories

Spooky Stories. You and your little ones are invited to Jackie Robinson Park Wed Oct 27th 2pm to hear Spooky Stories read by NYC nannies!!!

Ballot Initiatives

When you vote on November 2, you’ll be asked about ballot initiatives. Gothamist breaks them down for you, here:

https://gothamist.com/news/five-ballot-proposals-breakdown-november-2021?

Traveling While Black

Make sure to visit the Schomburg Library before the end of the year to see the fantastic exhibit “Traveling While Black”. The Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Kevin Young notes:

Since the start of their experience in the Americas, Black people have been defined by travel, displacement, and resistance. 

Whether in the horrors of the Middle Passage or the rebellion of Maroon communities made up of escaped slaves, travel has meant much—and something much more—for Africans in the Americas. This exhibition, our first as we celebrate The New York Public Library’s 125th anniversary and the Schomburg Center’s 95th, explores over a century of travel. Moving from the Great Migration of African Americans north and west at the start of the twentieth century to the restrictions and resistances of travel in the Jim Crow South and the Jane Crow North, Traveling While Black examines a history of travel, from those who found themselves exiles within their own country down to the pilgrims and pleasure seekers of our time. 

War marks many of the peregrinations of the last century, often offering African American soldiers their first glimpse of other cultures beyond the United States. They returned with a new energy and renewed hope, whether in the offerings of jazz after the Great War, or the opportunities abroad for expatriates after World War II. The freedom that African Americans sought at home and fought for abroad they often found in travel. Returning Black officers and recruits started motorcycle clubs and organized tour groups, traditions that continue today. The somewhat open road and the mostly great outdoors provided Black sojourners with literal and emotional vistas to revel in. 

While confronting restrictions from Jim Crow laws and surveillance by would-be law enforcement agencies stateside, everyday travel meant obeying unspoken rules of the road. Domestic journeys involved ingenuity, often employing the Green Book, that guide for Black travelers developed in Harlem by Victor Green. Carry your Green Book with you…you may need it! reads one tagline for the guides. The Schomburg Center retains the largest and most complete collection of Green Books in the world; in many cases we hold the only known copy. But as any number of African American guidebooks found here indicate, from runaways to resorts, the idea of escape has had larger resonances for Black culture. Questions surrounding Black bodies in motion—whether driving, walking, or traveling while Black—still persist, asking us to consider the meaning of migration, movement, and freedom. 

—Kevin Young

It’s My Park Day

Art Kane on Choosing East 126th Street

If you’ve ever wondered why Art Kane chose East 126th Street for his iconic photo, here is his explanation:

And, while 17 East 126th Street was the ultimate location, few know that in the middle of the project, everyone moved a block eastward, to 52 East 126th Street, but after a few test photos (and dissatisfaction with 52) the whole group returned to 17 East 126th Street where the final photos were taken, and A Great Day In Harlem was born.

Below is 52 East 126th Street – the building is demolished – that awaits redevelopment as an Odyssey House facility.

Fall Events at The Harlem Rose Garden

Join The Vitafusion Fruit Tree Project Planting With Concrete Safaris In East Harlem

The vitafusion Fruit Tree Project is making a stop at Jefferson Houses in East Harlem to partner with the local nonprofit Concrete Safaris.

Come join the fun on October 8, 2021, to plant 35 apple, plum, and pear trees as well as blueberries and blackberries.

The planting will mitigate poor air quality in East Harlem, a neighborhood that is polluted by multiple truck and commuter routes and faces devastating impacts of climate change including heatwaves.

Since 2017, vitafusion Gummy Vitamins and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation have partnered to create the vitafusion Fruit Tree Project. So far, the project has planted over 200,000 fruit trees around the globe, with tree planting and/or distribution events in the U.S. and internationally.

These fruit trees have helped increase access to 28 million pieces of fresh fruit in underserved communities, combat global pollution by reducing CO2, and generate 33 million pounds of oxygen each year.

These fruit trees have helped increase access to 28 million pieces of fresh fruit in underserved communities, combat global pollution by reducing CO2, and generate 33 million pounds of oxygen each year.

Since 2008, Concrete Safaris has prepared youth in East Harlem and beyond to lead healthy lives and shape their environment through outdoor education, play, exploration, and community engagement.

Approximately 400 daily, direct-service participants are enrolled in after-school or internships, and 5,000+ community members get active outdoors at the garden and street-based events led by youth in East Harlem.

Approximately 400 daily, direct-service participants are enrolled in after-school or internships, and 5,000+ community members get active outdoors at the garden and street-based events led by youth in East Harlem.

To attend the planting event, local event hosts are requiring proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within the prior 72 hours and masks. The event remains rain or shine, and experience is not necessary.

Anyone who would like to attend must register at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jefferson-houses-fruit-tree-beautification-day-tickets-174272432537

Interested? Great, here’s the details on Friday, October 8th: Meet at 10:30 am EST outside Jefferson Houses Management Office at 300 East 115th Street New York, NY, the Planting will begin at 11:00 am.

CB11 Meeting Tonight

Here is your chance to speak to our elected officials (and/or their representatives) about issues that concern you and your neighbors. You can raise your hand and comment, write questions/thoughts in the chat, and present any community announcements you might have.

Full Board

Tuesday • September 28th • 6:30pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
If you wish to speak during the public session at our September Full Board Meeting, please indicate your interest in speaking and fill out the form here.

View the agenda on our meeting calendar here.

Harlem Pete Dream Book

Harlemites who played the numbers often consulted dream books that suggested number combinations to play for luck. This rare, ephemeral book is clearly made on cheap, acidic paper, but it survives from 1948:

You can see the item on Ebay, here.

Delilah of Harlem

The earliest novel that takes place in Harlem (that I know of) is from 1893, and was written by Richard Henry Savage.

It’s fairly forgettable Victorian melodrama, but offers a glimpse into posh society in and around Mount Morris Park, in the new and stately brownstones that were purchased by New York City’s upper class.

Ebay has a copy on sale – reading only.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/203551428020?ViewItem=&item=203551428020

CB11 – Your Chance To Speak!

If you’d like to tell your elected officials what you think of the state of East Harlem, here’s your chance.

On Tuesday, CB11 will be hosting a full board meeting. You must register for the Zoom event, and register to speak if you wish:

Full BoardTuesday • September 28th • 6:30pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
If you wish to speak during the public session at our September Full Board Meeting, please indicate your interest in speaking and fill out the form here.
View the agenda on our meeting calendar here.

Landmarking Survey of Lower East Harlem to be Conducted

Ascendant is announcing that they have won a grant to survey lower East Harlem for buildings that should be considered for landmarking:

About Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation:
Ascendant Neighborhood Development (AND) builds homes, engages community members, and
partners with allies to raise up neighborhoods that provide stability and access to opportunity for all.
Since its founding in 1988, AND has supported the stabilization and growth of East and Central Harlem
communities, advocated for preservation of affordable housing, and helped thousands of New Yorkers
live with dignity and respect. Learn more: https://ascendant.nyc/

The El Barrio/Southern East Harlem survey area is a diverse mixed-use enclave within the larger Harlem community of Northern Manhattan. In addition to a variety of vernacular residential buildings dating from the late-1800s through the early-1900s, the area features several large-scale mid-20th century residential complexes including multiple public housing campuses. 
The survey area boasts many outstanding civic, institutional, and religious structures of various architectural styles. Within the proposed study area are multiple individually designated landmarks, including Public School 109, 28th Police Precinct & Fire Engine Co. #53 Houses, St. Cecilia’s Church Complex, Public School 72/Julia de Burgos Cultural Center, and the Museum of the City of New York.
The area developed over many decades as a predominantly working-class neighborhood, and it has been home to a succession of immigrant groups. The new survey will focus specific attention on the history of El Barrio’s Puerto Rican community and its impact on the (re)development of the neighborhood.
Ascendant, and our partners in the Landmark East Harlem (LEH) alliance, successfully worked to list the East Harlem Historic District on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2019. We successfully secured a determination of eligibility for the proposed East-Central Harlem Historic District in 2020, and we are working on a nomination to list that historic district in 2021. Ascendant and LEH, along with other local stakeholders, will use our new $12,000 Preserve New York grant to hire Marissa Marvelli to conduct the El Barrio/Southern East Harlem Cultural Resource Survey. The survey will help to identify potential individual State and National Register listings and the boundaries of potential new historic districts.

On 110th Street

The intersection of 110th Street and 3rd Avenue was ground zero for activism by The Young Lords.

In 1969, a group of New York City youth known as the Young Lords demanded change in the way the largest city in the United States handled sanitation. The initiative, known as the Garbage Offensive, wasn’t the group’s original plan of action, but it proved highly effective in calling out the needs and rights of the city’s Latinx community

The Young Lords were an activist group of poor and working-class Puerto Rican youth who modeled themselves after the Black Panthers, donned their signature purple berets, called for Puerto Rico’s independence, and hit the streets in search of a lofty organizing agenda in their home of East Harlem. But as the organization’s chairman, Felipe Luciano, humorously remembers, they found trash talk instead. 

“So we’re on 110th Street and we actually asked the people, ‘What do you think you need? Is it housing? Is it police brutality?’” Luciano says. “And they said, ‘Muchacho, déjate de todo eso—LA BASURA!” [Listen kid, fuggedaboutit! It’s THE GARBAGE!] And I thought, my God, all this romance, all this ideology, to pick up the garbage?”

To read the whole article, see:

https://www.history.com/news/young-lords-garbage-offensive

Learn About The Revolutionary Battle of Harlem Heights

https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?id=889D6D1A-FF9D-B135-CC80D9825B084FE5

Join the Parks Service on a virtual tour of the Battle of Harlem Heights. Details in the link, above.

The Wiz, Tonight

Just a friendly reminder  . . . tomorrow, Friday, September 24th is our final night of Movies @ ERP Summer 2021.  East River Plaza and ImageNation Outdoors Movie Festival welcome you to join us for The Wiz.  The event starts at 6:30 pm. 

It’s free, but space is limited.  Please remember to RSVP at East River Plaza Movie Night

Please to share with your families, friends and neighbors

Tonight

Sign-Up for Composting

One of our neighbors next to Marcus Garvey Park writes:

I urge everyone to sign up for curbside composting. Our building enjoyed this great service from November 2018 till March 2020 when the pandemic shut down the program. The DSNY is gearing back up. However they need you you to sign-up for this fantastic program.

For those compost-curious, DSNY’s program will accept – keeping this out of landfill

ALL FOOD WASTE including:

  • coffee grounds and tea bags
  • shells (seafood, nut, and egg)
  • bones
  • spoiled and expired food
  • food soiled paper (napkins, towels, uncoated plates, bags, trays, boxes)

Yard and Plant Waste including:

  • leaves
  • spent flowers and trimmings
  • small twigs
  • grass clippings

Sign-up is now open! If you are in an eligible neighborhood, we will notify you when service will start in your area. If you do not live in an area where the service is yet offered, we will let you know about opportunities to bring your food scraps to a drop-off location or how to compost at home (and will let you know if service is expanding to your area!).

We want to hear from everyone interested in Curbside Composting as it helps us make the case to expand this service to more neighborhoods.

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dsny/site/services/food-scraps-and-yard-waste-page/overview-residents-organics

White Park

White Park – 106/Lex – has a great basketball mural facing the courts.

Cesar Fantauzzi became the most prominent player in Spanish Harlem, where he earned his nickname “Spanish Doc” after capturing a jump shot attempt in midair. Fantauzzi entered the BSN with the Atléticos de San Germán earning a reputation as a power dunker and shot blocker, eventually following the footsteps of the other prominent Nuyoricans into the national basketball team.

MMPCIA Meeting on Tuesday Night – Safety

General Membership Meeting

Tuesday, September 28th, 6:30PM

Community Safety

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86847234917

Sugar Hill Music Festival on Saturday

Location

Sugar Hill Luminaries Lawn

Highbridge Park

155th Street and Edgecombe Avenue

Harlem, NY 10032