The Africa Center recently displayed a fantastic quilt that celebrates African and African American contributions to this country’s foodways,

You are invited to participate by submitting someone or something, that deserves a square:


Check with the Africa Center about viewing this amazing artwork:

Head Start and Pre-School Program

The West Harlem Community Organization is encouraging families in 10026, 10027, 10030, 10037, and 10039 to check out their Head Start and Pre-School Program:

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 



To learn more:



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

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.

Post-War Clerical Labor

At the turn of the century, clerical labor in New York was almost exclusively male, native-born, and white. As the size of corporations increased in the 1920s and 30s, stenographers were increasingly in demand and this niche was filled by white, native-born women. When WWII ended, women occupied almost all clerical positions, but a large racial gap remained.

The Museum of the City of New York has an exhibit – Analog City – that shows how the racial gap in clerical work changed in the 20th century:

The city’s secretarial schools had limited access options for Black workers. The museum notes that one major exception was the Washington Business Institute, which was located (and founded) in Harlem in the 1930s.

This institute trained Black women in typing, stenography, bookkeeping, and other business skills and advertised in major Black newspapers and periodicals.

The newspaper clipping (below) highlights a gala gathering at the Hotel Theresa to fete the founder of the Washington Business Institute, Mrs. Rae Feld.

The importance of the Washington Business Institute is expressed by frequent mention in obituaries.

This one, comes from the New York Times, November 7th, 1984:

Marie Brown Brewer, a Democratic state committeewoman from the 29th Assembly District of Queens, died last Wednesday at Jamaica Hospital in Queens after a stroke. She was 78 years old.

Mrs. Brewer, the widow of Assemblyman Guy R. Brewer of Queens, was the first black woman to be elected a district leader in Harlem. She moved to to Queens in 1939 and became the first black woman to be elected a district leader in that borough.

Mrs. Brewer was born in Richmond. She studied at the Washington Business Institute in New York City and at Columbia University. Before entering politics, she was an accountant, a real- estate and insurance broker and a notary public for New York State.

Gathering In The Memory Of Patrice Lumumba In Harlem, In New York – 1961

You can just barely see the sign, highlighting the I.B.M. Training Center, to the south of the famous House of Common Sense and Proper Propaganda.

Both establishments were replaced by the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building.

Sarah Collins Rudolph Visited The East Harlem School Named After Her Murdered Sister

Sarah Collins Rudolph narrowly escaped death in 1963 when the KKK bombed a church in Alabama, killing four little girls — one of them her sister, Addie May Collins.

Ms. Rudolf came to East Harlem to visit a school named for her 14-year-old sister and to meet with Mayor Adams. Rudolph recalled her own brush with death on that awful Sunday morning. She’s known as the “fifth” little girl.

“I heard this loud noise — boom — and all I could do was call, I said, ‘Jesus, Addie Addie,’ and she didn’t answer and I heard someone outside say, ‘Somebody bombed the church,’” Wallace said.

That bombing by the Ku Klux Klan also killed two 14-year-olds: Corole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. Denise McNair was 11.

Sarah Collins Rudolph admitted recent racist-inspired massacres in Buffalo and other cities bring back haunting memories.

“Sometimes I just sit back and cry to think how things haven’t changed since the killing of these girls, the same thing going on over and over again and it really hurts me,” Rudolph said.

“Addie Mae’s mother gave us the right to use her name,” said Judy Edwards, the board president of Addie Mae Collins Community Service Center. “And we’ve done our best for them to be proud of us.”

See a full report on the visit by a civil rights hero and survive – click HERE.

Mayor Adams Wants to Increase Home Ownership in NYC

The City has a great article on how Mayor Adams wants to increase the disturbingly low homeownership rates New Yorkers, and New Yorkers of Color, in particular.

“A mindset shift is a priority and we need to work within agencies and across agencies because there are a lot of barriers to buy and maintain homes,” said Christie Peale, CEO of the Center for New York City Neighborhoods

To read the full article, see:


In The Street

If you haven’t watched this short film (black and white, shot on 16mm film stock in 1948) you should, just to get a sense of East Harlem in the immediate post-war era.

Puerto Ricans and Italians make up the majority of the people (often children) filmed via small, hidden 16 mm film cameras. This unique record of East Harlem street life shows the joy and vibrancy found in one of Manhattan’s poorest neighborhoods.

Redistricting Changes to Harlem

The boundary between KRJ and Diana Ayala as it currently exists:

The proposed boundary for the next election cycle:

And the boundaries superimposed on the same map (note the color purple is the new proposed boundary whereas the blue line is the current boundary):

Here is the interactive map to test out. Move the slider at the top, left and right:


Dan, who presented on Redistricting at one of our spring HNBA meetings, writes:


I hope everyone is having a great week so far! As you all have likely seen, the NYC Districting Commission released it’s first draft maps of the proposed Council district lines on Friday. The folks at CUNY have uploaded these draft maps to their website Redistricting and You, to make it easy to compare the new proposed lines with the current districts.

The new maps made changes to districts all over the city. Some of the most impactful decisions the commission made were:

  1. Staten Island – Staten Islanders lobbied hard to keep three full council districts on the island, without having any district cross-over to Brooklyn or Manhattan. The commission abided their requests. Staten Island was under-populated, so to accommodate this request the commission lowered the population maximum for every other council district in the city. This was done to ensure that every district met the legal criteria requiring no more than a five percent population deviation between the smallest and largest districts. The end results were that the three districts in Staten Island are substantially smaller than nearly every other district, and that the commission had much less flexibility with population sizes for the rest of the districts.
  2. South Brooklyn – The commission united the Asian-American communities in Bensonhurst and Sunset Park, to create an Asian majority district. To do this, the map makers redrew several districts in southern Brooklyn, including changing CD 38 to include Bay Ridge, and moving Red Hook into CD 39.
  3. Western Queens and UES – The draft plan creates a new crossover district uniting CD 26 with Roosevelt Island and parts of the Upper East Side.
  4. Keeping neighborhoods intact – The commission united several neighborhoods that had previously been split between multiple council districts – for example Van Nest in the Bronx. Other neighborhoods currently intact in one council district got split, such as Hell’s Kitchen.

Citizens Union will conduct a closer analysis of the proposed map in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts on the maps. Please feel free to email [email protected] to share any thoughts or comments.

New Yorkers will have 30 days to look through these draft maps before the Commission takes comments. The next round of borough-specific public hearings will be on August 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 22nd from 4pm-7pm. This round of hearings will be critical in determining the ultimate council lines. If you are unhappy with the maps, we encourage you to testify; similarly if you like the new lines in your district, that is also very important to tell the commission.

To submit written testimony to the Districting Commission, please contact: [email protected]

If you’d like to read more, here is some recent press about the new maps, with more expected over the coming week:

  1. New NYC Council district maps create Asian-majority district, but draw fire from sitting members (Gothamist) 
  2. Preliminary City Council district map keeps Staten Island communities whole (silive) 
  3. Districting Commission releases draft of New York City Council maps (City and State) 
  4. Commission releases draft Council maps (Queens Chronicle)
  5. “I Don’t Like the Map!” — Hell’s Kitchen Reacts to NY City Council Proposal to Split Neighborhood into THREE (w42st.com)
  6. Upper East Side Sliced Up In Newly Redrawn Council District Maps | Upper East Side, NY Patch
  7. Preliminary Maps For City Council Districts Released, Crown Heights Remains Divided | CrownHeights.info – Chabad News, Crown Heights News, Lubavitch News

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.


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:


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.

Harlem Women Bussed To New Jersey

This film from the Library of Congress shows Harlem women (and one man) bussed to New Jersey during WWII to work in a munition factory.

The gathering is clearly on a winter’s day, with snow on the ground. You can see that the pickup for the war work was at Adam Clayton Powell and 135th Streeet, near the YMCA.

Here is the link the the full newsreel:


Two Alvin Ailey Events In Harlem


Ailey Moves NYC! West African & Hip-Hop Dance Workshop – Jul 31, 2022 : NYC Parks (nycgovparks.org)

What do West African Dance and Hip-Hop have in common? Join Ailey Arts In Education instructors and drummers to experience both dance traditions. Show off your moves in the finale of the workshop—a community circle “dance off.” Everyone can dance with Ailey! 


Ailey – Rooftop Films

Ailey – Rooftop FilmsAlvin Ailey was a trailblazing pioneer who found salvation through dance. Ailey traces the full contours of this brilliant and enigmatic man whose search for the truth in movement resulted in enduring choreography that centers on the Black American experience with grace, strength, and unparalleled beauty. Told through Ailey’s own words and featuring evocative archival footage and interviews …rooftopfilms.com

Get High-Speed Wifi, Free!

Find out how to receive FREEor REDUCED internet service The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benefit program providing monthly discounts on internet service and devices for eligible households. This program is a big step forward in digital equity and puts federal broadband assistance on a semi-permanent footing for the first time.

Come learn how to enroll in the program and have your questions answered! July 28th, 6:00 PM

Silicon Harlem
2785 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, New York, NY 10039