Armistice Day

A photo of Armistice Day in Harlem. The photo is taken looking up Lenox Avenue (you can see the 134th Street sign and the subway entrance on the crowded sidewalk).

One lone soldier appears in the crowd.

25th Precinct’s Community Council Meeting

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL,

We made it to 2023!  New beginnings…….. 

I just wanted to remind you that our next Council meeting is scheduled for:

Wednesday, January 18, 2023 @ 6:00PMat the 25th Precinct120 East 119th StreetNew York, NY 10035
We look forward to seeing you there for this month’s conversation.  Our guest for this month is TBD.Many thanks to all of you for your dedication to contributing to making our community safe. 

Kioka Jackson

Follow your dreams………

A History of the Churches

A History of the Churches of All Denominations in the City of New York (1846) has some interesting information about the early history of faith-based organizations in Harlem.

The oldest church identified as being in Harlem is the Dutch Reformed Church, from 1686 with 126 members:

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is noted as starting in 1796, and then in 1843 established “Little Zion” a branch in Harlem – predating most estimations as to when a Black presence in Harlem had grown to a significant size:

And, to conclude:

Harlem Art For (Benefit) Sale

A benefit exhibit for City College Center for the Arts’ youth programs, this sophomore installment of “100 Years of Harlem” continues the centennial celebration of Harlem’s galvanizing, glorious past while emphasizing Harlem as a muse and teacher across space and time.

Press Release

“100 Years of Harlem: Resonating Around the World” was first introduced in an exhibition and silent auction to benefit City College Center for the Arts held at CHRISTIE’S New York from March 26 – April 4, 2022. Curated by irwin House Gallery Director, Omo Misha, on behalf of an esteemed curatorial team including Kim Wales and Gregory Shanck, the primary exhibit included thirty works of art celebrating Harlem as teacher and muse for diverse artists across time and featured twenty-four visual artists from Harlem and across the country. The CHRISTIE’S x CCCA collaboration was an outgrowth of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program – a program that aims to preserve, protect and promote art in our communities while managing the cultural, economic and environmental impact of Christie’s activities. For CHRISTIE’S, the experience brought forth a lively discourse with local, living talent and a lasting partnership with one of Harlem’s leading cultural institutions. For the artists and audience, the auction house installation and gala proved grand and incomparable, netting support for CCCA’s Youth Empowerment Program through art sales and both private and corporate donations.
Brought to CCCA’s Aaron Davis Hall, this iteration of 100 Years extends the life and scope of the exhibition and continues the celebration of Harlem, its glorious past and culturally-rich present. The exhibition includes a portion of the work exhibited at CHRISTIE’S along with new selections and artists reflecting and sharing an affinity for Harlem.

Escaping the harsh realities of the Jim Crow South, Black Americans found their way to Harlem more than any other location during the early twentieth century, resulting in the largest concentration of African descendants outside of Africa, and creating a social climate for one of the most prolific eras in the history of the arts and letters – the Harlem Renaissance. Through visual, literary and performative expressions of lived experiences, beauty and pain, an aesthetic emerged that came to identify Black America. An unprecedented artistic freedom flourished and became a resonant elixir to the creative world.

This exhibition pays homage to the Harlem Renaissance with recognition that the enclave’s cultural grind has been a continuum – from the 1920s to present day. The banners of Harlem legends still fly, and the pioneering stanzas of Langston Hughes’ poems, Aaron Douglass’ palette, and Duke Ellington’s top hat and riffs will always be felt within the cracks of our sidewalks and Pre-War facades. But, as we celebrate this galvanizing, glorious past we also hope to communicate that The Renaissance was not a finite era that met a determinate end. While the landscape has ebbed, flowed and even lost its luster at times, the collective, creative spirit of Harlem has never waned. Each of us, represented in this exhibit, are links in a chain of prodigious creators, flowing through and bathed in the nurturing spirit of Harlem.
Featured Artists: ANTON, Carl Karni-Bain (aka BAI), Charly Palmer, Danny Simmons, D. H. Caranda Martin, Donovan Nelson, Faith Ringgold, Francks Deceus, James Denmark, Jody Rasch, Julio Leitão, Julio Mejia, Lisa Ingram, Lola Flash, Mira Gandy, Noreen Dean Dresser, Uday Dhar, Terrell Anglin, Tomo Mori, YUKAKO.

https://www.artsy.net/show/irwin-house-gallery-100-years-of-harlem-resonating-around-the-world?sort=partner_show_position

Mart 125

Harlem’s Mart 125: the American Dream is a documentary film about the history of Mart 125 on 125th Street and how it has served as a physical and imagined embodiment of Black commerce in the face of commercial, cultural, and political change in the heart of Harlem.

View the video with the link, below:

https://youtu.be/QTawVjvLjyk

Also make sure to check out GothamtoGo’s blog post on the revitalization of Mart 125:

Booker T. Washington

As seen in Harlem.

Upper Park Avenue Baptist Church

A sign from the late 1960’s addressing ‘dope gangsters’:

is a part of a collection of signs on East Harlem’s Upper Park Avenue Baptist Church.

The brownstone details next to the church may look familiar, they are part of the Corn Exchange building – 85 East 125th Street. Below is the former location of the Upper Park Avenue Baptist Church:

To read the obituary of the pastor who ran this 125th Street church, see:

https://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/04/obituaries/rev-oberia-dempsey-is-dead-fought-drug-abuse-in-harlem.html

Looking Back at HNBA.nyc in 2022

Edward Hopper and Harlem

The Whitney Museum has opened an exhibition of the work of Edward Hopper – the famed mid-century American artist who created a number of iconic images of the alienation in urban life.

Hopper also created a two-page drawing of the Macombs Dam Bridge (155th Street) that now connects Sugar Hill to Yankee Stadium.

In the 1850’s, a century before Hopper illustrated the scene, you can see in the drawing (below) that the structure was truly a combination dam and bridge.

Hopper’s drawing (below) from the 1930’s shows the bridge structure pretty much as it stands today, with no Yankee Stadium or much development on the hill on the Bronx side of the Harlem River

A contemporary photograph shows how faithful Hopper’s sketch was.

“As New York bounces back after two challenging years of global pandemic, this exhibition reconsiders the life and work of Edward Hopper, serves as a barometer of our times, and introduces a new generation of audiences to Hopper’s work by a new generation of scholars. This exhibition offers fresh perspectives and radical new insights.”

Hopper’s relationship with Whitney began in 1920 when he had his first solo exhibition at the Whitney Studio Club, which closed in 1928 to make way for the Whitney Museum of American Art. Hopper’s work first appeared in the inaugural Whitney Biennial in 1932 and in 29 Biennials and Annuals through 1965, according to the museum. In 1968, Hopper’s widow, artist Josephine Nivison Hopper, bequeathed the entirety of his collection to the museum, which today is home to more than 3,100 works by the artist.

Edward Hopper’s New York will be on view from October 19, 2022, through March 5, 2023.

Calvary Church – 1908

A view of the Calvary M. E. Church on a 1908 postcard (at the corner of W. 129/ACP):

And today:

Fats Waller in Harlem

Fats Waller composed a series of hit songs and was also widelyu known for his comic performances on stage and in film.

His innovations in his piano work led to the Harlem stride-style – a precursor to modern jazz piano. His best-known compositions, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Honeysuckle Rose”, were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1984 and 1999. Waller copyrighted over 400 songs, many of them co-written with his closest collaborator, Andy Razaf. Razaf described his partner as:

“the soul of melody… a man who made the piano sing… both big in body and in mind… known for his generosity… a bubbling bundle of joy”.

In the photo below he is seen in Harlem with fellow stride-style pianist Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith:

Worst Landlords

The Public Advocate has a list of the worst landlords in NYC out for 2022. The map shows definitively that the worst landlords have the most violations in low-income communities, and are congregated in northern Manhattan, The Bronx, and Brooklyn.

https://www.landlordwatchlist.com/

Note that housing law protects your right as a tenant to meet with other tenants in a public space in the building. You should speak with other tenants who are facing similar problems and organize a meeting time in the building. The meeting can be advertised through fliers or posters placed in the building. At the first meeting, the representative of the association should be appointed by the group and a set of action items should be decided.

60 Years Ago

60 years ago (admittedly in the summer) Robert Kennedy came to Harlem. He spoke at Columbia, visited a summer reading program for youth, and then walked with children in the reading program along West 125th street into the heart of Harlem.

Jet covered the visit and put this image on its cover:

Summer Plans? Broccoli

BROCCOLI CITY FESTIVAL IS BACK!!

JULY 15-16TH 2023
RFK STADIUM GROUNDS DC

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT PRESALE TICKETS, LINE-UP & OTHER FESTIVAL UPDATES.

WILL BE THE BIGGEST AND BEST #BCFESTIVAL EVER!!!!

Learn more HERE.

Storefronts

Harlem, 1930’s. Storefronts that may be on a street (not an avenue), given the strong noontime shadows.

Note the postman with cap, in short sleeves:

Resolve to Start 2023 By Joining Your Community

The Office of Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine has announced the opening of the 2023 Manhattan Community Board application period. Applications are now open through 5 pm on March 17, 2023. Current members who wish to serve another term must reapply.

Eligibility: Community Board members must live, work, or have an otherwise significant interest in the neighborhoods served by the community district, and be a New York City resident. In addition, we look for applicants with histories of community involvement, expertise, skill sets, and attendance at Board meetings and who can commit to a two-year term.

To learn more about community board membership and how to apply CLICK HERE.

Radio

In the photo below, a group of men listen to a radio, mounted on a box. Their semicircular gathering allows the camera to take in a vignette with the central object (the radio) in full view – all of which suggests a staged photograph.

The image was taken in the 1930s during the depression. This location on Lenox Ave. is now the Mother Hale Bus Depot.

PIX11 Report on East Harlem’s Clean Team

The nonprofit group Positive Workforce joined forces with Uptown Grand Central three years ago. It has been a job-training center in the community for 30 years.


The city has recently added funding and resources to bring on 30 workers. It’s part of Mayor Eric Adams’ “Get Stuff Clean” program.


“It’s making a big difference. People take notice and are getting on board. The lighting is up. They see people getting involved and they get involved,” said Ruben Thomas with Positive Workforce.

PIX11 has the report:

https://pix11.com/news/local-news/manhattan/clean-team-focuses-on-busy-uptown-manhattan-corridor/

Two Women

This photo of a Harlem Street scene has almost no clues to where it was taken.

The only thing I can speculate on is that the photograph likely shows the south side of a street, as the reflection in the storefront window indicates that only one of the many windows across the street has a window awning – ubiquitous on south and often east and west facing facades, and often absent on northern facades.

The listing on Ebay, refers to the two sitting women who are using crates to sit in an unrented storefront’s doorway.

But notice how their attention has been diverted from their newspapers to something on their right.

A larger view shows a cropped item. A cart or pram – likely converted to use for selling food, sits on the left of the photo – where the women are suddenly looking. Perhaps a customer or passerby has taken a look or taken interest in whatever might be for sale.

Mount Sinai’s East Harlem School of Nursing

Mount Sinai’s new school of nursing on East 126th Street (between Lexington and 3rd Avenue) is open and beginning to produce a new generation of qualified nurses.

CBS has a report on this facility.

https://www.cbsnews.com/newyork/news/mount-sinai-nursing-school-in-east-harlem-bridges-gap-to-community/