Is Bill Perkins Fit For Office?

A long-overdue article in The City highlights the mental deterioration of Bill Perkins. For years now residents and political insiders have known that Perkins is a shell of his former self. The magazine City & State noted that Perkins was New York City’s least responsive and least active of all 51 Council members. The incompetence of Perkins office was well known, but many refused to speak publicly regarding how his staff worked to continue the illusion that Perkins was able to work and serve.

Perkins’ City Council colleagues noted that:

Among his colleagues, Perkins’ health challenges are “the worst kept secret in the New York City Council,” said one Council member who serves with him on a committee.

In the article, https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/3/4/22314486/bill-perkins-harlem-nyc-council-race-health-concerns, one community member noted that:

“Sometimes he recognizes me. Sometimes he does not,” she said. “I’ve known him for decades now.”

The tragedy for Harlem is we’ve essentially not had representation at City Council for 4 years now. Bill Perkins has, according to the article, been shuffled by his staff from Zoom to Zoom, not really knowing what’s going on.

Three Council members who spoke with THE CITY on condition of anonymity said Perkins would often wander into closed-door meetings, or show up to the wrong committee hearing, or at the wrong time.

“There’s no question he isn’t all there,” said another Council member.

Keith Lilly, Bill Perkins’ long time aide, seems intent to prop Perkins up, despite the damage an apparently mentally disoriented Council Member has done these last 4 years, and the future damage he might do if elected.

HNBA members who discussed this article and Keith Lilly’s role, have speculated that “he just wants to keep his job” and “it has nothing to do with what’s right for Harlem, it’s what keeps Keith on the payroll.”

Keith Lilly is quoted as saying:

“I’ve got him. I’m carrying him. He’s on the petition, so I don’t have no problem with him at all. Most people don’t,” he said before quickly ending the call.

March 9th, HNBA Meeting

Mark your calendars. On Tuesday, March 9th we’ll have 3 amazing presentations.

7:00 PM – We will have a Q+A with Kristin R. Jordan, who is a candidate for Council District 9 – [email protected]. In addition to giving us a sense of who she is and what her key platforms are, Kristin will address the burden that our part of the district bears with 2 sanitation garages, the M35 Bus, numerous homeless shelters, and the Lee Building’s infamous role as a regional methadone megacenter.

7:30 PM – Nicole from – rankthevotenyc – will help us all understand Ranked-Choice Voting that will affect us all in the voting booth this June and later in November, and beyond. If you have questions about ranked-choice voting, and how you can use this new form of voting to strategically vote for more than one candidate, Nicole will answer all. 

8:00 PM – Ray McGuire, will join us to introduce himself, and to present his plans for New York City’s post-COVID recovery. Ray was the first in his family to graduate from college and after Harvard University and a law degree, he worked on Wall Street for many years. Ray will introduce himself, his platform, and talk about his impressions of, and plans for East Harlem and New York City as a whole (he has spent significant time in our community, listening to business owners and neighbors at Ginjan Cafe, and knows many of our issues well.). Come out to learn more about RayForMayor.

Ray McGuire as a young man

Made in Harlem

Join the Maysles Cinema for free screenings of seminal documentaries on Harlem.

The films listed below are streaming (for free) from March 5-19. See the Maysles site for more details: https://www.maysles.org/madeinharlem202


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From These RootsWilliam Greaves, 1974, 28 min An exploration of the extraordinary artistic, cultural and political flowering that took place in Harlem during the “Roaring 20s.” This vivid portrait of the Harlem Renaissance is created entirely with period photographs. Narrated by the actor Brock Peters, with original music specially composed and performed by Eubie Blake, From These Roots is a winner of 22 international film festival awards.
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The Quiet OneSidney Meyers, 1948, 65 min.Considered one of the earliest docudrama films and one of the first mainstream American films to feature a Black child as its protagonist, The Quiet One follows a young boy named Donald and his transformation and adjustment after attending the Wiltwyck School for Boys. Nominated for two Oscars: Best Documentary Feature and Best Screenplay.
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The Torture of Mothers: The Case of the Harlem SixWoodie King, Jr., 1980, 52 min.In 1963 a group of young Black boys living in Harlem were involved in an incident that earned them the nickname “The Harlem Six.” Intent on protecting and clearing the names of their sons, several mothers bonded together to make their story known. This work emerges as a powerful close up of police brutality, and of power dynamics of 1960’s Harlem.
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A Dream Is What You Wake Up FromLarry Bullard and Carolyn Y. Johnson, 1978, 50 min..While using a documentary/drama hybrid style, filmmakers Larry Bullard and Carolyn Y. Johnson follow three Black families, one of which is living in Harlem, as they share their stories and strategize toward their survival. The film speculates across several time jumps and migrations to create a visual
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In The Face of What We Remember: Oral Histories of 409 and 555 Edgecombe AvenueKaren D. Taylor, 2019, 45 min.This documentary captures the story of two legendary buildings in Harlem’s Sugar Hill whose residents included W.E.B. DuBois, Elizabeth Catlett, James Weldon Johnson, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, Louise Thompson Patterson, Joe Louis, Cassandra Wilson, and more.

Pre-Register for a COVID-19 Vaccine

The Manhattan Borough President’s Office is asking any Harlem residents who qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine, to fill out this form:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B8ZG9LR

The Borough President would like to prioritize Harlem residents in the queue for vaccines, and this is asking you (if you qualify) to preregister using the link, above.

Token of Hope Inc. New York is working hard to connect the Harlem community to much needed resources and help. In partnership with the Manhattan Borough President Office, Token of Hope Inc. is collecting names of residents in the Harlem community in need of the vaccine.  This information will be provided directly to the Manhattan Borough President’s staff for expedition and attention. Please complete this survey as soon as possible to ensure that you receive service as the vaccine is available.

HNBA Meeting Tonight @7 PM

On Tuesday, January 12th at 7pm, Join HNBA in welcoming:

  • Liz Crotty on who is running for Manhattan DA
  • Ruth McDaniels who is running to replace Bill Perkins on the City Council
  • Valerie Bradley from the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance

We hope you’ll be able to attend with questions for the candidates. For the Zoom link, subscribe to our blog: https://hnba.nyc/subscribe-to-the-hnba-blog/

Rent to Income Ratio

New Yorkers now pay about 34% of their income in rent. This ratio has been going up in fits and starts (but mostly up, up, up) since 1965. We’ll see how this pandemic and the economic fallout impacts these numbers:

Source: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdfs/wwl-plan.pdf

HNBA January Meeting – Jan. 12, 7:00 PM

On Tuesday, January 12th at 7pm, Join HNBA in welcoming:

  • Liz Crotty on who is running for Manhattan DA
  • Ruth McDaniels who is running to replace Bill Perkins on the City Council
  • Valerie Bradley from the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance

We hope you’ll be able to attend with questions for the candidates. For the Zoom link, subscribe to our blog: https://hnba.nyc/subscribe-to-the-hnba-blog/

Lee Building for Sale

In 1979, Eugene Giscombe paid $40,000 for the 12-story office building at 1825 Park Avenue known as ‘The Lee Building’ (neighbors now think of this building as the Mount Sinai – hiding under the name Beth Israel -methadone hub of East Harlem).

He was quoted (when selling it recently for $48 million) that, next to marrying his wife, buying the historic Lee Building in Harlem was the best decision he ever made.

The Lee Building
The Lee Building

When Giscombe first purchased the building, it was only 20 percent occupied.  Savanna, the current owner, is asking around $75 million for the early 1900s-era building, or about $555 per square foot.

Tenants include Beth Israel Medical Center (Mount Sinai methadone) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the Metro North Railroad and New York City subway lines that run through the nearby 125th Street station.

Tenants recently signed about 16,000 square feet of leases in the building, including an extension and expansion by Beth Israel and a new lease with Northwestern Mutual.

https://rew-online.com/next-to-marrying-my-wife-buying-the-lee-building-was-best-decision-i-ever-made-says-eugene-giscombe/

https://therealdeal.com/2021/01/07/savanna-looks-to-sell-harlem-office-building-for-75m/

HNBA January Meeting – Tuesday, Jan. 12th

On Tuesday, January 12th at 7pm, Join HNBA in welcoming:

  • Liz Crotty on who is running for Manhattan DA
  • Ruth McDaniels who is running to replace Bill Perkins on the City Council
  • Valerie Bradley from the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance

We hope you’ll be able to attend with questions for the candidates. For the Zoom link, subscribe to our blog: https://hnba.nyc/subscribe-to-the-hnba-blog/


You can learn more about Liz Crotty here: https://lizcrotty2021.com/about-liz-crotty/

You can learn more about Ruth McDaniels here: https://www.friendsofruthmcdaniels.com/

You can learn more about the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance here: https://marcusgarveyparkalliance.org/

State Senator Brian Benjamin: More Revelations Regarding Potentially Illegal Campaign Contributions

The City has more this morning about very questionable donations to State Senator Brian Benjamin. Observers are wondering how the Senator can run for an office whose primary mission is fiscal oversight when his own campaign missed contributions that clearly were made to make it appear as if more people were donating to his campaign. Instead of having Terry English donate $350, for example, Terry English donated $100, and English Terry topped that up with a ‘separate’ $250…

Terry English (2009) – https://tnj.com/terry-english/

The three donors contacted by THE CITY who denied ever contributing to or even knowing of Benjamin were employed by a security firm called Prime Protective Bureau or PPB.

Also among the Murphy-directed $250 donations Benjamin’s campaign now pledges to return came from a PPB manager named Rashaun Dudley, who acknowledges making a contribution. His employer is listed as “student” in the records the Benjamin 2021 campaign submitted to the CFB.

PPB’s founder and CEO, Terry English, made a $100 money order contribution to Benjamin in July 2020, as did his wife, Sharon Doldron. A third, $250 money order donation to Benjamin is on record in the name of “English Terry,” dated Nov. 8, 2019 — coinciding with the start of the donations pooled by Murphy.

None of those three donations are among the 23 the campaign says it will be relinquishing to the Campaign Finance Board.

For the full story, see: https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/1/5/22216346/brian-benjamin-comptroller-campaign-ditches-dollars

The Alhambra Ballroom

The Wall Street Journal has some sad new that the Alhambra Ballroom on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and 126th street is facing bankruptcy because of the lack of weddings, parties and other events that typically book the Alhambra.

The ballroom was renovated in 2003 and recently got a supermarket, below. This space has featured stars like Billie Holiday. And, while he didn’t go in the Alhambra, Fidel Castro held many press conferences in front of the Theresa Hotel, with the marquee of the Alhambra not far behind.

HNBA Holiday Party (tonight at 7pm)

Let’s usher in the holiday season with a Zoom HNBA Party tonight at 7:00 PM.

Subscribe to this blog: https://hnba.nyc/subscribe-to-the-hnba-blog/ to get the Zoom link and we’ll toast to the end of 2020 and (hopefully) light at the end of the tunnel in 2021.

Since 1970

It’s interesting to see how New York’s ethnic/racial composition has changed since 1950. This graph from https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdfs/wwl-plan.pdf does a great job of illustrating the evolution:

New York City is the center of the largest metropolitan region in the United States,
encompassing 22.6 million people living in 9.1 million homes across three states, 31 counties,
and nearly 900 hamlets, villages, towns, and cities. The combined economic activity of the
metropolitan region, which covers the Hudson Valley and Long Island in New York, southwest
Connecticut, and northern New Jersey, accounted for approximately 10% of United States Gross
Domestic Product and generated $1.9 trillion in 2017, which would make this region the 10th
largest economy in the world.

HNBA (Zoom) Holiday Party! Tuesday, Dec. 8th

We’ll all readily admit that it won’t be the same, but we’re going to try anyway. Now that the turkey leftovers are gone, let’s usher in the holiday season with a Zoom HNBA Party on Tuesday, December 8th at 7:00 PM.

Subscribe to this blog: https://hnba.nyc/subscribe-to-the-hnba-blog/ to get the Zoom link (we’ll have it for you in the next week or so), and we’ll toast the end of 2020 and (hopefully) light at the end of the tunnel in 2021.

HNBA (Zoom) Holiday Party – Tuesday, December 8th!

We’ll all readily admit that it won’t be the same, but we’re going to try anyway. Now that Thanksgiving’s over, let’s usher in the holiday season with a Zoom HNBA Party on Tuesday, December 8th at 7:00 PM.

Subscribe to this blog: https://hnba.nyc/subscribe-to-the-hnba-blog/ to get the Zoom link (we’ll have it for you in the next week or so), and we’ll toast to the end of 2020 and (hopefully) light at the end of the tunnel in 2021.

HNBA Meeting on Tuesday, November 10th

HPD has a new report out on housing in New York. One of the issues it addresses is homeownership by Black New Yorkers. On Tuesday at 7:00 PM, the November HNBA meeting will have representatives from Chase Bank discuss strategies for applying for a first-time mortgage, refinancing, and a number of strategies for building your family’s assets.

As the HPD report notes:

…income from employment is a limited measure of financial security and economic opportunity. The most important and direct measure of a resident’s ability to access opportunity and financial security is wealth: the sum of a family’s assets (from equity in a hometo retirement savings) minus the debts a family owes (such as student loans or a mortgage). Data on wealth is not available for New York City residents, but, nationwide, the median wealth of White families is 10 times the wealth of Black and Hispanic families; in 2016, the median wealth of White families was $171,000, while the median wealth was $17,400 among Black families and $20,920 among Hispanic families. These disparities represent the compounded effects of advantages and disadvantages passed across generations.


Racial disparities in homeownership rates suggest some of the reasons for stark disparities in
overall household wealth by race. The Figure above shows that in New York City 28% of Black families and 17% of Hispanic families own their homes, compared to 41% of White families. The differences in homeownership stem in part from differences in the wealth that parents pass on to their children, but also reflect historic and, to some extent, current differences in access to home
mortgage loans. The figure below shows the loans commonly used for buying homes by race and
ethnicity of the borrower. In 2017, White borrowers accounted for 48% of new loans for owneroccupied, 1-4 unit properties in New York City, while Black and Hispanic borrowers each
accounted for less than 10%, far less than a proportionate share of the total population among
New Yorkers.

See: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdfs/wwl-plan.pdf

Hip Hop Museum ReOpens Today

Today is the re-opening of the [R]Evolution of Hip Hop exhibition. the Hip Hop museum is located in the Terminal Market (near HomeDepot and Costco on Exterior Street) and is specifically adhering to guidance around social distancing and no large group gatherings to protect our patrons and our staff.


The [R]Evolution of Hip Hop: An immersive journey through Hip Hop History is conceived by creative agents from multiple artistic backgrounds that employ archives and experimental storytelling techniques focusing on the five elements of Hip Hop – MCing, DJing, Breakdancing, Aerosol Art,  Knowledge. The new exhibit celebrates Hip Hop’s emergence from the park jams and the projects to night clubs, national concert tours, TV and motion pictures circa 1980 to 1985. The innovative music, art, dance and fashion that first permeated city streets in the Bronx, Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens in the 1970s made its way Downtown. Saavy club promoters and risk-taking entrepreneurs would fuel the commercialization of Hip Hop culture and would give rise to the first Rap record labels, Master-Mixes on Black radio and the first smash hits on the Billboard charts. This arts and cultural revolution would soon spread Hip Hop to the West Coast and to every corner of the world.

[R]Evolution of Hip Hop @ The Bronx Terminal Market610 Exterior Street

Bronx, New York 10451

(Entrance located in the lower area parking lot between Applebee’s and Marisco Centro Restaurant)