Where Do They Live?

The oversaturation of substance use programs in Harlem and East Harlem has been proven repeatedly. Our community hosts many more programs than are justified by our population, by our addiction rates, or even by drug-related death rates.

One question remains, where do patients who are admitted to New York City substance abuse programs come from?

Using data from a 2020 FOIL request to OASAS on admission data, I have mapped where patients who attend NYC’s substance abuse programs come from. The result is fascinatingly national. From San Diego to Maine, from Miami Beach to Anchorage Alaska, men and women are admitted to New York addiction programs.

In the maps below, the red dots indicate the homes of people who are admitted to New York City’s substance abuse programs. The larger and darker the red, the greater number of admitted patients.

The fine print:

Admissions to NYS OASAS‐certified Chemical Dependence Treatment Programs Located
in NYC by Zip Code of Residence, from March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020
Data Source: NYS OASAS Data Warehouse, CDS extract of 8/30/2020

  1. Admissions are not counts of individual people. A person can be admitted to treatment
    more than once throughout the time period.
  2. The data included in this presentation represent only admissions of patients to the
    OASAS‐certified treatment system. It is important to keep in mind that these data do not
    include individuals who do not enter treatment, get treated by the U.S. Department of
    Veterans Affairs (VA), go outside of New York State for treatment, are admitted to
    hospitals but not to Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment, get diverted to other
    systems, or receive an addictions medication from a physician outside of the OASAS
    system of care.
  3. Data includes significant others.
  4. Admissions are not limited to residents of NYC

To see the live map (you can hover over a dot to learn more):

https://fordham.carto.com/u/shill18/builder/dcea5644-f522-48dd-bba2-22078457109b/embed

Plastic Bags? Use a Tote, Instead

The delayed plastic bag ban has gone into effect, today.

Don’t forget to bring a tote with you whenever you leave the house. For an awesome option, try this stylish Harlem Tote:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/627213664/harlem-map-tote-bag

To see more great items:

https://afinelyne.pixels.com/

Defend the Black Vote!

One of our neighbors, the amazing writer Troy Lewis – https://www.gasmoneybook.com/bio-encore – forwarded us a powerful video from The People for the American Way entitled Defend the Black Vote:

2020 V.O.T.E !

Whose Land?

There is a great new map out that attempts to show the where the First People of North America lived pre-1492. The difficulty of representing the fluidity of boundaries is, of course, present here, but we are at least presented with fact that the United States was not an unoccupied space, ready for frictionless colonization.

In the screenshot below you can see how our region was the site of a dense, tightly intertwined network of cultural and linguistic groups.

Getting closer in, the island of Mannahatta was inhabited and used by two groups. The indigenous nation which fished, farmed, hunted, and lived on northern Mannahatta – in what is now Harlem – was the Wappinger Munsee Lenape

And the language spoken here before the Dutch arrived was Montauk huluniixsuwaakan, a variant of Munsee.

To see the full map which covers North American and Australia, and parts of other regions, click here: https://native-land.ca/

Film Studio

The Harlem African Burial Ground development project has been put on hold and as a consequence, the abandoned MTA bus depot that currently occupies the site remains shuttered. In the past, however, this site has also been the location for a film studio.

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio was located between 126/127th and 2nd Avenue and the Willis Avenue Bridge on part, but not all, of the bus depot’s block.

The photo (above) is a 1940’s tax photo of the property. Note the water tower and the large ceremonial towers that would have been dramatically visible to riders on the 2nd Avenue El (the train tracks you see at the top left of the photo).

While this location had advantages in terms of its proximity to transportation and downtown NYC, the ever present roar of the El just outside the front doors must have been a huge impediment to sound recording.

By the 1980’s the bus depot had replaced the studio with a low-slung, 2 story facility. The water tower and the El, both long gone.

2nd Avenue Subway

The City reports that despite a budget crisis, the MTA continues to plan for extending the Second Avenue Subway into East Harlem. Even though the pandemic-spurred economic crisis has put the project back, the MTA continues to work with building and property owners to try to purchase sites needed for air shafts, emergency exits, subway entrances, etc.

The map below illustrates in orange, properties that might be acquired, and in yellow, the proposed 2nd Avenue subway line:

The agency has started taking steps to prepare for using eminent domain a last resort.

At its July board meeting, the MTA said it has begun the process of acquiring over a dozen properties along Second Avenue and 125th Street through “negotiated voluntary agreements,” according to agency records.

If agreements can’t be reached “in a timely manner,” documents show, the MTA must take preliminary steps under the state’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law to lessen the potential for future delays to the project.

For more on the story, see: https://www.thecity.nyc/2020/9/20/21446021/mta-property-second-avenue-subway-eminent-domain-transit

The 25th Precinct – Precinct Navigators

The 25th Precinct is looking for community volunteers to act as precinct navigators. All neighbors who volunteer will receive training and support. To learn more, please contact:

 Detective Darryl Lucas

 25th Precinct Community  Affairs

 Office: (212) 860-6526

 E-mail: Darryl.lucas@nypd.org

Schools+COVID+Apps…

For everyone, not just families with children, the potential for schools to be vectors for the explosion of winter COVID cases is huge. The DoE has a useful map to help everyone, but parents in particular, learn about COVID impacted schools.

🔴 A red dot indicates a building that has been closed.

🔵 A blue dot indicates one or more classrooms in a building that has been closed.

Unfortunately, as you can see on the map, Harlem and East Harlem have been been severely impacted. Below is a more detailed view of our community:

To keep up and stay informed, use the link below. Note that the map is updated Sunday through Friday (not Saturday):

https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-year-20-21/return-to-school-2020/health-and-safety/daily-covid-case-map

New York’s New COVID Alert App

The New York Department of Health has launched a new, free app that will tell you if you’ve come in contact with a COVID-positive person. COVID Alert NY is available as of today for iPhone and Android. Using your phone’s Bluetooth technology, it will alert you if you’ve been within six feet of an infected person for more than 10 minutes.

In a press conference call yesterday, Governor Cuomo said he believes the app is the first of its kind in the nation. It cost $700,000 to develop and was paid for through a combination of federal dollars and support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Bluetooth technology–which senses proximity to other phones–was developed by Google and Apple in conjunction with MIT. The Linux Foundation and Tech:NYC also collaborated on the app.

The technology works to sense “close contact”–that within six feet and for at least 10 minutes (it ignores people who you just pass by or were farther than six feet from). When your phone senses close contact, it exchanges a secure random code with the other person’s phone, and your phone stores this close contact code in a list. If a person tests positive, the Department of Health contacts them and gives them a password that they can enter into the app that will then alert people moving forward. The DOH will also ask the positive person if he or she is willing to share their app’s list of close contacts to alert those they’ve been in contact with previously. It’s completely voluntary and no names or privacy information will be shared, which is the reason the app was developed with Bluetooth technology instead of GPS.

2020 Debate Tonight!

A number of HNBA members had a great time in June of 2019 when we joined the first night of the Presidential Primary Debates in Harlem, NYC. Tonight it’s the (first) Election 2020 debate!

Instagram: @newyorkforbiden2020 / Facebook: @newyorkforbiden / Twitter: @newyorkforbiden
https://www.mobilize.us/joebiden/event/331934/

Our democracy, humanity, and sanity are on the ballot this November.

#NewYorkStrong #ItsUpToUs

Cemeteries of New York

Most of us are likely aware of the great cemeteries in New York like Woodlawn (straight up the 4 train, and open to the public – dogs permitted after signing a waiver) and Green Wood (Brooklyn), as well as the cemetery ‘belt’ in Queens. You may also be aware of the lost cemeteries like the African Burial Ground (behind City Hall) and our own East Harlem African Burial Ground that is now covered by the abandoned MTA bus depot at 126th and 1st Avenue.

Cemeteries of NYC, however, has not only mapped the ones we’ve all heard of, but countless others that were (or are) burial grounds in the 5 Boroughs:

Zooming into Harlem, I was surprised to see some cemeteries (long gone) that once existed. In particular, note how much of Wards and Randall’s Island were used as potters fields:

In this, zoomed in view, note how there was a cemetery, on both sides of Lexington, between 125/126:

On the map you can click on each of the features to learn more about how many people were/are buried there, and when/if they were transferred to another location at some point:

https://www.cemeteriesofnyc.com/map

Hotels in 1851

In 1851 you could go to two hotels in our neighborhood. One would be where the (MTA) train line on Park Ave. meets the Harlem River, and the other would be at 128/3rd, where a public school now exists:

Also note that from 125 to 127th, between Park Avenue and 5th Avenue, there was a nursery (Floy’s Nursery).

Tell NYC What You Think the Budget Priorities for CB11 Should Be

CB11 is collecting your opinions on what the city should budget for our community. Here is a quick Google Form for you to fill out. HNBA has already submitted a larger statement, but you can offer your own thoughts/ideas below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdI4pwQMMuSCoAzc4xucERaaF9u2XhvA-IuDySoMkrrajy-Ew/viewform

How Old is Harlem, Anyway?

From the beginning we need to acknowledge that the idea of Harlem being ‘established’ is a Eurocentric and colonial concept that has been repeatedly used to overwrite the histories of indigenous Americans. And, for the Lenape people who inhabited Manahatta for centuries before Henry Hudson passed by searching for a route to the orient, the area we call Harlem was a seasonal hunting and fishing ground.

On this Welikia Project screenshot, you can see our part of Manhattan as it was in 1609 before the direct contact with Europeans:

And in more detail, here is Marcus Garvey Park – a treed hill with flatlands nearby:

It was, in fact, those grassy areas where Harlem is now centered, that attracted the Dutch settlers – there was less forest clearance necessary to plant crops. Indeed a number of farms were established in Harlem during the early years of Dutch colonial rule and then abandoned after hostilities with the Lenape and other First People. Eventually, in 1658, Peter Stuyvesant

at the session of the director-general and council held at Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 4th of March 1658, established ‘Nieuwe Haarlem‘.

NYPD Crime Response Time Still Lags Three Months Post-Protest

The City reports that:

NYPD response times to incidents remain snagged three months after protests against police spurred long delays — while other emergency responders are getting to the scene faster than before the coronavirus took hold.

That’s the conclusion of THE CITY’s comparison of medical, fire and police response times so far in 2020, a year defined by sudden and intense demands on those rushing to incidents.

Starting in late March and running through mid-May, the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a jump in ambulance calls. Then anti-racism protests that peaked in mid June put the Police Department to the test.

Data from the 911 call system shows that the delays have affected every type of NYPD call, including what police call “critical crime in progress” — encompassing armed violent incidents, robberies and burglaries.

Responses to those incidents — measured from the first call to the arrival of the first unit — took an average of 8 minutes and 5 seconds in the last four weeks of August 2020, compared with 6 minutes and 49 seconds during the same period a year earlier.

For more, see: https://www.thecity.nyc/2020/9/14/21437309/nypd-crime-response-time-still-lags-three-months-post-protest

Ask The 2021 Mayoral Candidates Your Questions

While the most important election of our lifetime is now only 47 days away, our city will also be reshaped by the 2021 elections which include electing a new mayor.

The City (an online NYC new organization) is soliciting your questions for mayoral hopefuls.  
Please take a moment and go to:  

https://www.thecity.nyc/politics/2020/9/14/21437265/ask-the-next-mayor-new-york-city-2021-city-hall

and (among other things) please ask the candidates to address the issue of how systemic racism has resulted in an oversaturation of addiction programs being located here, in Harlem and East Harlem, and what (as mayor) they would do to ensure that wealthier and whiter communities take their fair share of new and existing programs.

We want this issue to be on their radar, early in the process.

Racism, Heat, and Barriers to Access

WeAct for Environmental Justice has an interesting paper out on how public access to open, green spaces maps remarkably onto redlined Manhattan:

The heat stressed communities (mapped in dark red) are clearly similar to the redlined map (above):

Correlation is not causation, of course, but it does point to how systemic (and multimodal) the complex issues of racism, history, policy, economics, and more are. All these causes and consequences are not just intertwined, but also reinforcing.

As the authors note:

Northern Manhattan is home to beautiful parks, but many less visible barriers remain, limiting access to these spaces for surrounding residents. Another recent analysis revealed “parks serving primarily nonwhite populations are half the size of parks that serve majority white populations and are five times more crowded.” This poses significant safety challenges to urban residents of color who are turning to these public green spaces to practice social distancing and cool down amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, people of color may be deterred from spending time in green spaces by fear of unfair treatment by police. Other occupants of the green space, namely white people, also pose potential threats to the safety of people of color, as demonstrated by the recent example of Amy Cooper threatening Christian Cooper in Central Park.

For the whole paper and more analysis, see:

https://www.weact.org/2020/08/public-green-spaces-racism-heat-and-barriers-to-access/

Hello Harlem friends, neighbors, and yogis, this could be you! 

Lucia Russett has been teaching outdoor, in-person yoga classes through Harlem Yoga Studio–and they’re now extending their schedule! 

Lucia will be there every Monday starting tomorrow, 9/14, from 5:30-6:45pm, as long as the weather holds. Here are the details:

  • We’ll meet in the NE corner of the park at 124th and Madison. At 5:30, we’ll walk up the path together to the fire watch tower area, which has a quiet, open space for yoga.
  • Bring your own mat. The ground there is paved, so extra padding would be helpful.
  • Sign up in advance on the HYS website.
  • Other park classes (with a rotation of teachers) are Wed. evenings at 5:30, and Sunday and Tuesday mornings (on the grass) at 10.
  • Mats will be spaced; wear a mask until you’re on your mat.
  • http://harlemyogastudio.com/schedule/

Elections and Population Density

With the 2020 elections fast approaching, I wanted to share a fantastic visualization that shows population density. The map is fascinating and allows you to really get a sense of major metropolitan areas and the vast (population) deserts that separate them:

In the illustration above you see us, in New York, and the tail of Long Island tapering out to the east. You can probably make out some of the Ohio cities (2020 battlegrounds) and then Detroit up at the top.

Here is a full view of the US:

And you can look at the high resolution image of it all, here:

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/density-map-full-usa.html

And to see the incredible urban areas of the Indian subcontinent and east Asia:

Click here: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/density-map-full-world.html

More on the map, here: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/3d-mapping-the-worlds-largest-population-densities

Harlem African Burial Ground Project Put On Hold

Patch.com reports that the Harlem African Burial Ground Project is a victim of the NYC budget crisis stemming from COVID-19. It’s not over, but it has stalled:

The burial ground site has been subjected to a "long tradition of disrespect," with the building atop it being used as a beer garden, army barracks, a movie studio and, most recently, an MTA bus depot.
The burial ground site has been subjected to a “long tradition of disrespect,” with the building atop it being used as a beer garden, army barracks, a movie studio and, most recently, an MTA bus depot. (Google Maps)

HARLEM, NY — A long-planned project to construct a memorial at the site of a historic African burial ground on 126th Street has been put on hold due to the pandemic, a community board leader told members this week.

Angel Mescain, district manager of East Harlem’s Community Board 11, said Wednesday that the city’s Economic Development Corporation has put the project “on pause” like many other development projects across the city, which is facing a $9 billion budget deficit due to the coronavirus.

The project has not been canceled, Mescain told CB11’s Land Use Committee, adding that “they’re just not rolling along the same schedule they had anticipated.”

See: https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlem-african-burial-ground-project-put-hold

Harlem Woman Turns 100, Urging Neighbors To Vote, Fill Out Census

From Patch: https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlem-woman-turns-100-urging-neighbors-vote-fill-out-census

Katie Nichson celebrated a century in Harlem on Saturday, commanding her well-wishers to “Get up off your butt and get out and vote!”

“I want people to learn that elections come up not just when there’s number 45 in there,” she said. “No, every time there’s an election, go out and vote, because the community is closer to you than the presidency.”

Community has indeed been the driving force of Nichson’s decades in the neighborhood. A longtime member of Mother AME Zion, she has also served in the neighborhood’s Democratic club since its inception, and is a regular guest at neighborhood community meetings — including one in 2017 where she made news for unloading on Mayor Bill de Blasio over the poor conditions of Harlem’s sidewalks.

Nichson said the importance of civic engagement wasn’t lost on her, as someone born the same year that women — at least some women — were guaranteed the right to vote.

“The fact [is] that at one time, women could not vote,” she said. “Then white women could vote and we couldn’t vote.”

NYC’s Marathon is 50 Years Old

Harlem is often the deciding stretch of the NYC Marathon – where leaders pull away, and dreams are won and shattered. This year, with COVID-19, we are not going to have the NYC Marathon pass through Harlem.

See: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/13/sports/new-york-city-marathon.html