Racism has determined where people live since colonial times

Racism has always played a role in residential patterns in New York City. When New York City was a Dutch colony, it was just the southern tip of Manhattan. Wall Street got its name from the city’s protective wall.

In 1661, when Black people petitioned the colony for land in the area, they were given land north of the wall, outside of the city proper.

Throughout history, many different practices have shaped racial and residential patterns in New York City. In the 20th century, a practice called redlining made racism a federal policy – with long-lasting repercussions for our housing and our health.

Federal policy drove residential segregation.

In the 1930s, the federal government developed color-coded maps to guide loans to potential home buyers in cities across the U.S.

On these color-coded maps, neighborhoods were divided into 4 categories:

  •  Best
  •  Still desirable
  •  Definitely declining
  •  Hazardous

This classification was clearly rooted in racism, since neighborhood descriptions included statements like:

“Detrimental influences: Infiltration of Negroes. Mixed races.”

The government denied loans to Black and Latino people trying to buy homes in redlined neighborhoods. Instead, these resources went to new White-only suburban communities.

The map below shows how New York City’s neighborhoods were categorized.

This was redlining.

This process became known as “redlining:” systematically denying public and private resources based on where people live, targeting people of color.

Redlining helped drive urban segregation in the 20th century, as new neighborhoods were built for white people while people of color were forced into neighborhoods declared to be “declining.”

Since home ownership is an important way to accrue wealth, redlining drove economic inequality, too – by denying people of color the same opportunities for home ownership that white people had.

East Harlem’s Union Settlement Sues NYC’s Department Of Education

From: Harlem World Magazine

Union Settlement, one of the largest nonprofit early childhood education providers in New York City.

Announced today that it is suing the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to reverse a flawed contract award process that is having a severe adverse impact on young children in East Harlem, as well as their parents and the small businesses that provide early childhood services.

In 2019, DOE issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify organizations to provide early childhood education services throughout New York City.

This included proposals for organizations to operate Family Child Care Networks (FCCNs), which are networks of individuals and small businesses providing child care services in their homes.

Union Settlement has overseen an FCCN for decades, and offered to continue operating that program, overseeing a network of providers serving children ages six weeks old to four years old, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday, 12 months per year (referred to as “extended day/year” services).

Contrary to the terms of the RFP, DOE instead awarded Union Settlement a contract to serve only 3-year-olds, only until 2:30 p.m. each day, and only during the school year (referred to as “school day/year” services).

This violation of the RFP process harms children, families and providers in six different ways:

  • Children make deep connections with caregivers, and are harmed by continuing changes in caregivers.  Allowing FCCN providers to serve children ages from 6 weeks old to 4 years old creates a multi-year period for the child to be with the same early childhood educator, rather than having one individual up to age 3, another at age 3, and another at age 4.
  • Working parents – particularly single parents – need full-day care for their children and need care 12 months per year.  The “school day/year” model does not work for these parents because they have to make alternative arrangements for their children in the afterschool hours, as well as in July, August and during school holidays.
  • School day/year services are also harmful to children, who as noted above benefit greatly by making strong connections with their caregivers, rather than having to transition to someone new every afternoon and during the summer months.
  • The FCCN providers are small businesses offering early childhood education services in their homes. To be financially viable, those small businesses need to take care of children for the entire day, and they cannot afford to shut down their businesses for two months in the summer, and during the many school holidays.
  • Allowing FCCN providers to care for children from 6 weeks to four years old creates a continuum of care not just for the children, but for the providers as well.  Limiting care to just 3-year-olds forces FCCN providers to recruit an entirely new set of children every year, which again undercuts the financial viability of their businesses.
  • Finally, while providers in wealthier neighborhoods can keep their businesses open by bringing in “private pay” children from wealthier families, this is not an option for FCCN providers in low-income communities of color like East Harlem, where most families do not have the financial means to do so.

The process that DOE used to make the FCCN awards violated the clear language of the rules set forth in the RFP, and Union Settlement has made multiple efforts over the past year to resolve this matter, including proposing resolutions that would eliminate all of the harms noted above, without imposing any additional costs on DOE.

Those efforts were unsuccessful, and Union Settlement has now been forced to sue DOE to prevent these harms from occurring.

“I simply do not understand why DOE wants to force litigation in this matter, where the flaws in the decision-making process are so clear, and there is an easy resolution that benefits the children, families, and caregivers, and that costs DOE nothing,” said David Nocenti, Executive Director of Union Settlement.  “I hope that Chancellor Meisha Porter, who was not involved in the original decisions, will take a hard look at this and decide to take action to benefit the children, families and small businesses here in East Harlem.”

“Our goal is to prepare community members to establish and run their own home-based child care businesses which provide a safe and caring learning environment for children,” said Denise Ramos, Union Settlement’s Interim Director of Early Childhood Education. “My heart goes out to the providers, parents, and children who are caught in the middle of this unfair situation that can be easily remedied without cost to DOE.”

“I only have one child enrolled in my program and I usually have six to seven kids.  I am struggling to pay my monthly rent of $3,800, and I was recently served a court order due to my inability to pay because my income is reduced,” said Maria Martinez, a Family Child Care Network provider. “I have successfully operated my child care business for 16 years which allowed me to provide for myself and my sons.  If the DOE does not change the award so I’m able to enroll more children, I will be forced to close my child care business.”

“I am worried about losing my job in retail because I am only able to work limited hours because I don’t have anyone to care for my son after 2:30pm,” said Wendy Diaz, an East Harlem parent.  “As a single mom, I can’t afford to pay the provider out-of-pocket and don’t have anyone else to take care of my son in the afternoons or during the summer when no care is available.”

“DOE’s failure to amend the award is adversely impacting East Harlem, one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York, as it tries to overcome the longstanding health and economic disparities it has always faced, and that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr. Nocenti. “Amending the award will benefit East Harlem children and parents, because this community needs extended-day, extended-year care for children of all ages, and also will benefit the FCCN providers, who need to stay solvent and feed their own families.”

Union Settlement is an on-the-ground resource for East Harlem residents of all ages, and a passionate advocate for the needs of underserved communities.

Established in 1895, Union Settlement provides a broad array of education, wellness and community-building programs to over 10,000 East Harlem residents each year, including early childhood education, afterschool and summer youth programs, college preparation, job readiness, English language classes, behavioral health counseling, small business assistance, senior centers, Meals on Wheels and more.

For more information about Union Settlement, visit www.unionsettlement.org.

No Air Conditioning

The New Woman Behind the Camera at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met has a great exhibit of women photographers that just opened. Among the photographers is Lucy Ashjian who made a number of great photographs of dancers at The Savoy in the 1930’s:

For more on the exhibit, see:

https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2021/new-woman-behind-the-camera

Walking Distance to a Park

How Calculated: 

A map of “walk-to-a-park service areas” from the NYC Parks Department was overlayed onto a map of 2017 population estimates by census tract to calculate the percentage of the population that potentially live within the service area. These percentages were aggregated up to a neighborhood level.

Source: New York City Department of Parks and Recreation,New York City DOHMH population estimates, modified from US Census Bureau inter-censal population estimates

Manhattan 11 DSNY Garage Moving to East 127th Street

The equipment parked and stored at the decrepit garage on 1st Avenue will all move to East 127th Street in the next year or so. The new facility that is being built across from the Proton Center and between 2nd and 3rd Avenues will be open air.

Where Did Eric Adams Campaign

The City newspaper has tabulated the 800 campaign stops that Adams, Kathryn Garcia, Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang made around the five boroughs between April Fools’ Day and Primary Day. After months of seemingly endless online forums, the location of these campaign stops is fascinating and tells you a lot about who they saw as their constituency.

In the map below, you can see Eric Adams’ campaign stops and note the heavy uptown/Harlem numbers:

The circle with the “3” is at the National Action Network headquarters, the “2” is near Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

In this detailed screenshot of upper Manhattan, you can see where Eric Adams campaigned in our community:

As Adams’ campaign staff notes:

Adams grew up in South Jamaica, and voters in the area are exactly the type of constituency he was hoping to attract: Black homeowners who “are active in civic life and deeply concerned about public safety and motivated in this election by serious concern about the decline of the city,” Thies said.

To see the full article, and the interactive maps, see:

https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/7/14/22578035/mapping-nyc-mayoral-campaign-stops

Jazzmobile on Wednesday Evening

A fantastic concert with Jay Hoggard:

https://jayhoggard.com/

Chicken Egg

When NYS’s OASAS agency oversaturates struggling communities with opioid treatment programs it justifies this by looking at addiction rates. What OASAS fails to acknowledge or admit to local community boards and politicians, is that they’ve already oversaturated struggling communities, and want to add more capacity to avoid the more difficult process of equitably locating programs in unserved wealthier neighborhoods.

It’s strange to think of wealthy and white communities as underserved, but the pattern of locating addiction programs in Black and Brown communities, does just that – it keeps addiction programs out of wealthier and whiter neighborhoods.

In the end, is OASAS servicing a need or are they helping to keep struggling communities struggling?

East Harlem business owners and East Harlem residents see that over-concentration brings illegal drugs to our streets and increases crime and reduces our quality of life. Systemic racism as practiced by OASAS, maintains an economic and public safety status quo that benefits underserved wealthy and whiter New York Neighborhoods.

Chocolate from the Harlem Chocolate Factory

A brownstone shaped chocolate bar with food grade gold powder.

2363 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.

Randalls Island

At the base of the Triborough bridge (where the pedestrian walkway starts in Astoria) there is a wonderful, vintage and cast metal map of Randalls Island:

Note the red button on the right-hand side that indicates where you are.

Note how Wards Island was not ‘open’ to the public (greyed out) and had a dock on the east river. There is also a more significant water/marsh/wetland separating the two islands at the time – although admittedly they were physically joined by infill.

The presence of the Wards Island Bridge (at 103rd Street) on this map indicates it dates from after May 18, 1951: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wards_Island_Bridge

The baseball fields (one of which seems to have bleachers) are indicated as 1/4 circle indents.

Downing Stadium – now Icahn – had a more Greco-Roman, half oval set of stands at the time.

Today, the printed map – enamel on fiberglass – looks much different:

With public space on Wards Island, welcoming the public.

Seen on FDB

Mice and Rats!

Yikes!

MacKenzie Scott Donates to El Museo and The Studio Museum

MacKenzie Scott, one of the richest women in the world, promised to keep giving her fortune away “until the safe is empty” following her divorce from Jeff Bezos in 2019. Over the past year, Scott has donated some $6 billion to more than 500 nonprofit organizations, and this week announced a new round of grants worth a combined $2.7 billion. The funds will be distributed to 286 higher education, social justice, and arts organizations working to support marginalized and underserved communities.

FILE – In this March 4, 2018, file photo, MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. Scott, the billionaire philanthropist known for her impromptu multi-billion dollar donations to charities and racial equity causes, announced Tuesday, June 15, 2021, that she has given $2.7 billion to 286 organizations. It is the third round of major philanthropic gifts Scott has made, which together rival the charitable contributions made by the largest foundations. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Among the arts organizations receiving funds are the Studio Museum in Harlem and El Museo del Barrio.

Shootings

Residents of some neighborhoods are at much greater risk of experiencing violence – and its many health effects.

Violence is rooted in historical disinvestment and racism.

Evidence shows that violence results from social structures that limit access to basic needs – structures that are fueled by racism, residential segregation, and neighborhood disinvestment. Where these structures persist, people are exposed to violence. For example, low-income neighborhoods of color are known to be hit the hardest.

This map shows the parts of NYC that were redlined 90 years ago as part of racist housing policy that set off decades of disinvestment and intergenerational poverty.

A map of recent shootings lines up with the heavily redlined areas of the Bronx, Harlem, and northern and eastern Brooklyn – showing clearly how today’s violence is closely related to the ways that racist policies are embedded in our society.

Decades of government and societal disinvestment from practices like redlining means limited opportunity and resources, and results in higher rates of poverty in some neighborhoods.

As a result of this disinvestment, we see a clear relationship between poverty and violence. As a neighborhood’s poverty level increases, so do assaults.

Cars Parked in Front of a Hydrant (with NYPD Placards…) Delay FDNY Response

Two cars with NYPD placards parked on an East Harlem fire hydrant as firefighters rushed to extinguish a brownstone fire. This caused a delay in water as the chauffeur had to maneuver the supply line under and around the cars.

This is a major issue recently with cars blocking nearly every hydrant in the city, not only making them hard or impossible to use , but making them incredibly hard to locate.

When seconds count, these cars could be the difference between life and death.

Risk of Crime

(The risk of crime being indicated by red on the map below)

The map of white-collar crime is a telling one. Most of the criminals commit their crime in midtown or the financial district.

Harlem has a relatively low crime rate by this measure.

To explore where you are most at risk for this form of crime, see:

https://whitecollar.thenewinquiry.com/

Hurricane Season is Upon Us

As the 2021 hurricane season unfolds we should all know what our evacuation ‘zone’ is, so we’re ready to evacuate if necessary. Enter your address below to learn more about your zone and to see if your building is on flood-prone land:

http://maps.nyc.gov/hurricane/

Then make sure to note the location of your local shelters (in the side bar of the map) because we know that electricity, cell phone coverage, and the internet may go down before you have a chance to look these up:

To learn more about what you should be doing and thinking about now, to prepare, see:

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/em/html/know-your-zone/knowyourzone.html

Tupac Would Have Been 50, Today

Tupac Shakur was born Lesane Parish Crooks, on June 16, 1971 in East Halrem. He died on September 13, 1996 and would have been 50, today.

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Juneteenth Block Party