1950 Census, Released

On April 1st, the 1950 US Census was released to the world. US law only releases the detailed/full census details 72 years after the census year. Thus 2022 is the year for the 1950’s census full debut.

If you want to find detailed information about relatives or others, you can start here at this site:


Because the hand-written census sheets have not been transcribed, there is no easy search (yet). You can begin by using the census search page: https://1950census.archives.gov/search/ with these suggestions/parameters:

In my case, I was not interested in people, but rather the building where I live. To start I focused on New York County within New York state:


And clicked on one of the “ED Maps” (Enumeration District Maps) links;

and saw that map P2 showed Harlem:

By zooming in you can find the book you’re looking for:’

Unfortunately, when I finally managed to find the book/sheet I was looking for I got this:

No one had been at home when the census taker had tried to get information. Fortunately, there was a “See Sheet…” that I could then use to find out what was learned in a follow-up visit from a census worker. Sure enough, on an “Out of Order” sheet:

I was able to find out information based on the following headings/questions:

And here’s what I found:

  • 11 people lived in this building, 9 of which were listed as Lodgers
  • 6 men, 5 women (no children – the youngest was 25 years old)
  • 2 people are listed as “White” (one of whom was Italian) and 9 are listed as “Negro”
  • the majority came from the south (South Carolina, Texas, Virginia) while two were born in New York
  • professionally they were dress operators, porters, tailor shop workers, waiters in restaurants and night clubs, hospital attendants, and post office clerks

121st Street Health Fair

All Welcome! June 4th.

Tell The MTA What You Think About the M35 Bus


Dear MTA Bus Customer,

Your input is valuable as my team and I work to improve the customer experience on board buses. The results will help inform decision making and improve service.

This survey should take about five minutes of your valuable time. It will remain open until Tuesday, May 24. Customers who complete our survey will be entered into a drawing to have lunch with me so I can hear your concerns firsthand.

Thank you,
Richard Davey
New York City Transit President

Craftspeople, Doctors, and Domestic Servants in 1880

Mapping Historical New York allows you to look at the geographic distribution of trades in 1850, 1880, and 1910. Given how sparsely Harlem was settled in 1850, it’s really only the 1880 data and beyond that shows clear patterns.

This first map is of Craftsmen in 1880. Note their presence in the Upper East Side and in East Harlem along the river where warehouses, industry, and assorted forms of commerce would have required many skilled laborers.

Doctors and surgeons in 1880, however, are limited to a small part of Harlem, mostly in the brownstone blocks above 125th Street in Central Harlem:

The distribution of Domestic Servants is also very telling in its compactness:

Again, mostly above 125th Street, in Central Harlem.

See more at Mapping Historical New York.

Listening to Harlem

The Harlem Connection is a weekly radio show where a trio of music lovers joins forces with the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce to provide you the artists and the sounds that helped establish Harlem as a cultural Mecca.

Come aboard Friday at 10 PM or Sunday at 3AM on 99.5FM (in NYC) and/or www.WBAI.org/listen-live and/or www.RhythmAndSoulRadio.com (worldwide)… then available on demand via https://WBAI.org/archive (as all past episodes are) under “The Harlem Connection” (filed alphabetically by “T.”)


The impact of COVID-19 will be felt for decades to come. A look at eviction filings in New York show the plummet to near 0 in the early days of the pandemic:

To get a sense of how this graph of 2020 compares to filings in pre-pandemic 2019, see:

Removing 2020 (a highly anomalous year) and comparing pre-pandemic 2019 to the significantly anomalous year of 2021, the significant decline in eviction filings was a defining state for 2021:

As for the geographical distribution on evictions, and for a closer look at how Harlem fared, this map shows the general trend of an increase in eviction filings, the further one travels from Manhattan’s financial district.

The exception was Staten Island, which saw more eviction filings closer to downtown Manhattan.

To see the data for yourself, explore the NYU Furman Center’s amazing portal on eviction:



The People’s Church on East 111th Street had this wonderful example of yarn art on its wall. And truly, we all need more amor.

CB11 Meetings

Public Safety & Transportation Committee Meeting
Tuesday • May 10th • 6:30pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Request for parking regulation change to install “No Standing Anytime” sign at 2290 First Avenue (118th St). The new regulation would facilitate the deliveries for the food distribution operation of Fraternite Notre DameInformational presentation re: Concrete SafarisInformational presentation re: Assertive Community Engagement & Success (ACES)
Land Use, Landmarks & Planning Committee Meeting
Wednesday • May 11th • 6:30pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Update on planned 126th Street Harlem African Burial Ground Memorial and Mixed-Use ProjectUpdate on planned ECF Project at the School of Cooperative Technical Education (Coop Tech) on East 96th Street Committee discussion on the 421a Property Tax Exemption

Speeding and Red Light Cameras

Streetsblog has a fascinating article on how speeding and red light cameras function in light of conversations about bias in policing and traffic enforcement. The map of traffic cameras shows that relative to the rest of the city, few tickets are given in Harlem and East Harlem by these automated systems.

In the map below, darker colors indicate more tickets for speeding and running red lights:

In a more detailed view, the Upper West Side, and the South Bronx both have more tickets:

On the map, you can zoom i n to see the location fo the cameras – their size indicating the number of tickets served from that camera:

“There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done around infrastructure in communities and communities of color. And I would be lying to you if I told you that tickets don’t impact communities in different ways,” he said. “I believe you should follow the law, but those tickets are going to impact a single mom living in public housing differently than somebody who may be making six figures or more a year.”

Just. No.

As seen at Madison/118…

Drive Metro North

If you’ve ever taken Metro North and wondered what the view would be like at the front of the train – driving it – there is a new video game out that allows you to drive a train from Grand Central to Harlem, and then up to White Plains

In the screenshot below you see the inside of Grand Central, before the train departs for Harlem.

The game – which can be livestreamed on Twitch – has some pretty impressive visuals – in the Park Avenue Tunnel, on the Harlem Viaduct, over the bridge to the Bronx, etc. The game was developed by Dovetail Games and is called Train Sim World 2 . Within the game you can choose to drive along the Metro-North’s Harlem line.

In the screenshot below, you are looking south, on Park Avenue towards 98th Street where the trains go into the tunnel to Grand Central.

This intro to the Harlem Line is remarkably beautiful in how it has recreated the experience of riding/observing Metro North:

To read more from Gothamist, see:


New 5G Poles Coming to Harlem

You probably recognize the LinkNYC kiosks that sprang up a few years ago – replacing payphones.

Mayor De Blasio touted them as a way to bridge the digital divide and provide information (advertising) to New Yorkers, even if the map of locations was heavily skewed to the wealthier and more commercial sections of Manhattan:

Now the company that runs LinkNYC – CityBridge – is going to add more kiosks that are outfitted with a 35′ tall 5G tower, so they can bolster flagging advertising revenue with renting 5G broadcasting capability to the major providers. The proposed ‘look’ of this new tower is shown below:

In order to address the digital (access) divide, CityBridge is required to install 90% of the new poles above 96th Street in Manhattan and in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, per the new deal with the city. Among the total of 4,000 structures required to be built, CityBridge is also required to install 739 in 13 so-called “equity” areas.

City officials picked the locations based on their substantial foot traffic, low median incomes and lack of broadband options for local households.

Some have argued that libraries (by comparison) have been more effective than LinkNYC at addressing digital inequity. Libraries provide “the hardware, the software, that connectivity free of charge to anybody who wants to come in their doors or sit on the stoop outside for the Wi-Fi that leaks outside the building.”

The city’s three library systems make 8,500 computer workstations available to the public and offer free Wi-Fi at every branch. Since 2015, they have also lent Wi-Fi hotspots to patrons.


The US Government has a climate and economic justice map of ‘disadvantage’ which looks at census tract information and collates a variety of factors that indicate disadvantage or advantage.

The resulting national map is fascinating to explore to not only see where these census tracts are, but the data that underlies the designation. Communities identified as disadvantaged by the tool are those that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. These communities are at or above the combined thresholds in one or more of eight categories of criteria.

In the map above, the grey areas are designated as disadvantaged. Zooming in (below), you can see (on the right) some of the factors that go into determining disadvantage/advantage, as well as some information about population size, etc:

The full map uses publicly-available, nationally-consistent, datasets. Learn more about the methodology and datasets that were used to identify disadvantaged communities in the current version of the tool on the Methodology & data page. And, see the full map, here:


Harlem Culture Crawl

Harlem Culture Crawl is April 23-24
West Harlem, treasured for its cultural legacy, vibrant multicultural community, and renowned religious and academic institutions, invites visitors to a Culture Crawl through some of the neighborhood’s most treasured cultural institutions over this weekend-long festival. From 11am to 6pm on April 23 to 24, peek inside places like the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Morris Jumel Mansion, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum, and more. Residents and visitors alike will experience how the area’s unique structures and organizations keep Harlem at the helm of culture today.
This event is organized by Harlem One Stop and members of the Harlem Cultural Collaborative, with support from Open House New York. The festival is free of charge; RSVPs are required for tours.Learn more

New York, Stripped Bare

If you’ve ever wondered what NYC would look like, if stripped of all the buildings, here’s the map:

Note how Harlem is mostly in the 5′ – 45′ above sea level range, except for Morningside Heights and St. Nicholas Park and the City College campus area:

And that little dot in the middle of the Harlem Plane? Marcus Garvey Park.

Also, note the gap between Morningside Heights and St. Nicholas Park that goes out to the Hudson River along West 125th Street – ending near the now-defunct Fairway Market.

But what if you added the buildings? What’s taller, the top of the hill in the midst of Staten Island, or Midtown?

Well, it turns out that the Financial District and Midtown, are taller than the highest point on Staten Island.

Even Harlem with high rises like Taino Towers, 5th On The Park, various projects, Lenox Terrace, etc, complicate the landscape resulting in this (admittedly messy) map:

For more details on the work behind these maps, see:


Project Decision

A small, rusting detail near a fantastic mural in Central Harlem:

Project Decision…

Harlem Creek

Before the building boom in the 2nd half of the 19th century, what we call Central Harlem was farmland where people raised cash crops to sell 7 miles south in New York City. It was sleepy, undeveloped and could easily pass for rural New England today:

This 1870 photo is looking northwest from what’s left of the Haerlem Creek around 121st or 122nd Street towards Manhattanville

West 125th Street in the background (the buildings you see are fronting West 125th Street).

The small church on the left is St. Joseph of the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church and still stands at Morningside and West 125th Street.

The handful of buildings on the right are where 43 years later the Apollo Theater would be built.

Harlem Creek originated at a spring on West 120th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway. From there, it flowed downhill, south and eastward, from Morningside Heights onto the Harlem plain.

At 117th Street, Harlem Creek (dark green on the image, above) turned sharply to the south, merging with Montayne’s Rivulet at 109th Street and then turning east, widening into a salt marsh that empties into the Harlem River (more or less at 107th Street).

On the map below, the dark, wiggly line in the bottom left corner is the Harlem Creek just before it was directed into the sewer system, paved over, and forgotten.

A Vintage Button

A vintage button seen on Ebay:


Community Board 11

Meeting Schedule: Week of April 11, 2022
Human Services Committee MeetingMonday • April 11th • 6:00pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Monthly COVID -19 virus updates/testing NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)NYC Health +Hospitals (Metropolitan)Informational discussion re: the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget for FY23 Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala – NYC CouncilInformational update re: Exodus Transitional Community relocation from 2271 3rd Avenue to 2277 3rd Avenue
Youth & Education Committee MeetingTuesday • April 12th • 6:30pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Information presentation: East Harlem Task Force on Racial Inclusion & EquityTiffany McFadden, Human Services Consortium of East HarlemInformational presentation re: iMentoriMentor is an education non-profit and youth mentoring program working to empower first-generation college students to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions through one-on-one mentorships.Request for letter of support for request for federal earmark to support a learning and creative hubSofia Rosario, Centro (The Center for Puerto Rican Studies) at Hunter CollegeMunicipal Budget Process Timeline Update
Land Use, Landmarks & Planning Committee MeetingWednesday • April 13th • 6:00pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Update on planned 125th Street Bus Depot/Harlem Burial Ground Memorial project Fernando Ortiz, NYC EDC Report Card on impact of Mayor DeBlasio’s Housing New York plan in East HarlemGeorge Janes. CB11 Land Use ConsultantCommittee discussion on the 421a Property Tax Exemption
Economic Development & Culture Committee MeetingThursday • April 14th • 6:30pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Update re: Open Restaurants Program judgment George Janes, CB11 Land Use Consultant Update from Assembly Member Inez Dickens’ office re: bill to limit the number of social services in one areaJuneteenth Freedom Fest NYC Partnership RequestStreet Cleaning Funding Request, City Cleanup CorpsCarey King, Uptown Grand CentralCommittee discussion on Mayor’s Blueprint for New York City’s Economic RecoveryQuality of life concerns related to economic development
Executive Committee MeetingThursday • April 15th • 6:30pm
In order to attend this meeting, please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Ratification of Street Co-Naming Request for “Hiram Maristany Way”. Southeast corner of 111th Street and Madison Avenue
Presentation of Street Co-Naming Request in honor of Carmen Maristany Ward. Southwest corner of 111th Street and Park Avenue
Committee discussion on changes made to NYS Open Meetings Law as part of the FY23 NYS Budget
Committee discussion on process to onboard new members
Committee discussion on board member attendance

Sidewalks by Neighborhood

Sidewalks are a critical component of New York City residents’ commute. Ample sidewalks in neighborhoods are important for commuting, businesses, and physical activity. Greater sidewalk area facilitates safer pedestrian traffic that, in turn, attracts businesses and fosters community. “Sidewalk area” measures the percent of a neighborhood that is covered by sidewalk area.

 About the Measure

Sidewalk Area – Percent of Land Area

How Calculated: 

The total sidewalk area (curb-to-building) in km2 within the UHF neighborhood divided by the total land area (excluding inland water bodies). Higher percentages indicate greater sidewalk area, with zero representing no sidewalk area.

For more information, visit http://beh.columbia.edu/.

Source: The Built Environment & Health Project (BEH), Columbia University

The Blinding of a Building

The blinding of a building, as seen on West 128th Street.

Average Commuting Time

The variation in mode share across the city is not surprising given that some neighborhoods have access to many modes (convenient transit, bikeshare, etc.) while others have fewer options and are more car-dependent. Likewise, average commute times vary widely among neighborhoods, from just over a half hour to just under an hour. Residents may face longer travel times due not only to the availability of travel options but proximity to destinations. Average commute trip times increase as you go further from Manhattan, which in part reflects the availability, frequency, and directness of transit.

African American Owned Tower Proposed

Affirmation Tower, which is proposed to become the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, will not only break records for its height, but will also break barriers for people of color all over the region. 

The building was proposed as a response to a request of proposals made by New York City, and it will become the first African American-owned skyscraper in the city’s history. Its development follows the agenda set by last year’s George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, which pushed for inclusion, diversity and racial equality. The developers of the tower, including Cheryl McKissack, president and CEO of McKissack & McKissack, and Craig Livingston, who is a managing partner for Exact Capital, have garnered high-profile tenants for the building, with one of them being the NAACP. 

Read more here: https://www.cityandstateny.com/personality/2021/12/mwbe-developers-aim-sky-high-affirmation-tower/187364/

Get On The Bus!

Join Assemblywoman Dickens and Senator Cleare on the chartered bus to Albany’s 51st Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislators’ Conference: