Summer of Soul Redux?

Summer Of Soul (… Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), the Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson-directed film that won the Oscar and the Grammy for documenting 1969’s now-famed Harlem Cultural Festival, has inspired a reboot of the landmark music event.

Ambassador Digital Magazine editor-in-chief Musa Jackson, who attended the 1969 event and appeared in Summer of Soul, said Tuesday that he, BNP Advisory Group strategist Nikoa Evans and event producer and Captivate Marketing Group president Yvonne McNair are teaming to launch the Harlem Festival of Culture in the summer of 2023.

The multi-day outdoor concert event will be a reimagining of the 1969 fest and take place in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, where the original took place when it was known as Mount Morris Park. Official dates have not yet been announced.

“The original event was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that I will never forget,” Jackson told Billboard. “With this initiative, we want to create something that evokes that same sense of pride in our community that I felt on that special day in 1969. We want to authentically encapsulate the full scope: the energy, the music, the culture. We want people to understand that this festival is being built by the people who are from, live and work in this community.”

Photography at the Schomburg

Make sure to check out Been/Seen – an exhibit of historical and contemporary photography at the Schomburg Library Gallery – on display now.

This exhibit juxtaposes classic images in the Schomburg’s collection with new work.

Compost Project Launch

May 14th at 3:00 PM

Abyssinian Tot Lot at 130 West 139th Street

MMPCIA Meeting on Tuesday

Join MMPCIA on Tuesday at 6:00 PM

Here’s the link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86847234917

NYC’s Landmarks Preservation Commission

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) regulates what can and cannot be built/altered in historic districts across the city. The Historic Districts Council (HDC) reviews every public proposal to the city’s landmarks and historic districts and provides testimony on whether or not HDC believes the architectural changes should be changed or supported.

An empty lot, formerly occupied by a neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by Cleverdon & Putzel and built in 1885, and demolished between c. 1940 and 1980 has an application is to construct a new building at 137 West 131st Street in Central Harlem – part of the West 130-132nd Street Historic District.

HDC writes:

HDCis generally comfortable with this proposal but we find two items to be in need of modification. First, the proposed windows should be aluminum-clad wood windows, these will provide finer detailing more appropriate to a house of this scale. Second, we question the need for the bulkhead on top of the roof top extension. We believe that the code does not require this bulkhead and that the requirement for rooftop access could be accomplished with a steel ladder on the front of the extension. We ask that the applicant verify this understanding as the bulkhead adds an awkward element to an already excessive protrusion.

Exhibit at Kente Royal Gallery

Make sure to check out the current exhibit at Kente Royal Gallery:

2373 ADAM CLAYTON POWELL JR BLVD NEW YORK NY 10030
Wednesday – Friday
2pm – 8pm
Saturday & Sunday 12pm to 8pm
[email protected]

Pelham Fritz Center Has Re-Opened

The Pelham Fritz Recreation Center has reopened In Marcus Garvey Park after a 2+ year hiatus!

During the height of the pandemic, the Center was repurposed as a food distribution hub in support of COVID-19-related services. The center remained closed while they made improvements to the building—including reconstruction of the front lobby, retaining walls, and park entrance.

The center now features a new vestibule, new signage, and front windows, and enhanced ADA accessibility.

They’re excited to welcome members back and they’re inviting the Harlem community to join.

Membership is free for New Yorkers 24 years and under and low-cost for adults and seniors.

Stoop Sale Tomorrow at 10:00

Tomorrow, May 1st is Stoop Sale Day

Come bargain hunting for antiques, toys, clothes, furniture, household items, and wonderful things that residents in the Mount Morris Historic District Community are selling or giving away. Spread the word in your community.

Where: Mount Morris Park Historic District (116th – 125th Street from Madison to Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.)

Time: 10 am – 3 pm
Link to updated map of houses/buildings hosting a sale: https://rebrand.ly/6re

Juneteenth Celebration

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN for the 3rd Annual Juneteenth 5K Run/Walk/Roll this year in Central Park. The event will end with tours of Seneca Village.

Register: https://events.elitefeats.com/22juneteenth

Can’t join us in person? Sign up to participate VIRTUALLY!

This event is a joyful reclaiming of space and history. We hope you will join us!

All proceeds from the Juneteenth March go towards the building fund of the Harlem Center. The center is a 10-year effort started by a coalition of New York-centered community-based organizations (CBOs).

Let’s continue to evolve the 21st Century towards #Inclusionism.

WeOweUS

Stoop Sale on Sunday

The weekend weather looks amazing. Hope you can come out to the neighborhood-wide stoop sale:

Demolished Church Lot and Trash

Before the pandemic, the brownstone Metropolitan Church at the corner of 126 and Madison was demolished and a fenced-off rubble lot was left. A number of neighbors have complained about dumping and trash build-up on East 126th Street.

If you see trash building up, please contact 311 immediately:

https://portal.311.nyc.gov/article/?kanumber=KA-02097

You can also contact the company who should be regularly cleaning the sidewalk:

1975 Management: Matt Frank – 516-369-3095

Dog Run Volunteers Needed

JOIN US ON
SUNDAY, MAY 1 @ 9 AM – 1 PM

for our Spring Cleaning event.  Tasks will include spreading mulch, raking, weeding, and painting.  These cleanup events are not just an opportunity to tidy up and beautify our park, it’s an opportunity to get to know your neighbors.  As usual, we will provide hand, sanitizer, face masks and gloves, and there will be coffee and breakfast treats.

The dog park is maintained solely by volunteers, and is funded by charitable donations.  If you are unable to participate in this event, please consider supporting our efforts by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance.  When donating, please make sure to indicate that your donation is to support the Dog Park.  

  For more information, or to get more involved, 
email [email protected]

See you there!

MMPCIA Stoop Sale

May 1st is MMPCIA’s Stoop Sale Day!

See Stan Squirewell at Claire Oliver Gallery

Make sure to head over to the Claire Oliver Gallery (2288 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard at 134th – www.claireoliver.com) to check out Stan Squirewell’s premiere solo exhibition.

Squirewell’s work examines who curates and controls the narratives that become accepted as history; from what perspective is history written, whose stories are told, and whose are neglected?

“As a child of the hip hop era, born in the 70s, growing up in the 80s and 90s, I look at my work as almost remixing, crate-digging, but my crates are museums, private collections, and historical narratives,” states Squirewell. “I remix my pieces according to my own way of writing history and who we are as people. My work exists as a veil between the spiritual and real world, it’s a bridge that offers a connection between the two.”

The works on display are founded on the concept of rebuilding identity using painting, photography and sculpture.

Squirewell uses found historic photographs of Black people, whose complex human identities have been erased either through time or through design, as a starting point. He then layers collage, painting and photography with each new element undergoing a ritualized burning.

Squirewell’s own family history has been a driving influence for the artist in his exploration of how we are taught simplified and singular narratives that disregard the complexities of contemporary identity.

Gym Equipment

There has been a lot of media coverage of the removal of gym equipment near the basketball courts in Marcus Garvey Park this past week. Even the New York Times has weighed in on the issue:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/22/nyregion/marcus-garvey-park-harlem.html

Back in January, the Harlem Neighborhood Block Association was invited to meet with the NYC Parks Commissioner about Marcus Garvey Park, and our request/vision for improving this amazing space. Our block association specifically asked (in writing) for:

…more support for the gym users near the basketball courts (a conversation about equipment or facilities, etc.)

and reiterated this in the Zoom call.

(if you cannot get behind the NYT paywall, you can read the text, here: https://www.thebharatexpressnews.com/its-gym-has-made-a-harlem-park-special-city-officials-tore-it-down/ )

25th Precinct Community Council Meeting, Tonight

The 25th Precinct’s monthly Community Council Meeting is tonight –  April 20th at 6 PM

There is a location change – instead of meeting at the Precinct, the meeting will be held at Bethel Gospel Assembly – located at 120th Street between Madison and 5th Avenues.  Please be prepared to stop at the security area to sign in. 

This meeting will NOT be a meeting focused on the removal of the workout equipment from Marcus Garvey.  We will allow space to discuss just as we do with other topics.  The park has two separate alliances that are working on this and CB11 has a Parks and Recreation Committee as well who I am sure will tackle the subject.  Our point of having this as a topic is to ensure that we are discussing ways to bridge the gap and work better together. 

There will be special guests there to answer questions and give some feedback about the topic.  But as you all know there are a ton of things happening in our community around public safety and we want to be mindful that we are giving adequate time to get through those topics.

Please remember to fill out the form and I will be sending out the zoom link this evening to all those who have requested it.    https://forms.gle/zvSjQd8CCsf7KYkA9

Lost Church

Looking at the N/W corner of 125th Street and Madison, you immediately see the Geoffrey Canada Building – the flagship of Harlem Children’s Zone.

For those of you who remember the 80’s, you may also remember that this part of 125th Street was where celebrities wanting the some of Dapper Dan’s mystique, came by to his showroom (often after hours for private fitting/shopping). Think Run DMC, Mike Tyson, Salt and Pepa, LL Cool J, Bobby Brown, and more.

Dapper Dan’s boutique – 43 East 125th Street, was precisely where a former brownstone church anchored the block between Madison and 5th in the 19th century:

Note the round arched windows on the 2nd floor of the apartment building at the N/W corner of Madison/125th Street:

And then look at a photo of Dapper Dan’s Boutique:

and the detail in the top right:

The church that was torn down, was the Harlem Presbyterian Church and was organized in the 1840s. In 1872 the church moved to East 125th Street, between Fourth and Fifth Avenues into a modest two-story structure contained a lecture room on the first floor, and the second story was for the Sunday-school room.

On April 29, 1873, the cornerstone was laid for the church edifice you see in the post card below:

In 1915, the congregation merged and moved to New York Presbyterian Church, located at 15 Mount Morris Park West, and was renamed Harlem–New York Presbyterian Church. The old building on 125th Street was purchased in 1905 by the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, who remained there until “rapidly changing demographics in the area” caused the white church to abandon the location in 1919 and make plans to move to their present location on Park Avenue. In June 1921, the property was sold to “a group of negroes” that planned to open it as a “Colored Baptist Tabernacle” on July 3. 

The New York TImes (June 24, 1921) reported:

“The purchase of the property for $185,000 was of profound interest to Harlem business men when it was announced yesterday. The deal is the largest real estate transaction in which negroes have figured as buyers south of 128th Street and was regarded as marking a decided southern trend in the ownership and activities of negroes in Harlem.”

In 1942, Harlem Presbyterian merged with Rutgers Presbyterian Church, located at 236 West 73rd Street near Broadway. The old church on Mount Morris Park West became Mount Morris–Ascension Presbyterian Church.

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:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/144438853174?mkevt=1&mkpid=0&emsid=e11021.m5055.l9429&mkcid=7&ch=osgood&euid=91b6a9057ea64eb8b684f4a5ba50604d&bu=43000789878&ut=RU&osub=-1%7E1&crd=20220301044450&segname=11021&sojTags=ch%3Dch%2Cbu%3Dbu%2Cut%3Dut%2Cosub%3Dosub%2Ccrd%3Dcrd%2Csegname%3Dsegname%2Cchnl%3Dmkcid

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

Congressman Espaillat Announces A Plan For 125th Street In Collaboration With Mayor Eric Adams

Harlemites have been at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic for two years, hard hit by the immediate health emergency and the longstanding challenges that the pandemic underscored. On our road to recovery, we must address High unemployment, rising gun violence, a houseless and affordability housing crisis, food insecurity, systemic mental health and psychiatric care failures, poor sanitation, and inadequate access to open spaces.

I am working in collaboration with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, local elected officials and community stakeholders to address the ongoing needs of our community and enhance the safety of West and East Harlem through criminal justice and health reform.

(photo: Espaillat tour with Mayor Adams, March 2022)

In coordination with key local stakeholders, the following suggestions to help address some of these issues have been put forth:

1.         Amplify Neighborhood Safety Teams in West and East Harlem.  

2.         Reduction of Methadone Clinics and other related services in the 125th Street corridor by no less than 50%. 

3.         Crack down on the “Iron Pipeline” and “Ghost Guns” in the 125th Street Corridor.

4.         Increase Violence Interrupters in the 125th Street Corridor – specifically in neighborhoods that currently have few or none. 

5.         Establish additional bus routes from Randall’s and Wards Islands.  

6.         Support Mental Health Assistance throughout West and East Harlem and Enhance Homeless Services. 

7.         The establishment of an ad-hoc committee composed of senior leadership members of the offices of the Mayor, Representative Espaillat and the Governor, key agencies including OASAS and DOHMH, MTA, DOT, NYCT, DSNY, law enforcement including the NYPD and the Manhattan DA, and lastly- elected officials and key stakeholders on 125th street. 

8.         Engage and Support Youth in the 125th Street Corridor. 

9.         Mitigate Financial Stress in the 125th Street Corridor.  

10.      Increase the number of Park Enforcement Patrol officers at ART Park, Dr. Ronald McNair and Marcus Garvey parks to help discourage illicit activity and encourage a safe welcoming open space environment. 

Sincerely,

Image

Adriano Espaillat
Member of Congress

============================

Los residentes de Harlem han estado en la primera línea de la pandemia de COVID-19 durante dos años, y han sido muy afectados por la emergencia sanitaria inmediata y los desafíos de larga data que subrayó la pandemia. En nuestro camino hacia la recuperación, debemos abordar los índices alto de desempleo, el aumento de la violencia con armas de fuego, una crisis de viviendas asequibles y de personas desamparadas, la inseguridad alimentaria, las fallas sistémicas en la atención psiquiátrica y de salud mental, el saneamiento deficiente y el acceso inadecuado a espacios abiertos.

Estoy trabajando en colaboración con el alcalde de la Ciudad de Nueva York, Eric Adams, los funcionarios electos locales y las partes interesadas de la comunidad para abordar las necesidades actuales de nuestra comunidad y mejorar la seguridad en el Oeste y el Este de Harlem a través de reformas de la justicia penal y de la salud.

En coordinación con participantes locales clave, se han presentado las siguientes sugerencias para ayudar a abordar algunos de estos problemas:

1.         Ampliar los Equipos de Seguridad Vecinal en el Oeste y el Este de Harlem.

2.         Reducción de clínicas de metadona y otros servicios relacionados en el corredor de la calle 125.

3.         Tomar medidas enérgicas contra la “Iron Pipeline” (ruta de contrabando de armas ilegales) y las “Armas indetectables” en el Corredor de la calle 125.

4.         Aumentar los Interruptores de la Violencia en el corredor de la calle 125, específicamente en los vecindarios que actualmente tienen pocos o ninguno de estos servicios.

5.         Establecer rutas de autobuses adicionales desde Randall’s y Wards Island

6.         Apoyar la asistencia de salud mental en todo el Oeste y Este de Harlem y mejorar los servicios para personas desamparadas.

7.         El establecimiento de un comité ad-hoc compuesto por interesados clave en la calle 125, miembros de las oficinas del alcalde, la gobernadora y yo, agencias clave que incluyen OASAS, DOHMH, MTA, DOT, NYCT, DSNY, agencias de aplicación de la ley, incluyendo el NYPD y el fiscal de distrito de Manhattan y, por último, los funcionarios electos locales.

8.         Involucrar y apoyar a los jóvenes en el corredor de la calle 125 a través de servicios de mejora de la educación y el empleo.

9.         Mitigar el estrés financiero en el corredor de la calle 125 a través de oportunidades económicas.

10.       Aumentar el número de agentes de la Patrulla de Vigilancia de Parques en los parques ART, Dr. Ronald McNair y Marcus Garvey para fomentar un ambiente de espacio abierto seguro y acogedor.

Atentamente,
Image

Adriano Espaillat
Miembro del Congreso

Construction Has Topped Off

Construction on a massive new building east of the State Office Building.