A Librarian From Puerto Rico

Chalkbeat is reporting on the Puerto Rican Librarian who broke the NYPL color barrier in 1921 to be the first Latina librarian in the country’s largest library system.

Pura Belpré was born and raised in Puerto Rico. In 1920, she came to New York City for her sister’s wedding and never went back. In 1921, Belpré was hired by the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library as an “Hispanic Assistant,” a position created to serve the increasing Spanish-speaking population of Harlem. In 1929, she was assigned as a librarian to the 115th Street branch. Later, Belpré was transferred out to the 110th Street Aguilar branch in 1939. 

In 1982, the year she died, Belpré received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Public Library. And every year since 1996, the American Librarian Association has given out the Pura Belpré Award to outstanding works of literature by Latino authors.

Literacy Across Harlem March (10th Annual)

Book Drive & Community Celebration 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.




Capping a decade of reading-related activism, service, and community building, this year’s Literacy Across Harlem March is a fun and meaningful opportunity for Harlemites of all ages to lead for literacy, deepen your knowledge of our community’s rich literary history and landscape, and celebrate Harlem’s identity as a world-renowned hub of literature by and about Black and Brown people.


12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. RALLY FOR READING! Join your neighbors at 12:00 p.m. sharp at your choice of these legendary institutions: El Museo del Barrio (1230 5th Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets) or Sister’s Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center (1942 Amsterdam Avenue at 156th Street). Then get to know your community from a new perspective on an inspiring tour of Harlem’s reading-related landmarks en route to Marcus Garvey Park. Bring two books to march with: a personal favorite (or current “read”) and a gift-quality children’s book (perhaps one of these) to donate to a local homeless shelter.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – CELEBRATE with your neighbors at the Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater, in the heart of Harlem, with hands-on activities for all ages, raffle prizes, and more!

New York, Ukraine

Um, I have to admit this came as a shock when reading news about the shelling of New York while reading a report on the situation in Ukraine. I did a double take on the map, and sure enough, Wikipedia has a page on it:

The settlement first appeared on maps in 1846 under its original name of New York and was then situated in the Yekaterinoslav Governorate of the Russian Empire. The wife of one of the founders was from the United States.[6][7] According to official data, in 1859, the village consisted of 13 households, 45 male residents, 40 female residents, and a factory and was formally named Oleksandrivske.[7][8] The precise origin of the settlement’s name is unclear.[9]

New York’s Crest

Before the war it had a population of 10,000.

Handmaids of Mary

You may remember the convent on the north side of Marcus Garvey Park that was the home for the (predominantly) Black Handmaids of Mary for many years. The building was knocked down and only a field of rubble seemingly remains.

Looking closely in the back right corner, however, you can see a garden raised-bed, a potted tree, and a secluded, outdoor shrine that would have been for private devotion, now forlorn and exposed.

Stop and Swap, Tomorrow


First Annual Jazz Appreciation Jam – Tomorrow

Jazz is an art that has been part of our community since the 1930’s and continues to be appreciated in Harlem to this day. We will continue this tradition Saturday afternoon with State Senator Cleare’s First Annual Jazz Appreciation Jam in honor of jazz legend John Coltrane.

Music will be performed by jazz’s finest artists including; Camille Gaynor, Sweet Lee Odem, Zockia, Yayoi, Patience Higgins and Omar Edwards, who will be playing in the Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater from 1:00pm-7:00pm

National Day of Rememberance Walk

On Sunday, September 25th you are invited to walk with us for the National Day of Remembrance. 

In Harlem/East Harlem we will begin our walk at 112th and 1st Avenue ending at City Hall.  We walk in honor of our friends, family, and community members that were lost to senseless violence and we walk together to send a message that violence is unacceptable. 

We walk together in UNITY!

New Exhibit at Claire Oliver Gallery

Make sure to check out the new exhibit at Claire Oliver Gallery (ACP between 134/135)

Drumming In Marcus Garvey Park, Saturday

Concerts in Marcus Garvey Park

Head to the bandshell for two free evenings of music in Marcus Garvey Park:

  • Friday, Aug. 26, 7 p.m.: CPJF – Jazzmeia Horn and Her Noble Force / Calvin Booker On Tap & Friends in association with Jazzmobile
  • Saturday, Aug. 27, 3 p.m.: CPJF – Terence Blanchard featuring the E-Collective and Turtle Island Quartet / Buster Williams & Something More / NIKARA presents Black Wall Street / Vuyo Sotashe

Spotted Lanternfly Found in Harlem Backyard

An email yesterday alerted Harlem residents that the Spotted Lanternfly has been seen (and squished) in a Harlem backyard. This invasive pest should be killed on sight.

See this from the USDA to learn more:


Head To Marcus Garvey Park

Starting Thursday, an amazing line-up of events is happing at Marcus Garvey Park:

  • Thursday, Aug. 18 7 p.m.: The Last Poets / Impact Repertory Theatre & The Harlem Bomb Shelter / DJ Greg Caz in association with Jazzmobile
  • Friday, Aug. 19, 6 p.m.: OMAR Edwards | Tap Master / LaTasha Barnes Dance in association with Jazzmobile
  • Saturday, Aug. 20, 6 p.m.: MAROONS & SUFFRAGETTES: A GREG TATE TRIBUTE CONCERT CELEBRATING THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF BURNT SUGAR/DANZ A Tate Family program featuring Burnt Sugar/Danz, Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, Harriet Tubman, Resistance Revival Chorus, Bardo Steppers, and DJ Reborn
  • Sunday, Aug. 21, 4 p.m.: Red Alert & friends feat. Case and Wil Traxx

All events are free!

A 1931 Ad From Harlem

Harlem Women Bussed To New Jersey

This film from the Library of Congress shows Harlem women (and one man) bussed to New Jersey during WWII to work in a munition factory.

The gathering is clearly on a winter’s day, with snow on the ground. You can see that the pickup for the war work was at Adam Clayton Powell and 135th Streeet, near the YMCA.

Here is the link the the full newsreel:


Two Alvin Ailey Events In Harlem


Ailey Moves NYC! West African & Hip-Hop Dance Workshop – Jul 31, 2022 : NYC Parks (nycgovparks.org)

What do West African Dance and Hip-Hop have in common? Join Ailey Arts In Education instructors and drummers to experience both dance traditions. Show off your moves in the finale of the workshop—a community circle “dance off.” Everyone can dance with Ailey! 


Ailey – Rooftop Films

Ailey – Rooftop FilmsAlvin Ailey was a trailblazing pioneer who found salvation through dance. Ailey traces the full contours of this brilliant and enigmatic man whose search for the truth in movement resulted in enduring choreography that centers on the Black American experience with grace, strength, and unparalleled beauty. Told through Ailey’s own words and featuring evocative archival footage and interviews …rooftopfilms.com

Get High-Speed Wifi, Free!

Find out how to receive FREEor REDUCED internet service The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benefit program providing monthly discounts on internet service and devices for eligible households. This program is a big step forward in digital equity and puts federal broadband assistance on a semi-permanent footing for the first time.

Come learn how to enroll in the program and have your questions answered! July 28th, 6:00 PM

Silicon Harlem
2785 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, New York, NY 10039

For Boarding of Horses

Ebay has a great receipt for the boarding of horses in East Harlem in 1898.

Note that there were less than 100 telephones in Harlem at the time (the number to call in this case was “74”).

The rate was $22.50/month ($18.72 of which had been paid by The Department of Bridges) which was certainly not cheap at the time but would have included food for the horse as well as a stall.

To see the listing, click here.

Free Concert in The Harlem Rose Garden

Famoro Dioubate is an esteemed griot, an oral historian-musician from Guinea, West Africa. He is a master of the balafon (xylophone), a court instrument dating to the founding of the Mande Empire in the year 1235. In 1998, he moved to New York City, where he has been active as a bandleader, music arranger, composer, teacher, and featured artist at traditional West African events. He founded his band Kakande in 2002. When he released his first CD in 2008 he received the support of the iconic Mory Kanté, who joined Kakande on their East Coast release tour. Kakande is an 8-piece band featuring some of the most talented musicians of New York City,

Wednesday, July 20th. 6:00 PM

Go To Marcus Garvey Park to See: Twelfth Night!

For an amazing, world-class theatrical (and dance and musical…) experience, you’ve got to make sure to check out the Classical Theater of Harlem’s Twelfth Night.

The staging is incredible, and its Afro-Futurist aesthetic is spell-binding.

Performances end on July 29th.

BIG TRUCKS (on Randall’s Island)

Join RIPA for Big Truck Day this Saturday, July 16 from 12 – 3 PM and get an up-close look at the incredible vehicles that you see every day all over New York City! Trucks of all sizes will be on site including: a TBTA tunnel brush truck, FDNY fire trucks and ambulance, a DSNY garbage truck, a NYPD bomb defusal truck with the robot, and more! You might even get a chance to sit behind the wheel of a fire truck! This is a free event.

There will also be a free tour of the New York City Fire Department Training Academy at Randall’s Island Park at 1 PM! Registration is required.

Location: Lot A by Icahn Stadium

Africa Center + MOFAD

Make sure to head down to 5th and 110th Street to see the collaboration between the Africa Center and the Museum of Food and Drink, before the current exhibition closes:

The exhibit – African/American: Making the Nation’s Table – celebrates the contribution of African Americans to the nation’s culinary culture (both historic and ongoing). By focusing on Black foodways, the exhibit argues that all Americans have experienced the impact African Americans have had on farming, cooking, drinking, and where/what we eat.

The exhibit begins with the contributions of enslaved Africans and flows through to Black entrepreneurs in the food space, today.

Opera in MGP

Make sure to head over to Marcus Garvey Park on July 16th at 7:00 PM for Harlem’s Opera Festival 2022.

Go Africa Carnival 2022

Saturday, July 16, 2022 @ 10:00am
116th Street, btwn Adam Clayton Powell Bvd. (7th Ave) & Frederick Douglass Blvd. (8th Ave), New York
Presented by Go Africa Network Inc.

Shakespeare Coming to Marcus Garvey Park

The Classical Theatre of Harlem
announced casting for its upcoming production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at Marcus Garvey Park – July 5-29. The play will be free to the public and reservations can be made starting today.

Continuing CTH’s mission to place diversity at the forefront of their performances, this interpretation of Twelfth Night will engage with the global conversation around equity and inclusion. It features a majority-Black team of artists lead by director Carl Cofield, CTH’s Associate Artistic Director.

“With its Afrofuturistic aesthetic and diverse team of artists, our production of Twelfth Night will tackle the global conversation around equity, diversity, and inclusion,” said Cofield. “I look forward to showing audiences what the magical world of Illyria can teach us here and now.”

Kara Young, who will be playing Viola in the production, adds, “This is for Harlem, this is for my place of birth, this is for the community, especially for the people who are still here.”

Harlem Blue – Now in Cans

The story goes that during Prohibition, there was a speakeasy in Harlem that made its own house beer in the basement. Whenever a new keg was tapped, they’d put on the blue light out front to let everyone know. This story inspired Julian Riley to start his beer company, Harlem Blue. “The pride and energy of beaming a blue light is what anchors everything we do,” says Riley.

Brewing for several years now, Harlem Blue has finally released its top-selling craft beers in cans for the first time ever.

Founder Julian Riley with new 6-pack

“There’s before COVID and after COVID,” says Riley, also CEO of Harlem Blue. “Before COVID, we were only available on draft and largely serving bars and restaurants uptown,” as Harlem’s top-selling local craft on draft. Hot spots like Harlem Tavern, Red Rooster, Harlem Hops and Corner Social, couldn’t pour the pints fast enough.

Like many other small breweries, the hospitality shutdown was very challenging. “We couldn’t sell kegs and that was 100% of our business,” says Riley. “So, I chose to overhaul our model, fix things that needed fixing, and re-startup Harlem Blue with the launch of our cans.” Riley is raising his young family in Harlem and started Harlem Blue to appeal to a wider demographic beyond the niche hipster stereotype. “We want to make a bigger tent. More of a casual craft beer, yet known for our flavor.”

Riley started his entrepreneurial road the old-fashioned way. “I depleted all my personal savings, maxed out credit cards, and raised every penny I could from friends and family, to bootstrap this effort. We’re just getting started and I love every sip of it.”

Harlem Blue Beer

The new 12oz cans are eye-catching and fastly finding placement throughout New York City. From bars, restaurants and bodegas all across uptown Manhattan, to retailers like Westside Markets, Key Foods, Pioneers, Foodtowns, and soon Wholefoods and Trader Joes. (There’s a retailer locator on the website.) This summer you can also find Harlem Blue at all five NYC locations of Luke’s Lobster. Plus, the brewery now offers direct-to-home delivery throughout New York and to select other states. The company is working on a Harlem based taproom -with promised updates soon.

About Harlem Blue

Launched in 2016, Harlem Blue is a Harlem-based, locally brewed, Black-owned, premium beer company that seeks to reimagine craft beer to reflect the hustle of living in New York City.

Community Clean-Up – MXBB

Metropolitan Hospital’s Flood Wall Resiliency Project

On May 25, 2022, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), NYC Health + Hospitals, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray, and community members broke ground for a new flood protection system project at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan in East Harlem. 

The project includes a perimeter flood wall and an upgraded storm water pumping system. The wall will vary in height from eight to twelve feet, and includes resilient floodgates of up to 35 feet wide. The system is designed to keep out water from the hospital campus, which will allow for minimized damage and continued operations in the event of a major storm. Additional improvements will be made to protect loading docks, and to lighting, erosion control, fire protection and security. The basement walls will be hardened and areas of the hospital campus will be reconfigured to support these new features. 

Local artist Miguel Luciano was selected by a committee from NYCEDC, Health + Hospitals, the Department of Cultural Affairs and community members to create artwork for the design of the flood wall. The artwork will integrate infrastructure improvements into the community. 

The project is expected to cost $120 million and will be funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Construction is expected to go until summer 2024. For updates on the project, click here

Mayor Eric Adams stated, “The climate crisis is here, and we must ensure that New York City is ready for more frequent and more extreme weather events, especially at critical infrastructure sites, like our hospitals. This flood resiliency project shows federal, state, and city government partnership at its best — getting stuff done to protect New Yorkers. This flood wall will ensure the health care heroes at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan can continue fully serving their patients and helping them get better for generations to come.”

NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan Chief Executive Office Cristina Contreras stated, “We are grateful for the partnership with both the federal and local government to build a stronger and more resilient protection for our hospital. This comprehensive and innovative infrastructure project will mitigate the weaknesses exposed by Superstorm Sandy and provide our staff with the peace of mind of knowing that if we should experience any future natural weather disasters, the hospital and the community will be protected, and they can focus on what they do best – providing high-quality care for our patients and their families.”

Fathers’ Day is Harlem’s Skyscraper Classic Day

On June 19th, come out to Marcus Garvey Park to watch top talent in cycling do fast-paced loops in Harlem’s Skyscraper Classic Race.

This will be the 47th running of this cycling race.

The excitement starts at 9 and goes to 4pm

Say Their Names 2022


Friday, June 17th
12-3 PM on NW lawn
New York Public Library, Harlem Branch and Studio Museum in Harlem,
with children’s storytime, giveaways and tour/talk about the Thomas J. Price
sculpture curated by the Studio Museum. 

3:15 – 7:30 PM“Say Their Names” by Poet Gold, Suprina & Sounds of Heritage
In recognition of the lives taken by racism including those recently lost in Buffalo, NY and
Uvalde, Texas. Interactive workshops, Silent Processional through the park, and on-stage
performance preceding film screening. Co-sponsors Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and NYC Parks


3:15 – 4:00 & 4:15 – 5 PM Walkway outside NW Lawn – Look for Themis the 9 foot Puppet. 
Poet Gold’s Dream Out Loud poetry workshop designed to explore how one can be a “Beacon of Change” in the face of oppression and to create poetry that fosters empowerment and raises the voice for social equity. Participants are encouraged to address loss by adding the names of those lost due to racist acts to the cape of Themis, a giant 9 ft. living sculpture created by artist, Suprina.

6 – 7 PM DJ Boogie Blind

7:00 PM Procession line-up Walkway outside NW lawn

Community members line-up for silent procession through the park with Themis wearing the cape on which names from the workshops were added led by Poet Gold, Suprina, and Sounds of Heritage.

7:25 PM PROCESSIONAL arrives in orchestra pit of the Amphitheater

7:30 PM Pre Performance on stage by Poet Gold and Sounds Of Heritage

8 PM at Amphitheater Outdoor screening of Questlove’s Oscar®-winning documentary, “Summer of Soul,” presented by Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage.

Saturday, June 18th

12-3 PM at NW lawn   NYPL Harlem and Studio Museum with children’s storytime,
giveaways and tour/talk about the Thomas J. Price sculpture. 

5:30 – 6:30 PM at Richard Rodgers Amphitheater   
Pre-show conversation with the Federation of Black Cowboys and come meet their horses 

7 PM at Amphitheater  CROSS THAT RIVER
Join the Federation of Black Cowboys and the Federation of Black Cowboys and then Harlem’s own star Allan Harris – globally- renowned for his jazz vocals, guitar and songwriting
in the music & theatrical storytelling of Blu, who runs away from slavery to become a cowboy out west.
Did you know that 1 in 4 cowboys were Black men? Presented by NYC ParksCity College Center for the ArtsJazzmobile and Love Productions.