Hart Island

New York City’s Hart Island is the site of the city’s potter’s field. During 2020, over 2,000 COVID-19 victims were buried here. The City has a fantastic piece on the island and the history of burials there (coproduced with Columbia University’s School of Journalism).

2021 analysis by Columbia Journalism School’s Stabile Center and THE CITY found that over 2,300 New Yorkers were buried on Hart Island in 2020. That’s more burials than any year during the AIDS epidemic, another recent health crisis.

Stabile and THE CITY also found that New York City is on pace to bury 1 in 10 Covid-19 victims on the island.

The analysis shows who is more likely to be buried on Hart Island: Black and Latino residents, frontline workers and those with little access to health care.

Cellar Access

Older 19th century or early 20th century buildings sometimes included a pivoting and braced hook like this that allowed objects to be slowly lowered or raised into/out of the cellar. Bags of coal, furniture, and other material would be tied to a rope that would be draped over the hook you see here.

Who shoulders the burden of housing disrepair?

Housing disrepair goes far beyond inconvenience or mess. Disrepair can harm health.

As a result of the segregation and disinvestment caused by redlining, Black and Latino people have less access to healthy housing. They are more likely to live in buildings that have health-threatening maintenance issues.

These disparities persist across income levels.

Black and Latino people have less access to healthy housing, but this isn’t due to higher poverty rates in these populations. Black and Latino people with higher incomes are also more likely to live in buildings with serious maintenance issues – further suggesting that racism is behind these disparities.

These healthy housing problems can’t be fixed by a little bit of tidying up – they stem from chronic neglect of maintenance by building management and landlords, and old housing stock in disrepair after decades of disinvestment.

And the disparities in access to healthy housing are related to real estate practices that maintain segregation.

To see disrepair by income:

http://a816-dohbesp.nyc.gov/IndicatorPublic/Closerlook/housing/index.html

Delta is Here! Get Vaccinated

CB11 Wants to Hear From You

Manhattan CB11 is seeking your input to help determine East Harlem’s greatest needs and budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. You can participate in the annual budget process by filling out the Public Input Survey today! We will be accepting responses through August 22, 2021. 
Access the survey here: https://forms.gle/qHEr3WvVrxcH2kNa6

For more information, please contact the community board office at
(212)831-8929 or [email protected].

Compost Collection is Coming (in the Fall)

Curbside composting will return to NYC beginning fall 2021!

We will collect food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard waste and turn it into compost or renewable energy. 

Residents must sign up for this voluntary service through a simple online form or by calling 311. 

You will be able to sign up the first week of August, and service will start in the fall on a rolling basis. Learn more at nyc.gov/curbsidecomposting

To be notified when the curbside composting sign-up form is available, register at nyc.gov/curbsidecomposting.  
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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.

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.

Tax Cut Today (Thanks, Democrats)

On Thursday, July 15, American working families get a huge tax cut. On that day, initial payments go out to 92% of American families with children: $250-$300 per month, per child, so that a family with three kids, aged two, four, and ten, will get $10.200 per year. (For that family it’s $850/month, on the 15th of every month, until the family files its 2021 tax-year taxes, at which time the family will receive the rest of the $10.200 in one lump sum.

Keep in mind that this is actual money paid to families, not some mere tax deduction.

It is real money. For real people. More than $10,000 per year for that family of five.

This is a huge tax cut for families who have not benefited from tax cuts that previously went mostly to millionaires, billionaires and big corporations. 

The expanded child tax credit affects even people who have not had to file taxes in the past, or have little or no income. (Links below).

This tax cut encourages a generational transformation, lifting almost half of poor American children out of poverty–childhood poverty that breeds adult poverty, educational failure, decreased productivity, disease, crime, incarceration, and premature death. 

Until this week, America has had a dismal, shameful record of childhood poverty–far worse than other wealthy nations. No more; this tax cut will change American lives for the better, for generations. What it is, is a legitimate shot at the American dream, for families that never really had hope of achieving it.

This tax cut/tax credit is part of the American Rescue Plan. President Biden signed it. And not a single Republican voted for it.

Details in links below.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/child-tax-credit/

https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021

https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/938

Alice Neel at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A 1958 painting at the Alice Neel show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Titled, Sunset in East Harlem

https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2021/alice-neel

NYC’s Department of Health Approves Bringing More Men and Women In Crisis Into East Harlem

You may have heard of Project Renewal’s Support and Connection Center (SCC) which was located on East 116th Street. This innovative project was supposed to allow officers of the 25th Precinct to bring men and women experiencing a crisis, into a supportive dormitory where trained staff members could help with a wide range of resources and assistance (both short and long term).

At a community advisory board meeting, it was announced that the Department of Health (DOHMH) had expanded the catchment area of the East Harlem pilot project to include the 28th and 32nd Precincts. This move was explained by a Department of Health official as a way to “address the underutilization of the beds.”

There was no mention that this move may be in response to the scathing press from May of this year that noted:

East Harlem has served just 45 people — coming out to $1.1 million per visit.

Here is the full article in The City:

https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/5/9/22426250/thrive-nyc-nypd-diversion-centers-for-mentally-ill-sit-empty

The press coverage of the SCC debacle was a huge blow to New York’s DOHMH and the administration of Mayor Deblasio. Many members of HBNA noted how yet again New Yorkers paid millions for a mental health program with little to no result.

To see the full minutes of the SCC CAB meeting and the justification for bringing more men and women in crisis to East Harlem, see:

As a member of the SCC CAB I have written the following response:

Hello Daylyn, 
Thank you for these minutes.

  1. Could we please have a discussion at the next CAB meeting centered on how the decision by DOHMH to take on referrals from neighboring precincts contributes to (bureaucratic) systems of structural racism?  In particular, I would like to hear how the decision by DOHMH to add referrals from neighboring precincts helps an already oversaturated and already extremely vulnerable community.  Perhaps we could all take a look at: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/dpho/race-to-justice-action-kit-impacts-of-racism-on-health.pdf and discuss this in light of the NYC Department of Health’s “Race to Justice internal reform effort to help [their] staff learn what they can do to better address racial health gaps and improve health outcomes” (see: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/race-to-justice.page)
  2. I would also like to know if when SCC was being proposed and presented to the East Harlem community, was it made clear that the East Harlem SCC would/could take on referrals from neighboring precincts?
  3. Lastly, I would like to know if this is now the SCC/Community workflow; that SCC will make (or be told to make) programmatic and policy changes and then present these changes to the CAB as a fait accompli?  I’m trying to understand whether or not the members of the CAB are partners that are consulted and engaged, or if the SCC CAB is simply a forum for SCC to announce changes, milestones etc.

Our block association (HNBA.org) looks forward to hearing more about these issues.
best,
Shawn Hill

Run For Justice

JOIN US FOR THE 4TH ANNUAL #RUNFORJUSTICE World Day For International Justice is 7/17 and we invite you to join us for the 4th annual Run for Justice 5K! For the 2nd year in a row, Latinos Run and Black Men Run are teaming up for this great event. By participating, not only will you further our missions to increase health and fitness in communities of color, but you will help us bring awareness to social justice issues and promote equity, diversity, and access to resources. A portion of our proceeds will support two organizations at the forefront of social justice: ACLU and Equal Justice InitiativeDon’t forget to share your pics and hashtag us#RunForJustice #LatinosRun #BlackMenRun
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Black Women Bicycling

Photo: Baltimore Afro-American newspaper, 1928. Addison Scurlock, photographer. Photographcourtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

NMAAHC historian, Marya McQuirter, uncovered this amazing story about five black women who biked cross-country in the mid-1900s while working on her PhD dissertation. 

Nearly 87 years ago, five friends; Marylou JacksonVelva JacksonEthyl MillerLeolya Nelson and Constance White biked from New York to Washington, DC during Easter weekend. 

In 1928, these five black women biked over 250 miles in three days — an unusual feat for black women at the time. They started out on the morning of Good Friday in Manhattan, where they all lived, and biked 100 miles (a century in bike terms) to Philadelphia. They spent the night at the Philadelphia Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). On Saturday morning, they biked 40 miles to Wilmington, where they spent the night, and on the morning of Easter Sunday, they arrived at the nation’s capital. While in DC, they did some sightseeing on the National Mall and at Howard University. And they also posed for the above photograph in front of the Washington Tribune newspaper building at 922 U Street, NW. Addison Scurlock, founder and owner of the popular Scurlock Studio, was the photographer. Scurlock was known for documenting the life of African Americans in the nation’s capital.  

To learn about the history of the Scurlock Studio, check out the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s exhibit, The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise.

image

Photo: “Phillis Wheatley YWCA” by AgnosticPreachersKid – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

They spent the night at the Phillis Wheatley YWCA at 901 Rhode Island Ave, NW. The next day they returned to Manhattan via train.  

These women made a conscious decisions to master one of the 19th century’s foremost technological advances for pleasure, mobility, sport and visibility.

I’ve collected some quotes from the cyclists about their journey: 

  • On pleasure: when asked why they took the trip, they responded that it was for the “love of the great out-of doors.”
  • On mobility:  they chose the bicycle as their vehicle for traveling ‘down south’ at the same time that when women, men and children were fleeing the south to escape white terror
  • On sports:  they challenged women 21 years and older to replicate their trip in less time
  • On visibility:  they wanted their feat to be shared with the masses, hence securing features in the Baltimore Afro-American, the New York Age and the Washington Tribune newspapers.

And to this latter point, they weren’t the only ones. I have found dozens of examples of other black women with bicycles who have sought visibility, whether through studio portraits, family photographs, publicity shots, vacation pictures and more.  

image

Photo:Howard University coeds use bicycles to teach elementary school students how to calculate the circumference of a circle. c. 1930s Addison Scurlock, photographer. Photograph courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

I have been inspired by the 5 cyclists to share the larger story of individuals who mobilized multiple technologies—bicycles and photography—for their own needs. To that end, I am curating a book of historical photographs of black women and bicycles, from the 1880s to the present.

Written by Marya McQuirter., Historian, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

APPLY NOW APPLY APPLY NOW FREE AIR-CONDITIONERS 

CALL  212-331-3126 for immediate assistance to have your AC installed 
Priority given to residents who have one or more of these risk factors: 

Chronic health conditions including:
◻ Cardiovascular or respiratory disease
◻ Obesity (BMI > 30) 
◻ Diabetes 
◻ Chronic mental illness 
◻ Cognitive or developmental disorder

Have difficulty thermoregulating
◻ Diuretics 
◻ Anticholinergics 
◻ Neuroleptics 
◻ Drug or alcohol misuse 
◻ Socially isolated or with limited mobility
CASH ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE; 
Applicants who meet income requirements, receive SNAP benefits, or other criteria can apply for cash payments from the NY State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to purchase and install an air conditioner. These are available now until August 31, 2021.Applications can be printed or will be mailed to the person. Completed applications must be mailed to NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA). At this time, HEAP funds cannot be used to pay electric utility costs.
CALL  212-331-3126 
for immediate assistance 
to have your AC installed 

YOU CAN HELP BY: 
✓Encouraging heat-vulnerable people without air conditioners to call 311 or the HEAP Conference Line at 212-331-3126 to ask for a HEAP cooling assistance application.

The application can also be downloaded at: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/energy-assistance.page.

✓Provide the required written documentation of increased risk for heat-related illness due to a medical or psychiatric condition or use of medications that increases risk. CALL  212-331-3126 
for immediate assistance 
to have your AC installed 
For Additional Assistance

March for Homeless Rights

Happy 4th of July

Vaccination Scholarship Incentive

Enter your vaccinated 12-17-year-old for a chance to win a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY school.TOPVaccination Scholarship IncentiveSHARE

GET A SHOT TO MAKE YOUR FUTURE

The ‘Get a Shot to Make Your Future’ vaccine incentive is a public outreach campaign consisting of a series of statewide drawings to increase awareness of the availability and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and provide incentives to New Yorkers 12-17 years of age to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Parents or legal guardians of any New Yorker, ages 12 to 17, can enter their child who has received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, for a chance to win one of 50, four-year full-ride scholarships (including tuition, fees, room-and-board, and expenses) to any New York State public college or university.

REGISTER TODAY

Enter to Win a Full Scholarship

Parents or legal guardians, enter your vaccinated child for a chance to win a full scholarship to any New York Public College or University.

REGISTER

The Marcus Garvey Park Bathroom Construction Saga

Dear Friends:

I am pleased to report that the construction of the Little League clubhouse building has finally been completed. The construction fence was removed yesterday.  The public bathrooms are fantastic.  They have air conditioning and heating and are far superior to the bathrooms in almost any other Parks Department comfort station.  However, at the request of the Department of Environmental Protection, we are not opening them yet.  DEP needs to repair the sewer line in Mt. Morris Park West, and we are waiting to find out when that will happen.  It has been my hope that we can open the bathrooms in time for the start of the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s performances on Tuesday evening, but unfortunately that is not clear at this point.

I will try to keep you posted.

Steve Simon

Chief of Staff – Manhattan
NYC Parks
T 212.408.0110

Kudos to Metropolitan Hospital

The Metropolitan Hospital – as a part of NYC Health + Hospitals – has announced it will participate in a “Medical Eracism” initiative to eliminate biased, race-based assessments used for decades in hospitals and clinics across the country to influence medical decisions that have been found to negatively impact the quality of care patients of color receive. The public health care system has already eliminated two common diagnostic tests – for kidney disease and vaginal birth after a cesarean delivery (VBAC) – that have embedded race-based calculations for severity of illness and risk, and can lead to implicit biases and errors in diagnosis and treatment. This initiative builds on the health system’s commitment to eliminate implicit bias in health care and provide equitable, quality care to more than one million New Yorkers who choose NYC Health + Hospitals as their medical home. For more information visit here.

Metropolitan has also been named “America’s most racially inclusive hospital” in the 2021 Lown Hospitals Index, the first ranking to examine the racial inclusivity of over 3,200 U.S. hospitals. For more information on the rankings, visit here.

Seen on FDB

CB11 Wants to Hear From You

Manhattan CB11 is seeking your input to help determine East Harlem’s greatest needs and budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. You can participate in the annual budget process by filling out the Public Input Survey today! We will be accepting responses through August 22, 2021. 
Access the survey here: https://forms.gle/qHEr3WvVrxcH2kNa6

For more information, please contact the community board office at
(212)831-8929 or [email protected].