Register To Vote!

The deadline to register to vote is Friday, May 28 and early voting begins on Saturday, June 12. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is June 15.

Free Concerts in Marcus Garvey Park this Weekend

National Black Theatre is partnering with the New York Philharmonic to bring NY Phil Bandwagon 2 to Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem!

NY Phil Bandwagon 2 is a series of four weekend-long festivals across New York City, May 7–30, 2021. Performances will feature Philharmonic musicians and more than 100 New York artists, which span artistic disciplines from reggae, jazz, and opera, to dance, poetry, theatre, film, and visual art.  All performances will take place on a customized, mobile, 20-foot shipping container featuring a foldout stage and LED video wall.

Comptroller Candidates

The final list of NYC Comptroller Candidates is in:

You can see the NY Board of Elections full list of all races and candidates, here: https://vote.nyc/sites/default/files/pdf/candidates/2021/ContestList_6.22.2021_PDF_PrimaryElection_4.27.2021_.pdf

East Harlem Diversion Center

The city touted a new initiative to divert mental health crisis incidents to an East Harlem Diversion Center on East 116th Street as far back as 2014. By 2018, when Project Renewal acquired a lease for the new facility, the city committed to investing $9.5 million annually to serve about 2,400 people each year at the centers.

The centers were to be open at all hours and staff will not be allowed to turn away anybody brought in by police. At the same time, people brought to the centers must consent to receive services such as health care and social services. The centers would not be used as homeless shelters and the maximum stay allowed is 10 days depending on a person’s needs.

According to The City, Mayor de Blasio last week quietly changed the name of ThriveNYC — the heavily criticized $1 billion mental health program spearheaded by the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray — to the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health. The City also reports that the Diversion Center on 116th Street has served only 45 people since finally opening in November — coming out to $1.1 million per visit so far. 

To read the scathing report on the project, see:

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

Gospel at the Apollo

The temple of song and a 1970’s Apollo flyer on Ebay

Summer Youth!

Wanted to let you know we’ve got a summer youth program we’re running through WHDC this summer, and applications close end of day Monday. If you know of any teens/ parents of teens in West Harlem (CD9) looking for a summer opportunity (with a stipend for all who completer the program), you can share the info below

This summer is our 5th ARISE! program. The program is 6 weeks (July 12- Aug 20th), for current 8th- 11th graders (rising freshman – rising senior). Students who are selected will receive a stipend for participating in the program. The program is hybrid;  virtual Mon – Thurs. (academics/ civics), with Fridays being hosted in person by our outside community partners (entrepreneurship, gardening, basketball). We prioritize and focus on CD9 applicants for this program.

Here is information for the summer ARISE! program we’re running (flyers attached in English / Spanish).

Our application due date is coming up on 5/3. Thanks for any potential assistance in spreading the word!

Substance Use Disorder Reimbursements

Because Harlem and East Harlem is oversaturated with substance use programs and has been used as a regional hub where only 1/4 of the patients who attend the clinics located in our community:

Many of us have speculated on how much money the clinics are paid for the treatment they provide.

NYS’s Office of Alcohol and Substance Use Services (OASAS) has an Excel spreadsheet that gives you a rough idea of what each component of care is worth to a provider. To use the spreadsheet, simply download the spreadsheet from the download link (below) and enter a number of patients or patient visits in the Service Volume column.

Note that the tabs on the bottom of the spreadsheet show you the reimbursement rates for upstate and downstate.

OTP stands for Opioid Treatment Program and is the kind of service provided in the Lee Building at 125/Park, and on West 124th Street between Lenox and ACP.

You can learn more about reimbursements at the OASAS site, here:

https://oasas.ny.gov/reimbursment

Sims

Walking along 5th Avenue a while ago (notice the bare branches) I wanted to photograph the plywood shroud over the Dr. Sims sculpture location.

You may recall that the sculpture celebrated a doctor who experimented on unanesthetized enslaved women, and after years of activism from many East Harlem women, the sculpture was removed and a plan developed to replace it.

https://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/historical-signs/listings?id=13315

Here is the new work – Victory Over Sims – that has been commissioned:

Vinnie Bagwell’s new work will replace the Sims sculpture.

Why I Took the Covid-19 Vaccine

By Geoffrey Canada

Six weeks ago, I received my second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine and I am now fully vaccinated. I cannot articulate the relief I feel knowing that I pose less of a threat to my wife, our children and grandchildren, and the community around me. I still wear my mask in public, but the fear that I might get sick and pass it on to my 91-year-old mother, who lives with me, is gone. I got vaccinated because I missed holidays with my family. There were funerals and graduations I couldn’t attend.  

I did not decide to get vaccinated without reflecting deeply on the relationship between Black and Brown communities and the health-care system in the United States. However, I’m confident I made the right decision for myself and my family, and I’m sharing my thoughts with you with the hope that you will do the same.      

The federal government has a history of exploiting Black and Brown people, and health care is no exception. In the 1930s, Black bodies were used as the equivalent of lab rats when the federal government decided to study Black people with syphilis in the Tuskegee Experiment, instead of treating them, and tracked them for 40 years without their consent. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman, unknowingly became the source of what is now known as the HeLa line. Her cells were, for many years, the only cell line that could reproduce indefinitely. They were used without her consent in a myriad of medical research projects worldwide, which still go on today. 

But the Black community doesn’t have to look to the past to find reasons to view the medical profession with skepticism. Dismal mortality rates among birthing mothers still create a daunting childbearing experience for Black women and women of color. Breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer rates remain highest in our communities. You would be hard-pressed to find a person of color of a certain age who does not have a story of a medical encounter filled with micro-aggressions and substandard service and attentiveness.

Now we are being called to willingly inject a foreign substance into our arms — seemingly developed at lightning speed under an administration with a record of being dishonest and which was distrusted, with reason, by Black and Brown communities.

While acknowledging these reasons to feel cautious, I strongly encourage you to join me in receiving the vaccine and asking the community around you to do so as well.

We must look, just as critically, at what we have lost in the past year to the pandemic. Our community is under assault; we face the equivalent of war. I have lived through the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the war in Afghanistan. The number of Covid deaths in the United States is higher than the casualties of all these wars combined. As of March 2, 2021 the Latino community has suffered over 89,000 deaths. As of March 7, 2021 the Black community has lost 73,462 lives. 

We know the heavy impact of Covid is attributed to several factors that cannot easily be changed. Our communities have high rates of chronic illnesses that make them susceptible to Covid’s worst complications. Many are employed as frontline workers and dwell in cramped living spaces, to name a few variables. 

The post-traumatic stress we now have to combat from living through the pandemic will impact our communities for years to come. There is no way to normalize this amount of sickness, death, and loss.  For too many of us, the suffering caused by Covid-19 is just beginning.  Our children missed a crucial year of education, heads of households lost their jobs, and evictions still loom.

I think about how wealthy people, who had the lowest risk of illness and death because of their access to resources, have jumped at the chance to take the Covid vaccine. More than 109 million doses of vaccines have been administered nationwide as of March 15, and there is no evidence of vaccine-related deaths or serious injuries.  People often report mild discomfort for a day or two after being inoculated, but I had no side effects. As more people get vaccinated, hospitalizations and the death toll are decreasing.

The government must make a concerted effort to make vaccines more accessible for communities of color. But it is also the responsibility of the people within our communities to advocate for the vaccine.

It would be a tragedy to see the virus recede among the wealthy and well-off yet still ravage our communities. To watch others going back to work, to school, and to family celebrations while Covid continues to devastate Black and Brown communities is my worst nightmare.  

We will have to work hard to recover from the past year. First, we must stop this virus in its tracks. The safest, quickest, most effective way to do this is to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible to do so, and encourage the people around you to join you. 

Geoffrey Canada is the President and Founder of Harlem Childrens Zone. 

Meet Your Mayor

As you likely know, the mayoral race in NYC is almost overwhelmin. To help voters navigate options, THE CITY has created Meet Your Mayor, which shows you how the candidates’ stands fit with how you are seeing the race.

Here’s what to do: You answer a few short multiple-choice questions on some of the most pressing matters facing the city — from COVID recovery to public school admissions to NYPD discipline and much more.

The major candidates have already answered the same questions.

Voila: Meet Your Mayor will reveal your best match or matches among the candidates

To get started, click below on any of the 3 topics. Answer questions with how you feel about these issues. Then the candidates that agree most with your answers will be displayed:

Now Meet Your City Council 9 Candidates!

Fire on Park Avenue

You may have heard about the fire last week on Park Avenue between 128/129. Given the presence of the Metro North tracks, the trucks had to extend ladders and evacuation buckets in an odd configuration with one extended a number of storefronts, but essentially parallel to the ground:

NYC Public Health Laboratory Coming to Harlem

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is proposing moving their existing facility from 455 1st Ave (btw 27th & 28th, across from Bellevue Hospital) to the Harlem Hospital Campus where they propose to construct a new 10-story approx. 234,742 gsf building to be used as the NYC Public Health Laboratory.
A community forum to discuss the Relocation will be held Thursday, April 29th, 2021 from 6pm-8pm.
Click link below to register in advance for this webinar:
https://bit.ly/39XjuA1
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The location is on West 137th Street, between 5th and Lenox Avenues:

Here is the DOHMH Press Release:

New Public Health Laboratory on the Harlem Hospital Campus

About the Public Health Laboratory

The New York City Health Department’s Public Health Laboratory (PHL) was established in 1892 and performs critical testing to detect and respond to public health emergencies, helping to keep New Yorkers safe and healthy. For example, PHL tests and ensures the safety of our drinking and beach water. In recent years, the PHL has provided emergency response for H1N1, Ebola, hepatitis A, Legionnaires’ disease, Zika virus, measles and COVID-19.

The current PHL facility is located at 455 First Ave., across from Bellevue Hospital and in a residential neighborhood. The PHL is held to the strictest of standards and has never adversely impacted their neighbors or the community. The PHL’s current building is outdated, in poor condition and no longer suitable for the needs of a state of the art, modern and advanced laboratory. Renovation of the 455 1st Ave building to bring it up to current laboratory standards is not possible.

The Location of the Public Health Laboratory 

The new PHL facility will be on the Harlem Hospital campus, beside the Ronald Brown Ambulatory Care Center facing 137th Street.  While the PHL facility will be a new construction project, DOHMH has been a partner in the neighborhood for many years, with the DOHMH Sexual Health Clinic nearby at 2238 5th Avenue.  The 10 story PHL facility will have 5 lab floors and 5 floors primarily dedicated to administrative and back-of-house functions, as well as an auditorium, training lab and “Harlem Express” facility (discussed below).

How the New Public Health Laboratory Facility Will Benefit the Harlem Community

The new facility will include the “Harlem Express” on the main level, where New Yorkers can get screened for sexually transmitted infections with rapid results — one of a few such testing centers in the United States.  New Yorkers currently utilize the “Chelsea Express” in the Chelsea neighborhood, so it’s exciting to bring this advanced, rapid testing technology uptown.  The Harlem Express will also be able to pivot to provide testing and medicines needed during a public health emergency.  For example, the Chelsea Express and new labs built at other DOHMH clinics, including the Central Harlem clinic, are now providing COVID-19 testing in communities, with same day results. 

The PHL will provide training opportunities for students and plans to connect with neighborhood schools to encourage careers in laboratory science.  The DOHMH has a robust partnership with CUNY’s Medical Laboratory Sciences program at Hunter.  Many of those students begin with internships, then move onto full time careers at the PHL. 

The new facility will also include a 200-person auditorium for community use.  We envision the space to be used by the community for meetings, events and gatherings.  We want to be good neighbors and partners in the community.

Additional Information About the New Public Health Laboratory Building

The new PHL facility will not permanently take away any spots for on street parking. Employees are encouraged to take mass transit. Six off-street parking spaces will be created as part of the PHL project to support the operation of the laboratory. An undeveloped lot will remain next to the new PHL facility, which may be developed by Harlem Hospital in the future.

Construction activities will be conducted according to the NYC Noise Control Code. The contractor will be required to develop a noise control plan, as well as a dust control plan, which will proactively address how to prevent dust from rising and spreading in the neighborhood. Noise and dust will be kept to a minimum.

Project timeline

  • Early 2020 – 2022: Preparation of the site to build the new PHL facility. 
  • 2022 – 2025: Construction of the new 10-story building will occur. 
  • End of 2025: The new Public Health Lab facility will open. 

Contact us at [email protected]if you have any questions.

East Harlem Residents on NY1 Noticias

Great coverage on NY1 Noticias about how the oversaturation of methadone clinics impacts the quality of life for East Harlem residents.

https://www.ny1noticias.com/nyc/noticias/noticias/2021/04/13/vecinos-de-east-harlem-se-quejan-del-alto-numero-de-clinicas-para-tratar-adicciones

The Hidden Racism of Our Tax Code

 I know we’ve been given a month’s reprieve for filing this year, but I thought that on this day I’d recommend listening to this fascinating and convincing examination of how consciously and unconsciously the US tax system favors wealthier and whiter communities and overburden’s communities of color:

The Hidden Racism of Taxes

A professor of tax law uncovers how the seemingly race-neutral tax code compounds many inequalities in American life, and prevents Black people from building wealth.

YESS To Sex!

Project YESS! is a CDC-funded research study being conducted by Dr. Yzette Lanier, an Assistant Professor at NYU. The purpose of the study is to understand adolescent and young adults’ romantic relationships and sexual behaviors and practices. The goal is to develop programs that help youth and young adults in NYC build healthy romantic and sexual relationships. 

We know this is a very trying time but we are still looking for young couples to take part in the study, as we believe in the importance of the project (over 90 couples have enrolled to date). We are currently targeting young people in the South Bronx and Upper Manhattan. Any individuals who choose to participate would remain safe and in accordance with the NYC social distancing guidelines; as we are conducting the study remotely. And eligible students may earn up to $75 each as well as additional cash and other prizes, for completing 3 surveys.

Attached is additional project information including an informational sheet, FAQ sheet, and a recruitment flyer. Here is a general interest form that students can fill out if they are interested in participating in Project YESS!: https://openredcap.nyumc.org/apps/redcap/surveys/?s=77P89J7RMW.

Spring Clean-Up, Today!

Got the itch to do some spring cleaning? Then meet up with Uptown Grand Central TODAY to spring clean on a massive scale.

TODAY Saturday, April 10, marks the kick-off of Uptown’s spring cleaning season, with the first of our warm-weather community clean-ups along the East 125th Street corridor. We’re glad to be doing it in partnership with the Sanitation Foundation (who, yes! know a thing or two about trash)!

It’s also the NYPD’s Graffiti Clean-Up Day (so we’ll be brushing up some artwork as well) and the beautification day for Art In the Park (in case you have a green thumb).

We’ll meet up at noon in the Uptown community space under the tracks at 125th Street & Park Avenue. Gloves, brooms and other supplies will be provided, so sign up here to help us get a headcount! Social distancing will be enforced. And most likely there’ll be snacks.

1987

Big hair. Twin Towers.

Jobs!

City Cleanup Corps is Hiring

The City Cleanup Corps (NYC CCC) will employ 10,000 New Yorkers for beautification across our city. NYC CCC workers will wipe away graffiti, powerwash sidewalks, create community murals, tend to community gardens, beautify public spaces, and work with community organizations to clean their neighborhoods.

Available Job Opportunities

Rally for Nurses Today

Got the Itch?

Got the itch to do some spring cleaning? Then meet up with Uptown Grand Central this weekend to spring clean on a massive scale.

This Saturday, April 10, marks the kick-off of Uptown’s spring cleaning season, with the first of our warm-weather community clean-ups along the East 125th Street corridor. We’re glad to be doing it in partnership with the Sanitation Foundation (who, yes! know a thing or two about trash)!

It’s also the NYPD’s Graffiti Clean-Up Day (so we’ll be brushing up some artwork as well) and the beautification day for Art In the Park (in case you have a green thumb).

We’ll meet up at noon in the Uptown community space under the tracks at 125th Street & Park Avenue. Gloves, brooms and other supplies will be provided, so sign up here to help us get a headcount! Social distancing will be enforced. And most likely there’ll be snacks.

Where Does My Sewage Go?

Quick. Do you know where your sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets eventually empty? For most of us in Harlem, our sewage waste goes to Wards Island to the sewage treatment plant that was built in the 1940’s in the shadow of the Hellgate Bridge.

A 2013 plan to upgrade the facility is ongoing, but since the Public Works Administration built the Wards Island plant, your sewage flows (in a pipe) under the East River to Wards Island where in 8 hours, the solids are removed, the liquid cleaned, and the resulting clean water is put into the East River.

In the map above, any drain or toilet in the purple area, eventually gets to Wards Island.

Please note that you should never believe that anything labeled ‘flushable’ is indeed flushable. Do not put it in the toilet. Place it in a garbage can and take it out with the solid waste.

COVID-19 Positivity and Vaccination Rates for Harlem

From Patch.com:

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/1ZvOB/2/

Hover over a Zip Code or click on a line to focus on that particular data.

Nick Garber from Patch.com has information on our community and the vaccine:

Latest Harlem vaccine data

  • 10026 – Central Harlem (South): 34 percent received one dose, 20 percent fully vaccinated
  • 10027 – Central Harlem (South)/Morningside Heights/West Harlem: 33 percent received one dose, 19 percent fully vaccinated
  • 10029 – East Harlem: 36 percent received one dose, 22 percent fully vaccinated
  • 10030 – Central Harlem (North): 28 percent received one dose, 16 percent fully vaccinated
  • 10031 – Hamilton Heights/West Harlem: 34 percent received one dose, 21 percent fully vaccinated
  • 10035 – East Harlem: 39 percent received one dose, 23 percent fully vaccinated
  • 10037 – Central Harlem (North)/East Harlem: 32 percent received one dose, 20 percent fully vaccinated
  • 10039 – Central Harlem (North)/Washington Heights (South): 27 percent received one dose, 16 percent fully vaccinated

Manhattan Borough President’s Harlem Forum Tonight

Join the Greater Harlem Coalition in a forum for Manhattan Borough President candidates, focused on Harlem issues and concerns:

https://fordham.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7Mv7N2a1SA-S2fPY_KvokA

Saturday: Graffiti Cleanup Day

Wanted to invite you to Saturday’s Graffiti Clean-up.  (See the flyer below). 

As a reminder, we are offering our youth community service hours for participating.  I will need names for those who need community service letters before Saturday – however, everyone is welcome to participate.

We need a headcount of attendees so please let me know if you or a young person want to come to hang out with us to clean up the graffiti around the community. 

We will meet up at the Precinct (25th Precinct – 120 East 119th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues) 10 AM and head out to the various sites at 10:30 AM.  We will meet back up at the Precinct parking lot at around 1 PM for refreshments and close-outs – maybe even a special something or other depending on how many people respond. 

We will ensure to keep everyone safe.  We have extra masks and tons of hand sanitizer.  Please wear something that you don’t mind getting dirty.  

Thank you guys and I hope to see you on Saturday!  I’m looking forward to all the in-person fist bumps and elbow bumps.

Best Regard,

Kioka