Checks Stolen From Harlem Mail Boxes

The New York Times reported (in 1910) that theft, forgery, and misrepresentation was uncovered in Harlem

To read the full torrid tale, click on the Download button, above.

Former Sydenham Hospital (now Mannie Wilson Towers) to be renovated

YIMBY NY is reporting that:

Affordable housing development Mannie Wilson Towers in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood just received $18.2 million for capital improvements and system upgrades from Merchants Capital New York, a mortgage banking company. Located at 565 Manhattan Avenue, the structure originally debuted in 1892 as Sydenham Hospital, which closed in 1980. Owned by West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc., Mannie Wilson Towers currently provides restricted-income housing to senior residents.

There are 102 one- and two-bedroom units of restricted-income housing for seniors 62 years of age and older that earn 50 percent or less of the area median income in Harlem. Residents have access to supportive services including cleaning, cooking, transportation, and more.

Sydenham began as a private hospital in a Harlem brownstone in 1892, serving mostly African American patients. In 1944 the staff doctors were all white despite serving a mostly African American community. Soon after, it was the first hospital to have a full desegregated interracial policy with six African American Trustees and twenty African Americans on staff. It was New York City’s first full-service hospital to hire African-American doctors and later became known for hiring African American doctors and nurses when other nearby hospitals would not.

Because of its relatively small size, Sydenham continually faced more financial problems than most private hospitals, and on March 3, 1949, control of it was taken by New York City and it became part of the municipal hospital system. However, in a new practice for the municipal hospital system, the city continued to allow Sydenham’s private physicians to hospitalize their patients there. In 1971 Florence Gaynor became the first African American woman to head a major teaching hospital, taking over as Executive Director of Sydenham Hospital during a financial crisis. She also developed a Family Care Center that included a sickle cell anemia clinic.

Sydenham Hospital received many of the residents of Harlem who were injured in the 1943 Harlem Riot – many of them beaten (or shot) by police officers brought in to stop the disturbance.

Soon after Mayor Ed Koch took office in 1977, during severe economic troubles for New York City, he announced an additional 10% reduction in funding for municipal hospitals, and Metropolitan Hospital (in East Harlem), and Sydenham were slated for closure. There was community support of both hospitals. In January 1979, the Committee for Interns and Residents staged a one-day walkout of doctors at municipal hospitals to protest the cuts, and were often supported on picket lines by hospital workers from District Council 37 of AFSCME. A “Coalition to Save Sydenham” supported legal efforts to stop the closing, organized public rallies and lobbying of elected officials, and helped publicize research to demonstrate the need for the hospital. (In 1977 the federal government designated Harlem a “medically underserved area, with the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano calling it a “health disaster area.”) While a diminished Metropolitan Hospital was saved as an “Outpatient Demonstration:” project, the city insisted that Sydenham had to be closed. In the spring of 1980, as Sydenham was about to be shut down, angry demonstrators stormed the hospital, and initiated an occupation that lasted 10 days under a so-called “People’s Administration.”

Despite the added publicity, this brought, in 1980 Sydenham’s doors were closed for good and eventually, the Mannie Wilson Towers were built within the hospital’s shell.

Harlem Women Strong: City Council 9 Candidates

Today, at 10:00 AM!

25th Precinct Community Council Meeting Tonight at 6:00 PM

Below please see the zoom invite for our upcoming 25th Precinct Community Council Meeting scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, April 21st at 6 PM. 

We will be discussing ideas that we have to prevent Gun Violence in our community and the Elections for the Council.

This is also your opportunity to talk to the Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Henning, and our Community Affairs Officers about what’s going on in your neighborhood.  As the weather gets warmer we should begin to think about how we can keep our community safe.  Hope to see you all tonight.

Apr 21, 2021. 06:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 518 469 8981

Drug Arrests

Vice has a fascinating look at how drug arrests have plummeted in the decade from 2009 to 2019:

Just this visualization (below), showing the massive drop in the number of NYC drug arrests in 2009 to 2019 (red line) and the number of drug convictions from 2009 to 2019 (white line) is stunning:

The question of why this is happening, and the article makes clear that this is not simply a drop in arrests/convictions of marijuana, it represents all drugs and all arrests. Ultimately, activists, and pressure on city hall, city council, and the NYPD itself has led to this ski slope drop in arrests/convictions.

The article notes that:

the decision to curtail the mass arresting and jailing of non-violent drug offenders was a deliberate move by the authorities in response to prolonged pressure from activists and outraged New Yorkers—in particular from the communities most impacted by them. 

It’s also important to note that NYC is somewhat of an outlier. The rest of the US continues to focus on small scale possession and sales with the exception of some cities, such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and St. Louis. However…

… the latest FBI national data shows that despite increasing cannabis legalization, drug arrests have stubbornly refused to fall. More people are being arrested for drugs in the U.S. than for any other reason. In 2009 there were 1.6 million drug arrests, which dipped to 1.4 million in 2015 but went back up to 1.5 million in 2019. Many cities still have the stop-and-frisk tactics they adopted from New York more than a decade ago. 

The article notes that by the late 1990s, as the street violence started to fall, pedestrian stops resulting in body searches just kept on spiralling. Instead of guns and crack, officers were mainly picking people up for low-level cannabis offenses, criminalizing tens of thousands of non-violent New Yorkers. Between 2002 and 2012, according to a joint report by the DPA and Marijuana Arrest Research Project, the NYPD made 440,000 arrests for cannabis possession, which took up more than one million hours of police time.  

And, to no one’s surprise, young Black men are still being arrested for drug offenses at significantly higher rates than young white men.  

These disproportionate arrest figures are not just about police bias; they are about structural racism, a reflection of the consequence of embedded social exclusion. Black and Hispanic New Yorkers are twice as likely to live in poverty, or live in near-poverty, as white or Asian New Yorkers, and there’s a harsh reality to the drug business: People who are locked out of the mainstream economy are more likely than others to resort to the drug trade to get by. What’s more, people living in poorer neighborhoods are also more likely to be picked up by police, who target these areas.

New Cafe?

Is a new cafe/bakery going to open in the old Jahlookova site?

We’ve seen work going on here, and heard chatter about a new cafe on Madison…

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:

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,


Africa Center

YIMBY is reporting that:

The Africa Center has commissioned Caples Jefferson Architects to complete new spaces within the property to support a lush calendar of exhibitions, performances, and educational events. Located at 1280 Fifth Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, The Africa Center occupies 70,000 square feet of the building and is spread across three floors.

Read more on the future plans and the background of the Africa Center, here:

Federal US Marshalls Raid New Ivoire

Last week we caught a raid in progress – from rushing out of unmarked vehicles in full body armor and brandishing long guns, to a suspect being taken out of New Ivoire Restaurant with hands raised.

It appeared as if about a dozen officers were involved and one suspect was detained.

New Ivoire Restaurant (which I’ve been going to for 20 years now) has the best Dèguè or Thiakry which makes a great breakfast or dessert.

Marcus Garvey Park Operating Meeting

HNBA was invited to a meeting earlier this week regarding updates for Marcus Garvey Park.

The meeting was chaired by Commissioner Castro. He welcomed everyone and stated that the federal package relief will ensure that the budget is fully funded for staffing, maintenance and pool program. He is working with the Assistant Commissioner and his staff to start a new initiative: a Park Enforcement Station (PEP) which exists already in other parks.

Administrator Jana La Sorte reported on that initiative with Calderon:

  • She is excited to work with Captain Calderon. They are meeting on March 17 in AM to review the facility where the PEP will be located,close to the pool.
  • The PEP will have a staff of 5 plus one Sargeant. The hours of patrol will be 8 am to 6:30 pm, 7 days a week. 
  • The PEP will address mostly quality of life issues in the park, can issue summonses and make arrests. Will be equipped with walkie-talkies.
  • The PEP will also work on specific projects in the evening or night, and hours of patrol can be flexible according to seasons or needs.
  • Jana is working with the Central Park conservation team to address the issue of erosion on the west side of the Acropolis.
  • She is providing support to the group led by Melanie responsible for the dog run: they want to add an area with gravel, improve drainage and Melanie suggested a water fountain for the dogs.
  • The Litter Ambassadors program starts next month and Jana is recruiting volunteers. They will be paired to go around the park and offer orange garbage bags to visitors and ask them to dispose of their trash.
  • Jana encourages everyone to visit the park’s website for additional information about these initiatives.
  • The Harlem Youth Gardeners program is being launched now and offer decent pay for the jobs.
  • There are requests for programming in the amphitheater and schools graduations as well.
  • She is looking to increase volunteering in the park and will send flyers out to promote initiatives such as: Adopt a Tree, Adopt a Bench.

Robert Mc Lean, Regional Park Manager, reported working for two months with some corporate groups.

  • So far 29 hardwood trees have been planted, mainly oak.
  • There are two gardeners on staff and he is looking to have volunteers sign up.
  • A new garden of about 650 square feet was planted at the Drummers’ Circle.

Officers Brigante and Lau gave the 25th Precinct report

  • The 25th Precinct is working with the department of Homeless Services and Social Services. 
  • There is a marked decrease of homeless people in the park.
  • The crime level has been related to the encampment on the stage.
  • A request was made to install cameras by the playgrounds and basketball court.The commissioner stated that at this time there is no funding for cameras. The budget needed is for the maintenance of the cameras.Cameras were also requested previously for the Acropolis but could not be installed because there is no access to electricity at that site.The Commissioner will follow up and report back on the cost for cameras.

Alexandra Long reported that less activity of homeless was noted in the park also. 

Connie Lee also commented on the decrease of homelessness in the park

  • The Homeless Outreach program will continue to distribute masks and increase the number distributed from 250 to 500 week, thanks to a new sponsor for masks.
  • New York Company foundation has provided funding for Arts in the park.
  • Art installations will go up in Morningside park and murals in Marcus Garvey park, mostly semi-permanent or permanent.
  • the MG Park Alliance is working with multiple community groups on community engagement initiatives.
  • Small groups of people will be on the grounds to talk to park goers and collect information. The results will be compiled into a report and presented to sponsors as a multigroup effort for fundraising.
  • the Harlem Youth Gardeners program starting this spring will hire youth at $18 per hour.
    Madlyn Stokely reported looking forward to developing a relationship and working with Park Alliance. She voiced concerns over the number of cars parked at the entrance of the pool area. The Commissioner will look into this issue.

Rene Cuenca: The Partnership for Parks is getting ready for the summer season

  • It will launch at the end of March the “It’s my Park” event. Will send out information when the plans solidify,
  • Working with Harlem Wellness Center on Project Healing. (to address racial issues?). Steve Simon reported working on two capital projects, one is to rehabilitate the recreation center

Many thanks to Cecile for these amazing notes.

25th Precinct Community Council Meeting on Wednesday

This is just a reminder that the next 25th Precinct Community Council meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 17th at 6:00PM.  So before you sit down to enjoy your Cornbeef and cabbage in honor of St. Paddy’s day join us for a few minutes to hear what’s been going on in and around the community, to discuss public safety matters within the 25th Precinct and some other important discussions.  Although we have some special guests that will be joining us we promise to have a quick, yet informative discussion tackling your concerns.  

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 830 7835 0320
Passcode: 459808

Where is the Most Market Rate Housing?

Public Housing Density

Owner Occupied Housing


The “Harlem of the North”?

While we’ve all heard the phrase “Paris of the…”, or maybe the “Venice of the…”, but I’d never heard the term “Harlem of the North” before this article from the New York Times on a Quebecois priest vs. Oscar Peterson:

On a recent day in Little Burgundy, once known as “The Harlem of The North,” local residents lamented that the social history of Black Quebecers was noticeably absent or underplayed in Quebec’s history books, popular culture and urban spaces, and overshadowed by the struggle of white, French-speaking Quebecers for their own rights.

For more, see:

Build The Block Tonight

Join the 25th Precinct’s Neighborhood Coordination Officer for our area, tonight at 6:30 PM. We’ll meet in Ginjan Cafe (Park/125).

% of Students Living in School Zone (By Race/Ethnicity)


Drug Bust in East Harlem Linked To A Yacht ‘Dope Joint’

The New York Times reported 100 years ago that a man living at 215 East 118th Street, the building with the bold red front door, below:

was dispensing drugs without a medical license.

The article goes on to note that there was a yacht moored off Harlem on the East River that served as Dope Joint.

For more on pre-WW1 America and cocaine, The Mystery of the Leaping Fish is a fascinating silent film that alludes to (and illustrates) drug use among America’s cultural elite:

Manhattan Borough President’s Candidate Forum

Join The Greater Harlem Coalition on Wednesday, April 7th for a forum focused on Harlem and East Harlem issues/concerns.

When: Apr 7, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor has released January 2021 drug arrest data.

Note that in the graph below, the seizure information on the left is for all of 2020. The seizure information on the right is only for January 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Homebound Seniors

Homebound seniors who would prefer to get a COVID-19 vaccine at home can call the NYC Vaccine Reservation Call Center at 877-829-4692.

Please pass along to any of your neighbors who might benefit.

Harlem and Civil Rights

A Virtual Tour

Since tourism has been put on hold, Welcome to Harlem introduces a way to safely tour Harlem and learn of its significant contribution to the Civil Rights Movement.

Welcome to Harlem proudly presents the “Harlem Civil Rights Virtual,” which is a virtual walking tour that will take place in Harlem, New York, beginning at Canaan Baptist Church of Christ. Eighteen of the twenty stops will be covered during an eye-opening trail starting on 116th Street uptown to the 137th area. The remaining two stops are past 137th Street. This exciting event will span across approximately two hours while it outlines the pivotal role Harlem played during the Civil Rights Movement, highlighting the fundamental sites and individuals who contributed to the cause.

Although tourism is currently non-existent, Welcome to Harlem is introducing a fun way for history lovers to learn about and engage with the neighborhood’s rich past. Harlem is a proud contributor to the Civil Rights Movement, and tourists will learn about each of the critical events that took place in the area. The Harlem Civil Rights Virtual Tour will visit the original Temple No. 7 and the Blumstein Department Store. It will also illustrate Harlem’s connection to the famous March on Washington House, and visit pertinent churches, including Mother A.M.E. Zion Church and Abyssinian Baptist Church, to name a few.

In addition, the tour highlights key individuals who helped lead the movement, including Malcolm X, A. Philip Randolph, Josephine Baker, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Roy Wilkins, W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, Wyatt Tee Walker, James Weldon Johnson, John Carlos, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Bayard Rustin, Paul Robeson, and many others.

Price: $15

Madison/110 To Be Developed

YIMBY is reporting that the vacant lot at the south-west corner of Madison Avenue and East 110th Street will be an 8 story rental building.

Build the Block on Thursday, March 11th, at 6:30 PM

Join our NCO’s at Ginjan Cafe on Thursday, March 11th for a 6:30 PM meeting to talk about public safety and any other concerns.