New Look For the National Black Theater

The National Black Theatre’s site will look very, very different by 2024 when the new building is expected to be finished.

The NBT will occupy the first four floors of the building with over 200 residential units above. The architect, Frida Escobedo is working with Handel Architects who is behind the Sendero Verde project (currently being built between Madison/Park and 111/112 in East Harlem).

The ground floor of the new NBT building will be a “community gathering space”.

The building will total 21 stories and be called “The Ray”, with mostly studios, one and two bedrooms, home office and junior bedroom options, flexible spaces, and some affordable units.

The developer has indicated they would also incorporate an Artist Housing Initiative with housing for local artists and creatives. The rooftop will include a community kitchen and terrace.

Ray Harlem will be located at 2033 National Black Theatre Way on Fifth Avenue between125/126th Streets.

Commander John J. Shea Memorial Building

Commander John J. Shea won, posthumously, the Navy Cross:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander John J. Shea (NSN: 0-54106), United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession while serving on board the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. WASP (CV-7), during operations in the Solomon Islands on 15 September 1942. Lieutenant Commander Shea directed the fight against fires on the flight deck of the U.S.S. WASP, after the carrier had been crippled by the Japanese bombing attack which later caused her to sink. Lieutenant Commander Shea disregarded the danger from the fires, flying debris, and exploding ammunition to carry on his fight. When the water pressure failed, he employed chemical fire-fighting equipment in a desperate effort to extinguish a fire in a ready ammunition locker, and was leading out a fire hose to continue his efforts when a terrific explosion occurred. He was not subsequently seen by his shipmates. The conduct of Lieutenant Commander Shea throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Commander Shea is also memorialized in a building on East 111th Street

Which was built in 1943, and whose cornerstone was designed to look like the posthumous navy cross medal that Commander Shea was awarded.