Kristin Richardson Jordan

HNBA will host Kristin Richardson Jordan this THURSDAY at 7:00 PM to talk about her historic upset of the Harlem machine, her plans for City Council District 9, the upcoming November election, and what she means by Radical Love for Harlem.

To join in, reach out to Shawn, Hallia, Cecile, Saiyda, or Kat for the link, or email: [email protected]

Health Insurance

How Calculated: Estimated number of adults who reported having any kind of health insurance coverage, including private health insurance, prepaid plans such as H-M-Os or government plans such as Medicare or Medicaid; expressed as percent.

Source: New York City Community Health Survey (CHS)

Plastic Fantastic

In Harlem’s Art Park Capucine Bourcart has a wall mounted exhibition entitled; Plastic Fantastic. The large, colorful work addresses single-use plastic and how plastic has adversely affected our environment and public spaces. Just think about the bottles, jars, cups, lids, and plastic bags we all use. It’s hard to get your mind around it, but New Yorkers are still using 10 billion single-use plastic bags a year – with little to show for the plastic bag ban that seems to have no teeth whatsoever. 

The exhibition Plastic Fantastic aims to address the bag ban by literally showing them. The exhibition shows features plastic bags collected over the last few years by Bourcart from community residents and neighbors. To create Plastic Fantastic, these bags were photographed and printed on 4’ x 8’ sheets of D-bond, a lightweight and durable plastic material. Afterward, the sheets were cut into smaller squares and rectangles to create a color gradient woven into the grid of the park’s ornamental fence.

In front of the gradient is a glass block structure which perfectly reflects the colorful background. Funding for the installation was provided by the LMCCPuffin Foundation, and Friends of Art Park Alliance. Plastic Fantastic will be on display through June 26, 2022.

Speaking of Art…

Another yarn bombing. East 121st Street at Park Avenue

$100 Giveaway for Vaccinations

Tell your neighbors. The vaccine $100 giveaway is in effect on Madison Avenue between East 128/129.

9/11 Tribute

You can see our Harlem neighbor, Dr. Keith Taylor at 14:00 talk about 9/11 from his perspective as a first responder on the scene 20 years ago.

Elks in Paris

In 1990 Jennny Livingston released a documentary called Paris is Burning that revealed to theater goers the rich underground ballroom scene in Harlem during the 1980s.

The film focuses on one key venue for the ballroom scene – the Imperial Lodge of Elks at 160 West 129th Street – just east of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.

Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene. Made over seven years, Paris Is Burning offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion “houses,” from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women—including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza—Paris Is Burning brings it, celebrating the joy of movement, the force of eloquence, and the draw of community.

Today the space is no longer an Elks Lodge, but a church:

And, for a fantastic examination on how post-Civil War drag balls led to Harlem Renaissance era extravaganzas, and then to Voguing in the 1980’s, see this great article:

Harlem Lane

Harlem Lane was originally a trail that the Lenape people used to travel from what is now Central Park up to Inwood and The Bronx. This trail is one we travel today, but the name has changed (and the route somewhat modified) to St. Nicholas Avenue.’s,road%20on%20June%2016%2C%201707.

Ebay has a color lithograph print of Harlem Lane in the 19th Century for sale:


On this day I wanted to post part of a piece from John Jay College that interviews Dr. Keith Taylor, a Harlem resident, 9/11 first responder, CUNY professor, and community leader.

Twenty years ago on September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 lives were cruelly taken away from their family, friends, and colleagues. They senselessly lost fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and even young children at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. As a New York City college focused on educating firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical professionals, the toll on our community was steep—John Jay lost 67 heroes that day. These brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice to save others in need. Now, after two decades, the emotional, psychological, and physical pain of that tragic day still runs deep. First responders and civilians continue to face life-threatening diseases because of the toxic air they inhaled; while many others have died because of the exposure to deadly dust and debris. As a community committed to public service, we honor the legacy of our fallen heroes, and we strive to ensure that a tragedy like 9/11 never happens again.

The morning of September 11, 2001 began like any other workday for Keith Taylor, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration, who at the time was a New York Police Department (NYPD) Missing Persons Detective Sergeant. “I remember it was a beautiful day, the sky was clear, the weather was great. I reported to work at One Police Plaza, not too far from the World Trade Center, when word got out that there was a plane crash,” recalls Taylor. “I looked out the window and saw what appeared to be plumes of smoke coming from the top of the North Tower. I thought it was a small plane that had crashed into the building, but just as we were preparing to get over there, the second plane hit. Once we saw the second plane hit, we knew it was a deliberate act of terrorism.”

To read the complete article, see:

Mount Morris Park’s Fire Watchtower

In this photo, looking north on 5th Avenue from 117th Street or so, you can see the fire watchtower in the distance.

Note that the text at the bottom is incorrect. You can clearly see that 120th Street – the southern border of Marcus Garvey Park – is at least 2 if not 3 streets further north.

The brownstones you see in the top right – just over the white fence – cannot be in the park.

See the original photo, here:

Car Insurance?

One of our neighbors is investigating car insurance and Harlem. If you have a story/experience about car insurance, here’s how to get involved:

Dear neighbors,
Like many people, I bought a car during the pandemic. I then discovered how expensive and difficult it is to get a car insured and keep it insured – at first I thought it was true throughout the city, but my initial research suggests that that’s not the case. I’m a journalist, so I’m considering writing a piece about this. I am interested in talking to people who have cars in Harlem. Have you seen your insurance rates rise precipitously over time? Have you been dropped by your insurance company? Have you found that some companies won’t sell you insurance at all? I want to hear from you even if none of these things have happened to you and you have been able to maintain reasonably priced insurance.
I don’t need to use your name in the final article, but please be willing to share it with me and to give me all the same information that an insurer asks: your age, gender, whether you own or rent your home, the make and model of your car and whether you are making payments on it, where you keep the car (street or garage), whether the car has anti-theft devices and which ones, how you use your car (leisure or daily commute), your zip code, whether you are married, and what accidents or violations you and your spouse (if you have one) have had in the last five years. And I will also ask how much you are paying for insurance, the name of your insurance company, and whether your policy is for 6 or 12 months. I can be contacted at [email protected].
Thank you,
Masha Gessen

% of A-Grade Restaurants

How Calculated: Percent of currently operating restaurants with an “A” grade in the window, divided by all currently operating restaurants, including those with a “Grade Pending” in the window.

Source: New York City Food Safety and Community Sanitation Tracking System

Preserving The Legacy of Black Harlem

K. Taylor – Founder of While We Are Still Here

A fantastic article on the women of Harlem (Thanks Valerie Jo Bradley!) who are working to preserve the buildings, places, and spaces that defined Black history in Harlem, New York, America, and beyond:

Valerie Jo Bradley – Founder of Save Harlem Now

The Big Fix

If you have not already received the news about #BigFix Day over the last two weeks, I’m taking these last moments  to reach to make sure you know– On this weekend Saturday Sept 11 from 10AM-4PM on Randall’s Island, The Brown Bike Girl will be holding the 2nd annual Big Fix Day free bike repair & covid relief event on Randall’s Island.

2021 big fix flier v4.png

#BigFixDay is my NYC People’s Bike Mayor COVID initiative, established in Sept 2020 with the goal of fixing as many bikes as possible to restore and expand mobility options PoC neighborhoods hard-hit with COVID diagnoses & hospitalizations.  In 2021, your home and service areas – the adjacent neighborhoods of North Central & East Harlem and South Bronx – are still affected places! So we are coming to centrally located Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island! 

Community Gardens

Localize has an analysis of which boroughs have the most proximate community gardens:

Their map shows how bereft of community gardens Queens is:

Here in Harlem we are blessed with a number of community gardens in relative proximity to many of us. The garden I manage is an East Harlem jewel, Lydia’s Magic Garden:

Come and visit. Park Avenue (east side) between 117/118.

National Grant Winner

Lydia’s Magic Garden has won a Pure Growth Project grant for 2021/2022.

This national grant contest will help Lydia’s Magic Garden in our 2021/2022 Dirty GoGo project.

Dirty GoGo is a root vegetable project where each gardener commits to Growing One, Giving One of the root vegetables in 2022. We want to share our produce with the community and some give to neighbors in need, some give to local pantries, and some give to other nearby not-for-profits that support food-stressed East Harlem residents.

Congratulations, Lydia’s Magic Garden:

Double V Celebration

The location of this Double V photo intrigued me as it was only labeled as being taken in “Harlem”.

The Double V campaign attempted to draw attention to the racism that kept Black Americans unable to work in many (lucrative) industries in the US, while permitting them to risk their lives fighting fascism abroad (in, albeit, segregated units).

The racial terror that threatened Black Americans before, during and after WWII had many aspects that paralleled wartime rhetoric about Axis society. The Double V Campaign sought to force white America to reckon with this issue and to ensure that Black GI’s coming back from risking their lives, would not return to another ‘Red Summer‘ – the intense, racial violence that sought to intimidate Black Americans who returned from the battlefronts of WWI.

The photo was dated from 1942. The exact address on 119th Street, between Lenox and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd is tough to pin down – notice how there are so many more trees on the street.

Yes, The Super-Wealthy Can See Harlem

A recent listing for the top-floor penthouse at 1,396-foot-tall tower 432 Park Avenue has been publicly listed for the first time ever, asking $169 million. It is the most expensive listing currently in New York City, and if it fetches the asking price, it would become the second-biggest sale in the city’s history and set a record with its $20,500 per square foot price tag.

The 96th-floor unit is currently owned by billionaire Saudi real estate developer Fawaz Alhokair, who bought the apartment for only $88 million in 2016. The apartment unit has 8,225 square feet and has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, as well as 240 linear feet of glass windows. The home is being sold with all of its art and furniture, which includes pieces from Hermes, Fendi, and Bentley.

Build the Block on Thursday

Building Emissions

Pollution from buildings (think heating oil burning)

125th Street is Deadly is reporting that 125th Street is one of the most deadly streets for pedestrians in New York City.

Between 2001 and 2016, 9 people were killed on 125th Street between Fifth and Second avenues. That made it one of the most deadly streets in New York, alongside sections of thoroughfares like Canal Street and Bowery in Manhattan, and Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn.

To read the full article, see:


How Calculated: Estimated number of adults classified as overweight or obese; based on the Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated from self-reported weight and height, expressed as a percent. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is classified as overweight, and a BMI of 30 or greater is classified as obese.

Source: New York City Community Health Survey (CHS)

As Seen in a Bodega Window on ACP