Little Free Library

The Marcus Garvey Park Alliance does such a great job on so many different projects that it’s hard to highlight just one thing that stands out. Today, however, I had finished the book ‘The Wanderers’ by our neighbor Richard Price, and wanted to donate it.

I took it to one of two small lending library kiosks that the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance put up in the park.

The concept is brilliantly simple. Bring a book. Take a book. Return a book.

The artwork – paintings on one, mosaics on the other – celebrate the park and the community:

This last one might be my favorite. People sprawled out on blankets next to the Marcus Garvey Park’s public pool, while a summer sun shines reflective mosaic rays all around

littlefreelibrary.org

The two kiosks could use some plexiglass to protect the books from the elements.

Brian Benjamin Runs for Comptroller

State Senator Brian Benjamin is running for NYC Comptroller. According to Patch, Senator Benjamin has:

raised the second-most money of anyone in the comptroller’s race: over $462,000, trailing Lander, who had raised more than $613,000 through July 11, the most recent public filing period.

He’s also received the support of a number of local Harlem politicians:

Also on Thursday, Benjamin was endorsed by a number of local officeholders, including councilmembers Diana Ayala and Bill Perkins, Assemblymembers Michael Blake and Al Taylor and State Senator Robert Jackson. Community leaders lining up behind Benjamin include Pastor Michael Waldrond of the First Corinthian Baptist Church and Hazel Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference.

Scott Stringer has been a strong supporter of Senator Benjamin and in kind, Senator Benjamin has been working to get the Harlem Machine behind Scott Stringer’s bid for NYC Mayor.

For more details, see the Patch.com article:

https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlems-brian-benjamin-launches-campaign-city-comptroller

Mail In Your Vote and Honor Wesley A. Williams

The image (above) from The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is of Wesley A. Williams, a Black mail carrier/driver from 1915. Wesley was photographed under the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, a notoriously racist American President who re:segregated the Post Office (from Vox – https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/11/20/9766896/woodrow-wilson-racist):

Easily the worst part of Wilson’s record as president was his overseeing of the resegregation of multiple agencies of the federal government, which had been surprisingly integrated as a result of Reconstruction decades earlier. At an April 11, 1913, Cabinet meeting, Postmaster General Albert Burleson argued for segregating the Railway Mail Service. He took exception to the fact that workers shared glasses, towels, and washrooms. Wilson offered no objection to Burleson’s plan for segregation, saying that he “wished the matter adjusted in a way to make the least friction.”

Both Burleson and Treasury Secretary William McAdoo took Wilson’s comments as authorization to segregate. The Department of Treasury and Post Office Department both introduced screened-off workspaces, separate lunchrooms, and separate bathrooms. In a 1913 open letter to Wilson, W.E.B. DuBois — who had supported Wilson in the 1912 election before being disenchanted by his segregation policies — wrote of “one colored clerk who could not actually be segregated on account of the nature of his work [and who] consequently had a cage built around him to separate him from his white companions of many years.” That’s right: Black people who couldn’t, logistically, be segregated were put in literal cages.

I, of course, don’t know what Wesley’s take would be on our current president and his efforts to sabotage the US Postal Service in order to give him an electoral advantage, but I hope that in Wesley’s spirit (if you are going to vote by mail) that you vote as early as possible, and as carefully as possible, in order to insure that your vote counts in 2020.

This image is a part of Photoville – this year an outdoor exhibition of photography throughout the 5 boroughs. See: https://photoville.nyc/exhibitions/ for more information.

The photo of Welsey is featured in St. Nicholas Park.

Billy Eckstine

Photoville’s exhibit on 145th Street at Bradhurst features a number of wonderful images of mid-century Black America. Billy Eckstine was ‘a neighbor’, living at the corner of 5th Avenue and 126th Street:

25th Precinct Officers and Community Council Clothing Giveaway

East Harlem is Overburdened with 14% of Drug Treatment Capacity in NYC

While East Harlem has 1.5% of New York City’s population, it has 13.6% of New York City’s drug treatment capacity, according to data as of 2019 from NY agency OASAS. The graphic below illustrates how severely East Harlem is oversaturated with drug treatment facilities. This unfair social injustice MUST END!

East Harlem has 1.5% of population but 13.6% of drug treatment capacity
Data source: NYC Government OASAS Agency as a FOIL request by Y Pielet as of April 2019

With so many patients commuting into East Harlem for drug treatment, our district is overburdened while already struggling with other social, environmental, economic, and educational issues. Petition to your elected officials – Send Email or call them -to either dramatically reduce our 13.6% burden or perhaps allocate 13.6% of New York City’s budget as a compensation for this injustice.

Drilling down to the data, we can see that Beth Israel Medical Center and Harlem East Life Plan alone contribute to nearly 60% of the capacity. Elected officials should immediately discuss ways to reduce this capacity.

Beth Israel and Harlem East Life Plan represent 60% of the district's capacity

As for which district is not receiving its fair share of drug treatment capacities? Data speaks for itself

Manhattan is oversaturated with drug treatment capacities

The Greater Harlem Coalition Pressures the Mayor

Patch.com reports on a letter The Greater Harlem Coalition wrote to Mayor De Blasio about deteriorating conditions in our community.

https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlem-group-asks-action-drug-use-homelessness

You can learn more about the Greater Harlem Coalition here:

GreaterHarlem.nyc

And sign-up for email updates by emailing:

GreaterHarlemCoalition@gmail.com

Filmed by Bike

If you are a BIPOC filmmaker and interested in funding, the Filmed by Bike BIPOC Filmmaker Grant is available: https://filmedbybike.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Grant-Prog-Main.gif

This year the Filmed by Bike festival had an amazing virtual festival featuring (exclusively) Black, Indigneous, and People of Color, and bicycles. The festival is available to stream and runs on a PWYW basis so everyone can afford to watch.

Co-Produced by The Brown Bike Girl, tickets for The High Vis Film Fest are pay-what-you-can and all proceeds benefit Brown Hope and our BIPOC Filmmaker Grant, Presented by Machines for Freedom.

Watch the Trailer

From an all-Black, female crew bikepacking the Pacific Northwest, to an international DJ cycling across ice rivers in Canada (in winter!), this stunning selection of stories has something for everyone.

Also featuring:

  • The only female rickshaw puller in the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • A young man creating Chiang-Mai’s first bicycle scene
  • An architect who left his job to open a bicycle shop in Denver
  • A young woman determined to become the first Black female pro road cyclist
  • And more!

Clothing Drive at the 25th Precinct

HNBA October Meeting and Uptown Grand Central

Hello Harlem Neighbors, we are canceling our October HNBA meeting but encourage you to consider joining CIVITAS in a fundraising evening, celebrating an unbelievable force in East Harlem: Uptown Grand Central and Carey King.

Join CIVITAS Tuesday, October 13th, 2020
Virtual Annual Benefit
6:30pm to 7:15pm

The CIVITAS Benefit Committee and the CIVITAS Board of Directors request the pleasure of your company for our Virtual Benefit celebrating 39 years of achievements by CIVITAS by honoring this year’s recipients of The August Heckscher Founder Award for Community Service and supporting our longtime neighborhood businesses.
RSVP Tickets

Here is the UGC story on their beginnings:
The New Harlem East Merchants Association (NHEMA) got its start in 2013 when mom-and-pop stores along East 125th Street were struggling to keep their doors open and repeatedly hearing: “We don’t shop on East 125th Street because it’s too dirty and we are accosted by people panhandling, and …”

Recognizing this problem, merchants on one block between Fifth and Madison avenues began to organize informally to improve the area. A mural was painted announcing themselves as “The New Harlem East.” Then, with brooms in hand, joined by 40 volunteers from the neighborhood, NHEMA members held their first street clean-up.

As more merchants and community members learned of the efforts, NHEMA grew and was able to receive grant funding and take on more ambitious projects. This included hiring ACE (the Association of Community Employment) to do street cleaning — an innovative strategy that brightens up the area and provides homeless individuals with a clear path off the streets. We also began to take on other projects such as connecting merchants and residents with discounts to area stores, beautifying the area with flowers and tree pits, organizing street festivals for East Harlem residents, launching a farm-fresh produce market, sponsoring holiday lights along the East 125th Street corridor, and in 2015, launching our Uptown Grand Central plaza program underneath the Metro-North viaduct at 125th Street & Park Avenue.

In 2016, we expanded to create Uptown Grand Central, a 501c3 nonprofit that works to support, strengthen and showcase all that is “grand” about our neighborhood, from small businesses to culture to greening to art. Our goal is to transform the East 125th Street corridor by putting advocacy into action.

Grant Opportunity

If you are interested in applying for this grant (detailed below) by October 20th, please let us know:

From: Sam Lawson <slawson@oem.nyc.gov>
Date: Thu, Oct 8, 2020 at 12:16 PM
Subject: Grant Opportunity: Strengthening Communities through Recovery

Hello,

I am reaching out to let you know about a new grant that we have released. Please feel free to send to any organizations in Harlem that might be interested.

NYC Emergency Management is encouraging you to apply to the newly released Strengthening Communities through Recovery COVID-19 grant opportunity.  

Any interested community leader or community emergency networks that serves one of the below communities should apply.  A community emergency network is a group or coalition that consists of nonprofit, community, and faith-based organizations that are organized around an issue important to their community such as climate change, gun violence, housing, disability rights, among others.

The below communities have been identified by NYC Department of Health as disproportionally impacted by COVID-19.  Community leaders and community emergency networks that are selected will be supported to develop and maintain local emergency plans and implement recovery strategies that will help your community recover from COVID-19. 

Proposals and questions about the RFP process should be emailed to Abdul Washington at procurement@oem.nyc.gov

This Small Purchase RFP is specifically seeking proposers serving in one of the following communities: 

Manhattan: East Harlem and Central Harlem; Lower East Side and Chinatown; Inwood and Washington Heights    Due: 10/20/20 at 5 PM

https://a856-cityrecord.nyc.gov/RequestDetail/20201005104

​(Basically the grant is for 40,000 dollars for an organization to create an emergency plan. 20,000 is for the organization and 20,000 is for a “consultant” to carry out the work. More information is in the attached document, and for further questions please reach out to our procurement staff: procurement@oem.nyc.gov.​​)

Best,

Sam Lawson

Community Engagement Specialist

NYC Emergency Management

646.951.3878

slawson@oem.nyc.gov
Pronouns: He/Him/His

2nd Avenue Subway

The City reports that despite a budget crisis, the MTA continues to plan for extending the Second Avenue Subway into East Harlem. Even though the pandemic-spurred economic crisis has put the project back, the MTA continues to work with building and property owners to try to purchase sites needed for air shafts, emergency exits, subway entrances, etc.

The map below illustrates in orange, properties that might be acquired, and in yellow, the proposed 2nd Avenue subway line:

The agency has started taking steps to prepare for using eminent domain a last resort.

At its July board meeting, the MTA said it has begun the process of acquiring over a dozen properties along Second Avenue and 125th Street through “negotiated voluntary agreements,” according to agency records.

If agreements can’t be reached “in a timely manner,” documents show, the MTA must take preliminary steps under the state’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law to lessen the potential for future delays to the project.

For more on the story, see: https://www.thecity.nyc/2020/9/20/21446021/mta-property-second-avenue-subway-eminent-domain-transit

The 25th Precinct – Precinct Navigators

The 25th Precinct is looking for community volunteers to act as precinct navigators. All neighbors who volunteer will receive training and support. To learn more, please contact:

 Detective Darryl Lucas

 25th Precinct Community  Affairs

 Office: (212) 860-6526

 E-mail: Darryl.lucas@nypd.org

Signs Seen Around The Neighborhood

These signs speak for themselves.

And to sum it all up, a great list from Astor Row:

Events at the Harlem Rose Garden

The Harlem Rose Garden (East 129th Street at 5th Avenue) is hosting a number of events in October. Garden members thought it would be a great idea to host a series of laughter filled movie nights and their annual Halloween bash! 

The events are limited to 25 people. All events will be first come first served and you are required to wear a mask unless eating or drinking. 

To stay COVID friendly we are encouraging members to bring their own personal snacks or dinners. 

Here is the schedule of upcoming events:

Friday 10/16 – Crazy Rich Asians

Seating 6:30 PM.  Start 7:00 PM

Saturday 10/17 – Garden Halloween Decoration  (Help decorate for our upcoming Halloween Bash) 12 PM-2 PM.

Thursday – 10/22  – Movie: We will do a pick of the week, more than likely something scary in the spirit of Halloween!Wednesday

Seating 6:30PM Start 7PM

10/28 *Kids Movie Night *Seating 6:30PM Start 7PM 1HR Movie – Addam’s Family 
Saturday10/31

Halloween NIghtmare on 129th Street *Candy handout for trick or treaters * Covid friendly games * Custom contests 

Please let the garden know if you are free to volunteer for Halloween, we will also need candy donations!  

Harlem Quilts Project

“The Harlem Quilts” series stems from the idea that quilts were displayed and used as code to mark the escape routes for the Underground Railroad. 

Curated by Eileen Jeng-Lynch, Art Off-Screen is an international exhibition of artwork placed in outdoor locations so that the work can viewed by the community. Art off-screen provides access to art beyond a computer screen, inspiring creativity, amplifying voices, encouraging change, and sharing messages of hope and healing.

Artist Vladimir Cybil Charlier created “The Harlem Quilts” which are displayed in the neighborhood. They are inspired by the stories that quilts used codes to mark the escape routes for the Underground Railroad. The quilts display two images: The North Star which shines every night above Marcus Garvey Park and which symbolizes hope and the path to a better life and a portrait of a member of the household (pets included) where they will be displayed.

For more information visit: neumeraki.com and vladimircybil.com

Locations of Art:
(September 26
th – October 10th, 2020)
​1 & 2) 124th street between 5th and Madison (2 houses, window display) 
3) 5th Avenue between 124th and 125th Street (East side of street, window display) 
4) 123rd Street between Mount Morris Park West and Lenox Avenue ​(North side of Street, display under tree in front of Apt Building)
5) Williamson Community Garden, 128th and 129th Street between 5th and Madison Avenues
6) 135th Street between 5th and Lenox Avenues (private building community display)
7) 137th Street between Lenox Avenue and Lenox Terrace (Window showing/building)
8) 94th Street between Columbus and Central Park West (Lobby of building showing)
9) 3rd Avenue between 109th & 110th Street (Private showing)
10) 94th Street between Columbus and Central Park West (Lobby of building showing)

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army wanted to let everyone know that it continues to offer its regular feeding program to anyone in need at their 125th Street location. Additionally, they reported to HNBA that their music school for children is running in a virtual format and currently have 35 children registered this semester.

Their East View residence has availability: https://www.eastviewnyc.com/ and their Social Service Office is open every Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Boarding

Victorian men and women boarding a steamship in Westchester (this part of The Bronx – under the High Bridge – was not yet a part of The Bronx or New York City), to head south to Harlem at 120th Street:

The larger night view of the precarious wooden pier and the High Bridge water tower looming above, can be seen below in the Harpers Magazine’s illustration:

see:

https://www.amazon.com/Bridge-Harlem-Boarding-Steamship-display/dp/B01BJ4F9I8

Enroll in the Rat Academy (yes, it’s a thing)

You have likely heard (and perhaps seen) that rats have made a comeback in the COVID era. With so many restaurants closed, or open in a reduced presence, rats have had to head toward residential garbage for their food needs.

In New York City, property owners are required (PDF) to keep their properties rat-free and address conditions that can lead to rats. They may have to hire a pest management professional when appropriate. Tenants can do their part by following our prevention tips below and promptly reporting rats to property owners, building managers or co-op associations.

If property owners are not fulfilling their legal requirement to prevent and manage rats and repair conditions that can attract rats, tenants can report the issue online or by calling 311. The Health Department will send inspectors to investigate the situation.

Learn more about what you can do prevent rat infestation, or how you can drive them out if they have already settled in your home or property:

Secure Garbage

The best way to prevent rats from settling in your home and property is to carefully dispose of your garbage. Be sure to:

  • Provide enough garbage cans with tight fitting lids to hold all garbage between pickups.
  • Bring garbage to the curb as close to pick-up time as possible. Garbage left on the curb for too long attracts rats.
  • Follow your building’s policy for garbage disposal and recycling.
  • If your building has a garbage chute, bag and tie your garbage before putting it down the chute.

Destroy Potential Shelter

Make your home inhospitable to rats by attacking their favorite places to seek shelter and reproduce:

  • Clean up any clutter or litter in and around your building, including your basement and yard.
  • Remove piles of newspapers, paper bags, cardboard and bottles.
  • Store items away from walls and off the ground.
  • Control weeds and shrubs around your home.

See: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/rats-tenants-property-owners.page

To learn more, consider enrolling in a virtual Rat Academy class:

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/services/rats-control-training.page

The next on is on: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

You can learn about safe and effective methods for rat prevention in your home and community at this 3 hour virtual training.

Giant Step Arts – Free Performances Celebrating John Lewis and the Civil Rights Struggle

Groundbreaking artist-focused non-profit Giant Step Arts continues Walk With The Wind, a free series of performances in Central Park honoring the legacy of U.S. Representative and
civil rights leader John Lewis


Saturday, October 10 at 1 p.m. – The Nicole Glover Trio: saxophonist Nicole Glover, bassist Daniel Duke, drummer Nic Cacioppo
 
Sunday, October 11 at 1 p.m. – The Chris Potter Trio: saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Joe Martin, drummer Nasheet Waits
L-R: Immanuel Wilkins, Tyrone Allen, Josie Say (AcroYoga) and Nazir Ebo  © Jimmy Katz
“Giant Step Arts [is] a nonprofit dedicated to giving underappreciated but visionary jazz musicians the support they need to make quality live albums. Palmer is a…thrifty improviser with a vast dynamic range and an ambitious composer.” – Giovanni Russonello, The New York Times
 
Finding new ways to support musicians during the pandemicWhen the pandemic hit, Jimmy and Dena Katz, creators of Giant Step Arts, the groundbreaking, artist-focused non-profit dedicated to supporting visionary jazz musicians as they create adventurous new music, realized that it would be a while before they could continue their work commissioning, showcasing and recording music by some of modern jazz’s most innovative artists.  

They’ve created Walk with the Wind, a series of free performances in Central Park honoring the memory of John Lewis. Performances, which are acoustic and feature small groups, take place at 1 p.m. on The Mall in Central Park. In the event of bad weather, they will be rescheduled. They will continue as long as the weather allows. Upcoming performances include:• Saturday, October 10 – The Nicole Glover Trio: saxophonist Nicole Glover, bassist Daniel Duke, drummer Nic Cacioppo

• Sunday, October 11 – The Chris Potter Trio: saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Joe Martin, drummer Nasheet Waits

“The pandemic has been disastrous for musicians, many of whom normally earn a living through live performances and tours,” says Katz. “We’ve presented and recorded music in various venues, including partnering with the non-profit Jazz Gallery, but the current circumstances have forced us to improvise. We wanted to find a way to continue supporting musicians, bring them together with audiences, safely, and enable them to have a payday! Walk with the Wind, honoring the legacy of the great American John Lewis, is one way we are accomplishing this, and the response has been tremendous. Our goal is to raise enough money from foundations and donors so that we can have performances each spring and fall.”   

The series began with the Wayne Escoffery Trio on August 28th and has included the Eric Mcpherson Trio, Marquis Hill Quartet, Michael Thomas Trio, Marcus/E.J Strickland Trio, Leap Of Faith Trio, Joel Ross Quartet, Immanuel Wilkins Trio, Nasheet Waits Trio, Melissa Aldana Trio and the Darius Jones Trio.  From 11-1 p.m. the pre-show festivities have included Arco Yoga specialist Josie Say and the Robert Lotreck Trio.
Giant Step Arts

Founded by renowned photographers Jimmy and Dena Katz in January 2018, Giant Step Arts is an innovative, artist-focused non-profit organization dedicated to commissioning and showcasing the work of some of modern jazz’s most innovative artists. In an era where it is increasingly difficult for musicians to earn a living, Giant Step Arts offers the artistic and financial resources to create bold, adventurous new music free of commercial pressure. Musicians have total control of their artistic projects and Giant Step Arts is committed to fostering their careers by providing promotional material and publicity services.
 
For the musicians it chooses to work with, by invitation only, Giant Step Arts:
 
• presents premiere performances and compensates the artists well
• records these performances for independent release
• provides the artists with 700 CDs and digital downloads to sell directly; artists retain complete ownership of their masters
• provides the artists with photos and videos for promotional use
• provides PR support for the recordings
 
“Giant Step Arts does not sell any music,” Katz says. “Our goals are to help musicians make bold artistic statements and to advance their careers.  We are also trying to increase our funding so we can help more musicians.”
 
Jimmy Katz

Through his award-winning photography with wife Dena Katz, and his esteemed work as a recording engineer, Katz has spent nearly 30 years helping to shape the way that audiences see and hear jazz musicians. Katz has photographed more than 550 recording sessions, many historic, and 200 magazine covers. Whether taken in the studio, in the clubs, on the streets or in the musicians’ homes, his photographs offer intimate portraits of the artists at work and in repose and capture the collaborative and improvisatory process of jazz itself. Recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association award for jazz photography in both 2006 and 2011, Katz’s work has been exhibited in Germany, Italy and Japan. Among the world-renowned artists he’s photographed are Sonny Rollins, Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Haynes, Cassandra Wilson, Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, John Zorn, Pat Metheny, and Dizzy Gillespie. In addition to his well-known visual art, Katz is an esteemed recording engineer who has worked with artists including David S. Ware, Joe Lovano, Harold Mabern, William Parker, Benny Golson, and Chris Potter, among others.