(Un)Common Stock

This rather dull piece of Harlem ephemera – a 5 shares worth of stock in the Harlem Stock Exchange – doesn’t on it’s surface have much going for it.

Almost the only thing of interest here is that of the $100,000 total amount of stock, a certain Julius D. Westmoreland owned 5 shares.

And this stock was certified on this day, February 1, in 1921.

What makes this dull document interesting is this stock exchange was an investment vehicle to pool Black Harlem’s assets into a Black real estate company that could transform Harlem.

The brochure (below) is from the collection of the University of Massachusetts and would have been printed to distribute and encourage investment in a large, Black firm that would be capable of financing the purchase and management of real estate throughout Harlem.

The brochure lists trustees and directors – note the inclusion of John E. Nail, of Nail and Parker real estate. John Nail got his start in the real estate business working for Philip A. Payton, Jr.’s Afro-American Realty Company, another real estate firm catering to African American customers in New York City. In 1905, he founded the Nail-Parker Company with Henry G. Parker and bought real estate in Harlem.

By 1925, Nail’s business owned around fifty apartment buildings in the Harlem area. Nail became the most important Black real estate agent in New York City, and sat on the Real Estate Board of New York and the Housing Committee of New York; in each case he was the only Black member.

In the brochure (below), the section on “The Need” notes how white capital’s racist refusal to back Black investment opportunities or Black businesses demanded a Black collective (monetary) response in order to build moneys available for the Black (business) community.

After the Great Depression struck, Nail’s business entered bankruptcy in 1933. Nail died in 1947. Harlem developed as a Black community of renters rather than owners.

To read the full brochure, see:


As Seen In Harlem

Lost Church – Part 2

A month or two ago I’d mentioned that The Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital, just east of Marcus Garvey Park (between 122nd and 121st Streets and Madison and Park Avenues) replaced a Harlem church (outlined in green below)

The fuzzy photo (below) showed the rock rubble in Marcus Garvey park before the depression era work to revitalize the park, with the church in the distance.

Zooming in, you can see the church, and the brownstones that used to line Madison Avenue.

One of the readers mentioned that this church was a Russian Orthodox church, and she was able to provide this (much, much) better photo of the church, looking northward on Madison Avenue:

Note the total lack of trees on Madison Avenue, and the brownstones lining the way north to 123rd street. It must be a warm day, as the shadow indicates its early in the morning, and the kids all seem to have shorts on.

As Seen In Harlem

Harlem Rose Garden Tree Tour

Join the New York Botanical Garden’s Levi on an extensive  tour of the Harlem Rose Garden identifying trees, noting their diversity, and diving into a range of topics from ecology, plant diversity.

Harlem’s Julia De Burgos At Lincoln Center

East Harlem’s poet – Julia De Burgos – is currently being celebrated with massive murals and a quote on the wall of Lincoln Center:

Bill Perkins

Harlem’s 125th Street BID remembers Bill Perkins

Pictured l to r: Joyce Stephens (then NYPD 28TH Precinct Commanding Officer, Barbara Askins (BID) William Perkins (City Council) at a BID’ Fund Raiser — Sports and Fashion Gala .
Councilmember Perkins was a voting member of the 125th Street BID Board of Directors. He kept the BID on point and approved budgets, supported the Harlem Clean Campaign, provided extra sanitation workers, helped the BID articulate its position on what was needed with a dedicated bus lane and more. He was always looking at the situation from all sides and made sure that those who had less in the community would not be left out.  
He constantly acknowledged and praised the BID’s sanitation workers and public safety ambassadors for the work they do on 125th Street and asked us if there was something he could do to help.
Most impressive to us When the pandemic hit and everyone was working from home, Bill Perkins walked across 125th Street everyday checking out the district — sharp as a tack always acknowledging the BID during those troubling times. 
He will truly be missed!!!

A Rose Grows in Harlem

Trauma Unmasked

Skating On The Harlem River

The Museum of the City of New York has a great image of children lacing up their skates to skate on the Harlem River at McComb’s Dam (155th Street).

The image is from 1904.

Further South, The Triborough

A great, 1937 photograph of the Triborough Bridge by Berenice Abbott as a part of the Federal Art Project in the depression. The bridge was just a year old.

Below shows the wire strands necessary to support the bridge:

From the vantage below, you can see how the Triborough (from Queens) was built in stages on cleared land:

Lastly, below, opening day with a presidential motorcade.

Izzi Spiller’s Band

A photo dated by an Ebay seller to 1936 of Harlem students in a percussion class.

The drummer on the right has a drum with Izzie Spiller’s Band.

Note the teacher, seated at the piano, and the white-faced drummer figure that is the focal point for the students’ gaze.

Harlem Sign

For $9,000 you can have an early 20th-century tailor and furrier sign:

Note the interesting (if inconsistent) font (look at the A’s)

Save The Date: HNBA Talks Trash!

On Tuesday, June 13th, at 7:00 PM, HNBA will hold our final in-person monthly meeting before our summer break. On June 13th we’ll be meeting at the Henry J. Carter Hospital – enter at the corner of 122/Park. We’re working on getting local elected officials and DSNY on hand to talk about what can be done about the multiple and complex issues of trash in our community.

If you’ve got an idea, a solution, an offer, or anything else to do with trash, litter baskets, and more, you are welcome to join and help us collaborate on this issue.

This meeting is co-sponsored by CIVITAS , 1775 Houses, and the Harlem East Block Association.

In addition to looking at the trash issues in our community, we’ll also have virtual tour of the amazing Carter Hospital, and discuss voting in the June 27th primaries (that will determine who is Harlem’s new city council member).

(Below is a map of litter baskets in upper Manhattan)

See: https://fordham.carto.com/u/shill18/builder/c9a7f29d-3971-41be-92b2-13a6967bc3f4/embed

New York, Supreme Court, Judicial Candidacy

Harlem East Endorses Inez Dickens

The Harlem East Block Association has run candidate forums, candidate surveys, and member polls, and the results are in!

60+% of the Harlem East Block Association voted to endorse Inez Dickens. The block association members appreciate Inez’s track record of preserving affordable housing & her willingness to address safety & quality of life issues in Harlem.

As a result, the Harlem East Block Association decided to endorse Assembly Member Inez Dickens as the City Council Member for District 9 in Harlem and they recommend rank choice voting in this order #1 Inez Dickens #2 Yusef Salaam and #3 Al Taylor. 

The Harlem East Block Association is urging everyone to vote as recommended in order to get the attention of these busy officials. To make their impact felt, everyone has been asked to to register to vote by June 17 and vote on June 27 for the primary election. Members are also urged to consider donating to Inez Dickens at https://www.inezedickens.com

For every $100 that is donated, $800 is matched by the Board of Election. 

Here is how you can spread the word on social media: twitterinstagram and facebook.

Still not sure whom you will vote for?  Checkout these questionnaires and recording of Harlem East Block Association’s extensive work on researching the candidates:

Other info:

As Seen In Harlem

Free Saturday Concert – The Saturday Soiree

Hey wonderful neighbors!!! On May 20 and 27th, no need to RSVP, just come on up and hear some wonderful singing…… I might even join in the fun!!!

Take the M3 bus up St Nicholas to 147th Street!!! OR…. take the A/B/C/D trains to 145th Street. Exit at the front of the platform up the stairs and you are on St Nicholas between 147th and 148th Street. 

Lauren Flanigan, Director/Founder
Music and Mentoring House


Acclaimed soprano Lauren Flanigan is the Founder/Director of Music and Mentoring House, a New York State not-for-profit that provides affordable programs for opera singers, hands on mentoring and an upscale residency program to students studying in the arts in NYC. She has enjoyed a thirty-year career that included performances at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Glyndebourne, the New York City Opera, ten world premieres, one movie, eleven cd’s, five Live From Lincoln Center telecasts and fifteen awards for musical and humanitarian work. 

Music and Mentoring House, Inc is a fiscally sponsored project of Black Women Playwrights’ Group. All donation amounts are greatly appreciated and a very important contribution to continuing our efforts to serve artists of all disciplines.  Black Women Playwrights’ Group is an IRS recognized 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.

Men’s Health and Wellness Fair

The Community Healthcare Network (“CHN”) and the New York (NY) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. are hosting a Men’s Health and Wellness Fair scheduled for Saturday, June 3rd, 2023 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the CHN Harlem Health Center located at 81 West 115th Street, New York, NY 10026; free health screenings, onsite medical professionals to answer questions about risk factors associated with chronic illnesses, and more.

Registration is FREE via the link below and we respectfully request your help to distribute to get the word out to men everywhere; family, friends, and neighbors are welcome……