One of our neighbors took data derived from the census.gov 5-year American Community Survey data year ending 2013 and created 4 choropleth maps for Manhattan.

Taking a look, can you tell which one represents the density of Black, White, Hispanic, or Asian Manhattanites?

Although the map designer did note that some of the data is clearly ‘off’ given that the bottom map (Hispanic) shows a significant number of residents in Central Park.

To see the project (still under construction):


National Tap Dance Day, May 25

The Joyce Theater Foundation will reunite three tap superstars – Dormeshia, Derick K. Grant, and Jason Samuels Smith – to create the world premiere of The Mayor of Harlem, a celebration of and tribute to the trailblazing and iconic Black tap dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, performed by some of the world’s most breathtaking tap artists. The Mayor of Harlem will be available for streaming beginning at 8pm on Friday, May 21 through 11:49pm on Thursday, June 3. For more information and to purchase tickets ($25 per household), please visit www.Joyce.org.

Following their blockbuster 2019 engagement at The Joyce Theater, Dormeshia, Derick K. Grant, and Jason Samuels Smith, the spectacular artists of Tap Family Reunion, come together to direct and choreograph a glorious company of dancers in reimagining the life of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a groundbreaking tap icon and hero of his people, in the world premiere of The Mayor of Harlem. Robinson began dancing professionally as a young child, quickly establishing himself on the Black Vaudeville Circuit. It was not long before he became the first Black soloist to perform in white theaters across the country during segregation. Robinson faced plenty of stigma, even from his own community, because of Hollywood’s early casting barriers. Throughout his career and life, Robinson made the best of circumstances; an advocate who used his earnings to look out for and improve his community, which directly benefited from his generosity and his sacrifice. The Mayor of Harlem is created and directed with love, by Dormeshia, Derick K. Grant, and Jason Samuels Smith in celebration of National Tap Dance Day (May 25) and Bill Robinson’s Birthday. The entire production and performers embrace Bill Robinson as a symbol for equality and justice. The Mayor of Harlem features a collection of some of the world’s most outstanding tap artists performing today including Phillip Attmore, Christina Carminucci, Amanda Castro, Maurice Chestnut, Orlando Javier Hernandez, John Manzari, and Asha Yuille-Griffith accompanied by a live quartet of musicians led by Ryan Stanbury.

A Lighthouse in East Harlem?

East Harlem is a neighborhood that never ceases to surprise. While most New Yorkers know of the The Little Red Lighthouse (and the big grey bridge) up in Washington Heights, the lighthouse pictured above gets much less (media) attention.

The metal lighthouse is 1/2 mile from the Harlem River and rather than warn people to stay away, it actually is intended to attract.

El Faro (The Lighthouse) is a part of SCAN New York, and is a community center in junior high school 45 at the corner of 120th Street and 1st Avenue.

Harlem Libraries are Open!

Shelf-browsing will be capped at limited periods of time, and computers can be accessed by appointment, the New York Public Library said in a news release. All patrons must wear masks, maintain social distancing and respect the time limits.

Register to Vote!

The City has a great newsletter (below) that details everything you ever needed to know about registering to vote, and how to help register others: your colleagues, friends, neighbors, family, etc.

Print allIn new windowCan you vote in New York’s June 22 primary election?

We’re officially six weeks out from Election Day on June 22

But there’s another date you need to mark on your calendar: May 28. That’s the last day you can register to vote in the June 22 primary. 

To help make sure that as many New Yorkers as possible participate in choosing our next leaders, we’re going to break down who has the right to vote in New York, how to register and how to help someone register to vote. 

If you’re already registered to vote, feel free to share this with others. As we’ve said what seems like a million times, these elections will be momentous in shaping the future of the city.

Who has the right to vote in New York?

To be able to cast a ballot in New York, you need to be a U.S. citizen who has lived in the city/state for at least 30 days, not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction and at least 18 years old. 

If you turn 18 on or before June 22, you’ll be able to vote, so make sure you register now. And remember, all 16 and 17 year olds can pre-register to vote, which means you automatically become a registered voter the day you turn 18.

Can I vote if I am an immigrant?

If you have become a naturalized U.S. citizen since moving here, you can vote

Otherwise, you can’t vote in New York… yet. A coalition of nonprofit organizations has been pushing to expand city voting to nearly 900,000 immigrants across the five boroughs, including green card holders, DACA recipients and people with certain work permits. 

Paul Westrick, senior manager of democracy policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, said: “It’s a huge population of New Yorkers who may not have the piece of paper that they’re a citizen, but they’re New Yorkers. We have folks who are woven into the fabric of New York City and who are being taxed but not represented.”

The expansion has broad support in the City Council, among a few borough presidents, numerous local state and federal elected officials and even from some mayoral candidates, but it will not pass before the 2021 elections. If the measure passes later, it would mean non-citizen immigrants with certain statuses could vote in New York City municipal elections, but not in statewide or national contests. Keep your eyes out for 2023. 

What if I’ve been convicted of a felony?

Big news: Just last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law that gives people back their right to register to vote as soon as they’re released from prison. That includes everyone still on parole or probation, even those convicted of a felony. 

“Anyone who has been formerly incarcerated and is now out in the community has the right to vote. There’s no sort of question or anything like that,” said Nick Encalada-Malinowski, Civic Rights Campaign Director for VOCAL-NY.

In 2018, Cuomo issued an executive order that granted the right to vote to most but not all people on parole through a pardon process. It was a little confusing, so the new law clears it up and makes the right permanent for anyone who has been formerly incarcerated.

Once again, because there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about this: State law now says if you were incarcerated and now you’re out, you have the right to register to vote. 

When someone is released from prison, they do need to *re-register* to vote, even if they were a registered voter before they were incarcerated. 

What if I’ve moved? Do I need to re-register?

If you’ve moved from out of state, you need to re-register, but if you’ve moved from somewhere else in New York, you just need to file a change of address request with the BOE/Post Office/DMV so you can vote in your current district. You can do that here.

How do I register to vote?

You have a few options…

If you have a New York driver’s license or state ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles, you can register online using a tool from NYC Votes and TurboVote, here

If you don’t have a New York driver’s license or state ID, the law requires that you sign an actual form and mail it to the Board of Elections office.

You can use this site to have the forms mailed to you, or you can download and print the forms yourself to fill out and mail in. If you request to have them sent to you, they come with a pre-addressed envelope to send them back.

You will be asked to plug in your name as it appears on your state ID. If you don’t have one, that’s ok. Just put how your name appears on official documents.

If you need language access or you want to help someone register to vote in another language, you can download the registration forms and FAQs in a bunch of languages here

You can also request voter registration forms in various languages by calling 1-866-VOTENYC.

Lastly, you can pick up voter registration forms at any library branch, any post office or any city agency office. 

After you fill them out, mail them to the BOE’s main office:

Board of Elections 
32 Broadway, 7 Fl 
New York, NY 10004-1609

And make sure it’s postmarked by May 28

Other materials needed: If you don’t have a state ID, you will need to provide the last four digits of your social security number. 

 To vote in the June 22 election, you have to register with a party.

If you want to vote in the primary election next month, you need to register with a party. This is because New York has what’s called a closed primary.

For example, to choose from the 13 Democratic candidates for mayor, you need to be registered as a Democrat. If you’re not affiliated with a party or you’re registered as an independent, you can’t vote in the primaries.

According to city Campaign Finance Board officials, there are nearly 5 million registered voters in New York City as of March. Of those, about 3.3 million are registered Democrats and eligible to vote in the Democratic primaries. There are just under 500,000 registered Republicans in the city who may vote in Republican primaries. About a million voters are either registered with a third party or have no party affiliation, so they can’t vote in the primary. So if you’re planning on voting June 22, check your party.

The deadline to switch parties was Feb. 14, so it’s too late to change your party before the primary.

Don’t miss the deadline!

Once again, you have to register by May 28. New York does not have same-day registration. If you aren’t already registered and you don’t apply either online or send your forms in postmarked by May 28, you will not be able to vote in the June 22 primary. Remember: Early voting starts June 12.

What are *your* election questions?

If you have any questions about the election process, the candidates or any other information when it comes to voting in New York, let us know by replying to this email or sending a note to [email protected].

To subscribe to The City’s awesome newsletter, go to:


Rat Academy!

You can join the virtual Rat Academy, put on by the Department of Health on May 24th and sponsored by the amazing MMPCIA. Learn about preventing rats, and dealing with rats if they arrive. It’s a great and very informative program. Highly recommended for the rat-curious and it certainly falls into the news-you-can-use category of time spent.

Click this link to join:


Unhealthy Food Access – The Ratio of Bodegas to Supermarkets

Ah, the bodega…

The number of bodegas per supermarket within an area based on address of business.

Bodegas are defined as food purchasing establishments with less than 4,000 square foot and excludes specialty stores, such as bakeries and vitamin stores.

Supermarkets are defined as retail food purchasing establishments with greater than or equal to 10,000 square feet or have a chain supermarket name regardless of size. 

Source: NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

Early Sunday Morning, Harlem

Lenox and 135th Street.

Fair Share?

I was recently able to get data on the homeless shelter populations by community board. Looking at the big picture (at the borough level) it is clear that one borough is not pulling its fair share:

As many political observers have noted, Staten Island scares the bejeezus out of elected officials who are loathe to rile them up. (Recall that during the discussion regarding De Blasio’s plan to replace Rikers Jail with smaller, borough-based jails, Staten Island was somehow allowed to be the only borough that would not get a new jail.)

The powerful, conservative voting block/s on Staten Island, and the politicians on the Island and at City Hall who cater to them, shield that borough from pulling its fair share.

Even when you account for borough population, the per capita percentage of people in homeless shelters displays Staten Island’s unfair participation in addressing the homeless crisis.

Washburn Wire Factory

After last week’s post on the East River Plaza and the Washburn Wire Factory that it replaced, a reader forwarded this great look at the postindustrial ruin that was the Wire Factory. It’s well worth a read:

Black Women Entrepreneurs

Businesses owned by Black women are growing at six times the national average. These women-owned businesses currently generate $51.4 billion in total revenues and employ more than 375,000 people according to Donna Walker-Kuhne:


Whose blog introduced me to the film She Did That which highlights Black women entrepreneurs.

HNBA’s very own LaShawn Henry recently moved into the entrepreneurial space and describes her company: Urban Strategies as an MWBE Consultant company that specializes in assisting its clients in building diverse and inclusive workforces.

She writes:

Our goal is to create a more inclusive workforce that benefits companies looking to fill positions and communities by improving access to employment opportunities. We connect with local partners and community groups to create a pipeline of talent that is ready to enter the workforce. We develop our pipeline of talent by working with historically marginalized groups, LGBTQ, non-binary, transgender, youth, formerly incarcerated, women, local companies, and unemployed populations We believe to revolutionize the workforce then we must build wealth in underrepresented spaces.

We cannot close the wealth gap, build our communities, and end systemic racism without changing who we hire. We do not have inclusion until all marginalized persons and groups have a seat at the table. We cannot be selective in our definition of inclusion. At the core of our work is fighting gender discrimination, more women are entering the Construction industry, but they often are met with bias. We are confronting this challenge by providing direct support to MWBEs.

Our goal is to build a pipeline of MWBE talent to fill open contracts and educate subcontractors on the bidding process through educational workshops and resources The strategy is to engage our current network and create new partnerships with institutions that have direct contact with MWBE communities.  Through direct outreach and targeted promotion, we can form new partnerships with those who align with our goals. Urban Strategies believes diversity and diverse workforces are not only good for communities, but diverse workforces make better, more sustainable decisions that help a company’s bottom line. Diversity is good for society and good for business.


Eyesore to be Demolished

An eyesore on 115/3rd is going to be demolished, finally. This boarded up building has stood and exemplifying blight for as long as most neighbors can remember.

See: https://newyorkyimby.com/2021/04/demo-permits-filed-for-191-east-115th-street-in-east-harlem-manhattan.html for more.

Museum of Civil Rights in Harlem

(from Urbanize: https://urbanize.city/nyc/post/revealed-one45-museum-civil-rights-harlem-designed-shop-architects)

One45 and Shop Architects are proposing a nearly one-million square foot mixed-use development proposed for West Harlem on a portion of a block bounded by West 144th and 145th Street, Lenox Avenue, and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.

A draft scope of work submitted to the city reveals two new towers that would rise about 360 feet apiece and contain space for office, retail, residential (866-939 units, of which 217-282 would be made affordable), and a banquet hall/event area for community use. 

Most notably, the development will also include a brand new 48,000-square-foot space for the Museum of Civil Rights (MCR), an institution founded by Reverend Al Sharpton, in collaboration with Judge Jonathan Lippman, focused on educating individuals on the contemporary struggles for civil rights, political rights, and social justice in the northern United States. Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) will also establish its headquarters in one of the buildings.

The developer, simply listed as “One45 Lenox, LLC” on city documents, is seeking to rezone a nearly full-block parcel to make way for the outsized development, which otherwise would allow for only 325,000 square feet to be built as of right.

Museum Program (top) | The Harlem Forum (bottom) | SHoP Architects

As the building’s anchor, MCR will boast several incredible spaces, notable for both their design and thought line. 

This includes The Harlem Forum, a flexible programming space that will boast sweeping views of the city from its perch above the tallest tower; The Harlem Lab for Social Change, a state-of-the-art laboratory for media production and the creative arts connected to social justice; The Rooftop Teaching Garden, which has been conceived as a teaching space that will serve as a site for harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a platform for community organizations to educate visitors about local foodways and contemporary food systems; and a community-curated gallery to showcase local talent.

MCR’s website describes the interior design as being “inspired by Harlem’s architecture, particularly its brownstone stoops,” filled with spaces where visitors can “gather, connect, and recharge.” 

The proposal puts forward a plan to construct the two buildings in one phase, an estimated 38-month process that would finish in 2026 if all the necessary approvals are obtained.

Demolition permits have already been filed for most of the one-story structures currently making up One45’s parcel (this includes an office building containing the NAN’s existing headquarters). Other lots in consideration remain wholly vacant.

Boarded Up

Plywood and cinderblock in the windows. A new roller blind. The stained glass arched windows, filled in and cemented over.

Found on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.

Tree Cover

The number of trees and the area shaded by them influences many neighborhood factors, such as attractiveness and lower summer temperatures that, in turn, encourage residents and visitors to walk and do other physical activity. “Tree canopy cover” measures the percent of a neighborhood that is covered (or shaded) by trees.

 About the Measure

Tree Canopy Cover – Percent

How Calculated: 

Tree canopy cover represents a ‘top down’ mapping perspective in which tree canopy over-hanging city features (such as sidewalks) is measured. The percent is calculated by dividing the area of tree canopy in km2 within the UHF neighborhood by the total land area (excluding inland water bodies). Higher percentages indicate greater tree canopy cover, with zero representing no tree canopy cover.

Source: The Built Environment & Health Project (BEH), Columbia University


As found on the Fred R. Moore public school on 5th Avenue.

Black Baseball

Untapped Cities has a great article on Black baseball teams, stadiums, and history: https://untappedcities.com/2021/02/18/black-baseball-sites-nyc/

The image (above) of The Lincoln Giants is not only a powerful photograph of athletic confidence and poise, it also shows a team that played here, in Harlem.

In New York, the Lincoln Giants (1911-30), became a barnstorming juggernaut, going 108-12 their first season. They featured pitching legend Smokey Joe Williams and shortstop John Henry (Pop) Lloyd, who Babe Ruth believed was the greatest player who ever lived. Alas, there was no house that Pop built; the Lincoln Giants mostly played home games at Olympic Field in Harlem between 1911 and 1919.

The location of their playing ground is where Riverton Houses now lies:

Olympic Field opened in 1904 in the middle of Harlem at East 136th and Fifth Ave. Enthusiastic crowds in the thousands, often significantly white, watched the Lincoln Giants take on challengers there, from semi-pro teams to major-leaguers. They developed a fierce rivalry with the Brooklyn Eagle Giants for the “Colored Championship of Greater New York.”  When the field was razed for a parking garage in 1920, the grandstands were relocated to the Catholic Protectory Oval, the Lincoln Giants’ new home.

Stephen Robertson, in his wonderful baseball blog https://drstephenrobertson.com/digitalharlemblog/maps/baseball-1920s-harlem/ writes:

In 1911, Harlem gained its own black professional baseball team, the Lincoln Giants. The white brothers, Edward and Jess McMahon, established the team, obtaining a lease on Olympic Field, at 136th Street and 5th Avenue, where the team played home games on Sundays, the only day off for most black workers. Initially managed by Sol White, a well-known former player, the team included five of the best black players in the nation, recruited away from teams in Chicago and Philadelphia. This formidable combination propelled the Lincoln Giants to a dominant record in their first three years.  Many of those wins came against teams of whites, including teams, or all-star teams, from the segregated major leagues.  Those interracial contests drew the largest crowds, including significant numbers of whites; in fact, on several occasions, as many as 10,000 fans packed into Olympic Field, spilling onto the playing area. Whites also attended games between black teams, often making up as many as a third of the spectators. Despite the absence of segregated seating, there are no reports of friction in the mixed crowds; most of the conflict at games centered on the umpires, who were almost invariably white, even in games involving black teams.

In 1914, the McMahons’ financial difficulties forced them to sell the Lincoln Giants and the rights to Olympic Field to two other white men, James Keenan and Charles Harvey.  Many of the players, however, remained contracted to the McMahons, who for three years operated another team, the Lincoln Stars, based at the Lenox Oval, on 145th Street. When that team folded, the McMahons abandoned baseball, but not Harlem: in the 1920s they took control of the Commonwealth Casino, on East 135th Street, where they staged boxing, including interracial bouts, and, from 1922-24, operated a black professional basketball team, the Commonwealth Big  5.

While the Lincoln Giants had regained their position as Harlem’s team, they played in the neighborhood for only three more years. In 1919, developers transformed Olympic Field into a parking garage, forcing Keenan and Harvey to relocate home games to the Catholic Protectory Oval, at East Tremont Avenue and Unionport Road in the Bronx, taking with them the grandstand and bleachers from their former home.  Surrounded by the gothic structures of the orphanage, and shaded by trees, the field was beautiful but very small. To get there, fans from Harlem had to take a long journey by subway to 177th Street and and then take a street car. The Lincoln Giants would play there until 1930.

Detect Coming to East Harlem

At 69 East 125th Street in Harlem, Greystone leased 3,500 square feet to Detect, a COVID-19 data collection center. The retail space was previously occupied by the Mike Bloomberg presidential campaign and has also served as a seasonal Ricky’s Halloween pop-up store. Detect is a molecular diagnostics company that provides take-home, rapid COVID-19 tests.