Ice Cream in Harlem

Two Harlem ice cream spots won praise in for their amazing offerings:

Sugar Hill Creamery: New York, NY

Serving out of two locations in the Harlem area, Sugar Hill Creamery is a labor of love built by wife-and-husband team Petrushka Bazin Larsen and Nick Larsen. With combined backgrounds in arts, culture, fine dining and community, they opened their first location in 2017 and have been producing seasonal and classic flavors inspired by Harlem. The handmade flavors to order include a blueberry cheesecake dubbed “Chairperson of the Board,” “Fly Girl,” a honey and lavender-flavored homage to the movie “Honey” and a salted caramel flavor named after Langston Hughes’s poem “Harlem Sweeties.”

The shop is currently delivering pints everywhere in the U.S. (except Hawaii and Alaska) through Goldbelly and will be launching its Ice Cream Sandwich of the Month Club this summer.

Mikey Likes It Ice Cream: New York, NY

Mikey Cole created his brand of ice cream following the advice of his late aunt: “If you are cooking with love, someone should receive that same food with love.” Now serving from two locations in NYC, on the Lower East Side and in Harlem, he will soon sell his ice cream at MoMA’s Cafe 2 as well. Cole’s take on banana pudding with vanilla wafers a flavor called “Brady Bunch,” and “Pink Floyd” is a take on a double-strawberry cheesecake. He even serves up a flavor that encourages you to eat your greens, called “Incredible Hulk.”

Cole also continues to donate food to the community and hopes his ice cream brings people together. Plus, if you’re a kid with an A on your report card: Congrats — your scoop is free!

Former Sign/Plaque?

At the point where 5th Avenue intersects with 120th Street, Marcus Garvey Park has a curious remnant of a former sign or plaque.

You can see the former bolt holes, and someone chiseled the rock to allow the sign to lay flat.

If anyone knows what it was or said, do tell.

Local Restaurants vs. Chains

A dataset of nearly 800,000 independent and chain restaurants for the contiguous U.S. was used to examine the total number of restaurants with the same name and created an average “chainness” score, which measures the likelihood of finding the same venues in other parts of the country.

The paper that examined how “chainy” a community is, by examining how geographic, socioeconomic and infrastructural factors relate. It finds that high rates of chainness predominate in the midwestern and the southeastern U.S., especially in places that are more car-dependent, closer to highways, and with high percentages of people who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. 

A zoomed-in look at chainness in Montgomery, Alabama. The chainness score in this area is above the national average.

Independent restaurants were more prevalent in coastal cities and were associated with more pedestrian- and tourist-friendly environments, wealthier and highly educated populations, and more racially diverse neighborhoods.

A look at San Francisco’s low chainness. 

The analysis and maps show where chains proliferate, and where independent restaurants tend to thrive.

The View South on 5th Avenue

The view, looking through the old Bellevue Hospital gates (hence the BH mullions), south on 5th Avenue.

A Flag?

Seriously? Manhattan (as a borough), has a flag?

It looks suspiciously like the NYC flag with the only difference being details on the circular seal.

The Manhattan Latin motto is gone. The 1625 is replaced with two stars. In the end, it’s pretty underwhelming. Perhaps the confusion between the flags means that we’ve seen the Manhattan one in the field, but without close inspection, just assumed it was the city flag…

Ice Cream with A Topping of Nostalgia

One of our HNBA members mentioned going to Thomforde’s Ice Cream Shop at 351 West 125th Street at Nicholas Avenue with her mother.

Thomforde’s Ice Cream Shop or “Soda Fountain” was established in 1903 and closed in 1983. It was a classic soda shop with diamond-shaped black and white floor tiles, a counter with chrome and bright red leather seat stools. They served big meaty hamburgers, pickles, fries and they were said to have the best “homemade” ice cream soda’s in Harlem.

In the book from Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X, long-term Harlem activist Yuri Kochiyuma, said she:

…remembered Malcolm X holding court (at Thomforde’s) over banana splits where she was a waitress for many years.

Falls Requiring Emergency Room Visits by Seniors

About falls among older adults in New York City

Each year, one in three older adults (65 years and older) falls. Among New York City’s older adults, there are approximately 30,500 emergency department (ED) visits, 16,600 hospitalizations, and 300 deaths each year. Falls are not a normal part of aging, and research shows that many falls can be prevented.

Falls and the environment

Although falls can occur anywhere, falls among older adults frequently happen at home. More than one-half of fall-related hospitalizations among older adults were due to falls in the home. There are many risk factors for falls among older adults including previous falls, gait or balance problems, and use of multiple medications that interact with one another or cause side effects. Physical features of the environment can also put seniors at risk. Common fall risks hazards in homes include slippery surfaces, inadequate lighting, and tripping hazards, such as clutter, loose rugs, or uneven flooring.

About the data and indicators

Falls indicators presented on this site are derived from administrative emergency department (ED) and hospitalization billing records from the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS). Fall-related ED visits and hospitalizations are identified using diagnostic codes from the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, Clinical Modification, as defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s external cause-of-injury matrix and using diagnostic information from any diagnosis field. Place of injury codes for these ED visits and hospitalizations allow for identification of falls that have occurred in the home. Data are based on address of the patient, not the address where the fall occurred.  Only falls resulting in outcomes severe enough to require treatment in the hospital ED or an inpatient stay are included; falls resulting in no health outcomes or outcomes treated outside of a NYC hospital are not captured. ED visit counts include treated and released visits, and hospitalization counts include only live discharges. ED visits and hospitalizations include NYC residents aged 65 years and older discharged from a NYC hospital.


To help prevent falls, older adults should:

  • Stay physically active to strengthen muscles and improve balance
  • Remove slip and trip hazards in the home, such as throw rugs, electrical cords or other clutter
  • Improve lighting in and around the home
  • Ask building owner, landlord, or super to make all necessary home repairs, and install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet
  • Ask doctor, nurse, and/or pharmacist to review all medicines
  • Talk with doctors about previous falls and prevention strategies

Kristin Jordan

We’ve all seen her posters for the election. Now a new variation has come out where you can schedule a listening time with the Democratic candidate for City Council 9, Kristin Jordan:

Walking Distance to the Subway

How Calculated: 

Walking distance to a subway station is defined as 1/4-mile or less. Distance was measured between the centroid of 2010 Census blocks and the nearest station entrance. Census block populations within areas defined as walking distance were summed across the neighborhood and divided by total neighborhood population.

Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority ,United States Census

The Verge Measures UES vs. East Harlem Temperatures

The map above shows which neighborhoods in New York City are considered the most “heat-vulnerable.” In heat-vulnerable East Harlem, The Verge documented average land surface temperatures reaching as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That was more than 20 degrees hotter than readings we took in the affluent Upper East Side. The Verge took these readings with a thermal camera on June 24, 2021, when air temperatures at the nearest NOAA weather station in Central Park only reached a high of 77 degrees.

To listen to the full article, see:

HNBA September Meeting on THURSDAY the 16th

Because of scheduling issues, the first HNBA meeting of the season will be held on Thursday, September 16th, at 7:00 PM. We’ve decided to continue to gather on Zoom at least until December because of the threat that the Delta Variant poses to our community.

At our September 16th meeting, HNBA will host Kristin Richardson Jordan 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 and get the Zoom link, please reach out to Shawn, Hallia, Cecile, Saiyda, or Kat for the link, or email: [email protected]

Lenox Coffee

A great cafe. Outdoor seating. Wonderful vibes. 129th Street at Lenox.

Odd Fellows Temple

Landmark East Harlem – a fantastic local group that highlights the history and beauty of East Harlem has a wonderful piece out on the (former) Odd Fellows Temple at Park/106. I highly recommend you get on their email list and explore East Harlem through their efforts.
421 East 116th Street, New York
NY 10029 United States

The article and images below is from Landmark East Harlem and an incredible introduction into this rich landmark:

The former Manhattan Odd Fellows Temple located at 105 E 106th Street has been home to numerous establishments throughout the years, including the first recording studio in Harlem.In 1971, Burnetta “Bunny” Jones founded Astral Recording Studios and rented out the fifth floor for her label Gaiee records. The studio and label provided a much-needed platform for recording artists and engineers throughout Harlem. Jones was also known for employing members of the LGBTQ+ community stating that she wanted her label “to give gay people a label they can call home.”She ended up penning the lyrics to “I Was Born This Way” which would later become a disco hit. Written as a LGBT anthem, the many iterations of the song would ultimately inspire Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Listen to the original recording and subsequent versions and get the full backstory here.Jones was forced to shut down her studio 16 months after opening due to expenses. Yet even in that short time, Jones made a sizable impact in the music industry, having worked with Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Wonder (to name a few), and even collaborating on Stevie Wonder’s blockbuster hit “Isn’t She Lovely.”Astral Recording Studios (also known as Astral Sound) is said to be the first Black, woman-owned recording studio in the United States. Learn more about Bunny Jones’ trailblazing career here.
The grand and expensive construction of the Odd Fellows Temple was a reflection of pre-Depression era lavish spending of the Roaring 20s. Built in 1928 for $1.2M ($19M present day), the Odd Fellows Temple was created as a grand hall for the Odd Fellows fraternal organization. Designed by Hugo Taussig in the Romanesque Revival style, the Indiana limestone, brick, and terra cotta structure is 11 stories high, measures 100’ x 100’, and originally contained an auditorium, bowling alleys, dining rooms, club rooms, and 15 lodge rooms. In the fall of 1930, only a year after completion and the 1929 Stock Market Crash, the New York Times recorded a foreclosure and auction notice, with the building selling for $552,000 or less than half its construction cost.
In the fall of 1945, RKO-Pathe News and Pathe Industries, Inc., purchased the building for a motion-picture studio and film laboratory. Pathe would be the major tenant but rented spaces to other tenants. The building came to be known as the Pathe Building, for the newsreel company. NBC -TV became involved as a client of Pathe’s newsreel and film processing labs and by the late 1940s was producing shows in an “uptown” studio space there, including—according to its current owner—the beloved children’s program “The Howdy Doody Show” and a Friday night variety show hosted by Dave Garroway of the “Today” show.
By 1960, the building was vacant again. In ensuing years it saw various uses, with Astral Recording Studio and other media studios setting up in the 1970s, as well as office space for the NYC Department of Transportation.Around 2000, Phil Mancino purchased the building and opened Metropolis Studios, the only fully-digitized recording studio in Manhattan at the time. It hosted the production of music videos featuring Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Ringo Starr. Cable TV cooking shows, game shows, and judge shows were also filmed there.Many will remember it as the original home of the BET show, “106th and Park” before BET was purchased by Viacom and moved the show to its own studios downtown. Today, the building also hosts the Young Women’s Leadership School, an all-girls high school established in 1996.
Though there have been many owners throughout it’s almost 100 year history, the façade has remained remarkably intact. The building is not yet a city-designated individual; landmark, but it certainly is an icon of East Harlem’s architectural and cultural heritage . The building is currently undergoing exterior renovations and LEH commends Mr. Mancino for his decades of thoughtful stewardship of this important building.

Hart Island

New York City’s Hart Island is the site of the city’s potter’s field. During 2020, over 2,000 COVID-19 victims were buried here. The City has a fantastic piece on the island and the history of burials there (coproduced with Columbia University’s School of Journalism).

2021 analysis by Columbia Journalism School’s Stabile Center and THE CITY found that over 2,300 New Yorkers were buried on Hart Island in 2020. That’s more burials than any year during the AIDS epidemic, another recent health crisis.

Stabile and THE CITY also found that New York City is on pace to bury 1 in 10 Covid-19 victims on the island.

The analysis shows who is more likely to be buried on Hart Island: Black and Latino residents, frontline workers and those with little access to health care.

Cellar Access

Older 19th century or early 20th century buildings sometimes included a pivoting and braced hook like this that allowed objects to be slowly lowered or raised into/out of the cellar. Bags of coal, furniture, and other material would be tied to a rope that would be draped over the hook you see here.

Sally’s Special Freedom Bus!

Credit: 4054340 ©Klytus Smith. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library.

The Schomburg has a great image entitled: Sign for Sally’s Special Freedom Bus, to go to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom from August 28, 1963

The sign was located in the window of Sally’s Restaurant, in Harlem, and referenced a bus leaving 58 years ago today.

Today that location is the site of the Harlem Wine Gallery, and Soraya’s House of Beauty.

Day of Service Today

Saturday, August 28,2021 from 10am-3pm.

We will be giving out free covid-19 testing, vaccinations (we have all 3) as well as mammograms!! The NY AME YP will be distributed backpacks as well. We will also have register voting as well as HIV testing and free distributing of PPE.

Please see the flyer below. All mammogram appointments must be scheduled prior to the 28th the number is on the flyer.

East River Plaza Movie Night Tonight

Tonight is the final night of Movies @ ERP Summer 2021.  NYSoM is giving out free school supplies (while they last) in the afternoon.  At night, come join us at ERP for a free screening of The Wiz. 

It’s free, but space is limited.  Remember to RSVP at East River Plaza Movie Night

Also, it looks like the weather may cooperate so we can have some fun.  Just in case . . . check out the East River Plaza Movie Night link above for weather-related updates. 

The Heat Vulnerability Index

The Heat Vulnerability Index (HVI) shows neighborhoods whose residents are more at risk for dying during and immediately following extreme heat. It uses a statistical model to summarize the most important social and environmental factors that contribute to neighborhood heat risk. The factors included in the HVI are surface temperature, green space, access to home air conditioning, and the percentage of residents who are low-income or non-Latinx Black. Differences in these risk factors across neighborhoods are rooted in past and present racism.

Remember, all neighborhoods have residents at risk for heat illness and death. A neighborhood with low vulnerability does not mean no risk.

What factors affect heat vulnerability in your neighborhood?

 Daytime summer surface temperature is different from air temperature, and varies more by neighborhood: some neighborhoods are hotter than others. A higher surface temperature is associated with a higher risk of death from heatwaves. 

 Green space is treegrass, or shrub cover. Green space helps cool a neighborhood. Less green space in a neighborhood is associated with a greater risk of death during heat waves.

 Air conditioning is as necessary during extreme heat as heating is in winter. A neighborhood with a high percentage of households with air conditioners means that more of its residents can be protected from extreme heat.

 Poverty is a social factor that places people at risk of death during heat waves for many reasons. One reason is that people living in poverty may be less likely to afford owning or using an air conditioner during heat waves. Citywide average: 19.6%

Racial disparities in heat vulnerability

In NYC, Black people die of heat-related illness at a disproportionately high rate. Because of this, neighborhoods with more Black residents are more greatly impacted by extreme heat.

Black New Yorkers suffer these disproportionate health impacts from heat due to social and economic disparities. These disparities stem from structural racism, which includes neighborhood disinvestment, racist housing policies, fewer job opportunities and lower pay, and less access to high-quality education and health care.

Overall, these systems limit access to resources that protect health. While many factors affect a neighborhood’s heat risk, Black New Yorkers are subjected to higher rates of poverty and lower access to air conditioning, green space, and neighborhood cooling resources.

You can learn more about what the City is doing to address extreme heat and how the HVI is guiding that work at Cool Neighborhoods NYC. Communities can also use the index to advocate for services and resources.

Sendero Verde Phase II

The massive development on the block Park/Madison and 111/112 is about to double. Financing has been arranged ($225 Million) to begin Phase 2.

The project will have 709 units of affordable housing, public gardens and recreational space, a mix of community facilities and social services, a new school, and approximately 30,000 square feet of retail. Phase Two will specifically include 347 affordable housing units reserved for the formerly homeless up to households and individuals at 90 percent of the area median income (AMI).

The project will also be the largest Passive House structure for multifamily use in New York City.

“Sendero Verde’s mix of incomes, passive house design, plaza, gardens, and more than 85,000 square feet of community space serving education, youth, and senior activities and health needs provides a model for the next generation of communities of opportunity,” said Jonathan Rose Companies president Jonathan F.P. Rose. “We are so grateful for the support of our community neighbors and the local community board, our partners, and the city agencies that made this project possible.”

Charlie Parker Jazz Fest and COVID

 The NYC Parks Department wanted to let you know that this weekend’s Charlie Parker Jazz Festival – with the Jazzmobile on Friday – will require proof of vaccination or negative covid test within 72 hours.

This is a SummerStage decision and more details can be found at

Friday, August 27, 2021

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Marcus Garvey Park

18 Mt. Morris Park West, New York, NY 10027

All free performances will be open to the public, first come, first served, and subject to venue capacity limits.

In response to the increasing spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, all guests of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival SummerStage events at Marcus Garvey Park on August 27, 28 and 29, will be required to show either proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (final dose by August 13) or a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours in order to enter.

Learn more about acceptable documentation, mask guidelines, and other safety protocols here.

This performance will be livestreamed on

In celebration of what would have been Charlie “Bird” Parker’s 100th birthday, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring invited two seminal fellow altoists — Gary Bartz, & Bobby Watson – to deliver Bird At 100 (Smoke Sessions) as a tribute to and in honor of Parker’s legacy. Bird at 100 sees the three saxophonists alternate between soaring solo flights and three-part harmonies, at times pushing each other, while at others, taking a backseat to Bird, their inspiration. They’re supported by David Kikoski on piano, Yasushi Nakamura on bass while Carl Allen sets the pace from behind the drum kit. A special guest for the evening is Antonio Hart and his quartet. Hart is an alto saxophonist who has sat in with the likes of McCoy Tyner, Terrence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, and Dizzy Gillespie. Rounding out the Quartet will be Miki Yamanaka on piano, Alex Ayala on bass, and Vince Ector on drums.