Artist Addresses the Hidden Horror of Dr. Sims

The statue of Dr. Sims in East Harlem being removed from 5th Avenue/Central Park

Bloomberg has an article on a new artwork in Montgomery: The Mothers of Gynecology, and the artist and activist Michelle Browder who created this sculpture to challenge and refute the legacy of Dr. Sims.

The Mothers of Gynecology

Browder’s monument honoring the “Mothers of Gynecology” — Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey, enslaved girls who underwent dozens of vaginal procedures by Sims – not only addresses the racist and torturous legacy of Dr. Sims, but also a painting from 1952 that portrayed Dr. Sims.

The painting by Robert Thom made Browder want to understand the women forced to endure Sims’s experiments. While in the painting, the physician is depicted with a benevolent bearing as he inspects his patient; in the background, two Black women cower behind a curtain. The painter inflates the likely age of the ladies: Anarcha was thought to be 17 when she was treated by Sims. And there’s no sign of the restraints that would be used in place of anesthesia or other numbing techniques.

The artist, Michelle Browder

To see the full Bloomberg story:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-10/forging-a-memorial-to-the-forgotten-mothers-of-gynecology

Scholarship From MMPCIA For College-Bound Seniors

The Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association is proud to announce the enrollment period for the 2022 MMPCIA Scholarship Program 
All college-bound Harlem high school seniors who meet the criteria are encouraged to apply. Please visit the following link: 
Scholarship Application  
Deadline for completed applications is June 30th.
Please spread the word to the Harlem high school seniors you know! 
MMPCIA Education CommitteeDetails:The Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association (MMPCIA) $4,000 Scholarship Award began as a way of honoring college-bound Harlem high school seniors who live in Greater Mount Morris Park/Central Harlem Community from 110th to 135th Streets between Morningside and Third Avenues.
The scholarship is awarded in the amount of $1,000 annually for four consecutive years as long as students remain in school full time.
For additional information go to MMPCIA.ORG
or send inquiries to [email protected]

Puerto Rican Pride Parade on June 12th

Show your Puerto Rican pride and march on June 12 in the 65th annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade.

NEW YORK – JUNE 13: Spectators watch the ninth annual Puerto Rican Day Parade pass by June 13, 2004 in New York City. Tens of thousands of people lined Fifth Avenue for the parade. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

Jimi Hendrix in Harlem: September 5th, 1969

On September 5th, 1969 Jimi Hendrix performed at the Harlem Street Fair at the corner of 139th Street and Lenox Avenue. Only 26, Hendrix had wanted to reestablish a relationship with Black fans “my people”. He arrived characteristically late only to find that the crowd had dwindled to a few hundred Harlem residents.

Harlem had been Hendrix’s home on the east coast before being whisked off to London by a British promoter who saw Jimi Hendrix as having incredible megastar potential.

This homecoming couldn’t have been more different from what he expected. Residents had given up, and considered the show nearly over and his international star power was not holding the community in thrall.

After taking to the stage, a crowd member threw a bottle at Hendrix, which shattered against one of the speakers. Added to this, barrages of eggs covered the stage, a testament to just how the local community felt they had been let down by Hendrix. Nevertheless, Hendrix and his band played while the angry crowd gradually dispersed.

“They didn’t like him,” Charles R. Cross says in his Hendrix biography Room Full of Mirrors. “He was jeered. People heckled him.”

This was deeply ironic, of course, as race had deeply frustrated Hendrix and he hated that he was caught between being reduced to a stereotype by many white fans while being rejected by many in the Black community.

The YouTube link (below) while not a video recording, gives a sense of just how much the performance might have come off as artful noise to those who remained on Lenox and 139th Street that evening.

A Town Hall on Property Taxes and Sanitation

28th Precinct Community Council Meeting

Wednesday, June 8th – 6:30 PM

A survey from City College

Dear Neighbor,
What would a healthy Harlem look like? What would it take to get there? Can you spare a few minutes to think about that question and share your opinions with us?
We would like to learn about the quality of life in Harlem. We will use the results from this survey to develop a plan of action to work together with residents and other community members to address the major health and community issues in Harlem. Our ultimate aim is to partner with the community to create a better and healthier Harlem for the sake of all who live and work here and our children. The survey is anonymous and voluntary and should take only no more than three to five minutes to complete. 
Link to Survey – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZRX52MJ
Thank you!
Your neighbors at The City College of New York and Billy Council.

Council Member Kristin Jordan Says “No” to 458 Affordable Apartments

Patch’s Nick Garber is reporting that Central Harlem’s council member Kristin Jordan has stopped 458 new affordable rental units from being built on 145th Street. The article indicates that a storage unit facility may be built on the site instead:

https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlems-one45-project-withdrawn-developers-after-yearlong-battle

Bike Repair & BBQ

Saturday, June 4th / 11AM – 3PM

Join us for a FREE outdoor Bike Repair and Maintenance led by Bronx Messenger and Uptown & Boogie Bicycle Advocacy.

Bring your own bike [BYOB] – ask local bike mechanics and enthusiasts from Upper Manhattan and The Bronx, questions about commuting in the city, discuss biking with kids, bike touring, biking while menstruating and more.

Participants are welcome to work on their bicycle during the event.

Volunteer: Are you a bike mechanic or enthusiast and want to volunteer? Email [email protected]

Event Information:

Harlem Rents Near Subways

Renthop has an analysis of rent price increases for apartments close to subways. Looking at the 2/3 Lenox/125 station, the nearby rent increased by 18.4%:

The 4/5/6 transit area increased by 17.8%:

But the largest increase was near the A/B/C/D 125th Street station. Rents there increased by 20.3%:

If you’re wondering, the Harlem rents near subways above 125th Street all seemed to hover around 10% increase. So proximity to 125th Street increased rents by nearly twice as much as Sugar Hill, Hamilton Heights, and (interestingly, given the juggernaut of Columbia elbowing its way into Manhattanville) stops on the 1 line.

To see the full map, and look at other parts of New York, see

https://www.renthop.com/studies/nyc/nyc-mta-subway-rent-map

Harlem Authors Talk

The Harlem Rose Garden at 6 E. 129th St. is hosting a literary event on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at 1 p.m.

Price is a Bronx native, Harlem resident, author of The WanderersClockersFreedomlandLush Life and The Whites; writer for HBO series The WireThe Night OfThe Deuce and The Outsider.

Adams’ novels have been praised in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Guardian and the Times of London. A former Washington Post writer, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for a series on police brutality.

Support NYC Parks

Please see below that New Yorkers for Parks is advocating to send to our  email to the Council Members on the Budget and Negotiating Team (BNT). These are the officials who represent your interests directly during budget negotiations with the Adams Administration  to advocate for getting the 1% city budget to be dedicated to parks.

PLease share with others as well.  Parks are essential

Here are the email addresses

[email protected]

CC: [email protected]

BCC: [email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]  

And here’s the letter to make it easy: Also feel free to add a personal note for more impact

Dear Council Member:

I’m writing to you on behalf of Play Fair, a coalition co-founded by New Yorkers for Parks. We are a parks and open space coalition of more than 400 advocacy organizations dedicated to building a better-funded, more equitable and resilient parks system in New York City.

Throughout this budget session, we fought alongside Parks Committee Chair Shekar Krishnan to demand an increase of NYC Parks funding to 1% of the city’s budget, something both Mayor Adams and Council Speaker Adams have committed to. This funding is needed for critical maintenance and operations, and to realize a comprehensive policy approach ensuring all New Yorkers have access to safe, equitable, and vibrant parks and open spaces.

There is momentum to make this happen in 2022. We urge the BNT to implement these transformative funding priorities:

Increase parks funding to 1 percent of the city’s budget: Every world-class park system in the US receives at least 1-2 percent of annual city funding. New York has underinvested in parks for over 50 years, allocating only about 0.5 percent for parks, despite parks and natural areas covering 14% of our city and more than 30,000 acres.

Save critical parks maintenance workers: NYC Parks will suffer a net loss of 1800 Cleaning Corps workers, leaving a gap in the workforce which will disproportionately impact communities of color. Last July, the Bronx had 1,047 maintenance workers. The Executive Budget proposes 822; a loss of 255 maintenance workers. The city must invest in funding these essential positions.

Protect the Play Fair positions at NYC Parks: Last year, we fought for Council-funded positions to accommodate increased park usage during the pandemic. With Covid cases and temperatures rising, New Yorkers are again relying on these spaces for mental and physical health. The Play Fair positions are vital for enforcement, maintenance, and operations.

Additionally, ensuring continued funding for the Parks Equity Initiative is critical to supporting community programs. These are critical investments that the City Council needs to remain committed to.

(I spend every day in my park, walking my dog and not only volunteering with our Park non-profit but also with our dog run.  There is not enough staff to keep the park clean let alone take care of needed repairs. That is why I’m writing.)

suzan marciona, RLA, MLA, ISA, GRPverdantvis |design • inspire • manage | 

Concert – Harlem Rose Garden – June 4th at 4:00 PM

On Saturday, June 4th at 4:00 PM, come to hear a garden concert in the Harlem Rose Garden (East 129th Street, just east of 5th) with the Dorothy Maynor Singers:

All welcome.

Home To Harlem

Join the Maysles Cinema in celebrating our community:

June 9-June 30, 2022
“Home to Harlem” presents Harlem through an archival lens as both an actual home for Black citizens and families and as a location in the popular imagination of African Americans, by exploring the various intersections of documentary, amateur films, home movies, musical shorts, nontheatrical materials, family archives and the preservation of cultural artifacts in Harlem. The series will also spotlight film exhibition in Harlem, innovated by Jessie Maple and LeRoy Patton’s 20 West: Home of Black Cinema.
Curated by Ina Archer and Emily Apter.
Tickets Here
Screening #IntheCinema
June 9, 7:30PM | America’s Negro Metropolis
June 17, 6:30PM at City College | Diary of a Harlem Family
June 23, 7:30PM | Cab Calloway and Many More
June 24, 7:30PM | Jessie Maple’s Home for Black Cinema
Streaming #Virtually
June 20-June 26 | Diary of a Harlem Family
Events #IntheCommunity
June 10, 7:45PM at St Nicholas Park | Home to Harlem in the Park screening Cotton Comes to Harlem
June 11, 9AM-2PM at 619 West 14th st | West 145 Street Arts Crafts & Health Fair presented by Centro Civico Cultural Dominicano
June 12, 12PM-4PM at Children’s Art Carnival | Community Archiving Pop-up event

Hike the Heights

Hike the Heights
Hike the Giraffe Path, a six mile trail that connects the Cloisters to Central Park through the cliffside parks in Northern Manhattan and then head to the Sunken Playground for games and a potluck. 

Saturday, June 4, 10:00 am

Stand Against Gun Violence

Good Afternoon Friends, Family and Colleagues,

My hope is that you are all doing well.  The last few weeks have absolutely been very emotional for our Nation.  Seems like every time we turn on our television we are dealing with yet another senseless shooting.  As National Gun Violence Awareness Day is approaching I am asking you to come out and stand together to condemn this public health crisis and promote love and peace.  You may be asking yourself, how will this combat gun violence? and the answer is that coming together in unity is actually the first step because it shows that we will not continue to tolerate this, it shows that we are coming together to say Enough is Enough.  

We won’t keep you long.  We ask you to wear orange and come together in solidarity as we speak out, have a moment of silence, call on the Most High for assistance and discuss action plans to continue the movement to combat gun violence.  This event is a COMMUNITY EVENT hosted by SAVE/GOSO and the Community Council. 

What small sacrifices can we individually take today, to preserve a healthier and safe nation, state, and neighborhood tomorrow? We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo.  These are the words of Matthew McConaughey.  We owe it to our children to come together in unity and stand together to create an unbreakable bond and a powerful punch so that we can make change for the good. 

I have attached the flyer for your perusal with the hopes that programs will bring out their participants and families will come out from around the city. We need you there.

I thank you in advance for coming out and rallying for the cause.

Sincerely,

Kioka Jackson

Concert in Harlem Rose Garden

Open Garden Day and the performance by the Harlem School of the Arts singers at 4PM. 

Who’s Going To Represent You/Harlem In Albany?

The New York State 70th Assembly District primary is coming up.

Whoever wins the primary will likely be your representative in Albany. If you live in the area shown on the map below, make sure to register for the candidates’ forum tomorrow (Thursday, June 2nd, at 7:00 PM):

https://fordham.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEud-2srT8sHtVPXlbcKERFa_AmPHiQyurt

:

Click on this map to see a larger view

Election/Primaries News

  • Remember, as of now, we’re headed for a double primary season, which we wrote about in the last newsletter; June 28 is the first primary, with another scheduled for August 23.

    FYI: If you’re already registered to vote, the deadline to switch parties passed in February.
      
  • Redistricting and the legal battle that followed it are done, so the state has new political lines. Make sure you know how your district lines have changed! Use our address lookup tool to see how the boundaries have shifted around you.

Poop and Harlem’s Hidden COVID Numbers

In September 2020, New York began to sample and test wastewater at New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wastewater plants for COVID-19.

If you recall an earlier post on wastewater and New York – https://hnba.nyc/where-does-my-sewage-go/ – you may remember that virtually all of Harlem’s wastewater (basically anything that goes down your drain or toilet) ends up at Wards’ Island’s DEP complex. New York Open Data has made the wastewater sampling data available, so I decided to plot COVID-19 as detected in our (Harlem’s) poop.

September 2020 December 2020 December 2021 April 2022

As you likely know, wastewater sampling can only give a community average of sorts, but what it does (that swab sampling of individual New Yorkers can’t do) is integrates information on the people who never or rarely test.

The chart above is amazing and terrifying at the same time. The left-hand side is September 2020, and the right hand side is April 2022.

That crazy spike is from 12/27/2021 – after Thanksgiving 2021, around Christmas – when Omicron converged in the US. Holiday travel, family gatherings, shopping, and the shift to socializing indoors, all combined with a more contagious COVID variant.

Juneteenth Celebration on East 111st Street

(between Lex/3rd)

Memorial Day

As always, this weekend we remember the men and women of Harlem who served in the armed forces. As many of us know, many Harlem service members had (and have) to fight discrimination within their ranks and their country, in addition to fighting the enemies of the United States.

The 369th, or Harlem Hellfighters, who fought in WW1 as the most decorated American soldiers in that horrific conflict, are memorialized in a small triangle of land, between the 369th Armory and the Harlem River Drive.

The simple obelisk – inscribed with the names of battlefields and battles, fought more than a century ago – did not appear until 2006, and even then was a copy of a 1997 obelisk that is located in Northern France where many of the 369th’s battles were fought.

The 171 members of the 369th Regiment (formed as the New York Colored Infantry Regiment)received the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War), and one member received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The 369th Armory was built in 1933 (but had taken over a decade to build) is now both home to the 369th Sustainment Brigade and a recreation center that the Harlem Children’s Zone uses and manages.

And, while memorializing this storied group of warriors is appropriately in front of the armory’s entrance, it’s telling that its location is not in Central Park, for example, where memorials to white companies are located.

The 107th Infantry memorial, dedicated on September 29, 1927, was located on the east side of Central Park because of its proximity to the Regiment’s Armory just to the east on Park Avenue. The soldiers of the Seventh Regiment’s 107th Infantry helped to break Germany’s Hindenburg Line of defense at the conclusion of World War I. The sculptor, Karl Illava, was a sergeant with the infantry and sculped this massive life-size bronze work.

Veterans of the 307th Regiment ceremoniously planted 16 oak trees in a small landscape at the end of the Mall, between 1920-22, just south of the Naumburg Bandshell. Each tree represented one of the regiment’s companies and was marked by a plaque with the names of the soldiers from that company who were lost in the war. Over time, some of the trees died or were removed, but the plaques remain. A large boulder provides an additional memorial, listing all the companies and the names of the members who died.

The Negro Soldier

The 1944 documentary Negro Soldier was commissioned by the United States Army to encourage Black volunteerism and address racial tension in the home front.

Frank Capra produced the film as a follow-up to Why We Fight.

Graham Court 1904

At the meeting of Seventh Avenue Drive, St. Nicholas Ave. and 116th St., the largest and most complete apartment house in New York

A few vacant apartments, ranging from $1,020 to $2,000 a year, will be for rent from October 1st.

The completion of the underground R. R. with a station one block from this building renders this location very convenient and accessible, enabling one to reach the hotel and theatre district in about 12 minutes.