This black and white documentary of a Harlem family was made in 1968 by the famous photographer and filmmaker, Gordon Parks. Using his still photos for Life magazine, Parks illustrated the crushing effect poverty had on every member of this Harlem family who lived on Frederick Douglass Blvd., in the 130’s.

Gordon Parks noted that “I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against all sorts of social wrongs. I knew at that point I had to have a camera.”


Sticker Advice on St. Nicholas Ave.

Redistricting Update

Public hearings on the proposed new City Council districts begin next week. This is a critical stage of the redistricting process that ensures the views of Harlem and East Harlem are reflected in the drawing of council district lines.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to look at the draft maps proposed by the districting commission, you can do so by clicking here. You can also check out the CUNY website Redistricting and You, which allows you to easily compare the old and the proposed council lines, along with various other dynamics of your district. In addition to the Commission’s preliminary map, you can also see other proposals, like the Unity map, created by the advocacy organizations LatinoJustice PRLDEF, The Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).
The commission will hold five public hearings in one week, starting on Tuesday August 16. You can sign up to testify here. Each hearing will be hybrid, meaning you can testify virtually or in person. There will be one hearing held in each borough, but if you cannot make your borough’s hearing, it is OK to testify on any date. You can indicate any translation or accommodation needs you may have as you sign up to testify.
Time: Tuesday August 16, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm
Location: Museum of the Moving Image, Sumner Redstone Theater, 36-01 35 Ave Astoria, Queens 11106
The Bronx:
Time: Wednesday August 17, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm
Location: Lehman College (CUNY), Gillet Auditorium, 250 Bedford Park Blvd West, The Bronx 10468
Staten Island:
Time: Thursday August 18, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm
Location: Staten Island Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace Rm 125
Time: Sunday August 21, 2022 @ 3:30pm to 7pm
Location: Medgar Evers College (CUNY), School of Science Health & Technology, Dining Hall, 1638 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn 11225
Time: Monday August 22, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm
Location: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd., Harlem, Manhattan, 10037
Testimony Registration:
You can register to testify at any of the hearings by filling out this form
Testimony Email:
If you would like to submit written testimony, you can do so at any time by emailing [email protected]
Recent Advocacy:
In response to reports about possible backroom deals between appointing authorities, and their influence over mapping decisions, Citizens Union along with several other advocacy organizations, sent a letter to the Commission urging them to hold mapping deliberations as part of an open public meeting and provide the public with a detailed explanation of how and why the new Council lines are drawn. You can read and promote that sign on letter here.

If you have any questions, or if we can help in any way, contact:

Dan Kaminsky (he/him)
Policy Manager
Citizens Union/Citizens Union Foundation 
P.O Box 140917, Staten Island, NY 10314
[email protected] | citizensunion.org
Help shape future City Council districts – more info at CitizensUnion.org/NYCRedistricting

Playstreets: Summer of 1968

The city’s Parks Department opened a new photography exhibition at Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery that displays more than 40 archived photographs from the department’s collection. Called “Streets In Play: Katrina Thomas, NYC Summer 1968,” the exhibit features images taken by the late photographer Katrina Thomas, who in 1968 was hired by NYC Mayor John Lindsay and tasked with capturing the city’s summer initiative, “Playstreets,” in which residential blocks were closed to vehicles and instead equipped for recreational activity.

The Arsenal Gallery is located on the third floor of NYC Park’s Central Park headquarters at Fifth Avenue and 64th Street. The hours are Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Admission to the exhibition is free, and more information on the gallery can be found on the department’s website. “Streets in Play” will be on display through September 2.

Tree In The Middle

This is the only tree I know of in Harlem that has grown in the middle of a sidewalk.

Safe, Family Bicycle Ride from Harlem to Astor Place

Join Transportation Alternatives for a bicycle ride along the newly-extended route for NYC DOT’s Summer Streets! For the first time in city history, the DOT will be extending Summer Streets Uptown into East Harlem.

To celebrate, we will be hosting a ride that starts in Harlem at the State Building, travel along Adam Clayton Powell and then heads east on 110th Street toward Park Avenue. We will then ride Park Avenue all the way down to Astor Place where TA will have free bike valet so we can all hang out and build together.

Along the route, we plan to highlight various campaigns our TABxUP and TAMAC activist committees are currently working on (Central Harlem Bikeway, Bike Crosstown and Fifth Avenue). We hope you can all join us!

This free, family-friendly event will start at 9 a.m. on August 13 by the ACP State Office building. We’ll meet at the Citi Bike station, near the corner of W 125th St & Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, and depart at 9:15 a.m. for a 90-minute ride down Summer Streets to Astor Place.

Please make to register and share with your friends!


*The course map will be emailed to attendees the week of the event.*

Caribbean New Yorkers

The largest wave of immigrants from the Caribbean came to Harlem during the Harlem renaissance. Indeed, many of the greatest artists, luminaries, and thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance were Caribbean-born. Claude McKay, Marcus Garvey, and Arturo Schomburg.

Claude McKay

Almost a quarter of Harlem’s Black population was foreign-born in the 1920s. Earlier, however, in 1880, the distribution of Caribbean immigrants was thin:

However, by 1910, the beginnings of a Caribbean enclave around Lenox/5th Avenues and 131st to 138th Streets had begun:

The father of James Weldon Johnson – Harlem Renaissance poet and author of the Black National Anthem: Lift Every Voice and Sing – was born in the Bahamas and likely figured in the census data map, above.

See more at Mapping Historical New York.

Questlove Notes That Harlem in 2022 is Still Facing Many of the Issues it Faced in 1968

Governor Hochul & OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham: Stop Fueling the Overdose Epidemic!

We are asking Governor Hochul and Commissioner Cunningham to commit to reducing the disproportionate density of drug programs in communities of color like Harlem. We believe that a fair-share distribution of small-scale, effective, and holistic OASAS-licensed programs in all New York neighborhoods will lead to more effective outcomes and reduce overdose deaths. By leveraging the OASAS relicensing process and new Opioid Settlement funds, Governor Hochul and Commissioner Cunningham have the power to rebalance OASAS programs on a geographic and racial fair-share basis.

Sign the petition if you agree.

Currently, the imbalance in Harlem is such that 75% of the opioid treatment patients that OASAS sends to programs located in Harlem and East Harlem do not live in our community – traveling from as far away as Staten Island. While our community only accounts for 8% of all opioid treatment patients, OASAS sends 20% of all patients to Harlem every day. We are advocating for OASAS to decentralize the concentration of opioid centers in Harlem and commit to a data-driven and equitable approach that increases access to community-based programs that are small-scale, effective, and holistic.

Why is this important?
We ask OASAS to join us in fighting this imbalance for three reasons. First, we know that when programs are more conveniently located in all neighborhoods, drug treatment success increases with positive outcomes. Second, we know that the current presence of treatment mega-centers in communities of color reinforces the message that addiction is a Black issue and one that should be contained in Black neighborhoods. Third, concentrating the majority of the city’s programs in Harlem fuels the overdose epidemic. New Yorkers shouldn’t have to go out of their way to access vital care. Equitably distributing the locations of treatment centers throughout NY will not only work towards racial justice, it will also lead to better health outcomes for all.

Sign the petition if you agree.