GHC Meeting Tonight

Join the Greater Harlem Coalition’s look at the intersection of Harlem and East Harlem’s quality of life issues and the 2021 NYC elections. Click here to learn more tonight.

City Comptroller

The person who oversees City Hall’s wallet is called the comptroller, a position currently filled by Scott Stringer.

Four contenders are vying to replace the term-limited Stringer (who is running for mayor). And while the ultra-crowded mayor’s race will undoubtedly steal most of the attention this election cycle, choosing our next comptroller is critical for city voters.

The primary vote is set for June 22 of this year. Given New York’s firmly Democratic lean, whichever comptroller candidate nabs a win then will have a strong advantage heading into November’s general election. A Republican has not been elected comptroller since 1938.

New York City’s comptroller is our municipal auditor and fiduciary.

The Office of the Comptroller does several things, but its chief responsibilities are to prepare audits and oversee how city agencies are spending their money, manage the city’s public pension funds — the largest in the world at $224.8 billion as of October, Stringer’s office says — and issue bonds to help pay for large projects. The comptroller also reviews city contracts.

To do all this and more, the comptroller employs a staff of about 800. The comptroller has another important role: serving as second in line of succession to the mayor, after the Public Advocate.Here’s a comprehensive list of duties from the comptroller’s office.

Brian Benjamin

Benjamin, our Harlem neighbor and State Senator represents Harlem, East Harlem and the Upper West Side. The former investment banker and affordable housing developer pledged to return some donations in early January after THE CITY found donors named in campaign records who said they’d never given money to his campaign.

Brad Lander

Lander currently serves as the City Council member representing Carroll Gardens, Park Slope and Kensington. Previous to government work, he directed a community planning center at Pratt Institute.

Kevin Parker

Parker, a Brooklyn native, is the current State Senator representing Flatbush and surrounding neighborhoods from Ditmas Park to Park Slope. Before taking elected office, Parker worked for local officials, including the then-state Comptroller H. Carl McCall and then-Flatbush Council member Una Clarke.

David Weprin

Weprin, a native of Queens, currently serves as the State Assembly member representing northeast Queens. He previously represented the area in the City Council, worked in the financial services industry and, in the 1980s, served on the state’s Banking Board.

As Seen on 2nd Avenue in East Harlem

Unfortunately, no, the 2nd Avenue Subway isn’t yet in East Harlem. This remnant of an earlier attempt to build the 2nd Avenue Subway is at 117th Street, and was part of the “cut and cover” trenching done in the 1970s

The new 2nd Avenue Subway will incorporate some of this earlier tunneling into the project.

CB11 Votes for a 12 Month Drug Program Moratorium

Nick Garber reports in Patch on the vote in Community Board 11 to try a 12 month moratorium on the siting of new drug programs in the districts.

https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/drug-clinics-face-scrutiny-harlem-residents-push-back

The moratorium also asks for more data from the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) to explain why East Harlem has been packed with addiction programs that other wealthier communities have rejected. Similarly, the moratorium notes that 80% of the people served by these programs in East Harlem don’t live here, but are drug treatment commuters who travel here for their programs.

The Church of All Saints

The landmarked Church of All Saints in East Harlem may have found a buyer. The New York Post reported recently that this church (which has been up for sale for a few years now, and includes the All Saints School complex to the north of the church which was closed in 2011) is negotiating with a potential buyer.

Historic All Saints Church — called the “St. Patrick’s of Harlem” — is about to be sold, The Post has learned.

The Catholic Archdiocese of New York shuttered the church in 2015 and the landmark building, along with its adjacent school and parish house, which occupy an entire block, have stood empty since.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese would not provide any details on the pending sale.

“There is no final agreement in place; things are in process,” said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese.

https://nypost.com/2021/01/23/historic-all-saints-church-in-nyc-to-be-sold/

There certainly has been a flurry of (scaffolding) activity at the site in the last month or so. You can see a huge vertical scaffold section that has allowed workers to examine and repair the topmost facade cross.

While it’s unclear if the church will be sold or not (many a deal has fallen through before finalized), and once sold, we have no idea if the buyer will warehouse the complex or develop it, still, there is local hope that this building will see new life in some form or another.

The building has been deconsecrated and stripped of religious items in 2017, and as with 98% of landmarking, the interior is not landmarked – a new owner could do whatever s/he wants with the inside.

Note the amazing organ and decoration back when the church was in use.

This church was built for the large Irish Catholic population in this part of Harlem and East Harlem at the turn of the 20th century. More recently, it served a primarily African-American and Nigerian parish base and was run by Franciscans.

Timeline of Our Annus Horribilis – 2020

The Museum of the City of New York has a fantastic timeline out that chart our collective Annus Horribilis – 2020.

Scroll down the page to see what happened and when. Here is an explainer video:

And here is the timeline itself:

https://mcny.nyc/nyresponds/timeline/

MTA Public Hearing re: NYS Eminent Domain Procedure Law

Tue, March 30, 6pm – 7pm

DescriptionThe Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”), on behalf of itself and its subsidiaries, will hold a Virtual public hearing under Executive Order 202.94 and pursuant to Article 2 of the New York State Eminent Domain Procedure Law (“EDPL”) on the proposed acquisition of permanent & temporary property interests in properties in the Borough of Manhattan for Phase 2, Contract 2 of the Second Avenue Subway Project (“Project”). 

The hearing will review the public uses, benefits, purposes, and location of the Project, the impact the Project may have on the environment and residents of the area, and will give the public an opportunity to comment on the Project and the proposed Property acquisition. Description of the Project  The Second Avenue Subway, when complete, will provide a subway line with 16 new stations extending from 125th St. & Lexington Ave. to Hanover Square, will link MTA New York City Transit facilities with Metro-North Railroad at 125th St. & provide connections to buses. Acquisition of public & private real estate interests along the project route will be necessary for the construction and operation of the Project.

Phase 1 of the Project has already been completed. Currently, the line runs from E. 96th St. to E. 63rd St. along Second Av., where it joins the existing Broadway Line. Phase 2 of the Project will extend the line north to E. 125th St. turning west along E. 125th St. towards Lexington Ave.

Contract 2 consists of construction of the launch box for the Tunnel Boring Machine(s), bored tunnel north from 120th St. at Second Ave. and tunnel & cavern mining for the 125th St. Station and future entrance and ancillary facilities.

This public hearing includes property interests needed for Contract 2 only. Date, Time and Place of the Virtual Hearing Tuesday, March 30, 2021 Hearing begins at 6:00 p.m.  Registration to speak can be made in advance by visiting new.mta.info/2021EDPL-SASP2-hearing, which will remain open through the hearing date.  Registration will close at 6:30 p.m. Please note this Public Hearing is being conducted in a Virtual format under Executive Order 202.94.

The public may join the hearing by visiting https://mta.zoom.us/j/82605599788 or by calling 877-853-5247 (Meeting ID 82605599788).  A link will also be provided on the MTA website.

A Tribute to Women’s History Tickets, Sat, Mar 27, 2021 at 7:00 PM |

www.harlemoperatheater.org

REGISTRATION – Eventbrite

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-tribute-to-womens-history-tickets-146654097353&sa=U&ved=2ahUKEwix5paZ_8HvAhWkct8KHUHPBdAQFjAAegQIAhAB&usg=AOvVaw1tfToykmITTN8Rl5Nn4x_3

EVENT LINK – SATURDAY, MARCH 27th – 7PM
Click link to the YouTube livestream for March 27th at 7pm

https://youtu.be/Yl8McJthrOQ

DONATIONS WELCOME AND APPRECIATED

Baldwin

Every so often it’s important to go back and reread something of James Baldwin in order to see just how far we’ve come, but, more importantly, how far we haven’t come as a nation and as a city.

In 1965, James Baldwin debated W.F. Buckley at Cambridge University in what became an immediate classic and a touchstone moment in the (intellectual) history of the civil rights movement. Baldwin notes in this debate that:

If you walk out of Harlem, ride out of Harlem, downtown, the world agrees what you see is much bigger, cleaner, whiter, richer, safer than where you are. They collect the garbage. People obviously can pay their life insurance. Their children look happy, safe.

And while the garbage may be collected in our community in 2021, Baldwin’s old neighborhood hosts not one, but two DSNY depots, and the income and wealth gap among Americans has never been more acute.

For the full debate, see:

2nd Avenue Subway, Still Coming…

The governor has said that:

“We will further extend the Second Avenue Subway from 96th Street to 125th Street,” Cuomo said Thursday during his State of the State address. “That will open up the East Side all the way up to Harlem for new, exciting possibilities.”

Note, however, it’s unclear where the money is coming from, and what the new (post-pandemic) timeline is.

Nick Garber at Patch.com has more: https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/2nd-avenue-subways-east-harlem-extension-move-forward-cuomo

2nd Avenue Subway

The City reports that despite a budget crisis, the MTA continues to plan for extending the Second Avenue Subway into East Harlem. Even though the pandemic-spurred economic crisis has put the project back, the MTA continues to work with building and property owners to try to purchase sites needed for air shafts, emergency exits, subway entrances, etc.

The map below illustrates in orange, properties that might be acquired, and in yellow, the proposed 2nd Avenue subway line:

The agency has started taking steps to prepare for using eminent domain a last resort.

At its July board meeting, the MTA said it has begun the process of acquiring over a dozen properties along Second Avenue and 125th Street through “negotiated voluntary agreements,” according to agency records.

If agreements can’t be reached “in a timely manner,” documents show, the MTA must take preliminary steps under the state’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law to lessen the potential for future delays to the project.

For more on the story, see: https://www.thecity.nyc/2020/9/20/21446021/mta-property-second-avenue-subway-eminent-domain-transit

The 25th Precinct – Precinct Navigators

The 25th Precinct is looking for community volunteers to act as precinct navigators. All neighbors who volunteer will receive training and support. To learn more, please contact:

 Detective Darryl Lucas

 25th Precinct Community  Affairs

 Office: (212) 860-6526

 E-mail: [email protected]