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: for more.

Pop-up Vaccinations Today and Friday

Cayuga will be hosting a pop-up COVID vaccine clinic at our location on Third ave location. Here are the details: 
When:  Thursday 05/06 and Friday 05/07

When:  8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Where:  Cayuga Centers (2183 Third Ave, New York, NY 10035)

Brand:  Moderna
Walk-ins will be accepted on a limited basis. If interested in being vaccinated at our clinic please email Yiseily De Los Santos at [email protected]g or call at (646) 988-6718 to secure an appointment.

More on Redlining

The digitized versions of the 1930’s redlining maps are fairly ubiquitous these days.

What is often not discussed is that in the early 20th century the white men who drew these maps predicted that the waterfront of the Upper East Side (then with breweries, warehouses, factories, and a mostly German and Slavic immigrant community) was going to go downhill. We also need to recall that the presence of the 2nd and 3rd Avenue Els were also a source of class-panic in that the depressed land values under the Els and the sorts of businesses that located there, seemed to portend a dark future.

In the illustration, above, you can see the almost complete expectation (by the redlining teams) that the Financial District and the LES + Chinatown, would invariably become ‘hazardous’ investment locations.

Redlining, however, did more than predict a community’s viability as a site of investment, it also determined community’s futures by starving them of capital and slowly consigning any existing property owners in ‘hazardous’ areas to insolvency or bankruptcy.

FDNY and High Winds

Last week with the high winds, the FDNY was called to investigate loose metal flashing that appeared unsafe on the Church of All Saints.

Nothing major was discovered at this recently sold building.

An Easter Card

Ebay had an Easter card on offer from Harlem. Note the address, 2214 3rd Avenue. Today, the former J. Bruns “Harlem Candy Kitchen” location is the site of a City Fresh Market:

Here is the link, and an image of the card:

Maria Granville Featured

Maria Granville was featured in a piece on the moral and economic need to ensure that New York’s Black community benefits from the legalization of marijuana. Given that so much of the punitive and carceral focus on marijuana has historically impacted communities of color, restorative justice demands that these devastated communities benefit from the newly enacted legislation.

For the full article and interview, see:

3rd Avenue Bridge

A charming stereoview showing the 3rd Avenue Bridge is for sale on eBay for $10:

Notice the clock-tower in the back-right, indicating that we are looking from Harlem, north, towards the bronx. The woman’s outfit, the horse wagon and the Belgian block paving all add to the charm.

Join Your Community Board

2021 Community Board application is now “live”

ON Apply now to join your Community Board, the most grassroots form of local government. The Boards are pivotal in shaping their communities and work to enhance and preserve the character of the city’s many unique neighborhoods. Applications close Monday, 2/1/2021. Click here to download a PDF to study the questions and prepare your answers before applying online (the online application does not allow “sessions”– you must complete the application all … Read more

Cowperthwait & Sons Building To Be Demolished

The last remnants of a formerly magnificent Cowperthwait & Sons building will finally be torn down according to Patch:

Looking at the last two remaining floors of this flagship building, it’s hard to imagine that one of East Harlem’s architectural jewels stood (or is standing?) here.


Cowperthwait & Sons opened for business on February 23rd, 1909I at this location. The building now (mostly occupied by “American Outlet”) has been truncated back in the 20th century when landlords would abandon the top floors of properties and only focus on renting the street-level commercial space. 

Columbia University’s collection of postcards give you a sense of what the building originally looked like:


The red/orange brick top three stories were lopped-off and only the lower two floors remain.


Note how the area where the beautiful copper-clad windows were has filled in with brick, and cheap windows were thrown in.  

And note the thinner, yellow brick that make up the pilaster (compare to the standard brick next door), and the cinderblock?  that is now the infill where the copper windows once were:


Finally, the red/brown cast iron pillar at the bottom right and the higher quality brickwork on the pilasters is original. 

To see the Columbia University postcard:

1 Hour Photo

Anyone who smiles at this recently exposed sign on 3rd, knows how exciting 1 hour photos were in the 80s and 90s.

On of our neighbors noted that this sign is a left-over film shoot prop, and not an authentic and revealed sign:

Which has been removed.

And, Further Uptown at 127th and 3rd Avenue

Part of his evidence of this was a second store sign that he also photographed at the time when he first noticed the film processing yellow/red sign:

This bas relief by the entry to The Beatrice Lewis Senior Center caught my eye the other day:

It is certainly of it’s time.

COVID-19 Then and Now

As we all know, New York was hit hard by COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic as this visualization shows:

However, the situation now, is incredibly different:

To see the animated version and get sucked into the mesmerizing aspect of this horrific crisis:

Housing Justice

New York’s Housing Crisis is More Dire Than Ever: 

  • Evictions are happening across New York state as COVID-19 cases rise. 
  • 1.4 million New Yorkers are unsure if they can pay next month’s rent. 
  • 92,000 New Yorkers are homeless in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
  • Evictions and homelessness lead to a higher rate of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

Who are we writing to and why?

  • Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Majority Leader and Carl Heastie, Speaker of the State Assembly
  • The Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker have the power to call the legislature back into session RIGHT NOW. 
  • The New York State legislature has the power to STOP evictions, house the homeless, and clear back rent. They are choosing inaction because they are unwilling to tax the ultra wealthy. 

How to do it: 

Option 1: Make your own card and mail it to us! 

Step 1: Grab a piece of paper and fold it in half 

Step 2: Write your housing justice message inside! 

Step 3: Decorate it however you like! 

Step 4: Mail it to:
Joseph Loonam

470 Vanderbilt Avenue,
Brooklyn NY, 11238

Option 2: Make a card online, we’ll print it and deliver it for you! 

What to Write (Personalize it!) 

Dear Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Carl Heastie, 

A housing crisis is exploding in our state. There are 92,000 homeless New Yorkers and people across the state are getting evicted due to the pandemic. 

All I want for the holidays is for everyone to be safe in their own homes. You have the power to make that happen. 

Don’t let New Yorkers spend the holidays in a shelter or on the streets 

We need you to house the homeless, stop evictions, and cancel rent for all New Yorkers. 

Our state cannot survive the pandemic any other way.