Mount Morris Park 1848

A fascinating map of Mount Morris Park from 1848 is up for sale for $3,400:

This map shows land owned by Samson Adolphus Benson, which extends north of Harlem creek, and south of Kingsbridge Road (all of the detailed blocks on the map are part of this Benson portfolio.

In addition to showing the land that Benson owned and was now selling, the map also shows us 3 Dutch colonial-era roads that are no longer in existence (wiped out by the commissioner’s grid of streets and avenues that we all experience today).

Harlem Lane:

Kingsbridge Road:

and Manhattan Road:

And, of course, Harlem Creek is now long buried and built over:

Lastly, the map indicates what may be build on given lots, and where sales of the properties were conducted:

A Gorgeous Door – Carver Bank on 125th Street

Cast in India

Manhole covers for New York are often labeled as Made In India, creating discordance for anyone looking down and reading.

Few who read the words realize that these manhole covers are hand made artifacts, produced in brutal conditions in small factories in India. The film Cast in India is a fascinating exploration of the process of fabrication:

Watch the whole film, here:

Older manhole covers, of course, are more likely to be American made, or even made here in New York. My favorite is Manhattan Born:

But the oldest one that I know of is in Jefferson Park and was part of the original water supply project of the Croton Aqueduct.


Sometimes you see the weirdest things, Googling “Harlem”.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Harlem!

The Shamrock and Roll festival and golf cart parade will take place in Harlem on Saturday, March 18. (Photo courtesy of Tara McNaylor)

Election Dates Published

The voting dates are out! 

The New York Primary election date is June 27.  Early Voting starts June 17 and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is June 12.  

Remember to ask your neighbors when you see them and chat, if they’re going to come out to vote, and make a plan to coordinate. Talk to them about the issues. Let’s get activated. Let’s vote!

Another important way to drive change in Harlem is to Join The County Committee, which gives you access to elected officials and allows you to select the Democratic Party nominee for Harlem when there is a special election – which happens when an official vacates their seats before their term ends.  

Each year, many seats are unfilled and so we need your civic engagement to help Harlem. Any registered Democrat who resides in Central or East Harlem can apply. To apply, please fill out this form this week. 

Little work is involved in joining the county committee but you can make big impact. To join, collect 30+ signatures from your neighbors who are registered Democrats. After you joined, you have no obligation to do anything except you have the OPTION to join events and vote. To find out more, you can view this webpage

Have more questions? Email [email protected] or contact District Leaders William Smith and Sharase Du Bois.

As Seen In Harlem

Near Tiano Towers

Meet The New Commanding Officer

Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 15th, at 6 PM the new Commanding Officer (C.O. Maisonet) of the 25th Precinct will host his first community meeting.

Here is your opportunity for him to hear from YOU, rather than just the electeds and their staffers, on what the real issues in our community are.

You know how powerful first impressions are.  Here is your chance to bring your issues/ideas/experiences to the forefront during C.O. Maisonet’s early days.

They can’t read our minds.  You need to voice your concerns in order for them to be addressed.

All are welcome.  The meeting will be at the precinct – East 119th Street, between Lex and Park.

As Seen In Harlem

Oh, and We’re Quoted in

A.B.C. School Armors-Up

One of the most blatant examples of recent decisions that bolstered the structural racism our community struggles with, was to locate the nation’s first supervised consumption site across the street from a Harlem Pre-K.

By not engaging with the community (who would have emphatically asked OnPoint and NYC’s Department of Health not to locate an injection site across from a Pre-K) in the process of deciding on the location for the injection site, OnPoint has endangered Harlem’s children and families attending this A.B.C. school.

One of the manifestations of this endangerment has been that A.B.C. school has felt it was prudent to install 2-inch thick bullet-proof glass on their ground floor windows.

And, in case you were wondering how many students attend school within 1,000 feet (or two blocks) of the injection site, the answer is 4,250 students:

As Seen In Harlem

On West 127th Street:

Strange Victory

In 1948, Leo Hurwitz released a stunningly powerful film that examined the promises made to Black Americans and American servicemen in particular and contrasted that with their experience in this country after helping to secure victory over Japan and Nazi Germany.

The film, which is considered one of the best documentaries of the 20th century, is powerful, poignant, and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Strange Victory (1948)

Strange Victory is the first significant anti-racist U.S. documentary film. With World War II over and Frontier Films dissolved, Leo Hurwitz and Barney Rosset (soon to form Grove Press) teamed up as Target Films to create this eloquent and powerful statement. It was to be their only collaboration. Amidst the high hopes of the post-World War II economic and baby boom, it represented a provocative questioning of the discrepancies between the ideals of the allied victory and the lingering aspects of fascism in U.S. society. In his trademark style, Hurwitz juxtaposes archival scenes of the war’s destruction with newly shot sequences, both actuality and reenacted. It asks the question, “Why are the ideas of loser still alive in the land of the winner?”

Honor The Past

As seen in Harlem (West 117th Street)

What’s That Tree

Ever wondered what that tree is in front of your apartment? NYC’s Department of Parks has a new, interactive map of NYC’s trees, and you can explore the arboreal side of your neighborhood.

The color coding of dots (trees) above, show different varieties. You can, of course, zoom in more and even select on the basis of tree variety or size (as denoted by trunk diameter):

Looking at a random tree on West 124th Street (across from Marcus Garvey Park), the map brings up that it’s a Thornless honeylocust and has a trunk diameter of 15″:

To explore on your own, try this link:

As Seen In Harlem

On East 116th Street. Sadly, closed.

New City Council Boundaries

Community Council Districts 7, 8, and 9 have slightly altered boundaries. Here are the new lines for Community Council Districts 7 and 9:

And (below) are the new boundaries of Community Council District 8:

For the full map of Manhattan, see:

As Seen In Harlem

As seen in Harlem, on West 117th Street.

Mart 125

Harlem’s Mart 125: the American Dream is a documentary film about the history of Mart 125 on 125th Street and how it has served as a physical and imagined embodiment of Black commerce in the face of commercial, cultural, and political change in the heart of Harlem.

View the video with the link, below:

Also make sure to check out GothamtoGo’s blog post on the revitalization of Mart 125:

Booker T. Washington

As seen in Harlem.

The Heat Wave

Another Ebay photo of a Harlem nightclub’s interior from June, 1945. This one was called The Heat Wave, and was located on 145th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The Heat Wave was located at 266 West 145th Street. The club was active in the 1930s and 1940s under the direction of Louis Metcalf, who also played there until 1946. Hot Lips Page, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Ben Webster, and Lester Young are among those who performed at the Heat Wave; Marlowe Morris was the house pianist.

Today the location is a medical office:

As Seen In Harlem