On Tuesday, June 13th at 7:00 PM you are invited to the June HNBA meeting where we’ll talk trash!
Come out to hear from local elected officials, Community Board 11, DSNY, and others on inequity in the Department of Sanitation’s services provided to our community.
We’ll meet in the ground floor community room at the Henry J. Carter Hospital (entrance at Park Ave. and 122nd Street) and look at new research on DSNY’s litter basket distribution and budget allocation. You are welcome to share your thoughts on how we can improve community cleanliness and the look of your block.
A huge thank you to the 25th Precinct’s Commanding Officer Maisonet. His tenure has witnessed notable improvements and ‘good neighbor’ behavior at his precinct. Walking past the back of the precinct’s parking lot along Park Avenue shows a clean sidewalk – not the trash filled experience neighbors had witnessed for years.
Earlier in April, Blandon Casenave presented to HNBA at our monthly meeting. Blandon is a native New Yorker and independent political analyst, with over thirty-years of activism in the African-American community, who was born and raised in Brooklyn and now resides in the Bronx.
Blandon’s work on the erosion of the Black middle class is insightful and well researched and visualized. He graciously provided the slides from his presentation for you to go over at your leisure and to forward to others who might be interested in the data behind what we all instinctively and anecdotally, know.
Make sure to check out the fantastic exhibit at Claire Oliver Gallery by Simone Saunders, called: Unearthing Unicorns The exhibit will be up 17 March – 13 May 2023 and consists of hand-tufted velvet, acrylic and wool yarn on muslin warp artwork. The artist writes:
“Unearthing Unicorns references both literal and figurative iterations of the historical fable,” states Saunders. “I reimagine stories played out in our history, such as the famous and treasured Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries, to show Black women portrayed as being highly valued and respected. Through my work, I want to empower and encourage Black women to never shrink ourselves and instead lean into being the fierce, graceful, and beautiful being that we are – just like the Unicorn. Unearthing Unicorns also allows me to scrutinize the art historical canon and pull fables that are rooted in colonialism. My goal with this exhibition is to remix these allegories and put Black womanhood as the center of a story where she is not present, and define that character as one that embodies joy, strength and resilience.”
Make sure to register HERE for Harlem’s 2023 City Council Candidates’ Forum. The forum will be held on Thursday, April 27th at 7:00 PM and feature Assemblymember Inez Dickens, candidate Yusef Saalam, and Assemblymember Al Taylor. Our current councilmember chose not to attend the forum.
All registrants have the option to send questions for the candidates. After registering for the Candidates’ Forum, click HERE to submit questions.
The Harlem East Block Association (HEBA) is planning on endorsing a candidate for city council as soon as possible, hopefully by early April. To accomplish this, they are meeting with candidates and then going to survey their members on who HEBA should endorse. Note candidates will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. A draft is included here (a simplified version from last year).
In the meantime, please distribute the YOUR VOTE MATTERS poster in your buildings to register voters and collect neighbors’ contact information.
Yusef Salaam has agreed to come speak to the HEBA. He was one of the Exonerated Five and has been a criminal justice advocate since then. He agreed to take a walk with us around the neighborhood on Feb 13 noon. We are starting at La Marqueta. Please come meet him in person and show him our challenges. This is a great way to advocate for our community. He will then speak to us on zoom on Feb 24 (Thurs) 7pm.
Quote from him “This gives us the opportunity to be able to restore Harlem to the greatness that it is and could always be.” (read more here)
Friendship, after all, has life-sustaining properties and has been shown to improve both physical and mental health. Psychologists say that although strong social ties can be maintained through technology, nothing beats face-to-face contact. And it’s no secret that coming together is easier the closer you are.
With Valentine’s Day — and Galentine’s Day — approaching, I called up a few psychologists and friendship experts to talk about the role that physical proximity plays in keeping and developing social ties.
Here are the highlights from our conversations.
Friendship as a basic need
One thing they all emphasized: It’s not frivolous to prioritize friendship. “I think so many times we view it as: if we have time, then we’ll give attention to our social life. Or, oh, it’s a luxury to be able to go out and see friends,” said Andrea Bonior, a clinical psychologist and the host of Baggage Check, a mental health podcast. “When in reality, we know that having strong friendships predicts our longevity, it helps our immune system, it makes us more resilient and protected against certain mental and physical health disorders.”
The friendship radius
Many of us already have a “friendship radius,” defined as “the distance we are willing to travel to spend time with friends,” said Elizabeth Laugeson, a clinical psychologist and an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“For some people in urban settings, their radius becomes smaller because it takes more time to travel distances in congested areas,” she says. “In rural settings, people may be more willing to travel longer distances to be with friends because there are fewer alternatives. Whatever your friendship radius is, we are more likely to spend time with friends that we can easily access.”
“If you don’t see them regularly enough, friendships decline very rapidly,” said Dunbar. “You have to be able to walk around there, bang on their door, and say, I feel like crap,” he said. “Because at that point, there is only one thing that you need, and that’s a hug.”
Dunbar argues that FaceTimes and Facebook messages can’t compete when it comes to fostering friendship. But Laugeson points to the Covid lockdowns as evidence that “true friendships can survive the challenge of physical proximity.”
Still, there are unique benefits to living close by. Besides the immediate comfort and regularity, being a neighbor can also breed spontaneity. “It’s a lot different to bump into somebody frequently because they happen to live on your street, and you have the ability to sort of see them on a random day without planning,” said Bonior. “Any time you have to plan, there’s more possibility that the planning itself is going to thwart getting together.”
Don’t stay closed off
Cultivating a community that closely reflects your existing social networks has drawbacks, too. Even if all your like-minded friends move to you, experts say you should still be open to making new and unexpected connections in the neighborhood. “We expand when our world expands. We get to know those different from ourselves,” said Melanie Ross Mills, the author of The Friendship Bond. “We stretch ourselves beyond our ‘community comfort zone.’”
The New York State 68th 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 9th, at 7:00 PM) using this link:
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):
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.