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Church > Synagogue > Shake Shack

On the north-west corner of 5th and 125th Street, the lot occupied by Shake Shack and the check cashing business was, at one point the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Harlem.

In the photo (above – Robert Bracklow, photographer) from 1905, you can see the church building, and (further west and next door) the tall Flemish style (white) YMCA on 125th Street.

Looking carefully at the church, however, you may notice an absence. There are no crosses on the pinnacles, nor at the top of the pediment.

The reason? At this point, in 1905, the building had been purchased by one of Harem’s Jewish congregations – Temple Israel – and now was their home of worship.

Eventually this synagogue was demolished and now, Shake Shack occupies this corner of 125/5th.

GothamToGo

Gotham To Go has a great article on East Harlem’s African Burial Ground. Make sure to check it out:

Harlem Tax Protest

Oversaturation Tax Protest
Join us on Wednesday, February 23, 2022 at 6:00pm for a 1-hour information session.
Hello Harlem Neighbors
Harlem has over 20% of NYC drug treatment and homeless shelters, the majority of which are concentrated within .4 miles on 125th street. This hyper-concentration of social services is having a deleterious effect on all who live, work, worship, and go to school in Harlem. Why is a community that makes up only 4.3% of NYC’s population carrying over 20% of the burden? We support fair share meaning every community in the city, including Harlem, should support the social service needs of their population within their community.
MMPCIA is vigorously working to force NYS and NYC to recognize the damage being inflicted on our community by sponsoring actions like the protest rally on October 9, 2021 that garnered media coverage from all of the major outlets and over 250 participants.
Our next protest is different. We are going to exercise our annual right to contest our real estate taxes using the exact same reason – our market and assessed values are 50% too high because of the concentration of social services programs in our community.
We need all property owners to join this protest, even if your taxes are low. Remember, we are protesting the oversaturation and the accompanying increase in crime, open drug sales and use, and poor sanitation. We may not experience a reduction in taxes, but if enough Harlem owners contest their taxes, it will be another successful effort in our quest for equitable distribution of services throughout the city.
ZOOM LINK
Meeting ID: 868 4723 49171 646 558 8656 (New York)
ZOOM: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86847234917
Meeting ID: 868 4723 4917
Quick Facts:
1.               
Notice of Property Values is sent to each owner annually every January. The owners of 1, 2, and 3 family homes have until March 15, 2022 to argue that their taxes are too high. The deadline for all other properties is March 1, 2022. 
See https://www1.nyc.gov/site/finance/taxes/challenge-your-assessment.page for more information.
2.               
Property tax information is public knowledge. Everyone can find out how much tax any property is being charged by going to https://a836-pts-access.nyc.gov/care/forms/htmlframe.aspx?mode=content/home.htm
3.               
NYC cannot raise your taxes if you challenge the amount. They can only lower it.
4.              
 You still have to pay your taxes, in the same manner, you do now. This is not a withholding of taxes protest; it is an amount of taxes protest.
5.               
You may have other legitimate reasons to lower your taxes that you should pursue with our protest.
The information contained in this message is for general information purposes only, MMPCIA makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, services, or related graphics. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

Black History Month – Day of Service

A Snowy Scene

The red door on this church (127th and 5th Avenue) is electric.

HNBA January Meeting Recording

If you were unable to make it to HNBA’s January meeting with State Senator Cordell Cleare (and others and would like to view it, here’s the link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/pHa5qDCRO2TANbU_yqvA-RPsczKjR-DTZuvvbY7EfG3tH2wq7GbgBNuB66e6kLdA.CVn7Pl3HIQCW71S9 

Passcode: *@4qwTyR

Van Der Zee

A while ago I came across a great black and white image from James Van Der Zee, the celebrated photographer of the Harlem Renaissance. The image, of The Church of God’s nursery school is arresting with the starched elegance of the children’s outfits and the stern flanking adults who bracket the scene.

The morticians and funeral directors sign in the window below the church sign highlighted the roles that Veal and Veal, Licensed Undertakers were willing to perform. On that glass window, the number 257 had me curious as to where this might be in Harlem.

There are, as you can imagine, many streets or avenues with the address 257, but what helped me a lot was the distinctive architecture on the left of the scene:

The monumental structure is odd – neither residential looking nor commercial. It was, however a building I’d puzzled over for years, and this image (below) shows the building as it exists today, with the distinctive window, now bricked up:

And the building to the east, the one that had held the church and funeral directors, retains the distinctive cast-iron detail to the left of the door and around the transom window:

Below is the full view of what is now the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in New York and the somewhat forlorn facade of 257, shorn of its commercial bay.

And below, an image of 257 West 123rd Street, in its 1940’s tax photo.

Anchor and…?

Walking on West 129th Street I noticed a gorgeous Art Nouveaux crest, hiding under layers and layers of paint.

The crest is located on what is now a church.

I think there is an anchor and a compass. I can also make out the letters “B” and “W”, and the date 1891.

A View of New York

Seen in a Richmond, Virginia museum:

Heart to Heart Returns!

Date: Saturday, September 18, 2021
Time: Starting at 6:00pm
EST Location: Online from the comfort of your own home!  

Live events continue to be on hold, but,Labor of Love Association is dedicated and resourceful!
We will host the 2021 Heart to Heart Concert, New York’s Premier Event for Authentic Traditional/Contemporary Gospel Music, online again this year so you can enjoy from the safety and comfort of home!  
Featuring:
The Labor of Love Ensemble
Brother Alson Farley, Jr
Reverend Vandell Atkins
Elder George Heyward
Sister Kimmy Jenkins
The Richard Curtis Singers
Brother Richard Page

Broadway venues are still reeling from the effects of 2020. But that won’t stop us from bringing to you an EXCITING and UPLIFTING virtual concert. Just what we All NEED!
Streaming live into your home on Saturday, September 18th comes music you love, PLUS a high-energy *virtual show* that includes healthy lifestyle tips.
Fundraising: In lieu of ticket sales, we hope you’ll support our purpose and mission with a donation. Give what you can and make a difference!
Your support is deeply appreciated.
MAKE A DONATION!

Negro Church Seeks Madison Avenue Home

Exactly 100 years ago today, this article came out in the New York Times:

The “alarm in neighborhood” and “real estate men fear”, of course, is code for white residents.

Later in the article, the process of what will later be termed ‘white flight’ is described as contributing to the decline in the white church’s numbers, which in turn led it to be favorably impressed by the offer.

The center of Black Harlem is described as being on West 135th Street, but further expansion southward, seems to be particularly troubling to the writer and the (white) Harlemites quoted.

For the full article, see below:

WTF Should I Do?

Living in a blue corner of a reliably blue state can be frustrating when looking at the electoral college system which rewards states that seem to have more cows than people.

DemCast is a great outlet for the “WTF can I do?” question that bedevils many of us who would like to engage in this crucial election.

To search for opportunities by state, click here, and choose a (tossup) state you want to have an impact on.

Beer in Dutch (New) Harlem

From the very beginning of Harlem, beer was an essential drink among the European colonists. James Riker notes in “History of Harlem” that:

In 1667 beer was the common beverage in the Dutch Colony. “At vendues, or in making contracts or settlements, its presence was deemed indispensable to the proper transaction of the business. The magistrates when occupying the bench always had beer brought in, running up a score with the tapster at the public charge. Nor did the ordination of elders and deacons, or funeral solemnities, form an exception. At such times wine and other liquors, with pipes and tobacco, were also freely distributed. Families commonly laid in their beer by the quarter and half vat, or barrel. — Much of the beer consumed here (in New Harlem) was brewed by Johannes Vermilye, while the breweries of Daniel Verveelen, Isaac de Forest, and Jacob Kip, at New York, were also patronized.”[4]

There were, however, also laws that attempted to restrict the sale of alcohol to the Lenape people in and around Harlem. This prohibition was signed by Nichols, the English ruler of New York, in 1664

A Warrant to the Magistrates of Harlem for the Prohibition of the sale of strong liquors to Indians. Whereas, I am informed of several abuses that are done and committed by the Indians, occasioned much through the liberty some persons take of selling Strong Liquors unto them; These are to require you that you take special care that none of your Town presume to sell any sort of Strong Liquors or Strong Beer unto any Indian, and if you shall find any person offending therein, that you seize upon such Liquor and bring such person before me, to make answers for the offense. Given under my hand, at Fort James, in New York, this 18th of March, 1664 [1665 N. S.]. RICHARD NICOLLS.

The presence, of course, of this “Prohibition” indicates that “the sale” was in fact, a common practice – common enough to warrant special mention.

Beer was not only regulated, but was also taxed – not only in terms of volume but also in terms of quality. This accusation (against Johannes Verveelen) was for his failure to pay tax on beer:

Most Honorable Heeren, Overseers of this Town: Whereas Johannes Verveelen, ordinary-keeper in this town, did on the 6th February wickedly smuggle one-half vat of good beer; on the i8th April, one vat of good beer and one anker of rum; on the 27th of April, one-half vat of good beer; on the 8th May, one-half vat of good beer; on the 27th May, one-half vat of good beer and one anker of rum; all which is contrary to the existing placards on the subject of smuggling, and by the high magistracy approved. Therefore the plaintiff, ex-officio the preserver of the peace, demands that the defendant be condemned in the penalty of twenty-one hundred guilders, according to the placards, together with the costs of prosecution. The I4th June, 1667, in N. Harlem. Yours, Honorable Heeren, DANIEL, TOURNEUR, Deputy Sheriff.

The tavern of the day was Verveelen’s:

At the comer of the lower street and third crossway, Verveelen’s tavern hung out its sign-board, its site now on the north line of 123d street, 300 feet west of 1st avenue. Well patronized, too, by the lovers of good-cheer and goed bier, this is shown by the frequency with which he supplied his vault with goed bier and klegn bier, Spanish wine and rum

The tavern’s site is where (today) the Wagner Projects are located:

And, I can’t end a piece on beer without mentioning Harlem Hops, Harlem’s amazing 21st century pub at 2268 ADAM CLAYTON POWELL JUNIOR BOULEVARD.

Harlem Hops notes that takeout is now available. They write:

Please check out our menu below and call us at 646-998-3444 We are delivering within a 20 block radius of the bar.

If you’re not in the NYC area but would still like to support us, click on the link to our Swag shop where you will fine some cool Harlem Hops Merchandise and Merchandise Gift cards for purchase. If you want to purchase an in-store gift cards, please click on the In-Store Gift Card link. You can also support by donating to our non-profit organization Harlem Hopes.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and your continued patronage

Team Harlem Hops

Behind The Collier Brother’s Home

You may recognize this vacant lot, church, and new rental building on W. 127, just behind the Collier Brother’s Park:

The church ‘grew’. The two brownstones to the right were knocked down and the decades-old vacant lot is where the new rental is located. The Victorian framed home to the left in the photo below is where the vacant space next to the church is now:

to see more:

https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/d2ab0ad0-c546-012f-6df9-58d385a7bc34#/?uuid=510d47dd-19aa-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99