In September 2020, New York began to sample and test wastewater at New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wastewater plants for COVID-19.
If you recall an earlier post on wastewater and New York – https://hnba.nyc/where-does-my-sewage-go/ – you may remember that virtually all of Harlem’s wastewater (basically anything that goes down your drain or toilet) ends up at Wards’ Island’s DEP complex. New York Open Data has made the wastewater sampling data available, so I decided to plot COVID-19 as detected in our (Harlem’s) poop.
As you likely know, wastewater sampling can only give a community average of sorts, but what it does (that swab sampling of individual New Yorkers can’t do) is integrates information on the people who never or rarely test.
The chart above is amazing and terrifying at the same time. The left-hand side is September 2020, and the right hand side is April 2022.
That crazy spike is from 12/27/2021 – after Thanksgiving 2021, around Christmas – when Omicron converged in the US. Holiday travel, family gatherings, shopping, and the shift to socializing indoors, all combined with a more contagious COVID variant.
With pandemic concerns abating and rules relaxing, tourism is tentatively returning. Harlem World Magazine has partnered with Stay in order to produce a curated list (mostly Booking.com listings) of places where guests can find Harlem accommodation.
through the very stylish Northern Lights Mansion on West 122nd Street:
Up to a more corporate spot in Aloft:
There are, of course, scores of other booking sites and likely many, many more options out there. It will be interesting to see what the summer holds for COVID, tourism, and Harlem.
The artist Allison Saar was commissioned to enliven the 125th Street Metro-North platform in 2018 and her subtle glasswork has delighted me since.
The stained glass that encompasses the waiting rooms on the platform, harkens back to the jazz scene in Harlem.
Even the title of the piece “copacetic” – a Jazz term from the interwar period – evokes smoky bars, men with hats, and everyone dressed for show.
The Zip Code Memory Project Gathering for Covid
December 5, 2021, 4pm-5:30 pm Peace Fountain at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine 111th Street/Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025
JOIN the Participants of The Zip Code Memory Project for our first public gathering to acknowledge, mourn, and pay tribute to the losses of COVID 19 in a healing community ritual. Featuring live participation by the Harlem Choir.
What have we lost and learned from Covid?
How can we heal and grow together?
We invite you to bring 5×7″ postcards responding to these questions in writing, drawing, photography or other media to the event for display. You can also email your postcards to [email protected] and become part of our online archive on ZCMP.org Candles and blank postcards will be available at the Cathedral for free. If you address your postcard to someone, we will mail it for you.
The Zip Code Memory Project seeks to find reparative ways to memorialize the devastating losses resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic while also acknowledging its radically differential effects on Upper New York City neighborhoods. Working across the zip codes of Harlem, Washington Heights and the South Bronx, we are gathering with local community, arts and academic organizations to imagine how the losses of the pandemic can be acknowledged, mourned, and healed, and how the mutual aid, care and repair they have occasioned can be honored.
New York City’s Hart Island is the site of the city’s potter’s field. During 2020, over 2,000 COVID-19 victims were buried here. The City has a fantastic piece on the island and the history of burials there (coproduced with Columbia University’s School of Journalism).
A 2021 analysis by Columbia Journalism School’s Stabile Center and THE CITY found that over 2,300 New Yorkers were buried on Hart Island in 2020. That’s more burials than any year during the AIDS epidemic, another recent health crisis.
Stabile and THE CITY also found that New York City is on pace to bury 1 in 10 Covid-19 victims on the island.
The analysis shows who is more likely to be buried on Hart Island: Black and Latino residents, frontline workers and those with little access to health care.
Older 19th century or early 20th century buildings sometimes included a pivoting and braced hook like this that allowed objects to be slowly lowered or raised into/out of the cellar. Bags of coal, furniture, and other material would be tied to a rope that would be draped over the hook you see here.
The Schomburg has a great image entitled: Sign for Sally’s Special Freedom Bus, to go to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom from August 28, 1963
The sign was located in the window of Sally’s Restaurant, in Harlem, and referenced a bus leaving 58 years ago today.
Today that location is the site of the Harlem Wine Gallery, and Soraya’s House of Beauty.
Day of Service Today
Saturday, August 28,2021 from 10am-3pm.
We will be giving out free covid-19 testing, vaccinations (we have all 3) as well as mammograms!! The NY AME YP will be distributed backpacks as well. We will also have register voting as well as HIV testing and free distributing of PPE.
Please see the flyer below. All mammogram appointments must be scheduled prior to the 28th the number is on the flyer.
East River Plaza Movie Night Tonight
Tonight is the final night of Movies @ ERP Summer 2021. NYSoM is giving out free school supplies (while they last) in the afternoon. At night, come join us at ERP for a free screening of The Wiz.
The Museum of the City of New York has a new exhibit about the New York response/experience of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests. This timeline is worth watching and remembering just how fraught 2020 was (oh, and it had, perhaps, the most consequential presidential election in our lifetime…?).
FIELDTRIP in Harlem will be serving hot breakfasts daily for children between the hours of 7 am – 8 am. The program runs from May 26, and ends on June 25. Breakfast will be served from FIELDTRIP weekdays M – F from 7 AM – 8 AM Please reserve your breakfast 3 days before pickup. Breakfasts must be reserved by an adult and require an adult signoffBreakfasts must be reserved to pick up. No walkups will be accommodated. Breakfasts are free to all children who sign up. For questions, please email: [email protected]
Got the itch to do some spring cleaning? Then meet up with Uptown Grand Central this weekend to spring clean on a massive scale.
This Saturday, April 10, marks the kick-off of Uptown’s spring cleaning season, with the first of our warm-weather community clean-ups along the East 125th Street corridor. We’re glad to be doing it in partnership with the Sanitation Foundation (who, yes! know a thing or two about trash)!
We’ll meet up at noon in the Uptown community space under the tracks at 125th Street & Park Avenue. Gloves, brooms and other supplies will be provided, so sign up here to help us get a headcount! Social distancing will be enforced. And most likely there’ll be snacks.
Where Does My Sewage Go?
Quick. Do you know where your sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets eventually empty? For most of us in Harlem, our sewage waste goes to Wards Island to the sewage treatment plant that was built in the 1940’s in the shadow of the Hellgate Bridge.
A 2013 plan to upgrade the facility is ongoing, but since the Public Works Administration built the Wards Island plant, your sewage flows (in a pipe) under the East River to Wards Island where in 8 hours, the solids are removed, the liquid cleaned, and the resulting clean water is put into the East River.
In the map above, any drain or toilet in the purple area, eventually gets to Wards Island.
Please note that you should never believe that anything labeled ‘flushable’ is indeed flushable. Do not put it in the toilet. Place it in a garbage can and take it out with the solid waste.
COVID-19 Positivity and Vaccination Rates for Harlem