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
Landmarks has recently moved closer to landmarking the NYPL on West 124th Street on the north side of Marcus Garvey Park.
Completed in 1909 and funded by Andrew Carnegie, the branch “nurtured African-American cultural and intellectual life, especially during the Harlem Renaissance,” said Timothy Frye, the LPC’s director of special projects.
The library once housed the groundbreaking Rose McClendon Players theater group and is the only one of Harlem’s five Carnegie libraries that has not been designated a city landmark.
The beautiful limestone facade has faced the park for decades. High up, however, you might have noticed that there are 4 open books, carved into the limestone. While my photo (below) isn’t clear enough to show the books in detail, they are not blank books.
Each of the left-hand pages begins with the alphabet, has some text and: “This New York Public Library, No. 37, Will Contain Wholesome Books.”
The carving also includes “What Boy Cut Letters On These Pages To Give Texture To the Surfaces,” and “Why Does It Matter. Drawing The Whole. Lamkin Robson,” followed by however much of the alphabet would fit. The ending on the western-most book is ”Does It Matter? Drawing These, Patrick Clune. Where Does Reason Commence [Illegible] Does End.”
And there are more oddities. In some of the text on the left side of the spreads, you find the word ”Paddy,” in others ”Benny.”
East Harlem vs. UES
NY1 has an interesting article on disparities between East Harlem and the Upper East Side.
The map (below) is somewhat difficult to parse, but essentially the intensity of the red color indicates COVID-19 death rates, whereas the percentages shown in the 3 zip codes, indicates what percentage of residents have been vaccinated.
Many Harlemites don’t know that Bob Dylan lived in Harlem, on Strivers Row, for many years.
Bob Dylan owned the home for 14 years before selling it to its current owners in 2000. They purchased the house from the folk icon for just $560,000. The four-story townhouse at 265 West 139th Street
Richard Avedon took the (above) black and white photo of Bob Dylan on Nov. 4, 1963. The location is approximately 132nd Street and the Harlem River. The 22-year-old Bob Dylan is just south of the Metro-North Bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx, which crosses out of Manhattan at Park Avenue and 134th Street in East Harlem.
The black and white photo, of Dylan in jeans, a flannel shirt, and a battered guitar case, is often contrasted with Avedon’s next photo of Dylan, taken in 1965 along Central Park East, with Dylan wearing a fashionable long dark coat and tall leather boots and bearing a world-weary superstar’s look.
Click the following link to see the location from FDR Drive – showing the earlier photo’s location: http://bit.ly/2bQJkWd
For many of the reasons that remain today (and are evidenced in the COVID-19 death rates among Black Americans vs. white Americans) in the 1930’s tuberculosis and pneumonia killed nearly twice as many Black Harlem residents as white New Yorkers.
By 1934 one Harlem block was deemed “Lung Block” on account of the widespread infection rates in this part of Harlem. The block was located between 142 and 143rd Street, and 6th and 7th Avenues.
The M11 DSNY depot is coming to 127th Street at the Potamkin site. Site clearing has been done, and the project is underway.
Note that M10 (Central Harlem) already park their trucks under the Metro North Tracks, between 130-132. Our neighborhood will have two open air DSNY lots. Other, wealthier communities have combined, and enclosed facilities even though our community has some of the highest childhood asthma rates in the city.
We need Council Member Diana Ayala to fight for the funding for a consolidated, enclosed DSNY depot.
Plenty to celebrate during both Black History Month and all year long:
Head to Uptown Grand Central’s Small Business Guide, then Listings or Map, then select “Black-Owned” as your detail. More than 100 restaurants, retail, barbershops/salons and fitness/wellness businesses will pop up. You can also search by “Historic,” to find businesses that have been around for 25 years or more (such as our own Omo Sade Skincare, above).
Have a business to add? This guide was built for our community, so email UGC at [email protected].
As mentioned yesterday, one of the depressing things about looking at the data from the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) is that it repeatedly tells the same story – for decades, OASAS has packed substance abuse programs into Harlem and East Harlem; programs that wealthier and often whiter communities have successfully rebuffed.
One question often asked is who is behind the large opioid treatment programs (methadone) in East Harlem. The graph below shows that 3 of New York City’s largest methadone providers (in red) are located here, in our community:
As mentioned yesterday, OASAS has exploited the weak political resistance in Harlem and successfully lied to the community by repeatedly stating that programs in Harlem were for our neighbors, our family members, or our colleagues. The chart below shows where men and women being treated in East Harlem come/commute from to get treatment here:
Note that the largest number of non-East Harlem residents who come here for substance abuse treatment travel from Westchester and Long Island.
If you plan to vote by mail, it is especially important that you check that your address is current. Additionally, only voters registered as Democrats in Manhattan can vote in the Democratic Primaries, including for Manhattan DA (June 22!), so make sure to confirm your party affiliation.
Now, will you spread the love and ensure your friends will be eligible to vote for a better, more fair Manhattan, too? Forward this email along!
One of the depressing things about looking at the data from the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) is that it repeatedly tells the same story – for decades, OASAS has packed substance abuse programs into Harlem and East Harlem; programs that wealthier and often whiter communities have successfully rebuffed.
OASAS has exploited the weak political resistance of Harlem elected officials, and the generosity of spirit in Harlem, both of which permitted OASAS to successfully lie to the community by repeatedly stating that programs in Harlem were for our neighbors, our family members, or our colleagues.
The data, however, shows unequivocally that opioid treatment programs in East Harlem are not used by East Harlem residents. They are used by men and women who have to commute into our community because our political representatives do not have the spine to demand local, small-scale treatment programs in all New York City neighborhoods.
Only 18% of the men and women you see lined up to get methadone in our community, live in East Harlem. The rest commute here.
This big lie, told by OASAS and repeated by our elected officials, can also be seen in the graph, below, which shows how the capacity of opioid treatment programs in East Harlem far, far exceeds even our community’s addiction rate.
This tremendous gap between the size of the programs in East Harlem and our addiction rate shows how programs in East Harlem were not built for East Harlem residents, they were built to serve people who live in other communities.
The data presented here is from March 1st, 2019 to February 28th, 2020 (just before the COVID pandemic took hold).
New York State Senator Brian Benjamin Sponsors a Harlem COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall
Dear Neighbor, This pandemic has been hard on the country and has been disproportionately deadly to Black and Latino populations. Additionally, people of color in America have historically been subjected to severe medical mistreatment. So, it is only natural that some of our neighbors may have fears and reservations about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. I am committed to ensuring that our community knows that the COVID-19 vaccine is: Here, Safe, Effective, and Free! It is essential and life-saving for those in our community to be sufficiently informed about the vaccine, especially the most vulnerable among us, and for those in our community to have equal and equitable access to the vaccine. To inform you and to answer your questions about the vaccine, please join me and a panel of medical experts, government leaders, and a few of our Harlem neighbors who have taken the vaccine for a “Harlem COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall.” The event sponsors and I are doing this to ensure that our community is not left behind or left in the dark regarding this vital, life-saving tool to counter COVID-19. Join us to receive accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine, so we can all play our part to help our community to be healthy and safe.