HBCU College Fair for Harlem Teens

If you have, or know of a Harlem teenager, make sure to encourage them to attend the upcoming HBCU College Fair on June 5th 2021 12-4 pm in Harlem St. Nicholas Avenue between West 122-West 123 Street! 

Imagine a World without COVID!

If you know an un vaccinated teenager, send them to Marcus Garvey Park tomorrow – Noon to 8 PM!

Press Conference and Protest Regarding Rising Crime

With the rise in both shootings in our streets and rise in crimes within our train systems community advocates and clergy have come together to demand accountability of our elected officials for their failed policies and reckless funding of ineffective programs.

Who: Community Advocate Alpheaus Marcus, Police Clergy Members Pastor Antoinette Glover, Pastor Robert Rice, and Pastor Staci Ramos along with community members who are tired of the violence and rise of homelessness within their communities?

When: Friday June 4th.

Where: At both the hotbed for homelessness and crime 125th Street and Lexington Avenue Train Station.

Time: 12:00 pm.
Cordially
Mr. Alpheaus Marcus
(718) 916-2141

Pastor Staci Ramos

Pop-up Vaccinations Today and Friday

Cayuga will be hosting a pop-up COVID vaccine clinic at our location on Third ave location. Here are the details: 
When:  Thursday 05/06 and Friday 05/07

When:  8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Where:  Cayuga Centers (2183 Third Ave, New York, NY 10035)

Brand:  Moderna
Walk-ins will be accepted on a limited basis. If interested in being vaccinated at our clinic please email Yiseily De Los Santos at [email protected]g or call at (646) 988-6718 to secure an appointment.

More on Redlining

The digitized versions of the 1930’s redlining maps are fairly ubiquitous these days.

What is often not discussed is that in the early 20th century the white men who drew these maps predicted that the waterfront of the Upper East Side (then with breweries, warehouses, factories, and a mostly German and Slavic immigrant community) was going to go downhill. We also need to recall that the presence of the 2nd and 3rd Avenue Els were also a source of class-panic in that the depressed land values under the Els and the sorts of businesses that located there, seemed to portend a dark future.

In the illustration, above, you can see the almost complete expectation (by the redlining teams) that the Financial District and the LES + Chinatown, would invariably become ‘hazardous’ investment locations.

Redlining, however, did more than predict a community’s viability as a site of investment, it also determined community’s futures by starving them of capital and slowly consigning any existing property owners in ‘hazardous’ areas to insolvency or bankruptcy.

FDNY and High Winds

Last week with the high winds, the FDNY was called to investigate loose metal flashing that appeared unsafe on the Church of All Saints.

Nothing major was discovered at this recently sold building.

Sims

Walking along 5th Avenue a while ago (notice the bare branches) I wanted to photograph the plywood shroud over the Dr. Sims sculpture location.

You may recall that the sculpture celebrated a doctor who experimented on unanesthetized enslaved women, and after years of activism from many East Harlem women, the sculpture was removed and a plan developed to replace it.

https://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/historical-signs/listings?id=13315

Here is the new work – Victory Over Sims – that has been commissioned:

Vinnie Bagwell’s new work will replace the Sims sculpture.

Why I Took the Covid-19 Vaccine

By Geoffrey Canada

Six weeks ago, I received my second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine and I am now fully vaccinated. I cannot articulate the relief I feel knowing that I pose less of a threat to my wife, our children and grandchildren, and the community around me. I still wear my mask in public, but the fear that I might get sick and pass it on to my 91-year-old mother, who lives with me, is gone. I got vaccinated because I missed holidays with my family. There were funerals and graduations I couldn’t attend.  

I did not decide to get vaccinated without reflecting deeply on the relationship between Black and Brown communities and the health-care system in the United States. However, I’m confident I made the right decision for myself and my family, and I’m sharing my thoughts with you with the hope that you will do the same.      

The federal government has a history of exploiting Black and Brown people, and health care is no exception. In the 1930s, Black bodies were used as the equivalent of lab rats when the federal government decided to study Black people with syphilis in the Tuskegee Experiment, instead of treating them, and tracked them for 40 years without their consent. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman, unknowingly became the source of what is now known as the HeLa line. Her cells were, for many years, the only cell line that could reproduce indefinitely. They were used without her consent in a myriad of medical research projects worldwide, which still go on today. 

But the Black community doesn’t have to look to the past to find reasons to view the medical profession with skepticism. Dismal mortality rates among birthing mothers still create a daunting childbearing experience for Black women and women of color. Breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer rates remain highest in our communities. You would be hard-pressed to find a person of color of a certain age who does not have a story of a medical encounter filled with micro-aggressions and substandard service and attentiveness.

Now we are being called to willingly inject a foreign substance into our arms — seemingly developed at lightning speed under an administration with a record of being dishonest and which was distrusted, with reason, by Black and Brown communities.

While acknowledging these reasons to feel cautious, I strongly encourage you to join me in receiving the vaccine and asking the community around you to do so as well.

We must look, just as critically, at what we have lost in the past year to the pandemic. Our community is under assault; we face the equivalent of war. I have lived through the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the war in Afghanistan. The number of Covid deaths in the United States is higher than the casualties of all these wars combined. As of March 2, 2021 the Latino community has suffered over 89,000 deaths. As of March 7, 2021 the Black community has lost 73,462 lives. 

We know the heavy impact of Covid is attributed to several factors that cannot easily be changed. Our communities have high rates of chronic illnesses that make them susceptible to Covid’s worst complications. Many are employed as frontline workers and dwell in cramped living spaces, to name a few variables. 

The post-traumatic stress we now have to combat from living through the pandemic will impact our communities for years to come. There is no way to normalize this amount of sickness, death, and loss.  For too many of us, the suffering caused by Covid-19 is just beginning.  Our children missed a crucial year of education, heads of households lost their jobs, and evictions still loom.

I think about how wealthy people, who had the lowest risk of illness and death because of their access to resources, have jumped at the chance to take the Covid vaccine. More than 109 million doses of vaccines have been administered nationwide as of March 15, and there is no evidence of vaccine-related deaths or serious injuries.  People often report mild discomfort for a day or two after being inoculated, but I had no side effects. As more people get vaccinated, hospitalizations and the death toll are decreasing.

The government must make a concerted effort to make vaccines more accessible for communities of color. But it is also the responsibility of the people within our communities to advocate for the vaccine.

It would be a tragedy to see the virus recede among the wealthy and well-off yet still ravage our communities. To watch others going back to work, to school, and to family celebrations while Covid continues to devastate Black and Brown communities is my worst nightmare.  

We will have to work hard to recover from the past year. First, we must stop this virus in its tracks. The safest, quickest, most effective way to do this is to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible to do so, and encourage the people around you to join you. 

Geoffrey Canada is the President and Founder of Harlem Childrens Zone. 

West 124th Street Library

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.

Below 96th Street, more than a quarter of all adults have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. 

Above it, about 13% are fully immunized — and there are fewer than half as many sites at which to get the vaccine, including sites at local pharmacies.  

In East Harlem, COVID death rates for the pandemic are more than triple that of the Upper East Side, according to city data. One of its ZIP codes, 10035, has the highest death rate in the borough. 

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.

For the full article, see:

https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2021/03/18/new-program-could-help-bridge-vaccine-divide-in-east-harlem

Manhattan Borough President’s Candidate Forum

Join The Greater Harlem Coalition on Wednesday, April 7th for a forum focused on Harlem and East Harlem issues/concerns.

When: Apr 7, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://fordham.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrdu-qrzguGdGyRCtH9to49JRVuMWeF1nL

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Fentanyl

The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor has released January 2021 drug arrest data.

Note that in the graph below, the seizure information on the left is for all of 2020. The seizure information on the right is only for January 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Homebound Seniors

Homebound seniors who would prefer to get a COVID-19 vaccine at home can call the NYC Vaccine Reservation Call Center at 877-829-4692.

Please pass along to any of your neighbors who might benefit.

M11 DSNY Depot Coming

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.

NYC Now Has a Vaccine Tracker

To see the live version: https://public.tableau.com/views/COVID-19VaccinationTracker/Geography?:language=en&:display_count=y&:origin=viz_share_link

Black Businesses

Plenty to celebrate during both Black History Month and all year long:

Head to Uptown Grand Central’s Small Business Guidethen 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].

Mount Sinai Methadone Program Conversation

Join The Greater Harlem Coalition on Thursday next week for a conversation with Mount Sinai who runs the methadone programs in the Lee Building (125th Street and Park Avenue). The Zoom Town Hall will be at 7:00 PM. Click here: To Register

East Harlem Vaccination Site Coming

Patch’s Nick Garber reports that the Mayor has said that East Harlem will be the side of a large-scale vaccination center.

https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/east-harlem-get-coronavirus-mass-vaccination-site-mayor-says

Rabbis, Mean Streets, and Disney

East Harlem has always been a melting pot. I came across this recently and wondered what was now located on East 103rd Street.

The site is located next to the beautiful stone MetroNorth tracks and a trio of stone arches (one for cars, two for pedestrians) but is now a park run by NYRP. The New York Restoration Project – started by Bette Midler – got co-sponsorship from the Disney Corporation for a park overhaul.

Both the former yeshiva and the current Disney park bracket the mid-century life that Piri Thomas brought to the printed page in

his novel Down These Mean Streets which takes place right here, on East 103rd Street – across from the abandoned yeshiva, and before the Disney park.