Upper Park Avenue Baptist Church

A sign from the late 1960’s addressing ‘dope gangsters’:

is a part of a collection of signs on East Harlem’s Upper Park Avenue Baptist Church.

The brownstone details next to the church may look familiar, they are part of the Corn Exchange building – 85 East 125th Street. Below is the former location of the Upper Park Avenue Baptist Church:

To read the obituary of the pastor who ran this 125th Street church, see:


Looking Back at HNBA.nyc in 2022

25th Precinct Community Council Meeting, Tonight

The 25th Precinct’s monthly Community Council Meeting is tonight –  April 20th at 6 PM

There is a location change – instead of meeting at the Precinct, the meeting will be held at Bethel Gospel Assembly – located at 120th Street between Madison and 5th Avenues.  Please be prepared to stop at the security area to sign in. 

This meeting will NOT be a meeting focused on the removal of the workout equipment from Marcus Garvey.  We will allow space to discuss just as we do with other topics.  The park has two separate alliances that are working on this and CB11 has a Parks and Recreation Committee as well who I am sure will tackle the subject.  Our point of having this as a topic is to ensure that we are discussing ways to bridge the gap and work better together. 

There will be special guests there to answer questions and give some feedback about the topic.  But as you all know there are a ton of things happening in our community around public safety and we want to be mindful that we are giving adequate time to get through those topics.

Please remember to fill out the form and I will be sending out the zoom link this evening to all those who have requested it.    https://forms.gle/zvSjQd8CCsf7KYkA9

Lost Church

Looking at the N/W corner of 125th Street and Madison, you immediately see the Geoffrey Canada Building – the flagship of Harlem Children’s Zone.

For those of you who remember the 80’s, you may also remember that this part of 125th Street was where celebrities wanting the some of Dapper Dan’s mystique, came by to his showroom (often after hours for private fitting/shopping). Think Run DMC, Mike Tyson, Salt and Pepa, LL Cool J, Bobby Brown, and more.

Dapper Dan’s boutique – 43 East 125th Street, was precisely where a former brownstone church anchored the block between Madison and 5th in the 19th century:

Note the round arched windows on the 2nd floor of the apartment building at the N/W corner of Madison/125th Street:

And then look at a photo of Dapper Dan’s Boutique:

and the detail in the top right:

The church that was torn down, was the Harlem Presbyterian Church and was organized in the 1840s. In 1872 the church moved to East 125th Street, between Fourth and Fifth Avenues into a modest two-story structure contained a lecture room on the first floor, and the second story was for the Sunday-school room.

On April 29, 1873, the cornerstone was laid for the church edifice you see in the post card below:

In 1915, the congregation merged and moved to New York Presbyterian Church, located at 15 Mount Morris Park West, and was renamed Harlem–New York Presbyterian Church. The old building on 125th Street was purchased in 1905 by the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, who remained there until “rapidly changing demographics in the area” caused the white church to abandon the location in 1919 and make plans to move to their present location on Park Avenue. In June 1921, the property was sold to “a group of negroes” that planned to open it as a “Colored Baptist Tabernacle” on July 3. 

The New York TImes (June 24, 1921) reported:

“The purchase of the property for $185,000 was of profound interest to Harlem business men when it was announced yesterday. The deal is the largest real estate transaction in which negroes have figured as buyers south of 128th Street and was regarded as marking a decided southern trend in the ownership and activities of negroes in Harlem.”

In 1942, Harlem Presbyterian merged with Rutgers Presbyterian Church, located at 236 West 73rd Street near Broadway. The old church on Mount Morris Park West became Mount Morris–Ascension Presbyterian Church.

The Rise, Fall, and Rise of the Corn Exchange Building

Ephemeral New York has a great article out on how the Corn Exchange building (Park/125) – formerly the Mount Morris Bank – has looked in photos over the years.

The Harlem Bank building (built in 1884, and now with Ginjan Cafe on the ground floor), was and is perfectly located for easy access to upstate and Connecticut (using Metro-North) and downtown Manhattan (again using Metro-North, or the 2/3/4/5/6 trains).

The original building was an eclectic, rusticated Romanesque building with brownstone, brick, copper, terracotta, and slate:

When the neighborhood was built out further (note the Lee Building on the other side of the Metro-North tracks), the Corn Exchange building didn’t look much different other than the addition of some exterior blinds on the upper floors (pre-air-conditioning, when exterior blinds were the main way to keep heat out with windows still open)

Note that the upper floors of the building were residential when it was built. Those bay windows, were for apartments, not for offices. Conversion to a purely commercial building came later, around the turn of the century.

In the 1980s (as the tax photo below indicates) the building was abandoned. Note the smashed windows and boarded up exterior.

Finally, by 2011 and after a fire, and precautionary demolition by the city, there was virtually nothing left other than a bricked-up, one-and-a-half-story shell.

And now, renovated, the Corn Exchange building sits unoccupied, other than Ginjan on the ground floor.

Further West…

56 West 125th Street recently sold for $105 million. The new construction has 141 rental units and retail at street level.

The retail portion is fully leased and the apartments — 46 of which are income-restricted — are in the process of being leased up.

Building Emissions

Pollution from buildings (think heating oil burning)

125th Street is Deadly

Patch.com is reporting that 125th Street is one of the most deadly streets for pedestrians in New York City.

Between 2001 and 2016, 9 people were killed on 125th Street between Fifth and Second avenues. That made it one of the most deadly streets in New York, alongside sections of thoroughfares like Canal Street and Bowery in Manhattan, and Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn.

To read the full article, see:


Photos from Above

The 125th Street BID shared some great photos of Harlem from high vantage points.

This one is looking south on Lenox from 125th Street:

And below is a view 180 degrees different – North on Lenox:

To learn more about the 125th Street BID, see:

Dapper Dan

The impact of Dapper Dan on Hip Hop fashion continues to reverberate in the 20th Century.

L’Officiel has a good story about Dapper Dan and Gucci (among other fashion houses):


Dapper Dan’s 24/7 retail outlet was located on East 125th Street where the Harlem Children’s Zone is now located.

City Council 9 Results (Round 1…)


East Harlem Multifamily Project

The Real Deal is reporting that a new development with 34 affordable apartments will span between East 125th and East 124th Streets between 2nd and 3rd Avenue.

The building has been dubbed The Enclave.


Moore School

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.
Mr. Alpheaus Marcus
(718) 916-2141

Pastor Staci Ramos