The Holiday Spirit on East 126

Children’s COVID Vaccine Event

Harlem Pride is hosting a children’s specific vaccine event happening this Saturday, December 18th from 10am to 6pm at 215 West 125th Street.

The event is sponsored by NYC Health & Hospitals and National Black Leadership Commission on Black Health.

42 Macombs PlaceNew York, NY  10039

West Harlem Festival of Food is Coming

Winter Concert on Stoops along Lenox Ave.

Court Ordered Evictions

How Calculated: 

Rate of executed evictions ordered by the New York City Housing Court, including those pending and scheduled as of December 31, per 10,000 housing units.

Eviction data are reported by New York City Marshals and gathered from NYC Open Data. For more information, see:

Source: New York City Department of Investigation

Odyssey House on East 126 Advances

Odyssey House – a major social services provider in East Harlem (one of their buildings is shown below from the Metro-North platform) – is advancing its project on East 126th Street.

Concrete is being poured. Pump trucks are engaged:

Sign Up for the 25th Precinct Community Council Meeting
Please use the above link to register for the 25th Precinct’s Community Council meeting – October 20th at 6:00 PM.  They need a count of how many plan on attending in person.
Thank you all so much

Art Kane on Choosing East 126th Street

If you’ve ever wondered why Art Kane chose East 126th Street for his iconic photo, here is his explanation:

And, while 17 East 126th Street was the ultimate location, few know that in the middle of the project, everyone moved a block eastward, to 52 East 126th Street, but after a few test photos (and dissatisfaction with 52) the whole group returned to 17 East 126th Street where the final photos were taken, and A Great Day In Harlem was born.

Below is 52 East 126th Street – the building is demolished – that awaits redevelopment as an Odyssey House facility.

Fall Events at The Harlem Rose Garden

Join The Vitafusion Fruit Tree Project Planting With Concrete Safaris In East Harlem

The vitafusion Fruit Tree Project is making a stop at Jefferson Houses in East Harlem to partner with the local nonprofit Concrete Safaris.

Come join the fun on October 8, 2021, to plant 35 apple, plum, and pear trees as well as blueberries and blackberries.

The planting will mitigate poor air quality in East Harlem, a neighborhood that is polluted by multiple truck and commuter routes and faces devastating impacts of climate change including heatwaves.

Since 2017, vitafusion Gummy Vitamins and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation have partnered to create the vitafusion Fruit Tree Project. So far, the project has planted over 200,000 fruit trees around the globe, with tree planting and/or distribution events in the U.S. and internationally.

These fruit trees have helped increase access to 28 million pieces of fresh fruit in underserved communities, combat global pollution by reducing CO2, and generate 33 million pounds of oxygen each year.

These fruit trees have helped increase access to 28 million pieces of fresh fruit in underserved communities, combat global pollution by reducing CO2, and generate 33 million pounds of oxygen each year.

Since 2008, Concrete Safaris has prepared youth in East Harlem and beyond to lead healthy lives and shape their environment through outdoor education, play, exploration, and community engagement.

Approximately 400 daily, direct-service participants are enrolled in after-school or internships, and 5,000+ community members get active outdoors at the garden and street-based events led by youth in East Harlem.

Approximately 400 daily, direct-service participants are enrolled in after-school or internships, and 5,000+ community members get active outdoors at the garden and street-based events led by youth in East Harlem.

To attend the planting event, local event hosts are requiring proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within the prior 72 hours and masks. The event remains rain or shine, and experience is not necessary.

Anyone who would like to attend must register at this link:

Interested? Great, here’s the details on Friday, October 8th: Meet at 10:30 am EST outside Jefferson Houses Management Office at 300 East 115th Street New York, NY, the Planting will begin at 11:00 am.

Heart to Heart Concert Video

Hi Everyone!
Labor of Love Association pulled off yet another successful virtual concert and we’re so appreciative of each of you who joined us last week to enjoy the music. To each of you who made a donation to help us meet our fundraising goals, DOUBLE thanks!
If you missed watching the virtual concert, we are airing it again now for a limited time! It was an astounding night, and we hope that you’ll watch or experience it again with your family and friends!
The Labor of Love Ensemble
We’ve got a Super Fan in the house!Our lead guitarist’s daughter, Lulu, sent us her video during the show dancing to the song of her choice! She selected “I Don’t Know What You Came To Do” and she impressed the judges so much, we declared her the WINNER! Her video is adorable, so be sure to watch it.
Lulu, thank you and congratulations. You are forever our honorary VIP guest!
Instructions to access the broadcast:
Step One: From any device, go to our website
Step Two: At the top of the home page, you’ll see the H2H Virtual Edition image.
Step Three: Sit back, enjoy the show, and get your PRAISE ON!
We are still accepting donations.  A donation in any amount will be deeply appreciated as Heart to Heart is our annual fundraising project.
Make a donation payable to The Labor of Love Association, Inc.
Mail to: The Labor of Love Association, Inc.
57 East 126th Street, Suite 2, New York, NY 10035
Attention: Shkigale Baker, Treasurer

Uptowner Reports on the Co-Naming of 126th Street

The Uptowner – a project of the Columbia University school of journalism, reports on the co-naming of 126th Street:

By Tazbia Fatima

Flowerpots hang from the railings along a tree-lined sidewalk in East Harlem; neighbors sitting on the stoops have conversations across the street. Time seems to stand still along this row of four-storied brownstones. One of them at 17 E. 126th St, is etched in history as the backdrop for the photo, “A Great Day in Harlem,” that photographer Art Kane shot on August 12, 1958, on assignment for Esquire.

The photograph, officially named “Harlem 1958,” represents a sort of  graduation picture featuring four generations of jazz legends — Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and 56 other musicians, two of whom, Benny Golson and Sonny Rollins, are still alive. The city renamed this iconic block between Madison and Fifth Avenues last month, calling it “Art Kane Harlem 1958.”

But a group of residents are contesting this decision, arguing that Kane, who was white, wasn’t local. “It’s not about race. It’s about contribution to the community,” said Tina Bristol, a resident of the block.

To read more from the article, see:

A Great Day in Harlem

Uptown Grand Central writes:

Greetings, neighbors!

I am writing to invite you to the co-naming the block of 126th Street between Madison & Fifth as “Art Kane: Harlem 1958 Place.”

This is in celebration of the historic jazz photograph that is sometimes called “A Great Day In Harlem” — but is actually called “Harlem 1958” — which was taken in front of the brownstone at 17 East 126th Street.

The naming ceremony will take place on the afternoon of next Thursday, August 12, with a concert by Jazzmobile and short remarks by Jonathan Kane, the son of the original photographer:

Harlem 1958 street co-naming
Corner of 126th & Madison
Thursday, August 12
2 p.m. — Reception
2:45 p.m. — Remarks by Jonathan Kane, moderated by our very own G. Keith Alexander
3 p.m. — Jazzmobile concert
3:30 p.m. — Street sign unveiling

We’d love it if you are able to join us. The two musicians from the photo who are still living (Benny Golson & Sonny Rollins) are unable to attend due to their age, but will be sending written remarks.

If you are able to attend, please respond here on the Eventbrite. (And, if you know of neighbors we missed, please let me know!)

Thanks so much as always,

Odyssey House – Coming to East 126

Odyssey House is building (first knocking down) 52-54 East 126th Street and reimaginging it as a ~20 single unit supportive housing facility.

Graduates of Odyssey House programming will live on East 126th Street who have progressed beyond transitional housing. This new building will act more like a normal rental where tenants have individual and renewable leases. 

Odyssey House also said that this building will be staffed by two Odyssey House people 24/7.

Racist Coverage at The New York Times – 1911

While America’s “Paper of Record” is an invaluable source for exploring the history of Harlem and beyond, the deeply racist language found in the New York Times’ archives continues to shock.

Clearly, racially motivated discrimination and segregation has always been a part of the Harlem real estate market. Before the first decade of the 20th century, housing segregation was conducted on an ad hoc basis, by individual supers and landlords. As Black New Yorkers (and increasing numbers of southern refugees from racial terror) moved into more Harlem blocks, white residents and property owners began to organize and coordinate their segregationist behavior into compacts and agreements.

The offensive language used by the NYT like “menace” and “invasion”, was tightly interwoven with financial anxiety. Property values were mentioned in the sub heading, and used to both justify racial covenants and to describe the impact a multi-racial neighborhood would have on white property owners:

And, while we know that the work put into the organizations, alliances, agreements, and covenants failed, in the end, the cumulative impact was a self-fulfilling prophecy of overcrowded Black buildings, deprived of capital (improvements) with exorbitant rents. Without the ability to freely choose where they rented, Black New Yorkers were more easily exploited by Harlem’s landlords who could charge significantly more than they would have been able to charge white tenants who could rent in other New York neighborhoods.

The article concludes by essentializing Black New Yorkers as part of a “shifting and uncertain people”, in order to rationalize the white racial anxiety expressed in the article.

To read the original, see:

The Smile, Exposed

It’s an interesting look for a new building, exposed concrete.

The Smile – the new apartment building on East 126th between 3rd and Lexington – has a model apartment with exposed concrete in the bedroom, hallway, and livingroom.

The glossy floors (white) are Quartzline monolithic resin floors. If you’re curious on how you make pour/create a resin floor:

For more on The Smile, see:

Shop Harlem

We are 2 days away from Harlem’s most creative virtual event this season!  
HBA is pleased to partner with AT&T and Experience Harlem to bring you the holiday event of the season! We know you love all things Harlem, that’s how we know you’ll love the Shop Harlem Virtual Fair. This will be an interactive social distancing event with lots of surprises and unique opportunities in store. Event highlights will include: We know you love all things Harlem, that’s how we know you’ll love the Shop Harlem Virtual Fair. This will be an interactive social distancing event with lots of surprises and unique opportunities in store. Event highlights will include:DJ Stormin Norman spinning live on the main stageInteractive booths featuring Harlem’s best shops and makersNetworking opportunities – where you can launch a video chat with anyone, one-on-one or in a groupSpecial guests who represent HarlemMuch more to comeThere’s no need to travel outside of Harlem to discover the perfect gift this holiday season. With scores of local entrepreneurs, small businesses, artists and artisans, there’s no better place to shop than the Shop Harlem Virtual Fair! Although this season is unlike any other let’s bring in the holidays the right way by supporting Harlem businesses throughout the holiday season. 
Free RSVP 
Harlem, stand with us. We challenge 5,000 Harlemites to take the pledge to support Black-owned businesses this holiday season. With your help we can achieve this goal!
1. Share this blog post with your friends.

2. Purchase from businesses listed in our Shop Harlem Gift Guide to: 

3. Use hashtags #shopharlemfair #shopharlem2020 #EXPERIENCEHarlem when you shop.

4. Follow @experienceharlem for more info, giveaways and more.

Let’s keep Harlem alive and thriving! #shopharlem  Show love to our community while making a loved one smile by shopping from businesses listed in our #ShopHarlem Holiday Gift Guide 2020.

Like, love, & share with your fellow Harlemites. Harlem Gift Guide

52-45 East 126th Street

For those of you curious about the activity on the south side of East 126th Street between Park/Madison, I thought I’d submit the initial visualizations that Odyssey House presented:

The current site is being demolished and a new building will replace it.

A spokesperson for Odyssey House who I spoke to in November note that:

The plans for the development have not changed since we presented them to the community in 2016. The project will provide a mix of 15 permanent supportive housing units for special needs, single adults and six apartments for single low-income tenants. All tenants will have access to front desk coverage and on-site building maintenance. The supportive housing tenants will receive case management services, vocational training, recreational activities, and access to medical and psychiatric services through community-based providers.

Odyssey house expects construction on the project to be completed by the end of 2021.