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]
The historic voting numbers have led to changes in voting hours this weekend. But… Don’t wait for an extension. Make a plan. Get on line. Vote. Remember, you’ve been waiting for this for 4 years. Don’t let it slip by.
The New York City Board of Elections’ commissioners on Tuesday voted to extend early voting hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but the change may only take effect at polling sites where it is deemed feasible.
Early voting in New York City will likely take place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31; and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1 at polling places that have the ability to handle the extra hours, BOE Secretary Frederic Umane said at a virtual meeting Tuesday afternoon.
“It is our intention to do it, but we may not have the ability to do it for all sites, but that’s what we’re going to try to do,” he said.
American Legion Post #398 Jazz
One of the casualties of COVID has been in-person musical performances. Two years ago I took my parents to the American Legion Col. Charles Young Post #398 to hear some local jazz and enjoy an evening out. The night was magical, and I can only hope that this venue will survive, and then thrive, after COVID.
The entrance to the bar, the food, and the music is down below, through doors in the courtyard’s cinderblock entryway:
Post #398 is located at 248 West 132nd Street. The Yelp reviews are here:
Harlem has had a mail system since 1673. In order for mail to travel, however, the road to Harlem to New York and beyond had to be finished, or at least made usable. Eventually, a monthly mail between New York and Boston was officially announced and the earliest letters set out on the first of January, 1673.
The novelty of the mounted postman reining up at the tavern at Harlem, with his dangling “portmantles,” crammed with “letters and small portable goods,” but tarrying only so long as necessary to deliver his mail and refresh himself and horse, added another to the sights and incidents which dutifully noted by all in town.
By-Mail Absentee Voting (Using the USPS)
After making your votes on the ballot, fold the ballot and put it in a smaller envelope. Sign and date the back of the envelope. Seal the envelope and put it in the larger envelope that is addressed to the Board of Elections. Mail or deliver your ballot to your borough Board of Elections office.
An absentee ballot must be postmarked by Election Day and must reach the Board of Elections no more than 7 days after the election to be counted.
Your input is invaluable and your perspective is vital in assisting the Police Department in its efforts to reform and reinvent its policies. We have launched a brand new initiative to collect feedback from New Yorkers. We will incorporate what we learn into a plan of action to make the NYPD more transparent and fair for everyone. We want to hear all feedback. What is working? What isn’t working? How can officers better work with the community members they are sworn to serve? What are best practices we can replicate across the city? While in-person attendance is limited due to COVID-19, all meetings are streamed on Zoom and Facebook. The schedule is below along with the links to join and participate.
A Feminist Walk Through Harlem: Celebrating Remarkable Women
How do we honor Black and Latina women? How do we preserve their legacy? 2020 marks the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage, but Black women’s contributions to the movement largely go uncelebrated, and most Black women in America could not vote until 1965. As the city and the nation confront issues of representation and equity in public commemoration, and to build on FRIENDS’ discussion of the Women’s Right Pioneers Monument in Central Park, please join FRIENDS of the Upper East Side and Save Harlem Now! for a virtual walk through Harlem. The tour will focus on sites publicly celebrating pioneering Black and Latina women, and issues surrounding the preservation of such sites. Tour guide Leigh Hallingby, of Harlem Walks, will explore the neighborhood murals, mosaics, plaques, and other forms of public commemoration honoring such pioneers as Vivian Robinson, Ella Fitzgerald, Madam C.J. Walker, Billie Holiday, Mother Clara Hale, Ruby Dee, Lois Alexander, Mary McLeod Bethune, Julia de Burgos, A’Lelia Walker, Nicholasa Mohr, and Zora Neale Hurston.
The image (above) from The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is of Wesley A. Williams, a Black mail carrier/driver from 1915. Wesley was photographed under the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, a notoriously racist American President who re:segregated the Post Office (from Vox – https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/11/20/9766896/woodrow-wilson-racist):
Easily the worst part of Wilson’s record as president was his overseeing of the resegregation of multiple agencies of the federal government, which had been surprisingly integrated as a result of Reconstruction decades earlier. At an April 11, 1913, Cabinet meeting, Postmaster General Albert Burleson argued for segregating the Railway Mail Service. He took exception to the fact that workers shared glasses, towels, and washrooms. Wilson offered no objection to Burleson’s plan for segregation, saying that he “wished the matter adjusted in a way to make the least friction.”
Both Burleson and Treasury Secretary William McAdoo took Wilson’s comments as authorization to segregate. The Department of Treasury and Post Office Department both introduced screened-off workspaces, separate lunchrooms, and separate bathrooms. In a 1913 open letter to Wilson, W.E.B. DuBois — who had supported Wilson in the 1912 election before being disenchanted by his segregation policies — wrote of “one colored clerk who could not actually be segregated on account of the nature of his work [and who] consequently had a cage built around him to separate him from his white companions of many years.” That’s right: Black people who couldn’t, logistically, be segregated were put in literal cages.
I, of course, don’t know what Wesley’s take would be on our current president and his efforts to sabotage the US Postal Service in order to give him an electoral advantage, but I hope that in Wesley’s spirit (if you are going to vote by mail) that you vote as early as possible, and as carefully as possible, in order to insure that your vote counts in 2020.
This image is a part of Photoville – this year an outdoor exhibition of photography throughout the 5 boroughs. See: https://photoville.nyc/exhibitions/ for more information.
The photo of Welsey is featured in St. Nicholas Park.
Photoville’s exhibit on 145th Street at Bradhurst features a number of wonderful images of mid-century Black America. Billy Eckstine was ‘a neighbor’, living at the corner of 5th Avenue and 126th Street:
25th Precinct Officers and Community Council Clothing Giveaway
With the 2020 elections fast approaching, I wanted to share a fantastic visualization that shows population density. The map is fascinating and allows you to really get a sense of major metropolitan areas and the vast (population) deserts that separate them:
In the illustration above you see us, in New York, and the tail of Long Island tapering out to the east. You can probably make out some of the Ohio cities (2020 battlegrounds) and then Detroit up at the top.
Here is a full view of the US:
And you can look at the high resolution image of it all, here:
Patch.com reports that the Harlem African Burial Ground Project is a victim of the NYC budget crisis stemming from COVID-19. It’s not over, but it has stalled:
HARLEM, NY — A long-planned project to construct a memorial at the site of a historic African burial ground on 126th Street has been put on hold due to the pandemic, a community board leader told members this week.
Angel Mescain, district manager of East Harlem’s Community Board 11, said Wednesday that the city’s Economic Development Corporation has put the project “on pause” like many other development projects across the city, which is facing a $9 billion budget deficit due to the coronavirus.
The project has not been canceled, Mescain told CB11’s Land Use Committee, adding that “they’re just not rolling along the same schedule they had anticipated.”
Katie Nichson celebrated a century in Harlem on Saturday, commanding her well-wishers to “Get up off your butt and get out and vote!”
“I want people to learn that elections come up not just when there’s number 45 in there,” she said. “No, every time there’s an election, go out and vote, because the community is closer to you than the presidency.”
Community has indeed been the driving force of Nichson’s decades in the neighborhood. A longtime member of Mother AME Zion, she has also served in the neighborhood’s Democratic club since its inception, and is a regular guest at neighborhood community meetings — including one in 2017 where she made news for unloading on Mayor Bill de Blasio over the poor conditions of Harlem’s sidewalks.
Nichson said the importance of civic engagement wasn’t lost on her, as someone born the same year that women — at least some women — were guaranteed the right to vote.
“The fact [is] that at one time, women could not vote,” she said. “Then white women could vote and we couldn’t vote.”
NYC’s Marathon is 50 Years Old
Harlem is often the deciding stretch of the NYC Marathon – where leaders pull away, and dreams are won and shattered. This year, with COVID-19, we are not going to have the NYC Marathon pass through Harlem.
This year, registered voters can vote three ways: By absentee ballot, in-person early voting, or in-person voting on Election Day, November 3, 2020.
All registered voters can request an absentee ballot if they are concerned about COVID-19 for the November 3 election. Signed absentee ballots can be returned to drop boxes without a wait at over 300 locations statewide.
The Board of Elections in the City of New York is preparing for the General Election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 and the Primary Election on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, and is now accepting applications for the 17 Year Old Student Poll Worker Program. The program promotes civic awareness and educates high school students about the election process by allowing them to serve as poll workers on Election Day. Submit a completed application by September 18, 2020. Space is limited, so apply early! Fill out your application now!.