The Harlem Casino

Gambling and entertainment in Harlem’s finest casino.

Built in 1889, this was the place to be seen in the late Victorian era.

And this is the view, today:

A fascinating transformation.

Ballot Initiatives

The election is coming up and we need to flip the ballot!

“People hear me saying all the time: Flip the ballot. Flip it, or you’ll miss it,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and executive director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and chair of the 11-member Racial Justice Commission that crafted the questions. “Because we have an opportunity – a historic opportunity – to shape the future of our city.”

The three ballot questions – on the back side of the Nov. 8 ballot – would require the city to abide by new sweeping equity goals, create an agency and commission overseeing a new racial equity goal-setting process, and annually measure a new “true cost of living” metric to inform policy decisions.

For the first time in the United States, racial justice is on the ballot:


Participatory Budgeting – And We Want Your Opinion

NYC’s first-ever expense-based, citywide participatory budgeting process is called The People’s Money – and you are invited!

All New Yorkers, regardless of citizenship, status, will have a say in how to spend $5 million of mayoral expense funding to address local community needs. All residents are invited to participate in the first phase of the process, idea generation, and all residents aged 11 and older will be eligible to vote. The People’s Money builds on the foundation laid by the Civic Engagement Commission’s 2021 local process, which engaged residents of the 33 neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19 in a $1.3 million participatory budgeting process.

The People’s Money, with funding from the Mayor’s office, will go exclusively to expense projects, programs and services that directly help residents in their day to day lives. 

Make a proposal here:

NYC Marathon – It’s Coming

The NYC Marathon is coming. Get ready on 1st Avenue as they go uptown, and then get ready on 5th as they head to the finish line.

November 6th.

Who’s Going To Represent You/Harlem In Albany?

The New York State 70th Assembly District primary is coming up.

Whoever wins the primary will likely be your representative in Albany. If you live in the area shown on the map below, make sure to register for the candidates’ forum tomorrow (Thursday, June 2nd, at 7:00 PM):


Click on this map to see a larger view

Election/Primaries News

  • Remember, as of now, we’re headed for a double primary season, which we wrote about in the last newsletter; June 28 is the first primary, with another scheduled for August 23.

    FYI: If you’re already registered to vote, the deadline to switch parties passed in February.
  • Redistricting and the legal battle that followed it are done, so the state has new political lines. Make sure you know how your district lines have changed! Use our address lookup tool to see how the boundaries have shifted around you.

Tali Farhadian Weinstein Speaks to HNBA

At our November meeting, Tali Farhadian Weinstein spoke to HNBA about her background and the reasons she’s running for Manhattan DA in 2021.

The Ghosts of Segregation

A chilling photographic essay on America’s past and how it persists and lurks from the New York Times:

The Machine: Running for Bill Perkins’ Seat

The debacle of voting in NYC (note how the still haven’t finished the count and don’t expect to complete it until Thanksgiving) rests partly on the shoulders of Bill Perkins’ wife – Pamela Perkins – who was given a patronage job on the NYC Board of Elections.

Council Member Bill Perkins contemplating look at City Hall

Perkins himself is not expected to run for City Council (given his health concerns and one of the worst attendance records of a City Council Member). An article last month in New York County Politics notes a number of Harlem Machine members who are hoping, again, to play musical chairs and take Perkins empty seat.

City Councilmember Bill Perkins (D-Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, Upper West Side, East Harlem) will not seek reelection next year. A consultant fielding multiple polls throughout the city presented New York County Politics with data offering insights over who may succeed the veteran elected.

Manhattan Dem Leader Keith Wright (Photo Credit: US Department of Labor)
Manhattan Dem Leader Keith Wright

Former Assemblymember and Manhattan Democrats Leader Keith Wright won the poll, with 24 percent of respondents favoring him. Assemblymember Inez Dickens (D-El Barrio, Hamilton Heights, Harlem, Morningside Heights, Upper West Side, Washington Heights,) was the runner-up, with 17 percent support.

Assembly Member Inez Dickens (Photo Credit: NYS Assembly)
Assembly Member Inez Dickens

Trailing the two were local activists Cordell Cleare (D) with 4 percent, and William Allen (D) with 3 percent, followed by Northern Manhattan Office Director to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) Athena Moore (D) with 2 percent. Harlem District Leader Keith Lilly (D) and writer, teaching artist, and activist Kristin Richardson Jordan (D) were tied for last place with 1 percent.

In terms of favorability, Wright and Dickens’ are similar to that of the district’s congressional representative, Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-Harlem, Inwood, Bronx): in the 43-49 percent range. However, Dickens has an unfavorability rating of 14%, nearly three times that of Wright’s 5 percent rating.

On experience, voters overwhelmingly preferred a government veteran to a fresh-faced outsider, 54 percent to 29 percent.

Republicans v. Democrats and COVID Rates

If you recall, I posted this map soon after the election to illustrate where New Yorkers voted for Democrats, and where they voted for Republicans:

It’s interesting to compare that map with today’s NYC Department of Health 7-Day COVID rate map: