Harlem and The Bronx

This image from the 1930’s from a high vantage point (likely from the towering 555 Edgecombe Avenue), shows Harlem in the foreground and The Bronx in the background.

What is now Jackie Robinson Park is immediately below (in the foreground) and you can see the distinctive kiosk shown in another 1930’s photo and from Google Streetview:

Note how the 1930s streetscape north of 152nd Street (up to 153rd Street) is fully intact. It also appears as if the vacant lot on the south-east corner of the block has been vacant for almost 100 years.

Harlem’s Poet Laureate

CBS has the story from Governor Hochul’s inauguration on how a 9-year-old from Harlem came to be her poet laureate:

“I was outside the Apollo Theater, it was Amateur Night,” Hochul recalled at the beginning of her speech Sunday. “And there’s a long line around the block, and I saw this young man standing there. I said, ‘You’re going in to watch somebody?’ He goes, ‘No, I’m a poet. I’m going to go recite.'”
“I was excited,” Hern remembered feeling. “Yeah, because at the Apollo, I just wanted to take a picture with her. And then she asked me, what do I do? And I said, I draw. I also write poems.”
Hern did not throw away his shot, performing his way straight to the top.
“I figured he’d whip out a piece of paper and read it to me,” Hochul continued. “He had memorized it … I stood there on the spot and I said, ‘If I win this election, you are my Poet Laureate and I want you here.'”

https://www.cbsnews.com/newyork/news/new-york-poet-laureate-kayden-hern-harlem/

East Harlem, Underwater

With climate change predicted to bring more flooding, heavy rains, storms, and more, it’s important to think about how vulnerable your home/apartment/block/community is.

This map, showing flood zones in 2012 (essentially shows the flooding caused by Sandy):

The following map, however, shows what a Sandy equivalent storm will do to our coastline in 2080:

And the difference is because as we all burn fossil fuels, the resulting warmer ocean temperatures results in more voluminous water that rises higher than current sea levels (warmer water expands), and all those glaciers melting day by day by day, are causing sea levels to rise.

Note that even if you don’t see your home in the ‘black’ areas of this map, ask yourself where are those residents going? Where are the responders? Where are the hospitals? The roadways? And so on.

To see a full report on this issue, and to search the map yourself, see:

https://gothamist.com/news/new-nyc-storm-surge-map-shows-how-climate-change-threatens-affordable-housing-upscale-waterfront

Federal Housing Policy Discussion with IssueVoter

Join IssueVoter, a non-partisan non-profit, and William Smith, District Leader of the New York County Democratic Committee representing the 68th District, for a federal housing policy briefing.

Meet us on Zoom on Thursday, September 22 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time as we discuss federal housing legislation and how to make your voices heard in Congress.

IssueVoter is a nonpartisan, nonprofit online platform dedicated to giving everyone a voice in our democracy. Our free public service makes civic engagement accessible, efficient, and impactful.
IssueVoter informs you of legislation affecting issues you care about, sends your opinions to lawmakers, and helps you see how often you were truly represented.

Go For A Bike Ride This Morning

Citi Bike Tour: Upper Manhattan, Bronx, and Randall’s Island
Journey your way through the rich history and culture that exists Uptown on a Citi Bike. Along the 11-mile excursion, you’ll traverse Washington Heights, the South Bronx, Randall’s Island, and Central Harlem. The free bike tour is sponsored by Active Plus NYC, Citi Bike, and the Frederick Douglass Boulevard Alliance. Spots are limited. Saturday, Aug. 20, 10:30 am

Governor Hochul Announces Funding to Renovate the Schomburg

Free Cooking on the Farm

Join RIPA for our Cooking on the Farm with Families event! We will be hosting the free event at the Urban Farm this Sunday, August 21 from 3 PM to 4:30 PM

We will be making a scrumptious, seasonal entrée with Chef Angelica Vargas, using ingredients picked from the Farm just that morning. Ingredients will include radishes, beets, peppers, and more!

A main flavor profile of this meal will be papalo, a Mexican herb that is said to taste like a cross between arugula, cilantro, and rue. The first 15 attendees to arrive will be able to participate in the cooking demonstration. 

We hope to see you on the Island this Sunday! 

Feliz Día de Reyes! (3 Kings Day)

Camels on 3rd Avenue

2nd Avenue Subway Enters a New Phase

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that the Second Avenue Subway expansion project that would extend the Second Avenue line to 125th Street in East Harlem has moved to the engineering phase of the project timeline.

Governor Kathy Hochul and the MTA announced that the 2nd Avenue Subway expansion project will now enter the engineering phase.

This is all due to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Biden in November that has provided $23 billion in new grant opportunities for transit expansion, a historic level of funding that is now being used in Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway (SAS2).

Phase 2 will include the construction of three new subway stations at 106th Street, 116th Street, and 125th Street in East Harlem. The governor noted that she’d spoken to “Secretary Buttigieg who shared the exciting news that the U.S. Department of Transportation is making a huge step forward on Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway expansion, which will unlock incredible potential for the people of East Harlem in expanding transit equity and economic opportunity.”  She also noted that she has made a clear commitment to the people of East Harlem that she would keep this project moving swiftly.

Approximately 70% of East Harlem residents use public transportation to get to work, much higher than the citywide average of 55%. The expansion of the Second Avenue Subway would help advance the Biden administration’s and New York State’s goal for transportation equity and would improve the local community’s access to jobs, health care, and other services, while reducing congestion, both on the streets and on the Lexington Avenue subway line and improving air quality.

MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “The East Harlem community has been waiting for the Second Avenue Subway for decades. The new line extension will build on the success of Phase 1 and bring the total Second Avenue Subway ridership to 300,000, which is equivalent to the entire Philadelphia rail system. A big thank you to the FTA for moving the project to the next stage. My team is ready to go.”

Phase 1 of the project extended the Q line from 63rd Street to 96th Street and was New York City’s biggest expansion of the subway system in 50 years. Service opened on January 1, 2017, with additional stations at 72nd Street and 86th Street. Since its completion, the Second Avenue Subway has carried more than 130 million passengers and carried more than 200,000 passengers on a pre-pandemic day.   

Fast facts to know

  • This phase of the project will extend train service from 96th Street north to 125th Street, approximately 1.5 miles; 
  • There will be new stations at 106th Street and 116th Street on Second Avenue and 125th Street at Park Avenue; 
  • Phase 2 will provide direct passenger connections to the Lexington Avenue (4/5/6) subway line at 125th Street and an entrance at Park Avenue to allow convenient transfers to the Metro-North Railroad 125 Street Station; 
  • Each station will have above-ground ancillary buildings that house ventilation mechanical and electrical equipment. These will include space for possible ground-floor retail; 
  • Expansion will serve an additional 100,000 daily riders; 
  • Will provide three new ADA-accessible stations – raising the bar for customer comfort and convenience; and 
  • Increased multimodal transit connectivity at the 125th Street station – with connections to the 4/5/6, Metro-North trains and the M60 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport, allowing convenient transfers to other subway and commuter rail lines, facilitating smoother, faster transportation across the city and region.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer said, “The Second Avenue Subway Phase II project advancing into project engineering is great news for the people of East Harlem and all of New York City. Long envisioned – but unfortunately too long delayed – the project is now full-speed ahead. I was pleased to secure the historic $23 billion in grant funding for mass transit capital projects in the bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs law, and will fight to ensure this critical project gets its fair share.”