Mayor De Blasio Toured 125th Street

The mayor toured 125th Street on Sunday to see how dire our quality of life issues are.

City Council Member Diana Ayala toured with the mayor.

Note that on Sunday the methadone clinics are closed and most of their client base uses their ‘take home’ allocation that is given to them on Saturday. So the mayor didn’t see the full extent of our issues.

Thanks to Uptown Grand Central for the photos!

The Bell

In the case of an emergency in 17th century Dutch Harlem, residents beat a drum. After nearly a century of this practice, the ‘old stone church’ – Harlem’s first church, located at 127/1st Avenue -acquired the first-ever bell in Harlem. Note the Graveyard indicated by the red arrow, and the churchyard immediately below it in this early 20th-century sketch map of the Village of New Harlem:

When this original church was demolished, the bell passed to the Elmendorf Reformed Church which you may know as one of the driving forces behind publicizing and advocating for the Harlem African Burial Ground project.

The bell that the Elmendorf Reformed Church now has was cast in Holland. Among other metals, it is said to contain “twenty dollars worth of gold and twenty dollars worth of silver,” according to an article in The Harlem Traveller of 1861.

The venerable bell which was cast in Amsterdam, Holland, expressly for the Harlem Church in the year 1734. It remains on display in the rear of the sanctuary, the archive area of the church.

The inscription on the bell reads: AMSTERDAM Anno 1734 ME FECIT.

About a quarter of an acre connected with the original church at 1st Avenue and East 127th Street became known as the “Negro Burying ground”.

The first documented African Americans in New Harlem were slaves purchased in 1664 by the village’s settlers, who used slave labor to work their expansive farms and help build and maintain the settlement. By 1790 a census tally of the Harlem district found 115 slaves working upper Manhattan’s farms and estates, roughly one-third of the population.

It is not known when African Americans were first interred at Harlem’s original village burial ground but at some point, the eastern end of the graveyard was designated for that purpose. By 1771 it was formally identified as the “Negro Burying Ground” on historical documents.

For more on the Harlem African Burial Ground project, see:


20 Reasons Why New York and New Yorkers are Awesome

TimeOut NY has a great list of 20 reasons New York, even in this time of crisis, is an awesome place to live. We all, I think, need to be reminded how incredible this place is, and this article is a timely reminder: