Metro-North Bridge Over The Harlem River

For an olde timey image of crossing from Harlem to The Bronx in 1870, this image from the Museum of the City of New York, can’t be beat. And, remember, at the time, that bridge, and especially that train, were state of the art – precisely why the photo was taken.

Performance at Harlem Rose Garden: Bird Language

Wednesday, June 29 for the following event at 6 PM.

Simona Smirnova is a Lithuanian-born jazz vocalist, composer and folk zither – kanklės player based in New York City. By press described as “Eastern European-tinged jazz/exotica”, she is a fixture in the New York live scene when she’s not touring the world, including Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Smirnova’s genre-bending style has a unique theatrical flavor and uncanny vocal improvisation techniques. She deftly implements folkloric chants and Lithuanian zither – kanklės into foundations of jazz and rock. Smirnova’s new album “Bird Language” — channels groundbreaking artists like Björk and Joanna Newsom while exploring the ways that humans are connected to nature. “Bird Language” album is dedicated to the awareness of climate change.

The Harlem Rose Garden is on East 129th Street, just east of 5th Avenue.

Winter Scenes of Upper Manhattan

Ernest Lawson, a Canadian artist who came to New York at the turn of the 20th century to take classes at the Art Students League, was a beautiful painter of the Harlem River.

In the painting above, you might be able to make out what is now Bronx Community College, but at the time, was the new NYU campus that the university had bought, begun to develop, and was considering moving to. The rotunda at the top of the hill, beyond the Harlem River, is now the Hall of Great Americans – a Beaux-Art – pantheon of sorts with bronze busts of (mostly) white men.

Below, the High Bridge sparkles at night with lights, fading skylight, and reflections on the Harlem River.

For more on Lawson, see the article in Ephemeral New York, here:

Lone Figure, Madison Avenue Bridge and the Harlem River

A 1930 scene from the shore of the Harlem River.

155th Street Bridge

In the image below it’s hard to imagine that this bucolic scene is looking at what will become the 155th Street bridge between Harlem and Yankee’s Stadium.

Note that the bridge in the background is the Croton aqueduct bridge – High Bridge – with it’s full complement of masonry arches (the central core of which, were torn down and replaced with a steel arch for Harlem River navigation in the 19th Century).

To see the ebay listing for this image, see Bass Fishing.

To look at the history of the Macombs Bridge, see:

Bob Dylan

Many Harlemites don’t know that Bob Dylan lived in Harlem, on Strivers Row, for many years.

Bob Dylan owned the home for 14 years before selling it to its current owners in 2000. They purchased the house from the folk icon for just $560,000. The four-story townhouse at 265 West 139th Street

Richard Avedon took the (above) black and white photo of Bob Dylan on Nov. 4, 1963. The location is approximately 132nd Street and the Harlem River. The 22-year-old Bob Dylan is just south of the Metro-North Bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx, which crosses out of Manhattan at Park Avenue and 134th Street in East Harlem.

The black and white photo, of Dylan in jeans, a flannel shirt, and a battered guitar case, is often contrasted with Avedon’s next photo of Dylan, taken in 1965 along Central Park East, with Dylan wearing a fashionable long dark coat and tall leather boots and bearing a world-weary superstar’s look.

Click the following link to see the location from FDR Drive – showing the earlier photo’s location:

Lung Block

For many of the reasons that remain today (and are evidenced in the COVID-19 death rates among Black Americans vs. white Americans) in the 1930’s tuberculosis and pneumonia killed nearly twice as many Black Harlem residents as white New Yorkers.

By 1934 one Harlem block was deemed “Lung Block” on account of the widespread infection rates in this part of Harlem. The block was located between 142 and 143rd Street, and 6th and 7th Avenues.

3rd Avenue Bridge

A charming stereoview showing the 3rd Avenue Bridge is for sale on eBay for $10:

Notice the clock-tower in the back-right, indicating that we are looking from Harlem, north, towards the bronx. The woman’s outfit, the horse wagon and the Belgian block paving all add to the charm.

Join Your Community Board

2021 Community Board application is now “live”

ON Apply now to join your Community Board, the most grassroots form of local government. The Boards are pivotal in shaping their communities and work to enhance and preserve the character of the city’s many unique neighborhoods. Applications close Monday, 2/1/2021. Click here to download a PDF to study the questions and prepare your answers before applying online (the online application does not allow “sessions”– you must complete the application all … Read more