If you’ve been on East 125th Street recently, you’ve probably noticed that Uptown Grand Central has again restarted their amazing mural project on the otherwise, monotonous green construction hoarding.
The UGC project has grown from 50 artists in 2019 who enlivened the area around the Metro-North station at 125/Park. This year, is inviting up to 100 artists to paint new work over the old ones.
The goal, like last time, is to create art that will “support and uplift the community,” according to Carey King, director of Uptown Grand Central, which organizes the project.
Artist applications are open and being selected on a rolling basis through June, when organizers hope to have them all painted. Each artist chosen will receive a $500 honorarium, and priority is being given to artists with connections to Harlem, Upper Manhattan and the Bronx — as was the case last time.
“They were all people from the community that knew East 125th Street and knew how important it was to bring joy here,” King said of the 2019 artists. “It was just a beautiful thing.”
The project’s funders include City Councilmembers Diana Ayala and Bill Perkins, the city’s Department of Small Business Services and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
In the coming weeks, Uptown Grand Central will put out another, separate artist call: this time, to paint dozens of metal shop gates between Fifth and Lexington avenues, building off a 2017 project.
To learn more about the call for artist submissions, click here, or read more about the Grandscale Mural Project at Uptown Grand Central’s website. To see the works in progress, stop by East 125th Street — and tag Instagram photos with the hashtag #grandscalemuralproject.
Toe Whoppin’ Tina was crowned Miss Harlem Shake 2021.
Toe Whoppin’ Tina received the official Golden Cup award, free burgers for a year, a $1,000 gift, and a $500 donation to her favorite charity – the 116th Street Food Pantry in Harlem.
Toe Whoppin’ Tina is 32 and works as a children’s mascot entertainer, a promoter and a restaurant manager. Tina says she enjoys dancing, singing and parties. In her words, “I love people with a good sense of humor. I’m funny.”
Tina’s favorite Harlem Shake meal is the Hot Mess burger and she believes she personifies a chocolate shake. When asked why she loves Harlem, Tina responded with a question, “Who doesn’t love Harlem?”
Harlem’s own Sol Cinema Cafe has a fantastic collection of six shorts under the title “Our Right to Gaze“. The filmmakers gaze at themselves and their world, attempting to make sense of what they see reflected back. From gripping drama to heart-warming comedy, Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities features timely stories from Black artists that take us outside of the ordinary.
“Love in Submission” by Antu Yacob & Lande Yoosuf
Worlds collide when two different Muslim women meet each other for the first time through a mutual third party.
”A Hollywood Party” by Toryn Seabrooks
An aspiring TV host encounters her lifelong idol at a Hollywood party but is mortified after the superstar accidentally spits on her lip mid-conversation.
”Nowhere” by Lin Que Ayoung
A middle-aged Latina flees her controlling husband for a night of unadulterated freedom.
”The Black Banshee” by Kyla Sylvers
Convinced by her friends and boyfriend to enjoy a night out after losing her job, Yvie begins to question her own mind when the visions she’s been having start to have dangerous consequences.
”Auntie Zariyah” by Zora Bikangaga
Zach crashes with an auntie he’s never met before and soon finds out that Auntie Zariyah is a 12-year-old influencer.
”Pandemic Chronicles” by Ya’ke Smith
A three-part anthology series about love, loss, and grief during quarantine.
The mayor has said that the COVID driven outdoor dining program will return next summer, on June 1st.
“I wanted to say it now because I want people in communities to look forward and see that we’re going to keep coming back strong. I want the folks who own the restaurants to know that they’re going to have that additional revenue going forward. The folks who work in the restaurants to know that whatever else we have to weather, we have seen that this experiment worked,” said the mayor.
That seems kind of late in the season. Many people would be happy to dine out earlier in May, for example and our local restaurants will need every dollar they can get. Let’s hope outdoor dining does return, but earlier than the mayor’s plan.