Long Gallery Harlem

Make the time to visit the Long Gallery Harlem (2073 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr Blvd.) before the current (fantastic) show closes on August 14th

(Make sure to check hours and call ahead):

https://www.long.gallery/

INTERIOR DIALOGUE is an exhibition about social perspectives through the lens of the artist’s personal life experience.  The works are engaged in the active centering of the artists’ intersectional identities through the critical lens of decoration and ornament. This work explores how aesthetics often buttress systems of appropriation, oppression, and erasure. Norsworthy asserts that aesthetics are often used as a vehicle to justify the commodification of cultures and, by proxy, communities.

The exhibition is couched within a created environment that interrogates ‘Whiteness.’ The white-box space is defined by Norsworthy’s latest wallpaper work, Blackity (2021), and a series of objects that traverse function, decoration, and art object. The exhibition is held together with six tondos, each depicting an antique European vessel. Images of these ceramic artifacts were sourced from online and estate auctions. The vases are centered in the round space, and each sit atop a surface situated against a highly decorative backdrop.  Although the vases appear to be depictions of beauty and decoration, they function on another level as symbolic representations of the artist. 

The three planes in each tondo (the vase, the surface, and the background) conceptually evoke ways of understanding foregrounding identity within larger conversations of intersectionality. The hierarchy of these planes, vis-a-vis weight and importance, shift between the six tondos; with each acting as a different visual strategy that describes the interplay of object and background. The objecthood of the central object holds power, but is also at the whim of the space within which it is placed. 

For Norsworthy, the process of creating these circular works was an exercise in identity-centered space-making, an idea that pivots the idea of ‘ownership’ from other to self. The titles of the works speak to this contemplation:  The parenthetical titles, Lot #1, Lot #2, etc. play with the idea of commodification, creating a double entendre of the contemporary auction market while also evoking the violent history of the ‘auction block’ and the repercussions from Antebellum America that still reverberate today. 

Governor Cuomo Gives $11,000,000 to Build Supportive Housing for Formerly Incarcerated or Mentally Challenged Homeless Men and Women

Bishop’s House on West 128th Street (east of Lenox) will be demolished and a 9 story building for supportive housing will be built.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state would provide nearly $11 million in funding toward two new supportive housing developments in Upper Manhattan.

Through the state’s Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, the funding will help provide 71 supportive housing units at Bishop House Apartments in Central Harlem, operated by the nonprofit The Bridge, as well as 56 additional units at the Jericho House in Harlem.

Unlike standard homeless shelter units, supportive housing units primarily serve homeless residents with other issues, from recent incarceration to mental health conditions — offering an array of services designed to provide residents with the necessities to lead stable lives off the streets.

See: https://www.amny.com/news/cuomo-providing-11-million-toward-nyc-supportive-housing-homeless/

And:

Marcus Garvey Park Operating Meeting

HNBA was invited to a meeting earlier this week regarding updates for Marcus Garvey Park.

The meeting was chaired by Commissioner Castro. He welcomed everyone and stated that the federal package relief will ensure that the budget is fully funded for staffing, maintenance and pool program. He is working with the Assistant Commissioner and his staff to start a new initiative: a Park Enforcement Station (PEP) which exists already in other parks.

Administrator Jana La Sorte reported on that initiative with Calderon:

  • She is excited to work with Captain Calderon. They are meeting on March 17 in AM to review the facility where the PEP will be located,close to the pool.
  • The PEP will have a staff of 5 plus one Sargeant. The hours of patrol will be 8 am to 6:30 pm, 7 days a week. 
  • The PEP will address mostly quality of life issues in the park, can issue summonses and make arrests. Will be equipped with walkie-talkies.
  • The PEP will also work on specific projects in the evening or night, and hours of patrol can be flexible according to seasons or needs.
  • Jana is working with the Central Park conservation team to address the issue of erosion on the west side of the Acropolis.
  • She is providing support to the group led by Melanie responsible for the dog run: they want to add an area with gravel, improve drainage and Melanie suggested a water fountain for the dogs.
  • The Litter Ambassadors program starts next month and Jana is recruiting volunteers. They will be paired to go around the park and offer orange garbage bags to visitors and ask them to dispose of their trash.
  • Jana encourages everyone to visit the park’s website for additional information about these initiatives.
  • The Harlem Youth Gardeners program is being launched now and offer decent pay for the jobs.
  • There are requests for programming in the amphitheater and schools graduations as well.
  • She is looking to increase volunteering in the park and will send flyers out to promote initiatives such as: Adopt a Tree, Adopt a Bench.

Robert Mc Lean, Regional Park Manager, reported working for two months with some corporate groups.

  • So far 29 hardwood trees have been planted, mainly oak.
  • There are two gardeners on staff and he is looking to have volunteers sign up.
  • A new garden of about 650 square feet was planted at the Drummers’ Circle.

Officers Brigante and Lau gave the 25th Precinct report

  • The 25th Precinct is working with the department of Homeless Services and Social Services. 
  • There is a marked decrease of homeless people in the park.
  • The crime level has been related to the encampment on the stage.
  • A request was made to install cameras by the playgrounds and basketball court.The commissioner stated that at this time there is no funding for cameras. The budget needed is for the maintenance of the cameras.Cameras were also requested previously for the Acropolis but could not be installed because there is no access to electricity at that site.The Commissioner will follow up and report back on the cost for cameras.

Alexandra Long reported that less activity of homeless was noted in the park also. 

Connie Lee also commented on the decrease of homelessness in the park

  • The Homeless Outreach program will continue to distribute masks and increase the number distributed from 250 to 500 week, thanks to a new sponsor for masks.
  • New York Company foundation has provided funding for Arts in the park.
  • Art installations will go up in Morningside park and murals in Marcus Garvey park, mostly semi-permanent or permanent.
  • the MG Park Alliance is working with multiple community groups on community engagement initiatives.
  • Small groups of people will be on the grounds to talk to park goers and collect information. The results will be compiled into a report and presented to sponsors as a multigroup effort for fundraising.
  • the Harlem Youth Gardeners program starting this spring will hire youth at $18 per hour.
    Madlyn Stokely reported looking forward to developing a relationship and working with Park Alliance. She voiced concerns over the number of cars parked at the entrance of the pool area. The Commissioner will look into this issue.

Rene Cuenca: The Partnership for Parks is getting ready for the summer season

  • It will launch at the end of March the “It’s my Park” event. Will send out information when the plans solidify,
  • Working with Harlem Wellness Center on Project Healing. (to address racial issues?). Steve Simon reported working on two capital projects, one is to rehabilitate the recreation center

Many thanks to Cecile for these amazing notes.

Stalled Development = Parking Lot

A couple of years ago HNBA learned that a developer was going to build a new residential building on Park Avenue between East 126 and East 127, on the west side. For over two years now the vacant lots have just sat there. In the summer of 2019, there was a flurry of activity to do test borings which seemed to portend that development was imminent.

Recently it appears that plans for any development have been scrapped and parts of the lots have now been paved over, and are being used for large truck storage/parking.

Anyone familiar with this property knows that it’s a convenient location for many of the M35 homeless people who hang out on East 126th street between Lex/Park to urinate, defecate, and use drugs with no prying eyes on the street (Jane Jacobs) so it’s a shame this potential site for more housing remains an underutilized parking lot.

Article in The Columbia Spectator

The issue of medical redlining, the oversaturation of addition programs in communities of color, and the evidence that Black and Hispanic New Yorkers are steered towards methadone at greater numbers than white New Yorkers, all came up in a recent article from The Columbia Spectator.

See: https://www.columbiaspectator.com/news/2021/02/23/residents-push-back-against-construction-of-methadone-clinic-claim-harlem-is-oversaturated-with-clinics/

“The opioid addiction is a national crisis. It transcends class; it transcends race; it transcends gender; it transcends geography; and yet time and time again, the location of those facilities is not transcending those factors. The location is always in low-income communities of color,” Hill said.

Parents and Children

Over the last 5 years, The Harlem Neighborhood Block Association has taken on a number of issues (large and small) to improve the quality of life for residents in the East Harlem Triangle.

One small, but significant victory was the result of collaboration with neighborhood parents and schools to persuade the Department of Education to move the fence on IS 201 out from the school’s core, in order to eliminate the homeless encampments that children and their parents had to navigate around in order to attend school. In addition, children attending IS 201 have also benefited from a larger safe space for recess and after-school play.