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:
HERE PRESENTS WORLD PREMIERE OF THE VISITATION FROM STEPHANIE FLEISCHMANN, CHRISTINA CAMPANELLA, AND MALLORY CATLETT
The Visitation, a sound walk, a haunting site-specific experience created by Stephanie Fleischmann, Christina Campanella, and Mallory Catlett. Inspired by the appearance of a one-antlered deer in Harlem in 2016, The Visitation takes the listener on an urban odyssey in search of the collective memory of the deer’s sojourn in Jackie Robinson Park via geo-located avant-pop songs that conjure a series of encounters with the buck. Launching on April 23, The Visitation is a meditation on the presence of the mythic in the everyday and the uneasy relationship between the built environment and the natural world.
Conceived and developed with director Catlett and featuring original music and sound design by Campanella and text by Fleischmann, the soundscape of The Visitation is threaded through with the ethereal sounds of the deer, voiced by Obie-winning legend Black-Eyed Susan, a founding member of Charles Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company. Listeners simultaneously traverse interior landscapes and exterior terrain ranging from far-reaching urban vistas to a dense canopy of trees, from the former wilderness of the park to the blacktop of basketball courts and playgrounds. Geo-located songs conjure moments experienced by a handful of characters—including a park gardener,a weeping pharmacist, a neighborhood teenager, and more—whose lives were changed by their encounter with the deer.
Along the way, participants will also encounter Mesingw, a Lenape spirit associated with the deer, who could, it was believed, reinstate balance to a disease-inflicted earth. Listeners may ask themselves, “Where is Mesingw now? How do we navigate his absence, and that of Artemis, Greek goddess of nature, from our contemporary lives? What are the repercussions of the ways we continue to colonize the land on which we live?”
The team for The Visitation also includes Lenape historical consultant Oleana Whispering Dove. Participants must download the Gesso app onto their mobile device to experience The Visitation, which begins a few blocks from Jackie Robinson Park, at West 148th Street and St Nicholas Avenue. The geography of the park includes stairs and some uneven terrain. A map with alternate start and end points is available for individuals with limited mobility. Participants should bring their own headphones. The Visitation can also be experienced remotely via the Gesso app as a 60-minute soundscape.
The Visitation launches on April 23, 202, and is free to download, however, donations at www.here.org are encouraged.
On Saturday, May 1, the creators from The Visitation and the founders of Gesso will host an in-person gathering in Jackie Robinson Park to discuss the inspiration, artistry, and technology behind the sound walk.