125th Street BID and Columbia University to Look at a Digital Rethink of West 125th Street

125th Street BID’s Partnership with Columbia UniversityWins $26M NSF Grant to Develop Center for Smart Streetscapes
New York, NY—August 10, 2022—The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it is awarding a $26 million, five-year grant to a team led by Columbia Engineering, together with Florida Atlantic University, Rutgers University, University of Central Florida, and Lehman College, for a new Gen-4 NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Smart Streetscapes(CS3). 
“The most exciting thing about this project is the community involvement at the early-on stage, when we’re planning out what Harlem should have as it relates to technology,” said Barbara Askins, President and CEO, 125th Street Business Improvement District. “For the businesses, the arts and culture, the community organizations, the universities, the office tenants, you name it, this project brings all of that together in a way that will take us into the future through technology.”
This win represents a giant step forward for 125th Street and the Harlem Community. We now have a great go to place to develop solutions for numerous monumental problems that we have been struggling with for decades in our streetscape.


CS3 develops hyper-local real-time, interactive, high-precision applications on the streetscape to improve the quality of life by advancing livable, safe, and healthy communities. 

CS3 will explore new technological innovations determined by community engagement that reflect their needs within the initial context of these five applied themes:
Mobility(Pedestrian, cyclists, vehicles and autonomous systems, trash collection)
Ethical security in public spaces(Retail, urban planning-parks)
Assistive technologies for people with disabilities(Street crossing, real time assistance wayfinding
Future outdoor work(Emergency response, sidewalk logistics for deliveries, impacts of construction)
Hyper-local environmental monitoring(Street flooding, infection modeling, drones)

Landmark East Harlem is Awarded $12,000 for an East Harlem Historic Survey

Landmark East Harlem has been awarded a $12K grant from the Preservation League of New York State – their fiscal sponsor and coalition member, Ascendant Neighborhood Development, received the grant to fund a reconnaissance level survey of historic resources in the northern portion of East Harlem.

This project will complete their comprehensive historic/cultural resources surveying for all of East Harlem.

Read the Press Release

East-Central Harlem survey area (Purple); East Harlem Historic District (Teal); East Harlem South/El Barrio survey area (red)
The final EH historic survey (blue) will complete LEH’s reconnaissance for all East Harlem properties.

Landmark East Harlem Highlights the East 111th Street Firestation

Photo of 242 E 111th Street – Engine Company 91 & Ladder Company 43 – by Matthias Helfen, 2021
Constructed from 1910-1912, this early 20th century Renaissance Revival firehouse is one of three similar structures built with a three-bay-wide, three-story design around the city. Of the three, one has already been designated by the Landmark Preservation Commission as an individual landmark in 2018 (Engine Companies 264 & 328/Ladder Company 134 at 16-15 Central Avenue).After the consolidation of the five boroughs of New York City in 1898 unleashed a flurry of municipal construction, it was a common practice to recycle designs for similar building types. This three-story structure was a standard design used at 18 different locations, “simple and dignified and without any unnecessary elaboration,” and adapted in versions with one, two, or three bays for varied urban sites. The prototype was designed by Hoppin & Koen, partners who had earlier worked in the preeminent New York City firm of McKim, Mead & White and were also the architects of the FDNY’s first headquarters.
Photos of Engine 91 shortly after firehouse completion, ca. 1915 & in 1936 via “FDNY and NYC Firehouses and Fire Companies” – nycfire.net
The firehouse was designed to be of fireproof concrete construction with a stucco finish. After bids for construction overran the appropriated funds, cost savings were achieved by substituting red brick, limestone, and cast-stone cladding. It features rusticated limestone at the ground floor, three segmental-arched vehicle bays, red brick cladding on the upper stories, and pairs of monumental brick pilasters supporting a cast stone entablature and brick parapet.Today, the building is in excellent condition and still in use as a firehouse for Engine Company 91. Landmark East Harlem is currently working with community members to make the case for LPC to protect this historic structure through designation as an individual landmark.

Join Landmark East Harlem

Who is Landmark East Harlem?+We are a coalition of organizations and individuals whose mission is to protect the special character of the neighborhood. We do this by working to secure City landmark designation and State and National Register listing for individual properties and historic districts in East Harlem. We also advocate for contextual new development and adaptive reuse of older properties.
Learn More about LEH
What are Preservation Action Alerts?+When we hear of a structure or community institution being considered for demolition or in need of preservation assistance, we’ll let you know how you can help. Come join us at a rally, sign a petition, or share a post on social media. Neighborhood preservation is a community effort!
www.LandmarkEastHarlem.org421 East 116th Street, New York
NY 10029 United States

Odd Fellows Temple

Landmark East Harlem – a fantastic local group that highlights the history and beauty of East Harlem has a wonderful piece out on the (former) Odd Fellows Temple at Park/106. I highly recommend you get on their email list and explore East Harlem through their efforts.

www.LandmarkEastHarlem.org
421 East 116th Street, New York
NY 10029 United States

The article and images below is from Landmark East Harlem and an incredible introduction into this rich landmark:

The former Manhattan Odd Fellows Temple located at 105 E 106th Street has been home to numerous establishments throughout the years, including the first recording studio in Harlem.In 1971, Burnetta “Bunny” Jones founded Astral Recording Studios and rented out the fifth floor for her label Gaiee records. The studio and label provided a much-needed platform for recording artists and engineers throughout Harlem. Jones was also known for employing members of the LGBTQ+ community stating that she wanted her label “to give gay people a label they can call home.”She ended up penning the lyrics to “I Was Born This Way” which would later become a disco hit. Written as a LGBT anthem, the many iterations of the song would ultimately inspire Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Listen to the original recording and subsequent versions and get the full backstory here.Jones was forced to shut down her studio 16 months after opening due to expenses. Yet even in that short time, Jones made a sizable impact in the music industry, having worked with Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Wonder (to name a few), and even collaborating on Stevie Wonder’s blockbuster hit “Isn’t She Lovely.”Astral Recording Studios (also known as Astral Sound) is said to be the first Black, woman-owned recording studio in the United States. Learn more about Bunny Jones’ trailblazing career here.
The grand and expensive construction of the Odd Fellows Temple was a reflection of pre-Depression era lavish spending of the Roaring 20s. Built in 1928 for $1.2M ($19M present day), the Odd Fellows Temple was created as a grand hall for the Odd Fellows fraternal organization. Designed by Hugo Taussig in the Romanesque Revival style, the Indiana limestone, brick, and terra cotta structure is 11 stories high, measures 100’ x 100’, and originally contained an auditorium, bowling alleys, dining rooms, club rooms, and 15 lodge rooms. In the fall of 1930, only a year after completion and the 1929 Stock Market Crash, the New York Times recorded a foreclosure and auction notice, with the building selling for $552,000 or less than half its construction cost.
In the fall of 1945, RKO-Pathe News and Pathe Industries, Inc., purchased the building for a motion-picture studio and film laboratory. Pathe would be the major tenant but rented spaces to other tenants. The building came to be known as the Pathe Building, for the newsreel company. NBC -TV became involved as a client of Pathe’s newsreel and film processing labs and by the late 1940s was producing shows in an “uptown” studio space there, including—according to its current owner—the beloved children’s program “The Howdy Doody Show” and a Friday night variety show hosted by Dave Garroway of the “Today” show.
By 1960, the building was vacant again. In ensuing years it saw various uses, with Astral Recording Studio and other media studios setting up in the 1970s, as well as office space for the NYC Department of Transportation.Around 2000, Phil Mancino purchased the building and opened Metropolis Studios, the only fully-digitized recording studio in Manhattan at the time. It hosted the production of music videos featuring Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Ringo Starr. Cable TV cooking shows, game shows, and judge shows were also filmed there.Many will remember it as the original home of the BET show, “106th and Park” before BET was purchased by Viacom and moved the show to its own studios downtown. Today, the building also hosts the Young Women’s Leadership School, an all-girls high school established in 1996.
Though there have been many owners throughout it’s almost 100 year history, the façade has remained remarkably intact. The building is not yet a city-designated individual; landmark, but it certainly is an icon of East Harlem’s architectural and cultural heritage . The building is currently undergoing exterior renovations and LEH commends Mr. Mancino for his decades of thoughtful stewardship of this important building.