The Lee Building

Founded in 1900, Lee Brothers Storage & Van Co. – a furniture, storage, and moving company – was initially located on 125th Street near 3rd avenue.

In 1913 they moved to the northeast corner of 125th Street and Park Ave. into a building they did not build but leased. However, after 9 years in 1922 they purchased the building at 125th St. and Park Ave. which would henceforth bare the name “The Lee Building”.

In 1925 two stories in the New York Times described the sale of this same building:

“The most interesting transaction in a great many years in Harlem has just been closed. It involves the sale of the Lee Building on the northeast corner of Park Avenue and 125th Street. This is a twelve-story fireproof office and warehouse building on plot 90 by 100. … The Lee Building was originally owned by the Pittsburgh Life Insurance Company who, in 1913, leased it for twenty-one years to Lee Brothers Storage and Warehouse Company, a young and growing concern. On the failure of the Pittsburgh Life Insurance Company, this property, among other assets, was taken over by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, who, in 1922, sold to Lee Brothers. Originally the building was almost entirely used for furniture storage, but gradually Lee Brothers have converted about a third into offices, with retail stores on the ground floor. …” (NYT 3 May 1925, pg. RE17).

“A syndicate represented by Robert B. Bowler bought from Lee Brothers the twelve-story structure at the northeast corner of 125th Street and Park Avenue, opposite the Harlem station of the New York Central. … The sellers are furniture dealers, who occupy the lower section of the building. They purchased the property in March, 1922… It was built by the Hamilton Storage Company and was later converted into offices.” (NYT 9 August 1925, pg. 40).

The Lee company also built a “beautifully detailed, classically inspired building, erected in 1929, (that) was designed as a furniture warehouse and has remained just that. … The warehouse was originally built and owned by Lee Brothers, whose name is still visible beneath layers of paint on the Riverside Drive facade (at 135th Street)”.

The founder of Lee Bros. was Charles Lee (1853-1953).

This ad for Lee Brothers Inc. appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, 1932, and showed the columned facade at Riverside Drive and 134th St.

This image, dated 1920, on the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections shows a Lee Bros sign on their building at 125th St. and Park Ave.

This later image, dated 1934, on the NYPL’s Digital Collections shows a veritcal Lee Bros sign on the same 125th St. building seen from the opposite direction

Parks Department, Made in India

The New York City Parks Department has access covers (manholes) cast specifically for use in NYC Parks.

You can, of course, see the text and their leaf logo on this one (above). Note however that the casting is not American, it was done in India:

Which leads me to highly, highly recommend a short film (with a brilliant title) Cast in India:

Which I guarantee will have you thinking about manhole covers in a completely different way.

Summer Youth!

Wanted to let you know we’ve got a summer youth program we’re running through WHDC this summer, and applications close end of day Monday. If you know of any teens/ parents of teens in West Harlem (CD9) looking for a summer opportunity (with a stipend for all who completer the program), you can share the info below

This summer is our 5th ARISE! program. The program is 6 weeks (July 12- Aug 20th), for current 8th- 11th graders (rising freshman – rising senior). Students who are selected will receive a stipend for participating in the program. The program is hybrid;  virtual Mon – Thurs. (academics/ civics), with Fridays being hosted in person by our outside community partners (entrepreneurship, gardening, basketball). We prioritize and focus on CD9 applicants for this program.

Here is information for the summer ARISE! program we’re running (flyers attached in English / Spanish).

Our application due date is coming up on 5/3. Thanks for any potential assistance in spreading the word!

Substance Use Disorder Reimbursements

Because Harlem and East Harlem is oversaturated with substance use programs and has been used as a regional hub where only 1/4 of the patients who attend the clinics located in our community:

Many of us have speculated on how much money the clinics are paid for the treatment they provide.

NYS’s Office of Alcohol and Substance Use Services (OASAS) has an Excel spreadsheet that gives you a rough idea of what each component of care is worth to a provider. To use the spreadsheet, simply download the spreadsheet from the download link (below) and enter a number of patients or patient visits in the Service Volume column.

Note that the tabs on the bottom of the spreadsheet show you the reimbursement rates for upstate and downstate.

OTP stands for Opioid Treatment Program and is the kind of service provided in the Lee Building at 125/Park, and on West 124th Street between Lenox and ACP.

You can learn more about reimbursements at the OASAS site, here:

https://oasas.ny.gov/reimbursment

Meeting With Mount Sinai, Tomorrow

The Greater Harlem Coalition will have a town hall meeting tomorrow night at 7pm. You are welcome to join by registering here: https://fordham.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6UAWpErMRkuvGvMDgjQ_4w

Mount Sinai will present on new security measures at their Park/125th Street methadone programs in the Lee Building. To hear more about their plans to address hanging out before and after treatment at their methadone programs next to Metro North, join the town hall.

All welcome.

HNBA January Meeting – Jan. 12, 7:00 PM

On Tuesday, January 12th at 7pm, Join HNBA in welcoming:

  • Liz Crotty on who is running for Manhattan DA
  • Ruth McDaniels who is running to replace Bill Perkins on the City Council
  • Valerie Bradley from the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance

We hope you’ll be able to attend with questions for the candidates. For the Zoom link, subscribe to our blog: https://hnba.nyc/subscribe-to-the-hnba-blog/

Lee Building for Sale

In 1979, Eugene Giscombe paid $40,000 for the 12-story office building at 1825 Park Avenue known as ‘The Lee Building’ (neighbors now think of this building as the Mount Sinai – hiding under the name Beth Israel -methadone hub of East Harlem).

He was quoted (when selling it recently for $48 million) that, next to marrying his wife, buying the historic Lee Building in Harlem was the best decision he ever made.

The Lee Building
The Lee Building

When Giscombe first purchased the building, it was only 20 percent occupied.  Savanna, the current owner, is asking around $75 million for the early 1900s-era building, or about $555 per square foot.

Tenants include Beth Israel Medical Center (Mount Sinai methadone) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the Metro North Railroad and New York City subway lines that run through the nearby 125th Street station.

Tenants recently signed about 16,000 square feet of leases in the building, including an extension and expansion by Beth Israel and a new lease with Northwestern Mutual.

https://rew-online.com/next-to-marrying-my-wife-buying-the-lee-building-was-best-decision-i-ever-made-says-eugene-giscombe/

https://therealdeal.com/2021/01/07/savanna-looks-to-sell-harlem-office-building-for-75m/