Little Free Library

The Marcus Garvey Park Alliance does such a great job on so many different projects that it’s hard to highlight just one thing that stands out. Today, however, I had finished the book ‘The Wanderers’ by our neighbor Richard Price, and wanted to donate it.

I took it to one of two small lending library kiosks that the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance put up in the park.

The concept is brilliantly simple. Bring a book. Take a book. Return a book.

The artwork – paintings on one, mosaics on the other – celebrate the park and the community:

This last one might be my favorite. People sprawled out on blankets next to the Marcus Garvey Park’s public pool, while a summer sun shines reflective mosaic rays all around

littlefreelibrary.org

The two kiosks could use some plexiglass to protect the books from the elements.

Brian Benjamin Runs for Comptroller

State Senator Brian Benjamin is running for NYC Comptroller. According to Patch, Senator Benjamin has:

raised the second-most money of anyone in the comptroller’s race: over $462,000, trailing Lander, who had raised more than $613,000 through July 11, the most recent public filing period.

He’s also received the support of a number of local Harlem politicians:

Also on Thursday, Benjamin was endorsed by a number of local officeholders, including councilmembers Diana Ayala and Bill Perkins, Assemblymembers Michael Blake and Al Taylor and State Senator Robert Jackson. Community leaders lining up behind Benjamin include Pastor Michael Waldrond of the First Corinthian Baptist Church and Hazel Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference.

Scott Stringer has been a strong supporter of Senator Benjamin and in kind, Senator Benjamin has been working to get the Harlem Machine behind Scott Stringer’s bid for NYC Mayor.

For more details, see the Patch.com article:

https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlems-brian-benjamin-launches-campaign-city-comptroller

Harlem Quilts Project

“The Harlem Quilts” series stems from the idea that quilts were displayed and used as code to mark the escape routes for the Underground Railroad. 

Curated by Eileen Jeng-Lynch, Art Off-Screen is an international exhibition of artwork placed in outdoor locations so that the work can viewed by the community. Art off-screen provides access to art beyond a computer screen, inspiring creativity, amplifying voices, encouraging change, and sharing messages of hope and healing.

Artist Vladimir Cybil Charlier created “The Harlem Quilts” which are displayed in the neighborhood. They are inspired by the stories that quilts used codes to mark the escape routes for the Underground Railroad. The quilts display two images: The North Star which shines every night above Marcus Garvey Park and which symbolizes hope and the path to a better life and a portrait of a member of the household (pets included) where they will be displayed.

For more information visit: neumeraki.com and vladimircybil.com

Locations of Art:
(September 26
th – October 10th, 2020)
​1 & 2) 124th street between 5th and Madison (2 houses, window display) 
3) 5th Avenue between 124th and 125th Street (East side of street, window display) 
4) 123rd Street between Mount Morris Park West and Lenox Avenue ​(North side of Street, display under tree in front of Apt Building)
5) Williamson Community Garden, 128th and 129th Street between 5th and Madison Avenues
6) 135th Street between 5th and Lenox Avenues (private building community display)
7) 137th Street between Lenox Avenue and Lenox Terrace (Window showing/building)
8) 94th Street between Columbus and Central Park West (Lobby of building showing)
9) 3rd Avenue between 109th & 110th Street (Private showing)
10) 94th Street between Columbus and Central Park West (Lobby of building showing)

CB11 Full Board Meeting

Tonight CB11 will have a full board meeting and discuss budget priorities.  Harlem Neighborhood Block Association is asking for two things to be highlighted in the budgetary report including:

  • We are requesting a City Council analysis of the distribution of addiction programs throughout the five boroughs, with a mandate to recommend how the rebalancing of these programs can be implemented. In conjunction, we are requesting a City Council agreement on a moratorium of any new or expanded addiction programs in CB11.
    • New York City must address how the persistence of OASAS and DOHMH licensed addiction programs in CB11 that exceed community need (and primarily serve New Yorkers from other communities) – is a form of systemic racism.
    • OASAS and DOHMH have quietly avoided acknowledging that their siting decisions are not based on their own data regarding proportionate community need, but are racially and economically driven instead, and along with indifferent city agencies and politicians, they routinely oversaturate Black and Latinx communities with the addiction programs that wealthier and whiter neighborhoods reject.
    • The impact of this decades-in-the-making form of systemic racism has been to brutalize the quality of life for East Harlem residents, degrade the economic viability of the East Harlem business community, and discourage tourism and development in the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue corridors.
  • Marcus Garvey Park is a jewel in our community. We ask that CB11 request and advocate for security cameras to be installed in this park to enhance public safety for the children, teens, families, and residents who enjoy it.

If you are interested in joining the conversation, tonight starting at 6:30 please follow the calendar link, here:
http://www.cb11m.org/pmcalendar/

Oral History

The Schomburg has an amazing collection of oral history of Harlem residents. Some names you’ll certainly know as big-name political and cultural figures. Others, are neighbors:

This is a neighborhood oral history project that works to both preserve and document Harlem history through the stories of people who have experienced it. This project will collect oral histories of people who have lived or worked in the surrounding Harlem neighborhood and train community members to conduct these interviews. Both longtime and more recent residents are invited to share their neighborhood stories, documenting Harlem’s past and present history. Interviews will be preserved at The Milstein Division, available in a circulating collection, and accessible here at the New York Public Library website.

Take a moment and listen to the voices:

http://oralhistory.nypl.org/neighborhoods/harlem

Tell NYC What You Think the Budget Priorities for CB11 Should Be

CB11 is collecting your opinions on what the city should budget for our community. Here is a quick Google Form for you to fill out. HNBA has already submitted a larger statement, but you can offer your own thoughts/ideas below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdI4pwQMMuSCoAzc4xucERaaF9u2XhvA-IuDySoMkrrajy-Ew/viewform

How Old is Harlem, Anyway?

From the beginning we need to acknowledge that the idea of Harlem being ‘established’ is a Eurocentric and colonial concept that has been repeatedly used to overwrite the histories of indigenous Americans. And, for the Lenape people who inhabited Manahatta for centuries before Henry Hudson passed by searching for a route to the orient, the area we call Harlem was a seasonal hunting and fishing ground.

On this Welikia Project screenshot, you can see our part of Manhattan as it was in 1609 before the direct contact with Europeans:

And in more detail, here is Marcus Garvey Park – a treed hill with flatlands nearby:

It was, in fact, those grassy areas where Harlem is now centered, that attracted the Dutch settlers – there was less forest clearance necessary to plant crops. Indeed a number of farms were established in Harlem during the early years of Dutch colonial rule and then abandoned after hostilities with the Lenape and other First People. Eventually, in 1658, Peter Stuyvesant

at the session of the director-general and council held at Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 4th of March 1658, established ‘Nieuwe Haarlem‘.

NYPD Crime Response Time Still Lags Three Months Post-Protest

The City reports that:

NYPD response times to incidents remain snagged three months after protests against police spurred long delays — while other emergency responders are getting to the scene faster than before the coronavirus took hold.

That’s the conclusion of THE CITY’s comparison of medical, fire and police response times so far in 2020, a year defined by sudden and intense demands on those rushing to incidents.

Starting in late March and running through mid-May, the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a jump in ambulance calls. Then anti-racism protests that peaked in mid June put the Police Department to the test.

Data from the 911 call system shows that the delays have affected every type of NYPD call, including what police call “critical crime in progress” — encompassing armed violent incidents, robberies and burglaries.

Responses to those incidents — measured from the first call to the arrival of the first unit — took an average of 8 minutes and 5 seconds in the last four weeks of August 2020, compared with 6 minutes and 49 seconds during the same period a year earlier.

For more, see: https://www.thecity.nyc/2020/9/14/21437309/nypd-crime-response-time-still-lags-three-months-post-protest

Volunteer Clean-Up in Marcus Garvey Park ~ August 8th

This just in from Gotham to Go:

It’s a day to clean-up, sweep-up, weed and paint! Join your friends & neighbors in a safe and socially distanced park clean-up event on Saturday, August 8th from 9:30am to 11:00am in Marcus Garvey Park. Socially distanced means limited capacity (20 spots left as of this afternoon). Reserve your spot on the Facebook Event Page. All volunteers mush sign in between 9:15 and 9:30am, meeting at the Drummers Circle (Madison Avenue side near 124). Marcus Garvey Park Alliance will provide gloves and tools. Masks are required. (Suggestion ~ bring a bottle of water). Register now and see you there!

See: https://gothamtogo.com/portfolio/volunteer-clean-up-in-marcus-garvey-park-august-8th/