Terrorist Bombing in Harlem

In 1914, an otherwise non-descript tenement in East Harlem looked like this:

The location is on Lexington Ave. near 103rd Street East, and remarkably, they repaired this damage – rather than tear down the building (admittedly, the building was only 4 years old at the time – it was built in 1910):

At 9:16 a.m. on July 4, 1914, a premature dynamite explosion in an anarchist bomb factory blew the roof off a tenement at 1626 Lexington Avenue, near 103rd Street, wrecking three floors, killing four people, injuring a score of others and spewing debris for blocks.

The police identified the intended target of the homemade bomb as John D. Rockefeller. Protests were staged at their homes, offices in Manhattan and at their estate in Pocantico Hills in Westchester County, where two of the alleged bomb-makers had once wound up on trial.

The police linked the deceased bombers to the Industrial Workers of the World, specifically to Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, radicals who a few years later would be deported to Russia.

The 1914 explosion killed Charles Berg, Arthur Caron and Carl Hanson, all linked to the Rockefeller assassination plot, and Marie Chavez, who rented a room in the sixth floor apartment but was not believed to have been involved in the conspiracy.

A year later, the police found another bomb hidden in the driveway of the Tarrytown home of John D. Archbold, the president of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil.

Marcus Garvey Park Tree Lighting

Lions’ Den

It is so good to see the long-running gym in Marcus Garvey Park able to use a shipping container to store gear.

The logo on the container looks great, and it’s always good to see people working out in the park.

Russwurm School Mural

Natu Camara at MGP

Natu Camara brings her energetic and very unique blend of West African rock and soul to Marcus Garvey Park on October 16, 3-7pm.

Her blend of rock, soul, and singer-songwriter tunes are infused with rhythms from Guinea, Mali and West Africa more generally. The stories she tells are personal ones that invite listeners into her experiences. The result is Natu builds a unique bond with her audience and transports them into her world. Commentary includes the struggles of personal loss, and the challenge of finding herself alone in a strange city.

Natu Camara will perform several songs from her upcoming album, the most notable transporting listeners back to her youth while spending time with her grandmother in her village. Palatable in the new songs is the sense of longing, distance, and time from this world traveler.

As Seen In Harlem

Langston Hughes on E. 117th Street.

Happy Birthday Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey’s 135th birthday anniversary will be celebrated today, in Harlem. New York State Senator Cordell Cleare has committed to declaring today “Marcus Garvey Day.” A tribute befitting the Harlem leader will happen at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater (inside Marcus Garvey Park) and include the premiere of “African Redemption: The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey.”

Billed a docudrama chronicling Garvey’s journey from lowly immigrant to global personality is detailed, and will be accompanied by a sunset a cultural presentation featuring drumming and a plethora of Pan-African tributes to Marcus Garvey.

Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association caught the imagination of thousands of Harlem residents with his promise of liberation.

Calvery M. E. Church – 129th Street and ACP

Head To Marcus Garvey Park

Starting Thursday, an amazing line-up of events is happing at Marcus Garvey Park:

  • Thursday, Aug. 18 7 p.m.: The Last Poets / Impact Repertory Theatre & The Harlem Bomb Shelter / DJ Greg Caz in association with Jazzmobile
  • Friday, Aug. 19, 6 p.m.: OMAR Edwards | Tap Master / LaTasha Barnes Dance in association with Jazzmobile
  • Saturday, Aug. 20, 6 p.m.: MAROONS & SUFFRAGETTES: A GREG TATE TRIBUTE CONCERT CELEBRATING THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF BURNT SUGAR/DANZ A Tate Family program featuring Burnt Sugar/Danz, Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, Harriet Tubman, Resistance Revival Chorus, Bardo Steppers, and DJ Reborn
  • Sunday, Aug. 21, 4 p.m.: Red Alert & friends feat. Case and Wil Traxx

All events are free!

A 1931 Ad From Harlem

Fire Watchtower

This view of the historic Marcus Garvey Park’s fire watchtower by Robert Bracklow shows a bucholic scene of children and adults (no women) relaxing on the extremely well maintained acropolis:

The photo is undated, but assumed to be taken sometime between 1890 and 1910. Note how the watchtower has glass windows, curtains, and is in excellent shape:

The well dressed children and men, seated on benches, enjoying a summer (?) day, serve as a dramatic contrast to the people who hang out at the top of the park in 2022.

Summer of Soul Redux?

Summer Of Soul (… Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), the Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson-directed film that won the Oscar and the Grammy for documenting 1969’s now-famed Harlem Cultural Festival, has inspired a reboot of the landmark music event.

Ambassador Digital Magazine editor-in-chief Musa Jackson, who attended the 1969 event and appeared in Summer of Soul, said Tuesday that he, BNP Advisory Group strategist Nikoa Evans and event producer and Captivate Marketing Group president Yvonne McNair are teaming to launch the Harlem Festival of Culture in the summer of 2023.

The multi-day outdoor concert event will be a reimagining of the 1969 fest and take place in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, where the original took place when it was known as Mount Morris Park. Official dates have not yet been announced.

“The original event was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that I will never forget,” Jackson told Billboard. “With this initiative, we want to create something that evokes that same sense of pride in our community that I felt on that special day in 1969. We want to authentically encapsulate the full scope: the energy, the music, the culture. We want people to understand that this festival is being built by the people who are from, live and work in this community.”

Photography at the Schomburg

Make sure to check out Been/Seen – an exhibit of historical and contemporary photography at the Schomburg Library Gallery – on display now.

This exhibit juxtaposes classic images in the Schomburg’s collection with new work.

Compost Project Launch

May 14th at 3:00 PM

Abyssinian Tot Lot at 130 West 139th Street

MMPCIA Meeting on Tuesday

Join MMPCIA on Tuesday at 6:00 PM

Here’s the link:


The Marcelle

One of the big disappointments of American aesthetic trends is that this country never caught Art Nouveau fever in the late 19th century. Yes, we have Tiffany, but any keen observer in NYC is hard-pressed to list more than a handful of Art Nouveau treasures in the 5 boroughs.

Here in Harlem, where so much of the cityscape was built during peak Art Nouveau in Europe, it’s rare to find even a touch of the organic design style.

All of this is to say that The Marcelle – at 2013 5th Avenue – is a rara avis, a brownstone with a subtle Art Nouveau twist.

If you take a careful look at the brownstone work above the central arch, you’ll see a beautiful rendering of AD 1888, but also the name of the building, in fluid/organic font.

What many may miss, however, is that what appears to be rusticated stone surrounding the date and name, is not actually rusticated stone. It’s a very subtle bas relief of olives and olive branches – often a symbol of fecundity, the harvest, and riches.

Take a look sometime, just north of Marcus Garvey Park, and see if you can make out the olives and olive branches.

Today: Mexican Muralism and its American Impact

Panel Discussion with Q&A
The American Academy of Arts and Letters
633 West 155th Street
Friday, January 28, 10 am
To attend in person, register via Eventbrite

To view the presentation LIVE on ZOOM, register via Drawing America

Unveiling the gift of José Clemente Orozco drawings from Michael and Salma Wornick to the Hispanic Society. Film still provided by Savona Bailey-McClain, West Harlem Art Fund.

A panel discussion led by Savona Bailey-McClain, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the West Harlem Art Fund. Panelists include:

  • Esther Adler, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA
  • Leon Tovar, Principal, Leon Tovar Gallery, NYC
  • Dr. Orlando Hernández-Ying, Rockefeller Brothers Fund Curatorial Research Fellow for the Hubert & Mireille Goldschmidt Works on Paper Fellowship, Hispanic Society Museum & Library
  • With remarks from: Dr. Marcus B. Burke, Senior Curator, Paintings, Drawings, and Metalworks, Hispanic Society Museum & Library

War dominated the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Europe. New political ideologies — socialism and communism, also added tensions. Art responded by turning its focus onto the common man and woman in natural and urban environments.

The Americas were impacted as well with cries for change. In Mexico, a ten-year revolution offered an opportunity for Mexico to acknowledge its pre-Hispanic past with a new blended population. Art became the medium to spark emotions and share with pride epic tales of how this blended world was to take shape.

The Mexican Muralism Movement embraced European traditions of drawing and frescoes with social realism and new aesthetics that swept into North America. Our panel will discuss these impacts and the artists whose mark still moves us today.

To view the presentation LIVE via ZOOM, Please register via Drawing America

Candlelight Vigil

Dr. Keith Taylor, a neighbor and friend writes:

If you are able, I ask you to attend a community candlelight vigil at the 32nd Precinct tonight at 6:30 pm to show support for our officers at a time of great loss to the NYPD and to the Harlem community. Your presence will mean a tremendous amount to the officers and to me. As a volunteer NYPD community liaison, I regularly speak to rookie officers as they get assigned to the 32 Precinct about the Harlem community as well as lessons learned from my 23 years in the NYPD. We have lost one of our best, Officer Jason Rivera, and another officer, Wilbert Mora, is fighting for his life as I write this to you. Thank you for sharing this with our community.

Art In The Park

Earlier, in the fall, we attended a reception for the sculpture Renaissance Women that was located in Marcus Garvey Park, in front of the pool entrance. The artist, Alice Mizrachi (pictured above) was on hand to answer questions, pose in front of her work, and help with a fun participatory art project.

If you’re in the park, make sure to stroll past and check out her hand-forged steel piece.

We Still Here

The Silent Procession (NYC4PR) is co-sponsoring a documentary film (fundraiser) on February 24th.

The documentary examines how in the absence of federal support from the previous administration, Puerto Rican communities were forced to rescue themselves in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.


Mass Transit – 1837

The New York and Harlem Railroad was the first public streetcar service – mass transit – in New York City. The first line of horse-drawn carriages traveled from Prince Street to the Harlem Bridge on 4th Avenue (Park Avenue), reaching Harlem in 1837.

Below is an image of the early depot that serviced the horse-drawn streetcars.

Among the company’s founders was John Mason, a wealthy banker and president of Chemical Bank who was among the largest landowners in New York City. They decided to build their railroad on the eastern side of Manhattan Island, convinced that it would never be able to compete with steamboat traffic on the Hudson River.

The New York and Harlem Railroad eventually became the New York Central Railroad and then the Metro North we know today.

A train at about 103rd Street, headed south and about to go into the Park Avenue tunnel. You can just make out Marcus Garvey Park in the haze, above the last cars of the train.

4th Avenue (Park Avenue) presented a challenge with the drop from Yorkville down to East Harlem, so initially a trestle was built of wood – eventually to be replaced by the masonry structure we know today (98th Street to 111th Street). Beyond that is an increasingly fragile iron and steel structure that extends to the Harlem River (Metro North) Bridge.

You can see the 1950 film, here:

that shows a train coming into New York City, crossing the Harlem River, then going through East Harlem, and eventually entering the Park Avenue Tunnel.

New York Health and Hospitals Wants Your Feedback

The Harlem Community Advisory Board’s 2022 Annual Public Meeting

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

5:00pm Live via Webex

All are welcome to join. For more information, please call (212) 939-1369