Gibbs vs. Mark-Viverito

City and State is reporting on a lawsuit filed by Assembly Member Eddie Gibbs after he lost an election – 7 votes to 6 votes.

Assembly Member Eddie Gibbs – a close ally of Manhattan Democratic Party leader Keith Wright claims that his loss violated the party’s internal rules. His opponents within the party say he’s just a sore loser. The party leadership, meanwhile, is staying out of the conflict until the courts weigh in.

Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (left) argues with Assembly Member Eddie Gibbs (second from left) during a Manhattan Democratic Party divisional committee meeting on July 27, 2023.

Gibb’s recent attempt to run for re-election triggered the New York City Board of Election to note various election law violations, including “failing to correct a cover sheet defect,” according to the BOE. As a response, the Manhattan Democratic Party convened a divisional committee meeting on July 27 to elect individuals to fill the seats. But tension broke out during the meeting, as Gibbs and others attempted to influence the 13 committee members eligible to vote to fill the district leader position.

Video footage of the meeting obtained by City & State captured a chaotic scene, with former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito – who had been elected the chair of the meeting – repeatedly attempting to stop Gibbs from speaking to committee members. “No more talking to any of the members!” she told Gibbs. “No more talking to the members. Assemblyman, you’ve got to stand to the side.” On several occasions, security stepped in to push Gibbs away from the seated members of the meeting.

Read more, here:

Jazz in Marcus Garvey Park – Today!

The 2nd Annual John Coltrane | Miles Ahead Jazz Festival, presented by Senator Cordell Cleare on Saturday, September 23rd will feature:

Reggie Workman, Kim Clarke, Ron Blake, Patience Higgins, Norman Connors, Bertha Hope, Yayoi Ikawa, John Lander, Frank Lacy, John Satchmo Mannan, Alvin Flythe, Ray Blue, Tomoki Sanders, Sista Zock, Bill Saxton, Claire Delisser, Sean Hong, Tarik Shah, Benito Gonzalez, Billy Hart, T.K. Blue, Lady Leah, Denton Darien, and Wallace Roney Jr., plus Najee and other surprise guests! 
More Information

More Art in Marcus Garvey Park

Join us for an exciting community celebration on August 11th as we unveil the captivating 2nd round of art installations in Sankofa! 

Your presence would make it even more special!

Still Protecting Harlem, Nearly a Century Later

This hydrant in East Harlem is dated 1926. For almost 100 years it’s been witness to a lot, and yet the pitted cast iron remains ready to provide life saving water to the FDNY, or cooling spray to Harlem children in the summer.

Keeping Hydrated and Staying Safe in the Sun

Spending time outside in the summer is a great way to be physically active, reduce stress, and get vitamin D. But, it’s important to keep hydrated and lower your chance of skin cancer by protecting your skin from the sun. The top risk factor for most types of skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure.

  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection, as well as a sun protection
  • factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.

Learn how to beat heat-related illness

Find places to cool off in NYC

Learn about Extreme Heat and Your Health

Malvolio in Marcus Garvey Park

Green Thumb Turns 45

Did you know this year is GreenThumb’s 45th Anniversary?

GreenThumb is celebrating 45 years of support for the city’s robust network of community gardens. These gardens have come a long way in 45 years—from turning empty lots into open space in the midst of the city’s worst financial crisis to the thriving spaces New York sees today. In partnership between GreenThumb and thousands of volunteers, the community gardens are stronger than ever and still at the forefront of community activism. They provide health and shade, copious food, music, art, and a feeling of togetherness and a shared mission.

Gardeners show off their cabbages at a garden in Harlem on 128th Street, circa 1980s. 

During this special year, GreenThumb is highlighting community garden contributions and recognizing some longstanding gardens that have been an important part of the New York City landscape. Visit our special 45 Years of GreenThumb page on our website to explore these community gardens and find out how you can get involved!


Free Uptown Shakespeare in the Park: Malvolio
Join the Classical Theatre of Harlem at the historic Mount Morris Park for its summer production, Malvolio. The play—written by Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence Betty Shamieh and directed by Ian Belknap & Ty Jones—is a comedy sequel inspired by Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The event is free and open to the public.  8:30 pm

Dawoud Bey in Seattle

The photographer Dawoud Bey was recently featured in a photo exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. One of his works on display is likely familiar to most Harlem residents:

The work is centered on a vacant lot on 125th Street and 5th Avenue (south-east corner) that has been vacant for decades now.

As you can see, below, greenery had taken over the lot (6 years after Dawoud Bey took his image), but recent work at the site suggests that someone hired a tree service to cut down most of the foliage.

Looking North On Madison Ave.

Home Sweet Home, with Marcus Garvey Park on the left.

Note the streetcars, the piles of horse manure, and the brownstones lining the east side of the park.

Black Drivers Pay More (Insurance)

Chau Lam from We The Commuters reports on the cost of (Black) insurance in NYC:

New York City drivers living in predominantly Black and low-income communities pay hundreds and thousands of dollars more for auto insurance than drivers living in predominantly white and wealthy neighborhoods, according to a new report from the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America.

The group’s analysis found that insurance companies offer the lowest prices to drivers living in five Manhattan ZIP codes along the Upper East Side, Upper West Side and Midtown East, which are majority white areas that are home to residents who are high-income earners.

Meanwhile, drivers living in Brownsville, Canarsie, East Flatbush and Crown Heights, which are predominantly Black neighborhoods with low median incomes, paid the highest auto insurance premiums, according to the ZIP code analysis done by the Consumer Federation of America.

Consumer advocates and some New York state lawmakers are trying to stop auto insurance companies from using credit scores to set rates, arguing that the practice results in low-income drivers and people of color paying higher premiums even when their driving records are flawless.

About 95% of auto insurers in New York use credit scores to set prices, according to the CFA. But the group argues that drivers with low credit scores may have experienced a job loss or an unexpected medical bill, adding that insurance companies have not demonstrated how non-driving factors are connected to driving risks.

Juneteenth Community Celebration

Mount Morris Park 1848

A fascinating map of Mount Morris Park from 1848 is up for sale for $3,400:

This map shows land owned by Samson Adolphus Benson, which extends north of Harlem creek, and south of Kingsbridge Road (all of the detailed blocks on the map are part of this Benson portfolio.

In addition to showing the land that Benson owned and was now selling, the map also shows us 3 Dutch colonial-era roads that are no longer in existence (wiped out by the commissioner’s grid of streets and avenues that we all experience today).

Harlem Lane:

Kingsbridge Road:

and Manhattan Road:

And, of course, Harlem Creek is now long buried and built over:

Lastly, the map indicates what may be build on given lots, and where sales of the properties were conducted:

A Gorgeous Door – Carver Bank on 125th Street

56 Years Ago (today)

56 years ago today, Mayor John Lindsay vowed to revitalize Mount Morris Park (soon to be renamed Marcus Garvey Park) . The west side of the park looked like this (image looking northbound towards the corner of Mount Morris West and West 124th Street):

Mayor Lindsay vowed to revitalize and announced the project with a billboard:

The result was the amphitheater and the pool. Perhaps most dramatically was Mayor Lindsay arriving at the park by helicopter, and landing on the acropolis:

The Night Never Ends in Harlem

Good News For Marcus Garvey Park

Some great CONFIRMED news coming up for all of us at Marcus Garvey Park & there is more good stuff brewing.


1.  $12 million designated by Mayor Adams for stone repair and rat abatement / awaiting information on timeline as this was recently announced.

2.  $1.7 million allocated by City Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan for “Green 2 Greener Initiative”/ sustainable energy solutions (we are working with her office & capital & planning offices at Parks now to finalize this plan)

3. $1.6 million committed by State Sen. Cordell Cleare for NW small playground  / awaiting information on timeline as state funding moves more slowly than city funding

4. State of Good Repair Grant for repaving of the entire NW and SW sections of the park which will add new curbing, paver stones and (5) ADA entrances and fix the drainage issues inside the 123rd & MMPW entrance where the “lake” forms (expected to begin in early November 2023)


— $50,000+ pledged by New York Junior League to finish needed work and open this to the public in June 2023

You may have noticed (2) greenhouses set up at the east end of the pool. Mike, Erick & I have been building out our plan to create a horticultural headquarters (HQ) that will do the following:

1. enable us to cultivate our own plants for Marcus Garvey & for the other (3) historic Harlem parks

2. enable us to offer free public horticulture programming (workshops, demonstrations, author talks, arts horticulture events, etc) by our Parks horticulture experts and with interested partners including GreenThumb, Partnerships for Parks, Harlem Grown, City Gardens Club, Horticultural Society & others

3. offer a meetup spot for the uptown gardening/hort community such as GreenThumb gardeners who have never had a central meet up site

4. create a hort volunteering meet up place where schedules can be posted, signup and pickup of tools, gloves, etc, can happen

5. offer a beautiful positive space for the community that can be used for events, meditation, etc.


Harlem Grown submitted a grant to Mellon Foundation to provide support to Marcus Garvey as a cultural heritage site. This grant will provide the following:

1. support / fund new & existing community programming

2. support more public art in the park

3. support the mobile Harlem Grown teaching food kitchen in the park

4. support community engagement for the park


The new comfort station between the ballfield and amphitheater has a community room inside of it that I can begin scheduling now for use by community partners such as Marcus Garvey Park Alliance, MMPCIA, Harlem Little League and others. Please contact me if your group wants to schedule time in the room for a meeting, community engagement forum, a membership recruitment event, etc. We are very excited to officially open this room with our great park partner — Harlem Little League in April as they kick off another season !


State NY Parks office has taken the lead working with me and our 2 parks groups to submit nomination paperwork for Marcus Garvey Park to be named to the National Register of Historic Places. We have moved forward to the next nomination round. If selected, this would provide more opportunities for needed funding such as for the acropolis.


Our partnership with On Point, a drug treatment center on E. 126th, has helped us reduce the following:

1. # of needles in the park

2. the # of drug-addicted people choosing the park to inject/use

3. the # of people our PEP unit (Parks Enforcement Patrol) saves the lives of via NARCAN, which enables PEP to focus on its primary job of public safety


I have been working with Harlem Eat Up to move their great food event from Morningside Park to Marcus Garvey Park, which is confirmed. Red Rooster’s own local & global celebrity Marcus Samuelsson created this local focus on great Harlem restaurants. The official event will take place September 9-10. We are finalizing logisitics and working with our Parks special events team. I will keep you informed on this great news.

Other key programming of our April – November schedule includes events being planned / confirmed per below:

MARCH – Bethel Gospel Social Justice & Community Volunteer Event

APRIL – Earth Day Community Volunteer Event

MAY – Mother’s Day Gardening Day

JUNE – Harlem HQ Opening Weekend  and later in the month the 3rd Annual Juneteenth Festival

JULY – Classical Theatre of Harlem with annual free Shakespeare in the park & Jazzmobile Fridays

AUGUST – Jazzmobile Fridays continue & Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

SEPTEMBER – 3rd Annual Opening Night of MET Opera

OCTOBER – 2nd Annual Halloween Fright Night


I have submitted for budgeting approval for (2-3) trail boards — bulletin boards – to be installed in the park to share news from Parks / city agencies and our (2) park groups, Marcus Garvey Park Alliance & MMPCIA with the public. 


Please consider volunteering for the park as we always need interested people from the park community, partner park groups, schools, churches, etc, to help our small staff with the following:

– trash cleanup

– gardening volunteering (weeding, raking, planting, etc)

– painting (benches, fences, etc)

– programming in the park

– weekly walks of the park

– marketing of events & information in the park

+ more.

Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions and if you want to schedule the community room, volunteer, etc & feel free to share!


Jana La Sorte

Administrator of Historic Harlem Parks

W 212.830.7896

[email protected]

Shelter on Wards Island Closes

Gothamist and WNYC are reporting on the quiet closing of a disfunctional, dangerous, and troubled shelter on Wards Island.

The shelter which took up a few floors of the NYS psychiatric center (pictured above) was part of former Governor Cuomo’s family legacy – with his sister taking the helm most recently.

Tweet Regarding The 25th Precinct Community Council Meeting Gets Thousands of Views

Haarlem vs. Harlem

The oldest map that shows habitation in Harlem is the Manatus Map from 1639.

You can see Staten Island, Hell Gate, the Hudson river, etc. It’s unclear who the cartographer was, and the original drawing is lost. As a result, the image above is one of two later 17th-century copies made in the same studio with slight differences.

When zoomed in, note what Harlem ‘looked like’ in the mid 17th century (see the houses marked 18 and 19 as being around 2nd Avenue and 103rd street:

Recently, in Boston, I spotted a Haarlem town hall painting from the Museum of Fine Arts, which depicted Haarlem at almost the exact same time (1630), across the Atlantic:

The work is by Pieter Saenredam and commemorates the entry of the Prince of Orange into Haarlem. Pieter Post painted the figures while Pieter Saenredam painted the townscape.

Harlem Cultural Festival Returns (this July)

Are you ready?