The Victoria Tower Residences

The Victoria Tower Residences on 125th street is starting to show apartments. The building is behind, yet incorporates the facade of the old Victoria Theater.

The 27-story high rise shares its space with the Renaissance Marriot Hotel and is being marketed as a luxury building with a two-story lounge, multiple meeting rooms, a fitness center, and adjacent restaurants that will offer residential tenants hotel services.

To schedule a tour, see:

http://www.victoriatowerresidences.com/index.cfm?e=inner4&itemcategory=93076

35 West 110th Street

This may be the only externally mounted clock in Harlem. 35 West 110th Street.

Note the address is on the clock itself and yes, the time is correct.

November 2, looms

Nov. 2 is when we’ll lock in our choices for a ton of open seats in city government. Not only are we choosing a new mayor, comptroller and five new borough presidents, term limits mean the bulk of the City Council is turning over, too. 

New York’s crowded primary this past June had relatively high turnout, as nearly three in 10 registered voters cast ballots. (It’s a low bar.) 

Now, the city returns to the polls to finalize our picks in the General Election on Nov. 2.

But Election Day is merely the last day you can cast your ballot: Keep these key earlier dates in mind:

  • Oct. 18 — Last day you can request an absentee ballot online or by mail to vote at home or outside of the city. Request your absentee ballot from the city Board of Elections (BOE) here. You can mail your ballot in any time before Election Day.
  • Oct. — The early voting period begins, running through Halloween. 
  • Nov. 1 — Last day to request an absentee ballot in person.
  • Nov. 2 — Election Day and the last day to postmark your absentee ballot.

Halloween Events from MMPCIA

Children Tested With Elevated Lead

How Calculated: Number of children less than 6 years old tested in a given year with blood lead levels of 15 mcg/dL or greater, divided by the number of children less than 6 years old who were tested for lead poisoning in a given year; expressed as cases per 1,000 tested. The numbers in this table include all children tested within a given calendar year, regardless of whether they were tested in previous years with the same or different blood lead levels. While children can receive more than one test during the calendar year, children are only counted once using the highest confirmed blood lead level during the calendar year. If the child does not have a confirmed test in a given year, the child’s blood lead level is based on the highest capillary or unknown test type. This measure differs from the rate of children newly identified with blood lead levels of 15 mcg/dL or greater reported by the Health Department in other publications. 

Read more about different measures used by the Health Department for surveillance of childhood lead poisoning.

Source: New York City Healthy Homes Program

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is Open

After a long pause during COVID, the National Jazz Museum is open. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Head to their website to grab a timed ticket:

Harlem Rose Garden Concert

A People’s History of Strings

Created by Puerto Rican-American violinist and educator Skye Steele, A People’s History of Strings is an interactive musical and multi-media journey that traces the evolution of fiddles around the world. Starting from the first bowed instruments in Central Asia two thousand years ago, audiences travel through the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and back to the USA.

Woven into the narrative is Skye’s own family history of immigration, acculturation, and re-discovery, as reflected in the musical lineage of his grandfather, his mother, and himself.   

A People’s History of Strings explores relationships between cultures by exposing the connections between musical traditions that range from jazz and salsa to the classical music of Europe and the Middle East, all while offering a deeper and de-colonized understanding of an instrument we thought we knew so well.

Featuring:

Skye Steele – Narration; European, Turkish, Ghanaian, and Brazilian fiddles, vocals.

Gilbert Mansour – Middle Eastern and Latin percussion, drum set, vocals.

Mayteana Morales – Latin percussion, vocals.

Michael LaValle – Brazilian percussion, bass, cavaquinho, vocals.

Willerm Delisfort – piano, percussion

Refinancing Workshop from MMPCIA and Chase

Chase/MMPCIAMortgage Refinancing Workshop
Thursday, October 14th, 6:30 pm
an interactive workshop hosted by the Chase Community Branch Team to learn more about opportunities to refinance your home mortgage. 
In person (limited space) or via Zoom.

Registration link:

https://chase.surveymonkey.com/r/KHMBXCB

Ephesus Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Some great stonework on the outside of Ephesus Church – Lenox and West 124th Street.

And Underground…

A short distance north, and under the street, are these great mosaics:

Faith Ringgold is the artist behind these amazing works.

Ms. Ringgold took inspiration for the title of her mosaic from a Lionel Hampton song, Flying Home. First recorded by the Benny Goodman Sextet in 1939, the tune is based on one that Mr. Hampton hummed earlier. As a member of Mr. Goodman’s band, Mr. Hampton, along with the other band members, was waiting to board a flight from Los Angeles to Atlantic City to play an engagement. To calm his nerves, because he had never flew in an airplane, Mr. Hampton hummed a tune. When asked what it was by Mr. Goodman, Mr. Hampton said he did not know. The song was developed from those innocent beginnings. It would go on to become Mr. Hampton’s theme song.

Becoming Othello at The Harlem Rose Garden

Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 2PM

The Harlem Rose Garden is delighted to host a special event by the acclaimed Harlem actor/producer/director Debra Ann Byrd.  We will present a free special sneak peek preview of her solo show based on her life.  Attendees will also have the chance to purchase a limited amount of discount tickets to her upcoming performance in November at the United Solo Theater Festival at 42nd St. in November. 
“Becoming Othello:  A Black Girl’s Journey” was presented this summer at a sold-out show at Lincoln Center and received a standing ovation. Debra Ann is the founder and director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival and Take Wing and Soar Productions a theater company presenting award-winning classical theater for actors of color.

Please see more details below along with some video links:

OFFICIAL SELECTION OF THE UNITED SOLO THEATRE FESTIVAL – NYC 2021Award-winning classical actress Debra Ann Byrd performed her one-woman show, BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl’s Journey, in Lenox, Massachusetts, this July and Lincoln Center Restart Stages in August. The autobiographical show is about the period in Byrd’s life from her tumultuous childhood in Harlem to her founding of a classical theater troupe after discovering a love for Shakespeare. Byrd incorporated hundreds of lines from the Bard’s own writing into the story. In the Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout praises Byrd’s “limitless charisma” and compares the “riveting” show to Hal Holbrook’s Mark Twain Tonight.

In addition to her current show, Byrd has played the lead in three all-female productions of OthelloShe will be performing

Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey at the United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC on November 4 at Theatre Row, produced by Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group for the Harlem Shakespeare Festival.

Protest the Treatment of Harlem

STOP GOVERNMENT SPONSORED CHILD ABUSE       Tell the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Support (OASAS) that is NOT OKAY to put over 20% of NYC’s drug treatment facilities in our community. 
OUR STREETS BELONG TO OUR CHILDREN.       Not drug dealers who prey on vulnerable substance abuse patients, shelter residents, and the street homeless.
JOIN OUR MARCH AND RALLY ON OCTOBER 8, 2021 FROM 3:30PM-5:30PM TO CELEBRATE CHILDREN’S ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DAY
Ways to participate:    3:30pm – meet on the corner of 126th Street and Lenox to start the March.
Or
4pm –meet in front of 290 Lenox ave in recognition of substance abuse disorder victims. 
Or
4:30pm- rally in Marcus Garvey Park surrounding the baby playground to show solidarity with city, state, and law enforcement representatives who support our demand for equitable distribution of treatment facilities throughout NYC.
Sponsored by The Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association (MMPCIA) in collaboration with the Greater Harlem Coalition, the 125th street Business Improvement District,  and The Nation of Islam. 

Minerals

You may have heard that the American Museum of Natural History has reopened its minerals and gems hall to universal acclaim.

On a recent visit to The Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, the exhibits tell the fascinating story of how the vast diversity of mineral species arose on our planet, how scientists classify and study them, and how we use them for personal adornment, tools, and technology. 

The galleries feature more than 5,000 specimens from 98 countries, and, of course, specimens from New York broken down by borough and location where found.

A number of the items on display are either from Harlem or were found at the edge of Harlem and speak to the fascinating geology beneath us all.

From MMPCIA

At this moment in time the Mt. Morris Park Historic District is facing a safety crisis!

Today, as we step outside our doors, walk down our streets or through our wonderful Marcus Garvey Park, we witness individuals in great distress, people who are unhoused, and others selling and using street drugs, and the overwhelming consequences of these collective crises. Under similar situations, MMPCIA was formed more than 40 years ago. So, again we take up the mantel to hold those accountable and bring back a sense of safety and well-being. With strong and active members, we will once again prevail.

Ways we are addressing this crisis include:

 1.  Working with local law enforcement, government agencies, elected officials and partnering with other local community-based organizations.  

2.  Updates to the community during our monthly meetings from relevant stakeholders and weekly updates on our new website (currently under construction).

3.  Developing a robust social media campaign.

4.  Gathering and sharing the personal stories of members of the community who are impacted by this crisis.

Madlyn Stokely

 President, MMPCIA

Kente Royal Gallery

Make sure to take a moment to visit the Kente Royal Gallery on ACP at 139 to see Elan Cadiz’s work on Scaffold: The Equality of Treatment:

https://www.kenteroyalgallery.com/gallery

The current exhibit there from

Scaffold: Equity of Treatment

2020 – ongoing

Scaffold: Equity of Treatment is about the importance  of self-reflection and preservation and how these very important practices need to be manifested  through  equitable treatment in our homes, communities and world. The use of the scaffolding is to symbolize the individual care and support we all need. Elan’s goal is to encourage discussions on self-reflection, self-love and practice in deciphering what we need as individuals and ways our systems of support can better meet these needs. 

Cadiz sees the Scaffold project as a kind of visual spiritual alchemy that challenges the viewer and subject to see themselves as a universal being made up of their experiences and understanding. The scaffold serves as a form of protection and support, it symbolizes the relationship between consciousness and matter within self. When we know ourselves and the kind of support we need, we can better ask of what we require  from the world in order to  bring satisfaction and harmony to ourselves and others. 

College Scholarships for Harlem Teenagers

If you know of a Harlem or East Harlem teenager who fits the criteria on the PDF (below), get them on it! MMPCIA has released their annual college scholarship application.

Community Fridge

126 West 134th Street

Harlem Link is hosting a Spring Fair

In The Heights

This note from Carolyn Brown, the head of our sister block association on Sugar Hill:

Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors,
I wanted to alert you all to the wonderful ‘peoples’ showing of  Lin Manuel- Miranda’s musical IN THE HEIGHTS.  It’s showing outdoors in 5 different spots in Manhattan and in other boroughs.  And also in the beautiful theater across from the GW Bridge Bus Station.
It’s streaming on HBO MAX tomorrow, which is $14.00 a month but you can cancel it after. 
WHY WATCH IN THE HEIGHTS?This is the first award winning production of Lin Man.uel, a graduate of Hunter High School . I saw the Broadway version and apparently this one has been updated – about the Dreamers, gentrification of Washington Heights  – It begins with – ” I’ll tell you a story about Washington Heights and a block that’s disappearing.”  
The Broadway version featured a young Dominican girl who got into Stanford but flunked out because she ran out of money, had to get a job, and couldn’t keep up with her classes. She returns to the neighborhood ashamed to face everyone whose hopes were on her – they called her ‘The Genius’. And then she fails.  I don’t know if she remains in the story but it’s kind of like Harlem’s story. 
The dancing and music is spectacular – a combination of Salsa, Bolero, Merengue, Reggaeton – and the lyrics are so political.  The dance scenes in the middle of the street!!!!  And the swimming pool in Washington Heights. Hundreds of dancers!!! You’ll recognize all the spots. Superb!! Jimmy Smits is the father. A  family friend – Daphne Rubin Vega  from Panama – who played in the original RENT plays one of the grandmothers. You’ll recognize the taxi drivers, the Dominican beauty parlor ladies , the corner bodegas, etc. The shots of the GW Bridge are just amazing.
So – Be sure to watch it. I’ve been watching the trailers for several months just waiting for it to start. There are also some incredible interviews with Lin Manuel and several commentators explaining what a brilliant artist Lin is. He went to Hunter and he produced  Fiddler on the Roof , which some commentators say was one inspiration for the style of the musical. Also the West Side Story. This is a wonderful picture with a ton of excellent LatinX actors. It’s really something when you see your city on the big screen.
Here are some of the links:Trailers 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbyFM4dggCA&list=RDCMUCnIup-Jnwr6emLxO8McEhSw&index=2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0CL-ZSuCrQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa9jMTkN5Q4
Carolyn “You can’t walk down the street without running into someone’s BIG PLANS”

P.S. There’s  also a very political documentary about Lin’s father Luis Miranda. It’s called SIEMPRE LUIS, also on HBO. He came from PR, helped pull Latinos into NYC government and supported Letitia James for Atty Gen’l.  It’s about how he – after the hurricane hit Puerto Rico – arranged for Hamilton to be there to raise money for the restoration of the island It’s a beautiful  It opens with him in a doctors office having a check up after a heart attack!
His trailer is amazing too: https://youtu.be/WHttYJysAV8  Siempre Luis Attachments areaPreview YouTube video IN THE HEIGHTS “96,000” Song ClipIN THE HEIGHTS “96,000” Song ClipPreview YouTube video IN THE HEIGHTS – Official TrailerIN THE HEIGHTS – Official TrailerPreview YouTube video In the Heights Trailer #2 (2021) | Movieclips TrailersIn the Heights Trailer #2 (2021) | Movieclips TrailersPreview YouTube video Siempre, Luis (2020): Official Trailer | HBO