West 132 to be Named After Evelyn Thomas

On Saturday, July 17, 2021 @ 12:30pm join the American Legion Post #398 of New York in co-naming West 132 Street between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd and Frederick Douglass Blvd. This initiative by the Neighbors United of West 132 Street Block Association (or NUW 132) recently received the go-ahead from the City to co-name the block in honor of Evelyn Thomas, a longtime resident of W132 St who successfully fought back against the Urban Renewal Programs of Robert Moses, providing those who lived in the four-story brownstones on W132 St to remain in their homes, and allowing all of us residents of W132 St to live here now.

Please join your neighbors and attend the street co-naming ceremony to learn more about why the street will be co-named after this important local historical figure.

Cornerstone on West 129th Street

A truncated cornerstone on West 129th Street near ACP

An Op Ed in the Daily News on Harlem and Oversaturation

https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-harlem-is-overdosing-on-methadone-20210716-d3634ejjbredphqobz5d3e3jhq-story.html

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

Community Districts

East Harlem has many commonalities with the South Bronx in terms of population, history, infrastructure, and governmental relations.

A map of the density of opioid treatment programs (as licensed by OASAS) shows the clear linkage.

Note how CB11 (East Harlem) has the largest opioid capacity in New York City. OASAS has packed programs in East Harlem repeatedly and forced East Harlem to serve addicted New Yorkers who reside in the gray areas on the map.

To view an interactive version of the map (hover over a community district to learn the opioid capacity and district number), see below:

NYC Public Health Laboratory Coming to Harlem

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is proposing moving their existing facility from 455 1st Ave (btw 27th & 28th, across from Bellevue Hospital) to the Harlem Hospital Campus where they propose to construct a new 10-story approx. 234,742 gsf building to be used as the NYC Public Health Laboratory.
A community forum to discuss the Relocation will be held Thursday, April 29th, 2021 from 6pm-8pm.
Click link below to register in advance for this webinar:
https://bit.ly/39XjuA1
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The location is on West 137th Street, between 5th and Lenox Avenues:

Here is the DOHMH Press Release:

New Public Health Laboratory on the Harlem Hospital Campus

About the Public Health Laboratory

The New York City Health Department’s Public Health Laboratory (PHL) was established in 1892 and performs critical testing to detect and respond to public health emergencies, helping to keep New Yorkers safe and healthy. For example, PHL tests and ensures the safety of our drinking and beach water. In recent years, the PHL has provided emergency response for H1N1, Ebola, hepatitis A, Legionnaires’ disease, Zika virus, measles and COVID-19.

The current PHL facility is located at 455 First Ave., across from Bellevue Hospital and in a residential neighborhood. The PHL is held to the strictest of standards and has never adversely impacted their neighbors or the community. The PHL’s current building is outdated, in poor condition and no longer suitable for the needs of a state of the art, modern and advanced laboratory. Renovation of the 455 1st Ave building to bring it up to current laboratory standards is not possible.

The Location of the Public Health Laboratory 

The new PHL facility will be on the Harlem Hospital campus, beside the Ronald Brown Ambulatory Care Center facing 137th Street.  While the PHL facility will be a new construction project, DOHMH has been a partner in the neighborhood for many years, with the DOHMH Sexual Health Clinic nearby at 2238 5th Avenue.  The 10 story PHL facility will have 5 lab floors and 5 floors primarily dedicated to administrative and back-of-house functions, as well as an auditorium, training lab and “Harlem Express” facility (discussed below).

How the New Public Health Laboratory Facility Will Benefit the Harlem Community

The new facility will include the “Harlem Express” on the main level, where New Yorkers can get screened for sexually transmitted infections with rapid results — one of a few such testing centers in the United States.  New Yorkers currently utilize the “Chelsea Express” in the Chelsea neighborhood, so it’s exciting to bring this advanced, rapid testing technology uptown.  The Harlem Express will also be able to pivot to provide testing and medicines needed during a public health emergency.  For example, the Chelsea Express and new labs built at other DOHMH clinics, including the Central Harlem clinic, are now providing COVID-19 testing in communities, with same day results. 

The PHL will provide training opportunities for students and plans to connect with neighborhood schools to encourage careers in laboratory science.  The DOHMH has a robust partnership with CUNY’s Medical Laboratory Sciences program at Hunter.  Many of those students begin with internships, then move onto full time careers at the PHL. 

The new facility will also include a 200-person auditorium for community use.  We envision the space to be used by the community for meetings, events and gatherings.  We want to be good neighbors and partners in the community.

Additional Information About the New Public Health Laboratory Building

The new PHL facility will not permanently take away any spots for on street parking. Employees are encouraged to take mass transit. Six off-street parking spaces will be created as part of the PHL project to support the operation of the laboratory. An undeveloped lot will remain next to the new PHL facility, which may be developed by Harlem Hospital in the future.

Construction activities will be conducted according to the NYC Noise Control Code. The contractor will be required to develop a noise control plan, as well as a dust control plan, which will proactively address how to prevent dust from rising and spreading in the neighborhood. Noise and dust will be kept to a minimum.

Project timeline

  • Early 2020 – 2022: Preparation of the site to build the new PHL facility. 
  • 2022 – 2025: Construction of the new 10-story building will occur. 
  • End of 2025: The new Public Health Lab facility will open. 

Contact us at [email protected]if you have any questions.

East Harlem Residents on NY1 Noticias

Great coverage on NY1 Noticias about how the oversaturation of methadone clinics impacts the quality of life for East Harlem residents.

https://www.ny1noticias.com/nyc/noticias/noticias/2021/04/13/vecinos-de-east-harlem-se-quejan-del-alto-numero-de-clinicas-para-tratar-adicciones

Stalled Development = Parking Lot

A couple of years ago HNBA learned that a developer was going to build a new residential building on Park Avenue between East 126 and East 127, on the west side. For over two years now the vacant lots have just sat there. In the summer of 2019, there was a flurry of activity to do test borings which seemed to portend that development was imminent.

Recently it appears that plans for any development have been scrapped and parts of the lots have now been paved over, and are being used for large truck storage/parking.

Anyone familiar with this property knows that it’s a convenient location for many of the M35 homeless people who hang out on East 126th street between Lex/Park to urinate, defecate, and use drugs with no prying eyes on the street (Jane Jacobs) so it’s a shame this potential site for more housing remains an underutilized parking lot.

Article in The Columbia Spectator

The issue of medical redlining, the oversaturation of addition programs in communities of color, and the evidence that Black and Hispanic New Yorkers are steered towards methadone at greater numbers than white New Yorkers, all came up in a recent article from The Columbia Spectator.

See: https://www.columbiaspectator.com/news/2021/02/23/residents-push-back-against-construction-of-methadone-clinic-claim-harlem-is-oversaturated-with-clinics/

“The opioid addiction is a national crisis. It transcends class; it transcends race; it transcends gender; it transcends geography; and yet time and time again, the location of those facilities is not transcending those factors. The location is always in low-income communities of color,” Hill said.

Mount Sinai and Methadone in Our Community

With new data from a FOIL request to OASAS, we are able to contextualize the size/impact that Mount Sinai has on our community with their two major methadone hubs – West 124th Street, and East 125th Street (The Lee Building at Park Avenue).

Looking at the screenshot below, you can see how large Mount Sinai’s presence is in Harlem and East Harlem.

To see the entire city and the uneven distribution of Opioid Treatment Programs, see the map below:

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/RNUZ2/1/

Celebration of Langston Hughes

   Join AGM Theater Company for an evening of laughter, joy and lively music; as we celebrate the phenomenal work of Langston Hughes.

*Click the link below to register for the presentation*

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_XESwCYdkR4CXYc8AGBf7PQ

Candidate Forums on Monday, March 1

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_natkAKbPQRWnArGJkXDQww

Latest (Pre-COVID) Data II

As mentioned yesterday, one of the depressing things about looking at the data from the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) is that it repeatedly tells the same story – for decades, OASAS has packed substance abuse programs into Harlem and East Harlem; programs that wealthier and often whiter communities have successfully rebuffed.

One question often asked is who is behind the large opioid treatment programs (methadone) in East Harlem. The graph below shows that 3 of New York City’s largest methadone providers (in red) are located here, in our community:

As mentioned yesterday, OASAS has exploited the weak political resistance in Harlem and successfully lied to the community by repeatedly stating that programs in Harlem were for our neighbors, our family members, or our colleagues. The chart below shows where men and women being treated in East Harlem come/commute from to get treatment here:

Note that the largest number of non-East Harlem residents who come here for substance abuse treatment travel from Westchester and Long Island.

Opioid Treatment Programs 2019/2020

Our latest data from a 2019/2020 FOIL request to OASAS has yielded this map of the location of Opioid Treatment Programs in the 5 boroughs and their admission totals:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-10-21-at-8.22.52-PM-1024x897.jpg

Zooming into our neighborhood you can see how OASAS has oversaturated Harlem and East Harlem as well as the South Bronx:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-10-21-at-8.24.10-PM-1024x924.jpg

Franciscan Handmaids of Mary Motherhouse Building to be Developed

Gotham To Go is reporting that 15 West 124th Street (the building to the west of the library) sold on February 11, 2019 for $9,400,000 to Harlem LLC. This building, the former Franciscan Handmaids home, will be redeveloped as housing overlooking Marcus Garvey Park.

For the full story, see:

Opioid Treatment Program Admissions – Increases and Decreases: 2017 – 2020

With OASAS FOIL data from 2017 and now 2020, we are able to see where admissions to Opioid Treatment Programs have increased or decreased.

On the live map (link below) you can see red increases and blue decreases. Hover over any of the dots to learn more. Note that the size of the dot indicates a larger program.

https://fordham.carto.com/u/shill18/builder/ea8098c8-c438-4e39-bf84-3ba2115c556c/embed

Opioid Treatment Deserts

With new data from a recent FOIL request that was submitted to the NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) we wanted to map the inverse of what people typically map – the absence of something. In particular, we were interested in learning which Community Districts in New York don’t have any OASAS licensed Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs). The resulting map (below) shows (in red) the communities in New York that have no OTPs and whose residents who are suffering from addiction to opioids have to travel to communities like ours, for treatment.

To explore the map yourself, see: https://fordham.carto.com/u/shill18/builder/8202e3cd-d7ca-4fc5-9c79-22d883c3b51d/embed

Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway

Riverside North

The west side walking, jogging, and cycling path – north of 120th Street – is hopefully going to get some more love. The Riverside North Park Initiative has managed to accomplish (over the past year):

Added professional staff

Worked alongside a neighborhood volunteer user group to secure funding for the City to formalize the 142nd Street Dog Run

Partnered with the West Harlem Development Corporation and engaged young people from Community District 9 in urban park management as part of our Teen Corps Program

Successfully advocated for the City to invest $4.1 million in repaving funds, which will include the areas around 148th Street

Delivered public programs to West Harlem Piers Park

Hosted public programming at 148th Street waterfront, the 172nd Street waterfront, and the Little Red Lighthouse at 181st Street

Partnered with Natural Areas Conservancy to conduct assessments and develop management plans for the forested areas at 146th–151st Streets, and around 181st Street

Began managing the concession to teach tennis at the 172nd Street courts, and revenues generated will be invested back into the area

Provided sustained care and support to the volunteer-lead Riverside Valley Community Garden (“Jenny’s Garden”)

Improved the Park entrances at 120th, 125th, 138th, 148th, and 151st Streets

And for 2021 and beyond they hope to:

Increase professional gardening staff north of 120th Street

Further improve the park entrances at 148th, 151st, and 158th Street

Repair and ongoing maintenance of 148th Street baseball fields

Concession at 151st Street entrance

Complete renovation and add comfort station at 10 Mile River Playground at 148th Street

158th Street basketball court resurfacing and solution for drainage issues

Ongoing forest restoration and care in the woodlands at 146th–151st Streets, and 181st Streets

Add comfort station at Discovery Playground

Deliver adult exercise equipment, additional picnic tables, and a bicycle education center

Resurface tennis courts at 172nd Street

Repair or replace broken benches on Riverside Drive

Complete a world class dog run at 142nd Street

Replace the fence and repair dangerous paving conditions from 120th Street to 125th Street

Address dangerous bicycle/pedestrian conflicts

Repair drainage infrastructure on Riverside Drive at 138th Street

Deliver 3 years of new free public programming to North Park