Meet Yusef Saalam

You are invited to join a virtual meeting with Yusef Salaam this Thursday at 7pm. After a district walk last Monday, Yusef has a good idea of East Harlem’s quality of life issues and concerns. We are hoping that after witnessing our street experience, Yusef will tell us more about what he intends to do, if elected to City Council.

To register for Thursday’s meeting, please use this link:

Please help forward this email to your neighbors!  When our neighbors are more informed about the election candidates, they will turn out to vote, and then we can effectively hold our officials accountable.

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Quote from Yusef “This gives us the opportunity to be able to restore Harlem to the greatness that it is and could always be.” (read more here)

Note that if you have questions for Yusef, you can post your questions on the Q&A section of the webinar, or feel free to send them to me ahead of time. 

See you all soon!  

Voting Resources

Check out voting resources at this website:  and forward this email to your neighbors:

Congressman Espaillat Announces A Plan For 125th Street In Collaboration With Mayor Eric Adams

Harlemites have been at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic for two years, hard hit by the immediate health emergency and the longstanding challenges that the pandemic underscored. On our road to recovery, we must address High unemployment, rising gun violence, a houseless and affordability housing crisis, food insecurity, systemic mental health and psychiatric care failures, poor sanitation, and inadequate access to open spaces.

I am working in collaboration with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, local elected officials and community stakeholders to address the ongoing needs of our community and enhance the safety of West and East Harlem through criminal justice and health reform.

(photo: Espaillat tour with Mayor Adams, March 2022)

In coordination with key local stakeholders, the following suggestions to help address some of these issues have been put forth:

1.         Amplify Neighborhood Safety Teams in West and East Harlem.  

2.         Reduction of Methadone Clinics and other related services in the 125th Street corridor by no less than 50%. 

3.         Crack down on the “Iron Pipeline” and “Ghost Guns” in the 125th Street Corridor.

4.         Increase Violence Interrupters in the 125th Street Corridor – specifically in neighborhoods that currently have few or none. 

5.         Establish additional bus routes from Randall’s and Wards Islands.  

6.         Support Mental Health Assistance throughout West and East Harlem and Enhance Homeless Services. 

7.         The establishment of an ad-hoc committee composed of senior leadership members of the offices of the Mayor, Representative Espaillat and the Governor, key agencies including OASAS and DOHMH, MTA, DOT, NYCT, DSNY, law enforcement including the NYPD and the Manhattan DA, and lastly- elected officials and key stakeholders on 125th street. 

8.         Engage and Support Youth in the 125th Street Corridor. 

9.         Mitigate Financial Stress in the 125th Street Corridor.  

10.      Increase the number of Park Enforcement Patrol officers at ART Park, Dr. Ronald McNair and Marcus Garvey parks to help discourage illicit activity and encourage a safe welcoming open space environment. 



Adriano Espaillat
Member of Congress


Los residentes de Harlem han estado en la primera línea de la pandemia de COVID-19 durante dos años, y han sido muy afectados por la emergencia sanitaria inmediata y los desafíos de larga data que subrayó la pandemia. En nuestro camino hacia la recuperación, debemos abordar los índices alto de desempleo, el aumento de la violencia con armas de fuego, una crisis de viviendas asequibles y de personas desamparadas, la inseguridad alimentaria, las fallas sistémicas en la atención psiquiátrica y de salud mental, el saneamiento deficiente y el acceso inadecuado a espacios abiertos.

Estoy trabajando en colaboración con el alcalde de la Ciudad de Nueva York, Eric Adams, los funcionarios electos locales y las partes interesadas de la comunidad para abordar las necesidades actuales de nuestra comunidad y mejorar la seguridad en el Oeste y el Este de Harlem a través de reformas de la justicia penal y de la salud.

En coordinación con participantes locales clave, se han presentado las siguientes sugerencias para ayudar a abordar algunos de estos problemas:

1.         Ampliar los Equipos de Seguridad Vecinal en el Oeste y el Este de Harlem.

2.         Reducción de clínicas de metadona y otros servicios relacionados en el corredor de la calle 125.

3.         Tomar medidas enérgicas contra la “Iron Pipeline” (ruta de contrabando de armas ilegales) y las “Armas indetectables” en el Corredor de la calle 125.

4.         Aumentar los Interruptores de la Violencia en el corredor de la calle 125, específicamente en los vecindarios que actualmente tienen pocos o ninguno de estos servicios.

5.         Establecer rutas de autobuses adicionales desde Randall’s y Wards Island

6.         Apoyar la asistencia de salud mental en todo el Oeste y Este de Harlem y mejorar los servicios para personas desamparadas.

7.         El establecimiento de un comité ad-hoc compuesto por interesados clave en la calle 125, miembros de las oficinas del alcalde, la gobernadora y yo, agencias clave que incluyen OASAS, DOHMH, MTA, DOT, NYCT, DSNY, agencias de aplicación de la ley, incluyendo el NYPD y el fiscal de distrito de Manhattan y, por último, los funcionarios electos locales.

8.         Involucrar y apoyar a los jóvenes en el corredor de la calle 125 a través de servicios de mejora de la educación y el empleo.

9.         Mitigar el estrés financiero en el corredor de la calle 125 a través de oportunidades económicas.

10.       Aumentar el número de agentes de la Patrulla de Vigilancia de Parques en los parques ART, Dr. Ronald McNair y Marcus Garvey para fomentar un ambiente de espacio abierto seguro y acogedor.


Adriano Espaillat
Miembro del Congreso

Construction Has Topped Off

Construction on a massive new building east of the State Office Building.


There has been a lot of conversation regarding crime, and violent crime in particular recently. It is instructive to look at the data.

New York City’s NYPD, reports on the 7 major felony offenses and makes this data freely available on its COMPSTAT portal. The seven major felonies include murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny of a vehicle.

Here is a view of how the totals of those crimes add up over the last two decades:

As we can see, there was a notable decline from 2000 to 2009 or so, and then a gentle leveling to a statistically unchanged state over the last 3 years.

How then, does this compare to Harlem? Looking at the 23, 25, 28, and 32 precincts (see the map, above for the geography), we see the following for the same period, and the same 7 major felony crime totals:

As you can see the 23rd and 32nd precincts mirrored the city-wide crime drop most closely. The 25th precinct and the 28th precinct have not seen the larger benefit of a crime decline and the totals have remained stubbornly high.

The New York Times Examines Kristin Jordan’s Goal of Abolishing the Police in Light of the Murder of Two Young NYPD Officers

The New York Times reports on City Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan’s attempt to hold equal, the death of two NYPD officers with the death of their murderer, and tweeting about a community garden while the two officers fought for their lives.

See the full article, here.

On one side of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem, dozens of candles and bouquets of flowers were clustered outside the 32nd Precinct station house after a shooting that would leave two officers dead.

Across the boulevard was the apartment building where the officers were struck by gunfire as they responded to a report of a domestic incident.

And in between, the neighbourhood’s new city councilwoman sat in a bare-bones office, trying to reconcile the need to comfort a grieving community with her firm belief that police departments should ultimately be abolished.

Councilwoman Kristin Richardson Jordan, 35, has equated the policing system with slavery and emphasized her deep compassion for both the fallen officers and the man who the police said killed them — positions that are vastly out-of-step with many of her fellow Democrats.

Her political style, as a revolutionary activist and poet, is distinctive.

But in the context of left wing politics, her overarching argument around policing — that New York City should invest far more in social services while cutting spending on law enforcement — is not.

“The greatest way to honour the loss of life on all sides, loss of life due to gun violence,” Jordan, the granddaughter of a police officer, said on Monday, “would be to invest in our communities.”

Discussions around policing, justice and how best to ensure public safety have divided Democrats across the country and shaped elections from Long Island, New York, to San Francisco. But this week, on that sliver of 135th Street in Harlem, those debates were especially raw.

“Right here,” said Jordan, a democratic socialist who lives a few minutes from where the shooting occurred. “We’re at the centre.”

Against the backdrop of the Harlem shooting, Mayor Eric Adams, who has promised to battle crime in a just fashion, released an expansive public safety plan Monday. The response — early praise from the White House but plenty of pushback at home — freshly illustrated Democratic tensions around those searing issues.

The proposal called for significant policing efforts to combat gun violence, including the restoration of an anti-gun police unit. Adams also urged state lawmakers to make changes to New York’s bail law and to a law that altered how the state handles teenage defendants.

The plan for revamping anti-crime units, which were disbanded in 2020, has stoked particular controversy, with even some of Adams’ typical ideological allies expressing reservations. But the most vociferous criticism has come from supporters of criminal justice reform who are to his left.

“I am concerned about some of the elements that are in the mayor’s plan for safety, that they’re rolling back the clock on some things that have been some really meaningful reforms,” Jordan said.

At another point, she warned that the shooting could be used “as an excuse to overpolice and continue oppression in the community.”

The murder rate and other measures of violent crime in New York City remain far below the rates of the early 1990s, but gun violence in particular has spiked during the pandemic, and the U.S. murder rate has gone up significantly. Adams’ speech crystallized a national debate around how to respond and followed a spate of high-profile crimes that has left many New Yorkers shaken and that culminated in the shooting deaths of the two officers.

Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was killed while responding to the 911 call Friday. The death of Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, was announced Tuesday, a day after Lashawn McNeil, the man who the New York City police said was the gunman, also died from injuries.

On Friday night, Jordan was hosting a planning meeting and attending a neighbourhood gathering of Black socialists at her office when she learned of the shooting. She headed to Harlem Hospital, joining other elected officials and Adams, who held a news conference.

But as many of her colleagues expressed their pain on social media, a post from Jordan’s Twitter account that evening focused on community gardens.

It was a preplanned message, she later said, posted “mistakenly” by a staff member — but it touched a nerve online.

She did not comment on the shooting directly for several more hours, because of directions given by officials at the hospital, she said. (Assemblywoman Inez Dickens broadly confirmed those instructions, though others in attendance quickly issued statements of sorrow.)

“I stand with the families of the fallen,” Jordan later wrote. “The death of police officers is not what abolition is. Abolition is an end to violence altogether.”

In the days since, she said, she prayed with constituents for Mora’s recovery. She attended vigils. She plans to attend the officers’ funerals.

She also indicated that there was a parallel between the loss of the officers’ lives and the death of McNeil. “I see every single human life as equivalent,” she said Monday.

After Mora died from his injuries, Jordan went a step further.

“My deepest condolences to the families of Officer Rivera, Officer Mora and Lashawn McNeil,” she wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Lives lost due to broken public safety & mental health systems that spare nobody.”

Debates around policing and safety played a defining role in the New York City mayoral primary. Many of the working-class voters of colour who propelled Adams to victory — reflecting, in some ways, President Joe Biden’s base — embraced his message of both supporting a powerful role for law enforcement and demanding policing reforms. Those discussions took on fresh urgency again this week in Jordan’s district.

“They want mutual respect between the police and the community,” said Dickens, who represents an overlapping district. “But they want the police.”

At the memorial outside the police station in Harlem, one sign read, “Mayor Adams, NYPD need a raise.” Lenny Gardner, 67, a Democrat who works at a hospital, seemed sympathetic to that argument as he walked by.

“They have a hard job, and they’re underpaid and sometimes not given credit for what they do,” said Gardner, who said he had lived in the area for 33 years and had relied on the police himself. “I’m not with the abolishing police. That’s the only way that we can keep order.”

Jordan, too, has deep roots in the area, describing herself as a third-generation Harlemite. She attended the Calhoun School, a progressive private school on the Upper West Side, and Brown University and built a career around activism — she was involved in the Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street movements and founded a “cop watch” team, she has said. And she spent time writing and in publishing, including releasing a book that grapples with her personal experiences with domestic violence.

She ran for City Council last year, initially inspired, she told The Nation, by the left-wing members of the “Squad” in Congress. Jordan identifies as a Black socialist, though groups like the Democratic Socialists of America and the left-wing Working Families Party made no endorsement in her primary.

Other prominent left-wing organizations, including the political group associated with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, did offer support, though to date Jordan is not considered a prominent member of the city’s left wing; she is largely unknown even to like-minded officials.

In the ranked-choice primary election, she ultimately prevailed over the incumbent by around 100 votes.

Asked to assess her performance so far in office, Keith L.T. Wright, chair of the Manhattan Democratic Party, replied, “I’ve never had a conversation with her, and I don’t know what she does.”

(Jordan said she welcomed conversations and noted her relationship with the Manhattan Young Democrats. “The future of the Democratic Party is progressive and bold,” she said.)

Patrick J. Lynch, head of the Police Benevolent Association — a union considered toxic by many Democrats for, among other things, endorsing Donald Trump in 2020 — also said that Jordan “is new to the office and we have had no interactions with her.”

“We are aware of her public statements about police officers and public safety,” he said. “They don’t reflect what police officers hear from her constituents.”

Jordan acknowledges “hit-and-miss” dynamics with the police, also saying that she has been both “falsely arrested” and has relied on law enforcement herself when confronting domestic violence.

Her style is far more radical than that of many of her colleagues, but the broadest contours of her approach — to see social services as vital components of public safety — are shared widely among many New York Democrats, including, to some degree, Adams.

“Deep investments in the communities that have for so long been overlooked and left out, underfunded, disinvested in — that is what will keep our communities safe,” said Councilwoman Crystal Hudson of Brooklyn.

Since the shooting, Jordan contacted the families of both the officers and of McNeil, though as of Tuesday she had not connected with them.

She has also maintained other aspects of her schedule, attending a balloon-festooned inauguration celebration Saturday. There, she held a moment of silence to mark the shooting. Then, she recalled, she thanked her team and sought to brace them for the task ahead.

“It’s been a really tough moment to navigate,” she said. “Because people are searching for a villain.”

Drinking Soda

How Calculated: 

Estimated number of adults who, on average reported having consumed one or more sugary drinks per day, divided by all adults in the area; expressed as a percent. Sugary drinks include soda, sweetened iced tea, sports drinks, fruit punch, and other fruit flavored drinks. (One drink equals 12 ounces). Diet soda, sugar free drinks, 100% juice, and seltzer are not included.

Source: New York City Community Health Survey (CHS)

Photoville in East Harlem

Head to the East Harlem waterfront (the Esplanade) between 100-102nd Streets to see a free Photoville exhibit of photography:

Enter on 96th, 103rd, or 111th Streets.

Free Bike Helmets

Free bike helmets for you or your kids! Saturday at 54th and 11th Ave. 11:30-2:30.

Speaking of Cycling…

The Daily News reports:

Manhattan Democratic chair Keith Wright doored cyclist in Harlem, fled scene: ‘It’s his fault for running into my door’

Prosecutors in Manhattan have charged the borough’s top Democrat with dooring a cyclist in Harlem and fleeing the scene, according to court papers.

Keith Wright, the current leader of the New York County Democrats, opened the door to his BMW around 9:15 p.m. Aug. 26 while parked on Fifth Ave. and E. 138th St., hitting an oncoming cyclist, according to the criminal complaint.

After the cyclist fell from his bike and lay injured in the street, Wright sped off without leaving his name, number, or insurance policy — or offering to bring the victim to the hospital, prosecutors said at Wright’s Friday arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.

When authorities tracked down Wright almost two weeks later, the former Harlem state assemblyman fessed up and agreed to surrender.

“I was about to open my car door while he was riding an electric bike. It is his fault for running into my door,” Wright told NYPD Det. Lamount Deaderick, according to the complaint.

“I told him to go to the hospital. I did not exchange my information with him. I asked for his information but he did not give it to me.”

At the arraignment, Wright pleaded not guilty to two counts of leaving the scene and was released by a judge. He’s due back in court Oct. 10.

It’s illegal in New York to open a car door into the path of another road user, and “dooring” has claimed a number of New Yorkers’ lives in recent years.

In January 2019, Brooklyn bagel deliveryman Hugo Alexander Sinto Garcia died on his way to work riding along Third Ave. in Sunset Park when a cabbie opened his car door, sending Sinto flying out onto the road and into the path of another vehicle.

And in April 2018, Juan Pacheco, 57, was pedaling down LaSalle St. near Broadway in west Harlem when the driver of a Nissan Quest threw open his door, fatally throwing the father of three from his bike onto the road.