Astor Row Guide, Needed

The West Harlem Art Fund, and Jane’s Walk have three descriptions for three historic districts that will be a part of Jane’s Walk 2022. (A fourth one will be submitted shortly.)

It would be great to also include Astor Row. If you love that street and are willing to share that enthusiasm with the Harlem-curious, please consider signing up to lead a walk on Astor Row. 

The West Harlem Art Fund will help you organize and set it up. All you need to do is walk and talk about this neighborhood gem.

To learn more about how easy and much fun it would be, email Savona Bailey-McClain at:

[email protected]

Below are descriptions of 3 other Jane’s Walk tours happening in Harlem:

Mt. Morris Historic District

Mount Morris Park Historic District was designated a landmark in 1971, due to the unaltered streetscapes of its late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century townhouses and churches. French Neo-Grec, Queen Anne, Romanesque Revival, and Classical Renaissance are the predominant styles of housing. One of the oldest parks in New York City is Mount Morris Park (today known as Marcus Garvey Park). City officials purchased the land in 1839. In the area lived White Protestant families, a Tammy Hall boss, wealthy Eastern European Jews, less wealthy Western European Jews, and later African Americans. 

During this walk, we will learn about the people who lived in Harlem and what events, such as the Summer of Love, which was filmed and won a recent Oscar, made Harlem so important. This Free Jane Walk will be led by Carolyn Johnson, owner of Welcome to Harlem. Register with the Municipal Art Society.

Central Harlem’s Little Known District

Friday, May 6, 2022 at 1pm

Meeting location: 130th Street & Lenox Ave (North Corner)

The Central Harlem Historic District is a fairly new designation. It spotlights little-known Black history. Several Black charities like the Clubman’s Beneficial League and the Utopia Neighborhood Club found homes in this district. Many Black entertainers like James Reese Europe, of WWI fame, lived here. The district shows that a tight-knit community once lived and still lives in Central Harlem. They supported each other and made sure they could enjoy a rich, quality of life. This FREE Jane’s Walk will be led by Savona Bailey-McClain, Executive Director of the West Harlem Art Fund. Register with the Municipal Art Society.

Who were the Strivers

Friday, May 6, 2022 at 3pm

Meeting location: 515 Malcolm X Blvd (135th Street)

Row houses were considered tract homes for the middle and upper-middle classes. New York counts over 200,000-row houses across the City. Once derided as too modern and artificial at the end of the 19th century, these homes are highly sought after now.

The St. Nicholas Historic District was originally known as the David H. King Model Homes or the King Model Houses. Four rows and three architectural styles — Italian Renaissance, Georgian and Yellow Brick facades with limestone. Built from 1891 to 1893, these homes remained empty until after World War I. Black families from the South and the Caribbean could finally purchase these homes after years of push back. Learn who lived here and how they became known as Strivers in this FREE Jane’s Walk. Understand how row houses transformed NYC forever. Register with the Municipal Art Society. This FREE Jane’s Walk will be led by Savona Bailey-McClain, Executive Director of the West Harlem Art Fund.

The Last Fireplaces

On Earth Day in 2014, as part of a clean-air initiative, Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced that as of July 1, 2014 the construction of new wood-burning fireplaces would be banned in New York City.

Under the new regulations, residents who already have wood-burning fireplaces or who have reconstructed their fireplaces prior to that date, would be allowed to use them, but with the requirement that they only use firewood that has a low amount of moisture (20 percent or less), which are less smoky when burned, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Although considered by most to be a low-cost method of heating a room, traditional, open-masonry fireplaces create the reverse effect on the rest of your home. While burning, these fireplaces can exhaust as much as 300 cubic feet of heated indoor air to outside your home per minute, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s 18,000 cubic feet of heated air lost each hour through your fireplace’s chimney. As the warm air travels up your chimney, cold air from windows, doors, and other parts of your home are drawn to the fireplace. The room may stay warm, but the rest of your home is actually getting cooler.

Older Harlem brownstones and tenements often still have fireplaces from the 19th or 20th century, but they may no longer vent up/out, or may improperly vent up/out (in any case, never light a fire in a fireplace that hasn’t been inspected and approved by a chimney sweep). Newer, 21st century Harlem buildings may still have fireplaces if they were built before 2014. The distinctive chimneys on these buildings (all condos – no landlord wants the risk or the added cost of insurance if a fireplace was in a rental) pictured here show a few (dwindling) examples of working fireplaces in our community.

Ghost Farmers’ Market

When patronizing Sister’s Restaurant for their amazing roti recently I noticed a sign for a Farmers’ Market that doesn’t exist.

After checking with Carey King from Uptown Grand Central, she was just as baffled but speculated that it could have been from an aborted farmers’ market sponsored by the adjacent Ralph Lauren health center. If you have any insight, please share.

Public Hearing for the Proposed Florence Mills Plaza

Savona Bailey-McClain from the West Harlem Art Fund notes that the public hearing for the proposed Florence Mills Plaza will be held on Wednesday, February 2nd at the CB9 Parks meeting at 6:30 pm.

This is your chance to support naming a plaza in St. Nicholas park after the legendary entertainer.

The Holiday Spirit on East 126

Children’s COVID Vaccine Event

Harlem Pride is hosting a children’s specific vaccine event happening this Saturday, December 18th from 10am to 6pm at 215 West 125th Street.

The event is sponsored by NYC Health & Hospitals and National Black Leadership Commission on Black Health.

42 Macombs PlaceNew York, NY  10039

West Harlem Festival of Food is Coming

Winter Concert on Stoops along Lenox Ave.

Harlem Housing Lottery

A new affordable housing lottery is now open for a collection of 32 renovated rental units across several buildings including 118 West 139th Street, 123 West 112th Street, 30 West 132nd Street, 281 West 118th Street, 120 West 139th Street, and 122 West 139th Street in West Harlem.

You can apply for a mix of studios, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units for residents at 80 percent of the area median income, ranging from $48,480 to $120,080.

  • 118 West 139th Street was built in 1910, with ten units across five floors.
  • 123 West 112th Street also has ten residential units across five floors, as well as a ground-floor commercial space.
  • 281 West 118th Street has nine units across five floors.
  • 30 West 132nd Street is a five-story building with ten units.
  • 120 West 139th Street and the adjacent 122 West 139th Street each have 20 units across five floors.

At 80 percent of the AMI, there are 14 affordable studios with a $1,350 monthly rent and one studio with a $1,332 monthly rent for incomes ranging from $48,480 to $72,800. There is one one-bedroom with a $1,430 monthly rent for incomes ranging from $52,355 to $81,920. There are 11 two-bedrooms with a $1,749 monthly rent and one two-bedroom with a $1,730 monthly rent for incomes ranging from $63,155 to $98,240. Finally, there are two three-bedrooms with a $1,994 monthly rent for incomes ranging from $73,372 to $112,800, and two four-bedrooms with a $2,230 monthly rent for incomes ranging for $82,320 to $120,080. Prospective renters must meet income and household size requirements to apply for these apartments. Applications must be postmarked or submitted online no later than February 16, 2021.