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Spirit of East HarlemSpirit of East Harlem on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 104th Street.

This past weekend, the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) hosted Jane’s Walk weekend with more than 100 free walking tours.  We decided to take the tour given by MAS and East Harlem Preservation, aptly named “Lost and Found Murals of East Harlem – Buildings on Canvas”.

While the East Harlem of the 1930’s was predominantly Italian, after the first World War, East Harlem welcomed a vibrant Latino and Puerto Rican community that brought with them a wealth of culture in their art, food and music.   (more…)

What stands out about the Lafayette Theater Townhouses, middle-income affordable housing in Central Harlem, is that they, quite frankly, don’t stand out.

Constructed on vacant City-owned properties in the early 2000s, they are infill buildings interspersed among older structures, mostly nineteenth century brownstones and other rowhouses. The project consisted of nine separate groupings, located mostly between W. 134th Street, Lenox Avenue (aka Malcolm X Boulevard), W. 129th Street, and Seventh Avenue (aka Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard). (more…)

The Reece School located at 25 East 104th Street

The Reece School located at 25 East 104th Street

This building in East Harlem is both a colorful architectural surprise in Harlem and a feel-good story. The Reece School was founded in 1948 for special needs children by Ellen S. Reece, who housed the school in her brownstone on East 93rd Street, off Third Avenue for almost sixty years. As the school outgrew Ms Reece’s townhouse, they began planning  to build a new, high-tech facility to be located at 25 East 104th Street.

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Anchor-Hunter College Art Galleries-East Harlem-Hiram Maristany-El Barrio-NYCPhoto by Hiram Maristany, from Anchor 

On display at the Hunter College Art Galleries in East Harlem are over fifty years of photographs of the El Barrio neighborhood by resident and photographer Hiram Maristany. The exhibit, located within Silberman School of Social Work, depicts the everyday life Maristany observed while growing up with eight siblings on East 111th Street. His chance encounter with the Magnum photographer Robert Henriques opened the door to his love of photography and Henriques, seeing that spark of creativity in this young boy, gave him his first camera – a Leica IIIg.

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The story of New York City’s ballrooms form one facet of the city-wide story of a changing entertainment industry and real estate market. Many of the iconic music venues survived Prohibition, only to be taken down by the advent of radio and television. The large spaces necessitated diversification of events and venues, causing their musical cache to fall as real estate pressures were rising. This list of New York City’s ballrooms include those lost, those still standing and those converted, as well as new ballrooms adapted from other types of spaces. Not all were music venues, but all have a unique story to tell as part of the city’s history. Here are 12 historic ballrooms:

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1970s HarlemJack Garofalo’s Photographs of 1970s Harlem. Photo by Jack Garofolo/Paris Match, via Getty Images

Living in New York City during the 1970s sometimes meant looking over your shoulder or trying to get indoors before dark. It’s no hidden fact that the city was not exactly at its safest during this time. Just ask The NYC Council for Public Safety, who created an anti-tourist guide to the New York City in 1975. The city was in the midst of a massive crime wave that reached its fever pitch when the infamous blackout plunged the sprawling metropolis into darkness in the summer of 1977. None of this stopped Jack Garofalo, a French photographer for The Paris Match from taking snapshots of Harlem during the summer of 1970. Recently featured on The Retronaut on Mashable, these simple yet captivating photos capture the beauty beneath the grim and gritty veneer of 70s era New York.

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