Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Harlem Bespoke: It needed to happen sooner than later and Governor Cuomo has now ordered that all playgrounds need to shut down in the city as of Wednesday afternoon.  Open space larger parks will remain accessible but the enclosed playground areas will all be off limits. A lot of folks have been doing the proper social distancing thing by staying more than six feet away from others, not congregating in groups and wearing mask but any trip to a local green space will reveal that there are plenty of other people who just do not get it.  Social Distancing is the only way that will end the pandemic more quickly and everyone has to unify by giving up a little of individual liberties to get through this.  More detail in Time Out New York: LINK 2020


Harlem Bespoke: One of grand local African-American churches went up for sale at 147-149 West 123rd Street for $6.25 million this past October but there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.  The Greater Metropolitan Baptist Church which is a 9,418-square-foot neo-Gothic church in the Mount Morris Park neighborhood is actually protected as an official New York City Landmark since 1994.  This means any new developer that comes in can not demolish the site but would have to make some sort of adaptive reuse effort either as a combined residential development or maybe even some sort of event space.  Everything out front would have to eventually be restored accordingly and maybe the stained glass will come back one day.

On another historic note, this bluish-gray Vermont marble house of worship located just east of 7th Avenue was constructed in 1897-98 by a German-American congregation and was originally the Saint Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Greater Metropolitan Baptist has been housed at the landmark building since 1985 and most likely faces the challenges of dwindling congregations that has been a common story uptown in the past decade or so.  A final note to point about the listing is that a cash only deal will be accepted.  More details can be found on the broker site: LINK 2020


Harlem Bespoke:  We walked by the empty lot on Frederick Douglass Boulevard just below 116th Street a couple of weeks back and wondered what is actually going on with this address.  Some might remember that it was just a two-story commercial building on site that was demolished back in 2016 and a plywood fence was then placed around the parcel of land.  The assumption here was maybe a developer was interested and construction would start up soon but nothing much has happened since then.  A subway stop is just around the north corner and Central Park is only 5 blocks south so everything is pretty much ideal here.  We did a quick search on the DOB website and it appears that no plans have yet come about so there is not much else to report here. 2020


Harlem Bespoke: A percentage map of positive COVID-19 results in greater New York City shows that Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn have the largest concentration but north of 125th Street appears to be escalating as far as Manhattan goes.  Some reports mention that people of color may be more vulnerable to the outbreak because underlying health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease or high blood pressure are more disproportionally found within the community.  Blue collar workers also can not perform jobs remotely from home and are outside for most of the day which may be another contributing factor. With all that said, social distancing does appear to be working and more information outreach to communities most highly affected might also be needed to flatten the curve: LINK 2020


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