Tuesday, May 31, 2011

☞ DWELL: 2126 Frederick Douglass Boulevard

The tenement  building with the boarded up corner store at 115th Street and FDB/8th Avenue has now appeared on the market with an extravagant new construction proposal.  According to a listing on Streeteasy, the owner is selling a total of three buildings which include all of 2126 and 2128 FDB along with 280 West 115th Street.  An initial asking price has been set at $4 million and more sketches of the new construction plan can be found on the Streeteasy site: LINK.  Most of the other developments along the southern FDB corridor have gone on previously empty lots or have been adaptive reuse projects (like The Gateway or BLVD condos) so this one seems to be pretty ambitious since it will require a lot of demolition. This listing appeared just a week ago so it will be interesting to so how things progress by the end of summer.

☞ REVIVE: Harlem Village Academy Tops Off

Harlem Village Academy's new school at 32 West 125th Street appears to have topped off since we last posted on it back in March: LINK. Demolition of the old Con Ed building started about a year ago and the new charter school building that will  also have an entrance on the north side of Marcus Garvey Park has now passed a major milestone. Harlem Village Academy, Harlem Children's Zone and Harlem Success Academy are notably the most high performing charters in the city but even more lawsuits have come about in reference to the general expansion of this type of public school.  This time around,  the controversy has apparently become a race issue: LINK

☞ BESPOKE: Harlem Tavern Signs Complete

The last bit of signage for the Harlem Tavern at FDB/8th Avenue and 116th Street appears to have been completed as of this past week.  At the center photo, one can see the painted wall sign that just appeared on the north end of the former gas station lot.  Compared to all the design details in the original rendering of the establishment, it would seem that in reality everything is a lot more bold and striking.  The Harlem Tavern's main signage is a large scale bright neon piece while the newly painted artwork has thick, graphic lines to it.

Harlem's second modern beer garden of the new century has a goal of opening in two weeks but there is still a lot to do with the patio portion of the space.  New brick walls are still not under construction and the original plan for the outdoor flooring included herringbone pattern tiles. As far as the interior goes, we have seen that it is mostly finished at this point so the exterior space is really the last area to renovate before the eatery opens. More details on the Harlem Tavern site: HarlemTavern.com

☞ READ: The New Haarlem Theater at CCNY

A recent New York Times article reports on how City College of New York is backing an effort to start up a theater in residence at Aaron Davis Hall.  The New Haarlem Arts Theater is headed up by the college's theater chairman Eugene Nesmith and about $200,000 will be need for each season. CCNY at 135th and Convent Avenue has already provided the initial $50,000 to help out the first production of classical theater that will be featured within the community stage located on campus. James Baldwin's "Blues for Mr. Charlie" is the inaugural piece of the theater company and will be shown from June 23rd to July 17th as a limited engagement.  Tickets set between $10 and $25 may be purchased on line in advance at the theater site: LINK.  Read more in the New York Times: LINK

☞ SEE: West Harlem Arts at Governors Island

Saturday, June 11th, 12:00 PM-5:00 PM, Open House for the Loosely Coupled Group Exhibition on Governors Island.  The West Harlem Art Fund has been selected to present a summer long Exhibition on Governors Island. Loosely Coupled will be housed in the historic district of Nolan Park.  Featured artists include Dianne Smith, Scherezade Garcia, Wayne Liu, Allen Anthony Hansen, Luke Schumacher, Colin Chase, Kristy Schopper, Iliana Emilia Garcia and Peter Goldwater.  Public hours will be Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 12:00 PM-5:00 PM through September 25th. Directions may be found on the Governors Island site: LINK

Monday, May 30, 2011

☞ INTRODUCING: The Meat Market Opening

We received a tip that the new Meat Market shop at 2150 Fifth Avenue will debut Saturday, June 4th, from 8:30 AM-6:30 PM according to flyers being passed out. The promotional information also confirms that EBT transactions are accepted at the new butcher store by the corner of 132nd Street and that a website has been set up with more details: www.FifthAveMM.com

☞ LISTEN: Opus 118 at the Studio Museum

Sunday, June 5th, 1:00 PM, Opus 118 in Concert at the Studio Museum, 144 West 125th Street, east of ACP/7th Avenue.  The Studio Museum in Harlem's free Target Sunday will include a one hour violin performance by the famous Opus 118 Harlem School of Music. More details on this event can be found at the Studio Museum site: LINK.  See our past post to find out more about Opus 118: LINK

Sunday, May 29, 2011

☞ ARCHITECTURE: Splash House Confirmed

Congratulations are in order for the Parsons Design Workshop team of graduate students. Yesterday was the big moment when the $15,000 material cost goal was reached for the Splash House pool pavilion in Washington Heights and the team will get started at the beginning of June. The young group of designers not only had to raise the money for the project via Kickstarter but they also had to get approval from the Landmarks Commission to be able to build on the site.  Check out more on the Splash House blog to see what it took to get to this momentous point in the project: LINK.  Even though not in Harlem proper, the High Bridge pool has in the (distant) past provided a summer haven for Harlem kids when some of the pools were not so safe further south as one reader pointed out: LINK

Friday, May 27, 2011

☞ REVIVE: The Business of Tourism in Harlem

Harlem is such an international destination these days and it actually is a bit odd that an outwardly present tourism center of some sort has not been established uptown in the past decade (there is a desk inside the Studio Museum).  Even a small kiosk of with maps or directions probably would help out a lot of visitors and even direct traffic to some of the businesses that are not as visible or obvious. Most tour manuals become outdated very quickly (look at all the restaurants that have opened, closed or will open in recent months) so having material on hand that is current and translated in French, Spanish and Japanese would probably help out everyone involved. This year saw the first jazz festival finally arrive uptown so progress for the obvious is starting to happen albeit at a slow pace.  

☞ READ: New Caribbean Center for Ladder 14

There have been some sightings of activity over at the vacant Hook & Ladder 14 Firehouse on East 125th Street and now the mystery has been solved based on a New York Observer article: LINK

It now appears that The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute will be moving from Columbus Circle to the landmark firehouse at 120 East 125th Street which is located just west of the Lexington Avenue subway line. The cultural center will have 8,500 square foot of space to work with and intends to spend $3.5 million in renovations.  This seems like a pretty good fit since the institute will gain double the space in this new location and also be closer to the many ethnic communities uptown.

☞ SEE: The Richard Rodgers Amphitheater Debut

Thursday, June 2nd, 11:00 AM, Richard Rodgers Amphitheater Ribbon Cutting at Marcus Garvey Park at West 122nd Street & Mount Morris Park West.  The new Richard Rodger Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park will be ready for its debut next week as NYC Parks Department Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer will preside over the official ribbon cutting ceremony.  We took the top photo a couple of months back and the outdoor event space named after the composer who grew up around the block was making quick progress. With the arrival of the summer farmers market in the upcoming weeks and this new community space, Marcus Garvey Park should be one of the big attractions this summer for the Mount Morris Park nabe.

☞ SEE: Around Harlem this Weekend

Saturday, May 28th, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, The Morningside Park Farmers Market at 110th Street and Manhattan Avenue will open for the 2011 season with a few new vendors: LINK

Saturday, May 28th, 2:00 PM, Trilok Fusion Arts at The Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street. Celebrate New York's evolving Indian music and dance traditions at an afternoon performance with Brooklyn's own Trilok Fusion Arts. Free with Museum Admission: LINK

Sunday, May 29th, 12:00 PM-6:00 PM, Hello Summer brunch party at Tian, 679 Riverside Drive & 145th Street (inside Riverbank State Park). Check out West Harlem's state park on the Hudson and its local Asian-Latin eatery: LINK

Sunday, May 29th, 8:00 PM, The Goddess Lakshmi at Paris Blues, 2021 ACP/7th Avenue and 121st Street.  The old school Paris Blues bar has been having a bit of a revival with new music by The Goddess Lakshmi featured every Sunday: LINK.   Photo by Sean Gilligan

Thursday, May 26, 2011

☞ REMEMBER: The Goat House at 120th Street

An archival photo taken circa 1898 shows one of the last country houses that still remained in the Morningside Heights area at West 120th Street when signs of rural life still remained in the area. Goats can be seen lounging on the porch at the address somewhere on the northwest corner of Amsterdam and the photographer probably knew that this was a rare and disappearing scene in the neighborhood around the Columbia University campus.  We remember seeing this image up in the deli on Amsterdam and 120th several years ago but did not quite correlate that the photo basically represented roughly that same block over a century ago.

☞ DWELL: Contracts Out at the Park Side Flats

The Park Side Flats at 362 St. Nicholas Avenue just finished up at the end of last year and now it appears that a couple of contracts are out on the new construction at 128th Street according to Streeteasy: LINK. A total of 17 units are currently being offered with the majority of the condos consisting of 2 bedrooms and all being offered for well under $500k for the most part.  The development faces St. Nicholas Park and is a couple of blocks away from the express station at 125th Street but not too much else is happening in the immediate area.  More details can be found on the development site: www.ParkSideFlats.com

☞ REVIVE: 306-308 West 116th Street Rises

Around the corner from the Harlem Tavern on 116th Street is another new construction that has started to rise quickly since this past March. The concrete foundation was just being poured a couple of weeks back at 306-308 West 116th Street but passing by the development just west of FDB/8th Avenue, we noticed that two stories have already risen at the $5.3 million new residential building.  As originally reported, an 8-story building will debut by spring 2013 and might look something like the rendering provided for the lot when it was sold: LINK.

☞ EAT: The Harlem Tavern is Looking to Hire

A note in our inbox confirms that the Harlem Tavern at 116th Street and FDB/8th Avenue will be hiring for the new beer garden's planned opening in the second week of June. The open call will happen this Friday, May 27th from 1:00 PM-4:00 PM. All front and back of house positions will be reviewed so bring a resume to 2153 Frederick Douglas Boulevard tomorrow if interested.  Lower photo via the Harlem Tavern facebook site: LINK

☞ READ: Harlem Hunter School Opening in June

The new Hunter School for Social Work in East Harlem has pretty much finished up after being under construction for most of last year and June appears to be the date when it will officially open.  An article from DNAinfo confirms that the original East 79th Street location will close down and the facility will move to the new $135 million building located at 119th Street at the corner of Third Avenue next week: LINK. June 3rd is the big moving day so expect a little more activity and foot traffic in this corner of Harlem within the next month.

☞ SEE: El Barrio Week Starts in June

El Barrio Week will actually be running for two weeks next month and start out with the East Harlem International Film Festival.  Features from Brazil, Uraguay, China and the US will be shown at the Poet's Den with tickets set at $12.00 which can be purchased on line: LINK.  Local restaurant specials, salsa, openings, museum nights and block parties will also be scheduled. Stay tuned.  www.ElBarrioToday.org

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

☞ REMEMBER: The Hamilton Theatre Revisited

A ready just asked us if we new what the building on the corner of Broadway at 146th was all about so we have set up a link list of past posts available on the Hamilton Theatre for those who missed out. The above photo from photographer Joseph Byron (from the Joseph Byron Collection, Theatre, Hamilton, Broadway & 146th Street,  the Museum of the City of New York) taken around 1915 shows the original awning cornice and marquee that used to be out front of West Harlem's most distinct theatre establishment designed by Thomas W. Lamb: LINK. Today a store called El Mundo sells a little bit of everything within the front part of the building which still has some mosaic floor tiles that intimate its past use: LINK. As for the actual theater section in the back, apparently it is still intact but in pretty bad shape as these photos show: LINK

☞ DWELL: 103 Hamilton Place Sold in March

The 16 foot wide, 3,192 square townhouse at 103 Hamilton Place and West 141st Street went into contract this past December and public records now reveal the final selling price. Even though the immediate block did not have a lot of amenities to it, the yellow brick house had a full gut renovation at a high taste level.  This house first appeared on the market back in August for the asking price of $1.35 million and the final sales price landed at the just that. One reader mentioned that this house had multiple offers on it this past December so it looks like the sellers eventually got the price they wanted: LINK

☞ ARCHITECTURE: The Greek Church at 103rd

A red brick church building at the intersection of 103rd Street and Lexington might just be a clue into another part of East Harlem's storied cultural pass.  In the early 1900's, Harlem's east side was known for its Jewish and Italian white ethnic groups but there apparently was a greek community of some sort that worshipped in the area. Sts. George & Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church at 140 East 103rd Street sits in prime El Barrio today but appears to still retain its heritage.  There is not much out there on the building that we could find but the church seems to still be holding services based on one website: LINK.

☞ INTRODUCING: Building at 235 St. Nicholas

The old gas station lot at 235 St. Nicholas Avenue and 122nd Street saw a bit of action last year when some of the gas tanks were exposed but not much else has been happening until now.  Walking by this week, we noticed a new sign announcing the full cleanup of the lot by the city itself so that had us looking at what current permits have to say about the development.  Based on a permit just filed this past December a new 13-story building with a total of 170,370 square foot of space will be arriving soon.  Total units proposed is set at 169 along with commercial and community space on the lower floors.  We received a tip last year about the building's arrival (and possible developer) but permits were not filed until now: LINK

☞ REVIVE: What's Up with FDB Circle?

The bronze wall over at Frederick Douglass Circle has been sectioned off since last week so does anyone know what type of renovations are being made?  This corner of Central Park North at 110th Street and FDB/8th Avenue finally opened about a year ago (lower photos from last year) but now has been partially closed off. Someone had mentioned that the wall had a water pool feature in the past and the star map on it was design to light up.  Since none of these design elements have been up and running yet, is this what the city is working on currently?

☞ SEE: One More Week for Splash House

The above video shows the full story of the Splash House project in Washington Heights that aims to raise enough funds in the next week or the pool pavilion will not be built.  When we first reported on the Parsons architectural graduate student's efforts to find donors to come up with the $15,000 needed for the material costs last week, about $6,500 had been raised and now the amount is up to $9,791 as of this morning.  Most of the 172 backers who have committed to this community project are doing so with pledging $100 or less to make it happen.  So if you know anyone in the Heights or upper Harlem that uses this facility, make sure that they check out the Kickstarter site and make a donation: LINK

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

☞ DWELL: 524 West 143rd Street Townhouse

The Hamilton Heights, 16 foot wide townhouse at 524 West 143rd Street has been on the market since February and has started out with the initial asking price of $1.625 million.  With better than average finishes and enough details to make it interesting, the property has one of the better looking interiors on the market but the location in West Harlem is pretty residential without much going on.  The nearest subway just a block over on Broadway consist of the 1 local train but the best bet would be to take a walk three avenues east to get to the express trains at 145th Street.  This block is also one of those situations with mostly taller rental buildings surrounding just a small row of townhouse.

☞ EAT: New Highs & Lows at 5 and Diamond

An article in DNAinfo reveals that some new expensive and affordable options have appeared on the 5 and Diamond menu in the past few weeks.  Even though the FDB/8th Avenue newcomer was celebrated as one of first high end restaurants to arrive uptown, many thought that the prices did not quite fit for the neighborhood.  Months after the eatery's opening, a five dollar menu of food and drinks started to show up during the early evening weekday happy hour which now includes a Maine Lobster Mac and Cheese small plate.  On the higher end of the menu, a Sunday Supper Club four-course menu for $90 has just been introduced so an upper market clientele is still definitely in the picture: LINK.  Another notable fact from the article is that the restaurant just north of 112th Street has also applied for a sidewalk cafe license which will help transform this part of lower FDB into a more pedestrian friendly destination.

☞ REVIVE: More Construction on 116th Street

Community Board 10 has scheduled a public hearing for next week to review the zoning of 116th and 117th Street to "facilitate the development of a 12-story, market rate residential building with 95 residential units and 20,000 square foot of retail space on 116th Street, and a 9-story, 100-unit affordable housing building on 117th Street, with 9,000 square foot of community facility space." The area described is bound by Lenox and Fifth Avenue so the open parking lot and basketball court in the above photo must be the general property in question since the parcels face both streets. This is also the same block facing the Kalahari (lower photo) which is actually already taller than most of the surrounding residential buildings. The developer of the Kalahari bought the parcels in question about a year ago for a total of $5.1 million: LINK. Should the new zoning then be a big issue for this part of 116th Street?

Manhattan Community Board 10 will hold the zoning public hearing on the 2nd Floor Art Gallery of the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building at 163 West 125th Street PM on Wednesday, June 1st, commencing at 6:00 PM. Check out more details for this particular issue on the Central Harlem Community Board 10 official website: LINK

☞ READ: Rice High School to Close in June

Today's papers report that Rice High School has not been able to raise enough funds to prevent closing its doors and will apparently do so next month. News broke this past April that the boys Catholic school by the corner of 124th Street and Lenox had been facing difficulties because of declining enrollment along with a dwindling supply of traditional donors: LINK. The school founded in 1938 by the Congregation of Christian Brothers is notable for its one hundred percent college acceptance rate in the past years but the $5 million needed to prevent the institution from closing appears to be out of reach: LINK

☞ LISTEN: A Day of Jazz at HSA

Saturday, May 28th, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM, A Day of Jazz Sponsored by The Harlem School of the Arts and JazzMobile, at The Harlem School of the Arts, 645 Saint Nicholas Avenue. The Harlem School of the Arts will host A Day of Jazz, co-sponsored by the JazzMobile. A Day of Jazz will feature workshops and performances by NEA’s Jazz Master Lee Konitz (alto sax), JazzMobile Clinician Paul West (bass), critically-acclaimed Dan Tepfer (piano), the Alabama School of Fine Arts Jazz Band and the HSA Jazz Band. FREE Admission: www.HSAnyc.org

Monday, May 23, 2011

☞ DWELL: 47 West 126th Street Sold in April

Another shell located on the block just east of Lenox Avenue has sold this year.  Number 47 West 126th Street (at center) has been boarded up the past few years and it looks like the building was originally sold back in 2007 for $1.75 million. The 20 foot wide, 4-family house did not appear to have much happening to it except a Lis Pendens filed in the past couple of year.  There are quite a few neglected shells and lots on this stretch of 126th Street but the final closing price of $360K is probably a good investment since the house is around the corner from Lenox Avenue's 125th Street hub. A neighboring building at No. 67 sold in March under similar circumstances for $499K so maybe the street will start turning around soon in the near future: LINK