Saturday, July 30, 2011

☞ INTRODUCING: Londel's Arriving at Livmor?

This past week saw some big news when it was announced that a notable butcher was opening at the Livmor condos on the lower FDB corridor but a reader has pointed out another important player that might also be debuting next door. While the new Harlem Shambles shop is located more towards mid block at the new construction, there appears to be public notice placed on the storefront at the south corner by 115th Street.  Upon further inspection, the paperwork has it that a restaurant or tavern is seeking a liquor license and that the proprietor of the new establishment is Londel Davis.

The top photo shows Londel's  Supper Club which is further up on FDB at 140th Street and is known for its southern offerings, live jazz nights and a bow tie-wearing proprietor named Londel Davis. Reports for the space originally had it called the Harlem Sports Cafe but it is not clear what the final moniker will be but it seems like things are progressing along.  Read more about the sports cafe in our original post: LINK

Friday, July 29, 2011

☞ REMEMBER: The East Harlem Giglio c. 1955

East Harlem had Manhattan's largest Italian community in the early half of the 20th century and the above photo shows that the old world community still had a presence uptown even in the mid 1950s. The festival had hundreds of men lift a massive religious monument known as a Gigli down the streets of east 106th and 108th Street up until 1971. After a hiatus of almost three decades, the festival has been brought back uptown in the past few years by Giglio Society of East Harlem which does a great job in bringing back the traditions of a once vibrant Italian community.  This year's big event will be in mid August along Pleasant Avenue and more details can be found at the organizer site: LINK.  Photo courtesy of the Giglio Society of East Harlem

☞ DWELL: 246 West 139th Street Townhouse

OPEN HOUSE: Sunday, July 31st, 12:00 Noon-1:30 PM. The house at 246 West 139th Street is in the Strivers Row neighborhood of Central Harlem and first appeared on the market back in December for the asking price of $1.995 million. Pretty keen renovations seem to have been made to the interior but 7 months later the property between ACP/7th and FDB/8th has now reduced its price. More photos and the new price after the jump.

☞ INTRODUCING: 88 Morningside Rooftop Reveal

We just received the press for the newly unveiled rooftop at 88 Morrningside which is touting itself as the fastest selling Harlem condo within this past year.  Located at the corner of Morningside Avenue and West 122nd Street, the building's featured amenity had only been rendered digitally until now. The above photos show the final result of the 1,800 square foot rooftop terrace complete with a communal kitchen and private cabanas. Click on images to enlarge. This reportedly fastest selling new development in Harlem reached more than 50% sold in just over a year.

☞ REVIVE: 241 Lenox Reno Picks Up Pace

The last time there was any major action at the corner building on 122nd Street and Lenox was back in March but it turned out to be for a movie production (Boardwalk Empire).  All the scaffolding is still up at 241 Lenox Avenue from the past couple of years but progress was not visible until we walked by in the past week.  There apparently are men working on the facade these days and the process of applying a scratch coat and skim coating it with stucco seems to be at hand.  Permits show that old paperwork filed back in 2009 have been renewed this month to fix up the facade and some of the infrastructure.  The paperwork also reveals that the brownstone is not an SRO but there are no clear indication of what the end use of the building will be. This is also the building that Mike's Newsstand has been standing under all these years so it would be nice to be able to see the notable business once more when the work is complete: LINK

☞ EAT: Outdoor Dining Debuts at Lido

Harlem's newest Italian restaurant on the lower FDB corridor appears to be expanding in many ways these days. Lido on FDB/8th  had started to place planters alongside decorative cast iron partitions out front at the corner of West 117th Street in the past week and now it appears that the tables have finally arrived.  The lower photo was uploaded on the restaurant's Facebook site yesterday and we have been informed that Lido will be open on Mondays.

Other notables for the better Harlem eatery include $14 prix fix lunch with free wifi and complimentary iced coffee or tea. There is also the Brunch Saturdays and Sundays with $10 bottomless mimosas along with Happy Hour from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM every day which all provide a few great incentives to visit often.

☞ SEE: Around Harlem this Weekend

Saturday, July 30th,9:00 AM-5:00 PM, Morningside Park Farmers Market, corner of 110th Street and Manhattan Avenue. Check out the new seasonal and locally grown and produced goods while enjoying Morningside Park: LINK

Saturday, July 30th,8:00 AM-4:00 PM, Mount Morris Park Historic District Farmers Market is open for the season at 124th Street and Fifth Avenue: LINK

Saturdays, July 30th, 9:00 AM-10:00 AM, Free Weekend Morning Yoga Classes at the Harlem Meer, 110th Street between Fifth Avenue and Lenox. Harlem Yoga Studio Saturday session at Central Park North's Harlem Meer will run through the end of August during fair weather. Bring your own mats: LINK

Saturday, July 30th, 4:00 PM-5:00 PM, Free Afternoon Yoga at Morningside Park, 110th Street and Manhattan Avenue. Brought to you by Land Yoga, Community Markets and Friends of Morningside Park. Bring your own yoga mat. Class will be cancelled if raining: LINK

Saturday, July 30th, 2:00 PM-5:00 PM, Great Jazz on the Hill, Central Park Great Hill at CPW and 106th Street.  Jazzmobile presents a free concert with the George Gee Swing Orchestra, vocalist Pete McGuiness and Brianna Thomas along with dance workshops for the family: LINK

Saturday, July 30th, El Barrio Today Walking Tour, meets at El Museo Lobby, 1230 Fifth Avenue and 104th Street. El Barrio Today Arts Cluster invites you to come explore our neighborhood. Highlights include the Graffiti Wall of Fame, Julia de Burgos Boulevard, local murals and much more. All tours leave from El Museo's lobby. This is event is free but RSVP required: LINK

Sunday, July 31st, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM, Willie Villegas y Entre Amigos, Central Park's Harlem Meer, at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues. Willie Villegas y Entre Amigos performs at the weekly free summer Sunday festival by the Dana Discovery Center: LINK

Sunday, July 31st, 2:00 PM, The National Dance Institute Performance at Grant's Tomb, 122nd Street and Riverside Drive.  The National Dance Institute will have some of the many school students the establishment teaches on hand Sunday for a performance at Grant's Tomb: LINK

Sunday, July 31st, 7:30 PM, Comedy Covo at the Covo Upstairs Lounge, 701 West 135th Street and 12th Avenue. Check out the free monthly comedy show which showcases some of NYC's top comedians at Manhattanville's Covo Trattoria upstairs lounge: LINK

Thursday, July 28, 2011

☞ REMEMBER: History at 72 Hamilton Terrace

A reader had the below family history to share on the abandoned house at 72 Hamilton Terrace that was formerly the Nazareth Deliverance Church in West Harlem and 144th Street:

My Paternal grandfather owned and lived in this mansion before it became a church. I have no idea at this time how it fell out of the family's hands. However, It did so over 50 years ago. My father was born and grew up in the mansion. However, he never to my knowledge had anything to do with it's ownership. My grandfather's name was Charles Paul Goldsmith. My father was Charles Paul Goldsmith Jr. His brother, my uncle, changed his name from Goldsmith because of antisemitism in the music industry at the time, and became Bob Hilliard.

Bob Hilliard was a song writer and is in the Song Writer's hall of fame. He also grew up in the house. Charles Paul Goldsmith Sr. was a jeweler, and also an inventor of items having to do with jewelry. The jewelry business he owned bore his own name "Charles P. Goldsmith" and was fairly well known. My Father, Charles Jr. was born in 1910 and I have a picture from about 1915 of him on a couch in the living room of the mansion. I also have a copy of an old picture of the front of the mansion, the original had been torn, and belonged to my half sister. Charles Jr. was Married to my mother in 1942 and I was born in 1943. The earliest I can date the ownership by the Goldsmith family is 1901, but I don't think that date has anything to do with its date of construction.

I do know that the Paul Goldsmith Sr. still owned the mansion at the time of my birth and for several years after that. My father and mother divorced a short time after I was born, and due to a strange set of circumstances that I will not get into here, I was adopted away from the family. My name prior to my adoption was Charles Paul Goldsmith the third. I am out of time for now, but will try to add more later.

☞ DWELL: Checking Up on BLVD Condos

It has been a couple of months since we checked up with the two-building project called BLVD condos on the lower FDB corridor so we were wondering how things were looking on the sales front.  Between the two buildings towers at 2192 and 2196 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, there was a total of 26 condominium apartments altogether which also includes two penthouses that are 2-3 bedroom. Checking up on Streeteasy, it seems that the initial 7 units available have been pulled off the market after contracts failed to appear.  Units are priced in the high $200K to the mid $300K which would work out for entry level buyers but all listings were pulled only after 2 months on the market: LINK.  A few of the lower FDB corridor buildings have been selling out in 2011 so for some reason this one on 118th Street has still not picked up its pace.  More details at:

☞ REVIVE: 324 Pleasant Avenue Rises

The above chilly photo was taken back in January of this year when we noticed that the large lot at 324 Pleasant Avenue had some upgraded plywood and signage posted up.  Walking by recently to check up on the Pleasant Avenue Apartments, we noticed some dramatic changes on site.  Photo of the development after the jump.

☞ EAT: Some Activity Over at Louise's

The shuttered Harlem diner called Louise's appears to have had some activity on site this past week.  It has been at least a couple of years since the shop at No. 217 Lenox Avenue was closed down for health violations and many lamented the shuttering of another Harlem soul food restaurant that had been around for decades.  Based on the work happening at the corner of West 121st Street, folks might expect another opening in the Mount Morris Park Historic District  of lower Lenox Avenue in the near future.

☞ READ: World Platforms for Harlem Museums

An article in the Huffington Post is a really interesting reminder that Harlem's cultural institutional have a challenge to be set for a world platform as part of the evolution of the neighborhood. The focus of  the feature is how the new Museum for African Art Location at 110th Street/Central Park North  and Fifth Avenue has actually been around for almost three decades but will eventually become the institution it was meant to be when it opens on the Museum Mile sometimes in 2012 at one of Harlem's most ambitious new buildings: LINK.

This reminds us of the ongoing talks of the relocation of the National Jazz Museum (lower photo) which has been planned for sometimes now but still has not gained enough momentum to actually happen.  Located on the East Harlem side of 126th Street, the modest building is not in a location with a lot of foot traffic and is not really conducive to the important historic nature of the establishment.  In the past, the Victoria Theatre on 125th  Street was one option but more recently the old Mart 125 new development proposal across from the Apollo appears to be the final loction: LINK.  Over a year later, there has not been any news about financing the said project so only time will tell if the jazz museum will be reborn on 125th Street.

☞ SEE: Henry V at Richard Rodgers Amphitheatre

Friday and Saturday, August 5th and 6th, 8:00 PM, Classical Theatre of Harlem Presents Henry V at the New Richard Rodgers Amphitheater, Marcus Garvery Park at Fifth Avenue and West 122nd Street. "Explore the brutally thoughtful, fiercely funny, belligerent diplomacy of King Henry V with The Classical Theatre of Harlem as they interpret William Shakespeare’s classic."  These two free outdoor performances are a preview to the new season for the Classical Theatre of Harlem: LINK. More details and direction on the NYC Parks site: LINK. Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

☞ REMEMBER: Popcorn on Pleasant Ave c. 1939

The above photo shows the old Italian Harlem section of Pleasant Avenue and 115th Street looking east circa 1939.  Most of the tenements facing west would still be standing at the time (and are intact today on Plaeasant Avenue) and the construction in the background would eventually become the Benjamin Franklin High School. The large Italian community has since moved out to the suburbs but do return once a year to visit the old neighborhood during the Giglio Festival in August and once more fill the avenue up with vendors: LINK.  Archival photo courtesy NYPL

☞ DWELL: Mathison Brownstone Off Market

Soap actor Cameron Mathison's Harlem brownstone at 136 West 130th Street reappeared on the market in the last week of May this year, went into contract 4 weeks later and now appears to be listed as no longer available according to Streeteasy: LINK.  The revised price this time for the single-family house from the brokers at Sotheby's was set at $2.5 million. This renovated 20 foot wide, 4,144 square foot townhouse just west of Lenox Avenue was the home of the Mathison family in recent years but when the New York based production of the actor's show moved to the West Coast, the home was placed on the market and had also been rented out in the past year or so. It is unclear if the sales of the property has closed at this point or if the said contract fell through at this point.

☞ REVIVE: What's Up with 2211 Third Avenue?

There has been a lot of construction planned for the corner of Third Avenue and East 121st Street but some have been doing better than others.  Most notable in the area was the lot surrounded by blue plywood on the south side of the street with No. 2211 marking the wall and the neighboring construction just on the north side of the street. What do these developments look like today?

☞ INTRODUCING: Bicycles at the Red Rooster

Another thing to add to the Red Rooster's roster these days appears to be free bicycle rentals.  Chef Samuelsson published the above photo via Twitter yesterday and confirms that the bikes had arrived for guests who want to ride around and check out Harlem. We assume that since the celebrity chef's restaurant is drawing crowds from all parts of the city, this will provide a means for some of them to get to see a little more of the neighborhood while uptown. Lending bikes out to guests is more common outside the states so it will be interesting to see if this amenity picks up with other establishments in the city.

☞ SHOP: West Harlem Farm Share Arriving Today

Wednesday, July 27th, 1:00 PM, The West Harlem Farm Share Opening, 1455 Amsterdam Avenue at West 132nd Street.  On Wednesday at 1:00pm, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer will bring fresh fruits and vegetables to West Harlem with the launch of the Harlem Farm Share Community Sustained Agriculture program. Harlem Farm Share is a joint effort from the Manhattan Borough President’s Office and Corbin Hill Farms, an upstate farm in New York’s Schoharie County dedicated to bringing healthy foods to the city’s neediest neighborhoods.

West Harlem residents will be signing up for membership and picking up seasonal shares that include zucchini, apples, kale and sugar snap peas. Harlem Farm Share accepts cash, checks and SNAP (food stamps). Photo via Corbin Hill Farms.  More details on the Farm at the Borough President site: LINK

☞ READ: More Details on the Harlem Shambles

New York Magazine did some investigative work on the forthcoming Harlem Shambles at 2131 Frederick Douglass Boulevard and came up with a few new facts. The owner Tim Forrester was contacted and revealed that the opening date of the better butcher shop will happen closer to the first half of August at the storefront of the Livmor condo by 115th Street. Other details discussed included white subway tile interiors, grass-fed beef from Kinderhook Farm along with meat pies and cornish pasties will eventually be part of the offerings: Mr. Forrester also appears to have been trained at notable butcher shop Fleisher's according to the article:  LINK

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

☞ REMEMBER: Hebrew Orphan Asylum c. 1910

The large scale of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum must have been an impressive local landmark in West Harlem in the late 19th and early 20th Century since postcards were apparently produced for those who wanted a souvenir from their uptown visit.  A colored card from around 1910 shows a pretty rural setting which was located by today's City College by Hamilton Heights.  This must have been an important institution during Harlem's turn of the century development years but changing demographics probably made it obsolete. The further lack of local Hebrews or orphans seemed to have done the institution in by the mid century and the entire structure was razed in the 1950s.  Check out our past post to see what's there today: LINK

☞ DWELL: 115 West 119th Street Brownstone

The renovated house at 115 West 119th Street has been reappearing on the market for the past couple of years and has arrived again as of last month with an asking of $2.195 million (the house was set at $2.65 million in 2008).  We saw this 18 foot wide home a couple of years back at the Mount Morris Park Historic District House Tour and it had very contemporary finishing to the kitchen and lighting but the plasterwork and wood was all intact on the walls.

The top two rental floors are apparently going for a combined total rent roll of $5,100 total each month which is separate from the lower owner's duplex. Square footage is somewhere around 3,122 but the old estimates do not often include the lower level. The one caveat here is checking up on the C of O which appears to be a little vague. Boutique shops are around the corner on Lenox and the express trains are a short walk away. More details at the broker site: LINK

☞ EAT: Progress at Second Island Salad

La Perle Noire Cafe at 420 Lenox Avenue by 131st Street closed sometimes this past May and the reported arrival of Island Salad seems to be at hand based on photos sent to our inbox this past weekend.  The healthy salad bar founded originally on 125th Street in the past couple years has now expanded their franchise with the bright red awning further north and will hopefully renew the outdoor dining that the corner was especially known for at the former cafe. At this rate of progress, one might expect the eatery to open maybe within the next couple of weeks.

☞ READ: PS90 Reaches 80 Percent Sold

Yesterday saw the press release for the adaptive reuse condos at PS90 which reports that 80% of the units are closed or under contract. According to the developer, eight new closings were completed in the last four weeks at PS90, which is located at 220 West 148th Street. Traffic continues to be steady at the development, where immediate occupancy is available.

PS90 is a redevelopment of a circa 1905 elementary school, which is now home to 75 residences in a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. This unique, award-winning property is highlighted by spacious layouts, Manhattan views, custom kitchens and spa-like bathrooms. Penthouses feature generously-sized rooftop terraces.

The remaining units on the market range from approximately 762 to 1,579 square feet in size and from $445,000 and $849,000 in price. Three penthouse one bedroom apartments remain with private terraces of approximately 135 square feet. For more information, please visit:

Monday, July 25, 2011

☞ REMEMBER: 580 West 130th Street c. 1932

The above photo from 1932 shows what the south east corner of Broadway and West 130th Street used to look like back in 1932. There apparently was a mix of frame houses, tenements and garages at this intersection in the past before everything was demolished. Today  this section of Manhattanville in West Harlem is a super block of public housing.   Photo courtesy NYPL

☞ DWELL: 319 Convent Avenue Sold Higher

The landmark, 20 foot wide townhouse at 319 Convent Avenue was just listed at the very end of May for $1.6 million, went into contract within 27 days by June and now has a recorded sale in July. This single-family home with 3,596 square foot in total appears to have been renovated in recent years and is located on one of the most beautiful historic districts in Manhattan.  There's not much as far as amenities on the surrounding  blocks but the commercial and transportation hub at 145th Street is not too far away.  With that said, the final recorded sale was notably higher than asking at $1.971 million according to public records.

☞ ARCHITECTURE: The New HCZ Building

There has been a lot of controversy during the construction of the new Harlem Children's Zone building on the public housing grounds at 129th Street but the actual design of the new structure has not been reviewed except for some vague sketches.  One might assume that the modernist look of  the HCZ building on 125th Street (at top) would carry over to the new location and a released sketch now confirms the direction for the $100 million project.  Rendering after the jump.

☞ READ: Average Studio Rents in Manhattan

Does anyone remember the days when finding a Manhattan studio for $500 per month was a deal and the local newspapers were the main source for searches?  New York Magazine has a few studio choices on the supposedly affordable side found online and it appears that under $2,000 is the magic number nowadays (rents rates have gone up 10% in the past year).  On the list includes Harlem which apparently is going on average of $1,873 per month and the featured flat at 271 Lenox is apparently slightly lower.  There's a funeral parlor next door and the facade is currently under renovation but the location by123rd Street is close to the 2,3 express trains and the historic district. Check out the roster of Manhattan apartments "deals"  in NY Magazine:  LINK

☞ SHOP: Harlem Shambles Arriving at Livmor

We were the first to report back in June that a work permit was filed for a new store (a butcher shop) at the Livmor condos on FDB and 115th Street and now it looks like a name has been chosen for that said establishment.  A reader sent in a tip over the weekend that the Harlem Shambles has posted a sign up in the window space of the new construction and that refrigerator equipment could be seen within the interior.  This would be the first retail space to arrive at the building and will also be using Harlem in its moniker as a selling point.  From the sound of it, the owners are really working hard at creating a certain concept and feel to the store so it should be one to look out for.  The word "shambles" evidently is an old name for a butcher shop. Check out the original permit in our past post: LINK.  As far as the Harlem sports bar goes, there does not seem to be any progress on that reported Livmor tenant which may not be a contender any more: LINK

UPDATE: A reader sent us a link to Forrester Brothers Meats which has a cool 19th century image up but also confirmed they secured a "very favorable block, with a solid neighborhood crowd, and a number of upscale businesses either recently open or on the way. The new shop should be open late this summer on Frederick Douglass Blvd, between 115th and 116th streets."  Check out more blog entries here: LINK

☞ INTRODUCING: Morris-Jumel Historic Garden

August 1st-5th, Monday – Friday from 11: 00 AM -2:00 PM, Historic Garden Summer Workshop at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace, between 160th and 161st Street.  Children will learn why gardens were so important during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in this weeklong workshop. The majority of the time will be spent outside in the mansion’s historic sunken garden studying nature, planting and watering seeds.  Children will make journals, leaf rubbings, terrariums and other projects they will get to take home with them at the end of the week.

The workshop is appropriate for students ages 6 and up and an adult learning partner is required to stay with the student. Registration for the week is FREE but advanced registration is required. Call to reserve at 212.923. 8008.  More details on the Morris-Jumel Mansion site: LINK

Sunday, July 24, 2011

☞ READ: Last Week's Most Viewed Posts

Below is the list of last week's most viewed posts and comments.

1. What's Up with 721 Lenox Avenue? (2)
2. 5 West 127th Street Revealed (3)
3. Demolition Progress on Kimco Site
4. Tenants Sue to Block New Charter (12)
5. The Land Yoga Opening Event
6. 470 West 148th Street in Contract
7. Where in Harlem is Neil Patrick Harris? (2)
8. Brewing Company Arriving on 125th (6)
9. Something Old and New at Red Rooster (4)
10. Attack The Block (7)

☞ SEE: Maestro Screening at Morningside Park

Sunday, July 24th, 8:15 PM, Maestro Screening at Morningside Park, 113th Street and Morningingside Drive. Maysle Cinema presents a free outdoor screening of the 2003 documentary Maestro after the live DJ Sundae Sermon summer music festival.  This films looks back at the legendary Paradise Garage which was the post-Stonewall underground birthplace of DJ music and culture in the 70s. More details on the Maysles Cinema site: LINK

Friday, July 22, 2011

☞ REMEMBER: The West Side Boarding Stables

An archival photo from 1941 shows West Side Boarding Stables which were evidently just west of Lenox on 128th Street.  Information listed on the research materials has the location as No. 119 West 128th Street and on the south side.  The address does not quite make sense since the odd numbers on the street are always on the north side and the layout of the current buildings on the site today do not correlate with the old image.  When looking at the south side of 128th Street, things make a little more sense since there used to be a large parking lot which has had a new affordable construction finish up on it in the past year: LINK.  Research photo courtesy NYPL

☞ DWELL: 104 West 120th Street Brownstone

Open House, Sunday, July 24th, 4:00 PM-5:30 PM.  The interior photos for the property at 104 West 120th Street looked a little too perfect which would make one think some digital help was at hand. Based on walking by the property just west of Lenox Avenue this week, one would still find contractors hanging around on the site so things presumedly still are finishing up. Check out the interior designs of the Mount Morris Park house asking for $2 million after the jump.

☞ REVIVE: La Celia Rises at 64 East 111th

Just not visiting a certain block for a couple of months often brings surprises as is the case for the abandoned lot at 64 East 111th Street. The above photo taken this week shows a massive new construction rising between Madison and Park with eight floors complete at this point thus far.

We received some news in our inbox yesterday about the new building rising in East Harlem which will be known as La Celia.  This new construction is apparently 12-stories tall from what we can tell (click on image to enlarge) and will have 123 units in total once complete. The building will be an affordable coop with prices ranging from $140,000 - $195,000 for studios,  $150,000 - $290,000 for 1 bedrooms and $175,000 - $373,000 for 2 bedroom apartments.  Construction for the L+M project is expected to top off by September of this year and the lottery for apartments will be up sometimes in Spring 2012.  If all goes well with construction timelines, La Celia is expected to open sometimes in October 2012.