Thursday, February 28, 2013

☞ BESPOKE: Sawa Shoes Made in Africa

The brand Sawa that specializes in sneakers are currently trending these days and are also notably made in Africa.  We have had over a decade of experience working with Asian based manufacturers and watched those countries grow economically and a brand based in Africa is something that will only help that continent's overall development.

With the exception of Japan, Asian manufacturing vendors do not have any global brands they sell themselves so seeing this sneaker company from Africa making news is a quite refreshing.  J. Crew has recently started selling the brand in their New York boutique store and hopefully shops uptown will take note.  Check out the full collection and look book at: www.SawaShoes.com

☞ INTRODUCING: Delivery at Maison Harlem

Maison Harlem at the corner of 127th and St. Nicholas has started home deliveries with Seamless Online or by phone.  Delivering range will be from 145th Street to 110th Street ranging from Fifth Avenue to the west side.  Contact and menu information can be found at the French Bistro's website: www.MaisonHarlem.com

☞ EXERCISE: Unity Yoga Arriving at The Balton

A Bespoke tip came in that reported on a new yoga studio arriving in Central Harlem.  Based on a recent article, Unity Yoga will reportedly arrive at lower commercial space at the Balton rental building on St. Nicholas and 127th Street.  Those interested in Hot Yoga should note that the new business will be open by this summer: LINK

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

☞ SHOP: American Eagle Arriving on 125th Street

A New York Post article confirms that American Eagle will be arriving at the new Whole Foods building that will break ground in May.  This project set to be built at the corner lot on 125th at Lenox has a major retail developer behind it and momentum has picked up once more on Harlem's main commercial corridor so folks should expect this one to come through by 2015.  Some might lament the lost of small shops on 125th Street but city planners apparently want the big corporations on 125th Street to provide foot traffic and major jobs while the avenues and side streets will now be the spots for small businesses.  Read about the American Eagle's arrival in the Post: LINK

☞ EAT: The Lexington Social in The Times

There are not too many restaurants in East Harlem with that early 20th century ambiance to it but Lexington Social at 103rd Street is the exception to the rule and the New York Times just had a feature on the eatery.  Service is apparently friendly enough and the this establishment just north of the 103rd Street Lexington stop is one of the more popular spots in East Harlem since there are not to many spots that provide the vintage vibe that is doing so well in other parts of the city: LINK

☞ CONTACT: Got a Harlem Bepoke Tip?

Send any tips and especially photos over our way if you have stories on your section of Harlem: harlembespoke@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

☞ DWELL: 123 West 118th Street Still on Market



The 20-foot-wide limestone townhouse at 123 West 118th Street is still on the market after debuting back in summer 2012. There are not a lot of new property coming up on the market these days and the location, detail and size of this house should have helped it move but this beauty still sits on the market. Houses further up north that are in landmark neighborhoods (Hamilton Heights), and are as unique, have been going slightly under $2 million so the broker must be pricing this home based on the fact that it is located below 125th Street.

Almost everything seems to be intact in the roughly 5,000-square-foot, 3-family home but it appears it all needs to have a few updates. Fortunately all of the wood does not have paint on it and the bathroom is one of the most complete ones we have seen Harlem (the bath floors are obviously not original and we would probably just replace them with white marble hex tiles).  There's quite a bit of work that needs to be done here for the asking price of $2.695 million but the Mount Morris Historic District is one of the best neighborhoods in Harlem when it comes to architecture, shop proximity and express transportation. More photos and details on Streeteasy: LINK

☞ DRINK: New Sign at The Park 112

The new champagne bar called The Park originally will now be called The Park 112 according to the new signage up at the facade of the new establishment.  Walking by the storefront in the past week, we noticed that the number 112 was added to the moniker of the new restaurant bar that will arrive on FDB/8th Avenue and 112th Street sometimes this spring.  This one is going to be another modern spot which appears to be what is happening down on FDB these days.

☞ INTRODUCING: Musee Maison in West Harlem

The New York Daily News reports on an architect who turns his townhouse on West 148th Street into a live performance space several times a year and calls it Musee Maison.  Luis Da Cruz is a designer, an artist and also an acrobat that has modeled his four-story, Hamilton Heights townhouse into a house museum similar to the ones found in Paris.  Musee Maison is located close to Amsterdam Avenue and appears to open to the public by appointment only. Read more in the Daily News: LINK

Photo courtesy Luis Da Cruz

☞ LISTEN: Kenneth Whalum at Ginny's

Saturday, March 2nd, 8:00PM and 9:00PM, Kenneth Whalum at Ginny's Supper Club, 310 Lenox Avenue, beneath the Red Rooster. On Saturday March 2nd Ginny's Supper Club is proud to welcome to the stage bandleader and saxophonist Kenneth Whalum. A fresh voice on the jazz scene, Kenneth is adept at music from bebop to hip-hop, having collaborated with rap legend Jay Z and keys master Robert Glasper. More details for this event and $18 ticket information can be found at the Ginny's Supper Club site: LINK

☞ FOLLOW: Harlem Bespoke Via Twitter

Harlem Bespoke also has a Twitter account for those who want daily updates about stuff that's happening in the neighborhood. If you Twitter, check out our Harlem tweets and join here: LINK.

Monday, February 25, 2013

☞ REMEMBER: 144th and Convent circa 1905


A photo taken in 1905 shows the historic Hamilton Heights block on the corner of 144th and Convent Avenue when things were pretty new.  One can see in the current photo taken this month that the landmark district still looks the same today except for one of the conical roofs that have been removed from the north side of the street.

Archival Image courtesy the Museum of the City of New York

☞ DWELL: 64 Edgecombe Avenue Townhouse

The 4-unit townhouse at 64 Edgecombe was reduced to $995K last year and now records show that the 18-foot-wide home just south of West 138th Street sold for $1.05 million. Location wise, this area is within one of the more intact brownstone districts of Harlem with quick access to St. Nicholas Park and the subway station at 135th Street. Interior photos show some original details and recent upgrades such as new oak floors and plaster walls: LINK

☞ INTRODUCING: Biscuits and Gravy in Harlem

Harlem is well known for its southern cuisine but we noticed getting a plate of biscuit and Gravy uptown was not such an easy task.  Luckily Harlem Public on Broadway at 149th just introduced brunch service this past weekend and the breakfast classic from down south is on the menu.  HP has a version which offers up two cheddar, sausage gravy and sunny side eggs on the side.  There is more to choose from for brunch but if you are looking for biscuits and gravy in Harlem, then Harlem Public is the spot to be at. Check out more of the menu on the Harlem Public Facebook site: LINK

☞ READ: Last Week's Most Viewed Posts

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

1. Coccola Opens on 139th and Amsterdam (5) 
2. A 50 Million Lenox Lounge Lawsuit (3)
3. New Eatery Arriving on 145th Street (10) 
4. Asian Restaurants in Greater Harlem (12)
5. Basement Floor Treatments? (6)
6. The Time Magazine Harlem (2) 
7. Silvana Arriving on 116th Street 
8. One Morningside Park (1)
9. 369 Manhattan Avenue Sold Lower 
10. A New Look for 240 Manhattan Ave (15)

☞ SUBSCRIBE: Harlem Bespoke via Email

Get daily Harlem Bespoke posts via email the moment they are published by subscribing below.  There's also the Harlem Bespoke Facebook site so "like" us today and get connected: LINK

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Friday, February 22, 2013

☞ QUESTION: Basement Floor Treatments?

We received a question from a reader on how to finish off basement floors in a brownstone:

My basement floor is rough cement and the dust sticks to my feet and gets tracked throughout the house. What do other townhouse owners do? Epoxy? Linoleum? Carpet? Tile?

Based on the dust description of the space, maybe the question is actually referring to the cellar floor which is below the garden level and usually holds the boiler or other mechanical equipment for the house. Carpet would probably attract dust and would not be advised.  If the concrete is even, tile might be a way to go since it is durable and cleans up easy.

Does any home owners out there have tips on how to seal off the floor space in the cellar?

☞ SHOP: New Flea Market on West 120th Street

Another tip was received that a new flea market will be arriving in Harlem at the schoolyard between west 119th and West 120th Street right on Manhattan Avenue.  There is a Craig's list post that has an open call for Antiques, Arts, Crafts, Furniture, Clothing, Toys, Jewelry or Household vendors to apply if interested.  The market will be every Sunday, from 10-5 and will start in April 2013.  Those interested should respond to the Craig's list notice: LINK

☞ EAT: Silvana Arriving on 116th Street

We received a tip from a Bespoke reader that a restaurant called Silvana will be opening on the south side of 116th Street just west of FDB/8th Avenue.  A construction worker on the site mentioned that this was the location of the new eatery which is right across the street from the popular Harlem Tavern.  Reportedly the owners of Silvana previously opened Yatenga and Shrine further north on Adam Clayton Powell/7th Avenue.

There appears to be a trend of successful Harlem new businesses branching out uptown and these restaurant veterans have gotten the formula right.  Yatenga's French bistro ambiance and Shrine's cool, casual atmosphere are approachable and not overly fussy with being too modern so Silvana should be more of the same.  

☞ MEET: Harlem Arts Festival Workshop

Sunday, February 24th, Harlem Arts Festival 2013 Artist Call Workshop. Artists interested in being showcased in the 2013 Harlem Arts Festival, taking place June 29th - 30th in Marcus Garvey Park are invited to the Artist Workshop. You will have an opportunity to learn more about the festival, fill out an application, meet the HAF team (as well as other artists) and have your questions answered. RSVP at: info@harlemartsfestival.com 

For more details on the Harlem Arts Festival, check out the official website: LINK

Thursday, February 21, 2013

☞ SHOP: The Gap Factory Store Opens on 125th

Bespoke Readers have mentioned that the new Gap outlet store has opened on 125th Street and that appears to be true. We walked by this corner just east of FDB/8th Avenue today and shoppers could be seen walking in and out of the store.  The Gap has a popular Old Navy store on Harlem's main commercial strip but this is the first Gap store to arrive uptown.

☞ INTRODUCING: One Morningside Park


Four floors of the planned 22 levels at 240 Manhattan Avenue have risen and now a new name has been revealed.  This new building facing Morningside Park at 110th Street will be called One Morningside Park and even has its own website: LINK.  This development is right around the bustling FDB corridor and some of the units will have direct views of Central Park.  Based on all of these factors, sales will probably be brisk once One Morningside Park debuts in South Harlem.

Check out the rendering of the final building design in our previous post: LINK

☞ REVIVE: New Eatery Arriving on 145th Street


We walked by the old townhouse restaurant that sold last year on 145th Street and noticed that there appears to be construction going on inside.  Some might remember that number 458 West 145th Street used to be a restaurant called Baton Rouge which shuttered a few years back and the house finally exchanged hands in recent months.

The inside scoop is that the owner of a somewhat popular Harlem restaurant is opening a new restaurant further north on this section of Hamilton Heights.  Looking at the permits on the doors, one can see that new plumbing, kitchen ventilation and wall partitions have been planned for the space that is listed as an eating and drinking establishment.  Beyond those facts, we have not heard much else on the concept of the new business.

☞ REMEMBER: The Harlem Express circa 1900

Another old photo of the Harlem Express circa 1900 shows the uniforms worn in the day by the conductors.  It appears the guy in charge is probably wearing the bowler and the traditional engineer's cap can be seen on the gentleman second in command.  The elevated train predates the subway systems  and were mostly dismantled when the underground system of public transportation became the standard for the city.

Archival image courtesy the Museum of the City of New York

☞ DRINK: Coffee Grinder @ Lenox Coffee

Thursday, February 21st, 8:00PM Coffee Grinder @ Lenox Coffee, 60 West 129th, east of Lenox Avenue.  There's not really a lot of places for the LBGT community to meet in Harlem and Lenox Coffee is now trying a night out call Coffee Grinder.  Come meet the neighbors at this gay mixer that will have DJ Bill Coleman providing the music.  The bespoke coffee shop recently started up wine and beer service so should be the happening spot next Thursday. www.LenoxCoffee.com

☞ CONTACT: Got a Harlem Bepoke Tip?

Send any tips and especially photos over our way if you have stories on your section of Harlem: harlembespoke@gmail.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

☞ DWELL: 369 Manhattan Avenue Sold Lower

Number 369 Manhattan Avenue arrived back on the market in 2012 at the asking price of $1.150 million and records now show that the final selling price was $999K.  At a generous 20 foot wide with modest builder-grade finishes, this 4-family house is just steps away from the lower FDB corridor and is only a couple of blocks away from the subway at 116th Street. The townhouse appears to be just for investors but is in a prime location for just under a million.

☞ EAT: Coccola Opens on 139th and Amsterdam


Bespoke readers have been sending in tips about Coccola on 139th Street and now it appears the eatery has opened.  We walked by this section of Amsterdam Avenue across from City College in Hamilton Heights and noticed that the restaurant was already providing lunch service.  Coccola reportedly is owned by the guys the brought about Bettolona in Manhattanville and it appears that the menus are similar.  Expect pizza out of wood-burning oven and pasta dishes all within around the $10 price point. Brunch menus are also up so folks can drop buy during the weekends.

☞ READ: A 50 Million Lenox Lounge Lawsuit


The building owner of the storefront that formerly housed the iconic Lenox Lounge is now suing the lounge's owner for $50 million according to the Daily News: LINK.  As folks know by now, the owner of Lenox Lounge is moving the establishment a couple of blocks north after a rent dispute with the landlord who now claims that the exterior and interior of the building is part of his property. Lawyers on both sides are working the details out now so the future is still unclear on what will happen at either locations.   Restauranteur Richard Notar plans to open a new jazz joint at the former spot but will it have the original details restored or will everything be replicated?

☞ REMEMBER: The Time Magazine Harlem Cover

In July of 1964 Harlem made the cover of Time magazine because of all the social issues happening uptown.  With the neighborhood declining and many folks leaving Harlem in the decades after the Depression years, there was not a lot of positive things to note about the iconic section of north Manhattan.  Today, the opposite is happening with the restoration of historic blocks and the return of the middle class so maybe Harlem will make a national cover for other reasons if there ever were a followup story.

Image courtesy of Time Magazine
Harlem Bespoke also has a Twitter account for those who want daily updates about stuff that's happening in the neighborhood. If you Twitter, check out our Harlem tweets and join here: LINK.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

☞ DWELL: 537 West 141st Street in Contract

Number 537 West 141st Street went up on the market in early January and now has a contract out on it.  The 12-foot-wide, 3-family townhouse in West Harlem probably went quickly because it is all in working order and priced just at $999K.  There are some original details within but also a lot of wood panel walls and linoleum from 1970s which should be easy to remove.  Finishes look to all be on the lower end but easily be renovated with not too much additional costs.  This location just east of Broadway faces a public park and is in a purely residential section of West Harlem close to City College.  More details and photos on the broker site: LINK

☞ EAT: Asian Restaurants in Greater Harlem

A Bespoke reader mentioned that they were moving from the Upper West Side to West 120th Street and noticed the lack of Thai restaurants in Harlem.  The only proper Thai restaurant in Harlem is located on the East Side but Morningside Heights has one also.  The new arrivals also wanted to know what other asian eateries could be found uptown so here is our round up of recommended spots:

East Harlem
Gong Thai,  173 East 99th Street,  between Lexington and 3rd Avenue. Gong is a charming spot on a side street within East Harlem's borders but probably more difficult to get to from South Harlem: LINK

Morningside Heights
Thai Market, 960 Amsterdam, between 107th and 108th Street. Thai Market is on a bustling restaurant section of Amsterdam Avenue just south of Harlem's borders so should be an easy trip for most in Central or West Harlem: LINK

Mill Korean,  2895  Broadway at  113th Street.  This cozy restaurant serves up solid Korean home cooking with quick service: LINK

South Harlem
Jado Sushi,  2118 Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 114th Street.  Jado on FDB is the only Japanese owned restaurant in Harlem so it is our top choice for sushi above 110th Street and is the largest out of all the eateries listed: LINK

West Harlem
Jin Ramen, 3183 Broadway, south of 125th Street.  Jin in Manhattanville is not run by a Japanese staff but has some pretty impressive noodles and holds up to some of the more notable ramen shops downtown: LINK

☞ READ: Last Week's Most Viewed Posts

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

1. 30 West 120th Sold to Samuelsson (3)
2. Coccola arriving in West Harlem (2)
3. Harlem Public Listed as Top 10 NYC Bar (1)
4. 430 West 137th Street Townhouse (2)
5. Coffee Grinder @ Lenox Coffee (4)
6. Renovations at 127th Candy Stand (1)
7. 64 West 119th Street in Contract (3)
8. The Audubon Ballroom c. 1915
9. The Lafayette Theatre
10. Sledding in St. Nicholas Park (1)

☞ LISTEN: The Benny Golson Quartet

Friday, February 21st, The Benny Golson Quartet at Ginny's Supper Club, 310 Lenox Avenue, north of 125th Street.  Ginny's Supper Club under the Red Rooster continues to bring in the jazz events with the Benny Golson Quartet this Friday.  Tickets may be purchased online for this event: LINK

☞ SUBSCRIBE: Harlem Bespoke via Email

Get daily Harlem Bespoke posts via email the moment they are published by subscribing below.  There's also the Harlem Bespoke Facebook site so "like" us today and get connected: LINK

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Friday, February 15, 2013

☞ REMEMBER: The Audubon Ballroom c. 1915




A photo from 1915 shows the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights at Broadway and 165th Street.  This landmark building was the location where Malcolm X was assassinated back in 1965 and has been restored in recent years.  All of the ornate terra-cotta looks shiny and brand new on the facade but the back end of the theater has a few things missing.  There is a new building attached to that north end and the windows on the upper floor of the historic structure in that section are mere floating frames on a decorative wall (last photo).  Some commercial space exists on the lower floors and the main part of the old ballroom is a memorial to Malcolm X.

Archival image courtesy the Museum of the City of New York

☞ INTRODUCING: Coffee Grinder @ Lenox Coffee

Thursday, February 21st, 8:00PM Coffee Grinder @ Lenox Coffee, 60 West 129th, east of Lenox Avenue.  There's not really a lot of places for the LBGT community to meet in Harlem and Lenox Coffee is now trying a night out call Coffee Grinder.  Come meet the neighbors at this gay mixer that will have DJ Bill Coleman providing the music.  The bespoke coffee shop recently started up wine and beer service so should be the happening spot next Thursday. www.LenoxCoffee.com

☞ SHOP: Renovations at 127th Candy Stand

A Bespoke reader sent in a tip that the old candy stand on 127th Street has been under construction as of late.  This location at 101 West 127th Street is just west of Lenox Avenue and close by to a lot of the new restaurant arriving in Central Harlem.  With that said, it is still a pretty small space so the new business arriving will have to be very efficient.  Any other tips out there on what's going on here?

☞ SEE: Club Harlem at the Apollo Theater

Monday, February 18th, at 8:30PM, Friday, February 22nd at 8:30PM, Saturday, February 23rd at 8:30PM, Club Harlem at the Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street.  Maurice Hines host a recreation of the great Harlem Renaissance clubs at the Apollo for three nights only. Expect live vocal performances,  big band music and showgirls in a retro mood.

GET TICKETS Tickets: Orchestra-Level Nightclub Seating (includes table service, cash bar, pre-show and dancing onstage after) $100, Premium Front Orchestra $125 Lower Mezzanine: (includes complimentary pre-show Cavicchioli cocktail) $55, $65 Upper Mezzanine: (includes complimentary pre-show Cavicchioli cocktail) $45, $55.  Get more ticket information via the Apollo Theater site: LINK

☞ QUESTION: Ask Harlem Bespoke

If any readers out there have a question they would like to throw out to the Bespoke audience on neighborhood organizations, restoration services, property search or history, just send them over and we can possibly have it written up as a future post: HarlemBespoke@gmail.com

Thursday, February 14, 2013

☞ DWELL: 430 West 147th Street Townhouse



Number 430 west 147th Street on the corner of Convent Avenue was trying to sell for almost $3 million a couple of years back and now has increased the asking price to $3.5 million.  This is a 23 x 66 foot wide corner building that has an estimated 7,500 square foot of space with an ambitious renovation.  The landmark Hamilton Heights limestone townhouse has 10 bedrooms, 4 Full baths, 1 Partial bath and more than enough period appropriate details within the interior.   High caliber renovations on a charming, intact block have hit the $3 million mark further south so the brokers are hoping to make a record sale in this part of West Harlem.  More details on here: LINK