Wednesday, November 27, 2013

☞ DWELL: Number 4: Lower Convent Avenue

Harlem is a large part of Manhattan that changes block by block so we have put together a list of the best micro-nabes in Harlem based on location, architecture, transportation and local amenities. This is our own opinion based on reporting on the neighborhood for a few years and a new post will be made each day until the number one spot has been revealed.

No. 4: Lower Convent Avenue Historic District, West Harlem, 141st Street up to 144th Street on Convent Avenue including Hamilton Terrace.  The Hamilton Heights Historic District is one of the best in all of New York City and that is the biggest selling point of lower Convent Avenue.  Homes here are amazingly intact inside and out which have helped make record sales over $2 million when placed on the market.  Express subways at 145th Street are roughly a 5 minute walk away and will get one to midtown in 10 minutes easily on any given day.

Notable restaurants have only been arriving recently and Convent Avenue would have been lower on our list if this had not happened.  The Grange, Il Caffe Latte 145th Street, and Coccola have all opened in 2013 within close proximity to the historic district.  Harlem Public and Mountain Bird are also in easy walking distance and have opened in the past year.  We expect Lower Convent Avenue to eventually make the top 3 in the future but more better businesses need to arrive in this northern reach of Harlem before this happens.

☞ DRINK: After Thanksgiving Dinner

Harlem Public at 149th and Broadway will definitely be open on Thanksgiving at 6:00PM for those who are still in town and want to get out of the house.

Shrine at ACP/7th Avenue by 134th Street will also be open and the live bands performing during the evening should bring on some holiday cheer: LINK

☞ EAT: Thanksgiving in Harlem

For those still in town and just can't with the cooking, the below restaurants are open on Thanksgiving day in Harlem.

Barawine at 120th and Lenox (tel: 646.756.4154) will be serving up Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday the 28th of November, from noon to 7:00 pm.  A turkey dinner, complete with thanksgiving sides, will be $24, and $29 with a selected wine pairing. Reservations are recommended: LINK

Maison Harlem at St. Nicholas Avenue and 127th Street, (Tel: 212.222.9224) will be open for Thanksgiving this year so folks in town should drop by for a prix fixe meal with all the fixings for $45.  Check out the Maison Harlem Facebook site for the full menu: LINK

Red Rooster, 310 Lenox Avenue at 126th Street, (tel: 212.792.9001) Three courses for $56. Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster will be open this Thursday and a reservations here should be easier to book than on any other given day: LINK

☞ REVIVE: Last Look at Hamilton Theatre

A Bespoke reader mentioned that the Hamilton Theatre site at 145th and Broadway is up for a site rental but the actual back theater might be demolished soon.  The front end is an official land mark (which is up for rent) and is protected but the theater portion in the back will evidently be gone soon.  Apparently a location scout website is renting out the abandoned theater for movie productions in the meantime and has some incredible photos: LINK

For more on the history of the Hamilton Theatre, check out our past post: LINK

☞ CONTACT: Got a Harlem Bespoke Tip?

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

☞ DWELL: Number 5: Upper Fifth Avenue

Harlem is a large part of Manhattan that changes block by block so we have put together a list of the best micro-nabes in Harlem based on location, architecture, transportation and local amenities. This is our own opinion based on reporting on the neighborhood for a few years and a new post will be made each day until the number one spot has been revealed.


No. 5: Upper Fifth Avenue, Central and East Harlemfrom 125th Street up to 130th Street.  The blocks north of 125th Street by Fifth Avenue have the distinction of being on the cusp of East and Central Harlem but are also quite intact architecturally.  Most of the handsome buildings have been restored and Upper Fifth made the top five this year because the area received a bit of celebrity status by 2013.  Actor Neil Patrick Harris purchased a contextually restored brownstone for a record sale well over $3.5 million just north of 125th Street while notable artist Ugo Rondinone bought a church just a block up that is currently going under a major conversion into a gallery and residence space.

Transportation and great boutique retail is just a block away on Lenox and the quiet Fifth Avenue corridor is basically a residential oasis just a block east.  This area also has the National Black Theatre and Langston Hughes' famous block in the vicinity but the church of Scientology has also arrived this past year.  The houses on the avenue tend to be extra wide but not all of them are renovated at a great taste level.  In our opinion, those homes asking for well over $3 million should not only bank on location for a record sale since the high end buyer is also looking for a bit of architectural history and better classic finishes within the interior at this price point.

☞ SEE: More Props at Bailey Mansion



It appears that the filming by the Bailey Mansion will continue in the upcoming week.  We walked by the section of Sugar Hill on St. Nicholas Avenue by 150th Street and noticed that the gaslight props were still on the site and that all of the horse carriages were parked further up north.  Based on its Harlem history, we expect The Knick to continue filming in the area for more seasons to come if the series takes off.  More on the original Knickerbocker Hospital in our past post: LINK

☞ BESPOKE: A First Look at Bearded Lady

Bearded Lady Espresso is under construction now at 118th and FDB/8th Avenue but we already have a preview of things to come with the cafe's graphic artwork. This new coffee shop and bar is the joint venture of the owners of Lenox Coffee and The Chipped Cup so folks should expect an early century aesthetic to arrive on FDB.   A few boutique shops such as Harlem Shambles, Lido and Vinateria have a classic feel to them already but the Bearded Lady will surely take it up to the next level once it opens in the early part of 2014.

☞ REVIVE: Affordable on St. Nicholas Terrace

We noticed a building going under a major gut renovation on St. Nicholas Terrace and it appear that the  city will do another thorough job in restoring the architecture of the neighborhood for affordable housing.  We have seen a few of these buildings going under renovation in the past year and unlike many landlords in the neighborhood, the government actually does a complete job and restores the cornices.  This project should finish by spring and we will have an after photo when all is done.

☞ 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, November 25, 2013

☞ DWELL: Number 6: Astor Row

Harlem is a large part of Manhattan that changes block by block so we have put together a list of the best micro-nabes in Harlem based on location, architecture, transportation and local amenities.  This is our own opinion based on reporting on the neighborhood for a few years and a new post will be made each day until the number one spot has been revealed.

No. 6: Astor Row, Central Harlem, 130th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenue.  Astor Row was founded in Harlem by the great Astor family of New York and the porch front country homes have a position higher than Strivers Row because of location.  These boutique townhouses that also have their own front yards rarely go up on the market but have quickly been purchased in the past year when two homes were available.

The location on Upper Lenox gives the row access to all of the great shops in the area along with the express train at 125th Street which gets one downtown in about 15 minutes.  Astor Row will eventually be higher on our list in the future but there are still a couple of rough looking shells on the block and a big empty lot.  Once things get a bit more fixed up, this block might eventually be in the top 5 for Harlem.

☞ INTRODUCING: A Bagel in Harlem

Back in the early days of blogging, there was a site called A Bagel in Harlem which had a blogger wonder about the likelihood of finding the quintessential New York City gnosh uptown.  Alas the blogger who was actually in East Harlem moved on but the bagel issue still stands today.  Where in Harlem can one get a bagel?

McDonald's has them now during breakfast hours but that is clearly not what we are after.  It turns out that Lenox Coffee at 129th by Lenox Avenue and The Chipped Cup on Broadway at 148th serve up bagels while they last each day.  Even with all the changes that has happened uptown, bagels are still not that common but at least a couple of places are offering them up now.  In our opinion, if an actual bagel shop arrives anytime soon, this would do quite well.

☞ EAT: Barawine for Thanksgiving

Barawine at 120th and Lenox will be serving up Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday the 28th of November, from noon to 7:00 pm.  A turkey dinner, complete with thanksgiving sides, will be $24, and $29 with a selected wine pairing. Reservations are recommended: LINK

☞ SHOP: What's Arriving at 125th & Broadway?

We received a couple of inquiries about the former nail salon storefront on Broadway at 125th Street and it appears that the new tenant has been revealed this past week. With some of the high rent rates that are in demand on 125th Street, it appears that banks or chains are the only businesses that could possibly open in the future.  We remember reading that the local government had been trying to curtail too many banks opening on the boulevard but this just might be an inevitable reality with the way commercial rents are going uptown.

☞ 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

Enter your e-mail address:

Friday, November 22, 2013

☞ DWELL: Number 7: Strivers Row

Harlem is a large part of Manhattan that changes block by block so we have put together a list of the best micro-nabes in Harlem based on location, architecture, transportation and local amenities.  This is our own opinion based on reporting on the neighborhood for a few years and a new post will be made each day until the number one spot has been revealed.

No. 7: Strivers Row,  Central Harlem, West 138th and West 139th Street between ACP/7th and FDB/8th Avenue.  Like Sugar Hill, Strivers Row has all of the architectural beauty going for it and the landmark Central Harlem blocks will charm anyone who has never stepped foot on the legendary grounds. Many of these architecturally intact townhouses in this neighborhood were the homes of some of Harlem's greatest jazz musicians back in the Renaissance years when the surrounding avenues were the center of culture.  With that said, those decades have passed and some of the great establishments nearby no longer exist.  The Renaissance Ballroom is a gutted shell that sits on the east end while many of the storefronts on the west end are abandoned.

If more better retail arrives in the surrounding blocks or if Strivers Row was closer to an express subway stop, it would be higher on our list.  This might not eventually matter at all to residents of Strivers Row since most of the townhouses have a garage in the back with their own private backstreet where horse-drawn carriages used to traverse a century ago.

☞ SEE: Art in FLUX at Aloft Hotel


Art In FLUX Harlem and Aloft Hotel launch a collaboration to promote visual artists in Harlem. On the evening of December 3rd, Art In FLUX presents two Harlem artists, Andre Woolery and Ruben Natal-San Miguel, in the lobby of Aloft (FDB and 124th Street) on their dedicated art walls. Aloft has a company-wide commitment to support the local artistic community by devoting space to presenting art. Art In FLUX hopes to utilize the Aloft Harlem space to present unique and compelling exhibits that create conversation and highlight the dynamic contemporary art culture in Harlem:  www.artinfluxharlem.com

☞ EAT: Thanksgiving 2013 at Maison Harlem

Maison Harlem at St. Nicholas Avenue and 127th Street will be open for Thanksgiving this year so folks in town should drop by for a prix fix meal with all the fixings for $45.  Check out the Maison Harlem Facebook site for the full menu: LINK

☞ REVIVE: Progress at New Columbia Housing

Columbia University demolished a corner commercial building in West Harlem last year but not much has been happening on the site until this past week.  We noticed that new machinery had arrived on this corner of 148th on Broadway and that the foundation work is now quickly progressing.   When all is finished, there will be a new 12-story residential building rising on this intersection of Hamilton Heights which will help house the families displaced by the new Columbia Manhattanville campus being built at 125th Street.  A rendering of the final building can be found in our past post: 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, November 21, 2013

☞ DWELL: Number 8: Upper Lenox Avenue

Harlem is a large part of Manhattan that changes block by block so we have put together a list of the best micro-nabes in Harlem based on location, architecture, transportation and local amenities.  This is our own opinion based on reporting on the neighborhood for a few years and a new post will be made each day until the number one spot has been revealed.

Number 8: Upper Lenox Avenue, Central Harlem, between 125th Street and roughly 132nd Street.  The best thing that Upper Lenox has going for it is the boom in new businesses and the express trains at 125th Street. With that particular train stop, one can get downtown within 15 minutes and midtown even in quicker time.  With all that said, the stop also brings in a lot of foot traffic along the strip. Most of the old school dealers by the Starbucks on the corner have disappeared in the past few years but this is definitely the section of Harlem were the new and old mix and mingle.  Older eateries such as Sylvia's hold court along with new favorites like Red Rooster or Corner Social at the intersection that is still the heart of Harlem.

On any given day, one can still see street vendors, longtime locals, new families with strollers, gay couples or the occasional hipster walking the boulevard and reasonably priced, modest brownstones with minimal interior finishes on the side streets.  If the blocks were a little more put together, Upper Lenox would be higher on our list but there are still a few abandoned shells or open lots in the nabe and the architecture is not as consistent as some of the historic districts uptown. Astor Row is in this area also but we have divided that street into its own separate neighborhood that will be higher on the best blocks list.

☞ SEE: The 125th Street Parade of Lights

Thursday, November 21st, The First Annual Parade of Lights, throughout 125th Street. The First Annual Parade of Lights is the main event of the Harlem Holiday Lights 2013 Celebration. An assortment of lighted vehicles including tour buses, trolleys and more will be decorated with holiday lights to form a procession that travels along the corridor.  This is a part of the holiday 2013 street lighting festivities on 125th Street: LINK

☞ INTRODUCING: Sugar Cube Affordable Housing

The new affordable housing above the planned Children's Museum on Sugar Hill will have 124 rental units with 50 percent reserved for artists those who live in West Harlem.  This new construction at 155th and St. Nicholas Avenue will be ready sometimes in 2014 and applications are all due by January 3rd.  Applications for the lottery can be found at this site: LINK

☞ REVIVE: Demolition at the Taystee Factory Site

Walking by West 126th Street and Amsterdam Avenue yesterday, we noticed that a demolition crew was deconstructing some of the old buildings by the Taystee Cake Factory site. This is the redevelopment project that would bring a brewery back to Harlem and open up other manufacturing facilities in the this section of Manhattanville.  The ground breaking was delayed this year but now it appears things are progressing.  We had assumed that the old buildings would incorporated into the new structure but that does not appear to be the case now.  A rendering can be found in our past post: LINK

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

☞ SEE: The Knick Films at Bailey Mansion

The filming of The Knick continues up on Sugar Hill this week.  We walked by the newly restored Bailey Mansion at 150th and St. Nicholas this morning and saw that the film crew have all set up on site. It took 3 years to renovate inside and out but the former home of the Barnum & Bailey circus founder will now be camera ready for the early century period drama that features Harlem's Knickerbocker Hospital.  The Bailey mansion sold way below asking price at $1.4 million back in 2009 and we gather it should have increased in value by at least a couple of million since the restoration has been completed: LINK

☞ DWELL: Number 9: Sugar Hill

Harlem is a large part of Manhattan that changes block by block so we have put together a list of the best micro-nabes in Harlem based on location, architecture, transportation and local amenities.  This is our own opinion based on reporting on the neighborhood for a few years and a new post will be made each day until the number one spot has been revealed.

No. 9: Sugar Hill Historic District,West Harlem, St. Nicholas Avenue, Above 145th Street until 155th Street, extending to the immediate blocks west and east.  Sugar Hill is the famous neighborhood where the legendary sweet life can be found.  The architecture of the neighborhood and brownstone side streets are the big selling point but it's location further north and lack of a major commercial district detracts from some of its appeal.  Not much really happens on the hill since it is very residential but there is a scant amount of loitering on the street. A few better shops such as Mamma K's soups, Mountain Bird and Il Caffe Latte 145th Street have opened up in walking distance in recent years so change is slowly happening.  As far as transportation goes, the A train at 145th Street take everyone downtown within 15 minutes and to 125th Street in one stop.

☞ READ: The Chef Joseph Johnson Cookbook

Chef Joseph Johnson of The Cecil has just released a cookbook with the below press details: A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, JJ has worked in several successful restaurants and also being the winner of Bravo TV's cooking competition "Rocco's Dinner Party". "Food is What I Do" highlights recipes and dishes from a chefs approach that the reader can relate to. Using local ingredients and modern cooking techniques, Chef JJ has put together a collection of delicious recipes to share with family and friends, while also bringing a little piece of chef jj into your kitchen. Homemade pasta, the perfect burger setup, braised oxtails, cocktails and more all lie between the delicious pages of this cookbook that showcases Chef JJ's talent and love for food. Now available on Amazon for $20: LINK

☞ CONTACT: Got a Harlem Bespoke Tip?

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

☞ ARCHITECTURE: Knickerbocker Hospital


The dramatic series The Knick is currently filming all over New York City but the namesake Knickerbocker Hospital is actually in West Harlem's Manhattanville neighborhood on Convent and 131st Street.  This period piece will be centered then around the famous Harlem hospital which was founded in 1885 and was named the Knickerbocker by 1913.  At its height, the Knick was a leader in the treatment for polio and also had one of the largest ambulance districts in the city.  Apparently the city closed it down back in the 1980s and it was eventually converted into senior housing.  More photos on the filming of the Knick in our past post: LINK

☞ REMEMBER: Harlem Dance circa 1950

There is not much 1950s images of Harlem to be found but we discovered a collection by the photographer Jay Maisel at one particular gallery site.   Harlem dance, couple dancing, man with toothpick mid 1950s shows a dressed up duo at a local dance within a grand hall uptown.  We imagine that this might be at the former Renaissance Ballroom on upper 7th Avenue but additional information on the location could not be found.   More photos of Harlem and New York in the 1950s can be found at the aforementioned site: LINK


Top image, Harlem dance, couple dancing, man with toothpick mid 1950s by Jay Maisel

☞ DWELL: Harlem's Top Ten Neighborhoods

Harlem is a large part of Manhattan that changes block by block so we have put together a list of the best micro-nabes in Harlem based on location, architecture, transportation and local amenities.  This is our own opinion based on reporting on the neighborhood for a few years and a new post will be made each day until the number one spot has been revealed.

No.10:  The Lower ACP Corridor, South Harlem between 110th and 123rd Street. Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard is probably the most neglected avenue in Harlem but that has kept the architecture quite intact and many of the co-ops in the nabe are affordable.  The south end is by Central Park and the FDB commercial corridor just a block over.  Some better businesses like Cantina have started to open in the past year but there is generally not much to do in the immediate area.  The express trains on 125th Street or 116th Street at Lenox is an easy walk further north which gets one down to midtown in about ten minutes.  ACP/7th Avenue can be pretty quiet almost at all times but loiterers tend to hang out by some of the shabbier shops along the strip.  With that said, it might be a little too quiet and under developed for some but we have seen a few reasonably priced apartment along this corridor.

☞ SHOP: Hanukkah Baked Goods in Harlem

Hanukkah 2013 is just around the corner and a couple of places in Harlem provide traditional Jewish treats for the season.

Lee Lee's Bakery, 283 West 118th Street and FDB/8th Avenue.  Lee Lee's Baked Goods at  has notably some of the best rugelach to be found in the city and now ships anywhere within the states.  Harlem's King of Rugelach offers up his specialty pastries in chocolate, raspberry and apricot variations. Folks who want to share one of Uptown's best kept secrets can simply go online and make an order accordingly: LINK

Suzan Sez It With Cake "Say It With Cake," 510 West 123rd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. A small kosher bakery opened up this summer on the cusp of West Harlem and Morningside Heights which has holiday specific baked offerings. Check out the website for ordering details and additional contact information: LINK

Hot Bread Kitchen Almacen, 116th and Park Avenue at La Marqueta. The local non-profit bakery has been known to sell their signature Challah Turbans over the holiday's and word has it its worth the trip to the east side: 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, November 18, 2013

☞ BESPOKE: The Knick Films on Lenox



We noticed that there were permits for the cable production of The Knick up on Lenox Avenue's historic District in Mount Morris Park and a Bespoke reader sent in a couple of live photos.  The Steven Soderbergh production stars Clive Owens and is based on New York's Knickerbocker Hospital circa 1900.  Lower Lenox Avenue is one of the most breathtaking and intact historic districts in the city so period dramas such as Boardwalk Empire have also used the neighborhood for filmng.

☞ SHOP: Lenox Coffee to Open Bearded Lady


Those following our Twitter feed will know that we have intimated for months that a cafe on the FDB corridor would open soon by one of the popular new Harlem business owners.  Everything is now official and the owner of Lenox Coffee in Central Harlem in partnership with the Chipped Cup owner in West Harlem has started the construction of a coffee shop and bar called Bearded Lady Espresso at 118th and FDB.

Like Lenox Coffee, the space is small but folks can expect that hip downtown look to the space that will make the interior feel like its been part of the building for the last century.  Lenox Avenue tends to have more of the traditional New York shops while FDB appears to be going for a modern look these days so The Bearded Lady will be a refreshing change to the entertainment offerings in this part of South Harlem.  Folks should expect an opening in early 2014.

☞ DWELL: One Morningside at Fifty Percent

The new construction called One Morningside in South Harlem might be the barometer of the current market since half of the units have contracts out before the building has even been completed.  This condo development rose up from an abandoned lot at 110th Street which faces Morningside Park and has a high price tag of over $1 million for most of the units.  According to Streeteasy, there are 27 contracts out now and the total amount of units available will be set at 55 once all things are all completed: LINK

☞ SEE: The Gettysburg Story at MIST

Thursday, November 21st, 8:00PM, The Gettysburg Story at MIST Cinema, 46 West 116th Sreet.  The New York City Theatrical Premiere of The Gettysburg story will  be hosted by the Harlem director Jake Boritt along with actor Stephen Lang(Avatar, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Gettysburg) and historian Gabor Boritt.  There will also be a Q&A moderated by Professor Jamal Joseph of Columbia University's Film Division. This is the first time either film has played on the big screen in New York City.  Tickets are for sale online: LINK

There was a bit of local crowd funding to get this production finished up and our past post has the dramatic video which shows the updated technology used in the film: 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

Enter your e-mail address:

Friday, November 15, 2013

☞ SHOP: Disappearing Historic Storefronts




Harlem historic storefronts have been disappearing rather quickly in the past three years.  These are actually businesses that have been around for 60 or 70 years but were never landmarked or protected in any way.  For some reason, local politics tend to get into the landlord disputes with the business owners but fail to protect the actual sites themselves.  Having an establishment like Lenox Lounge made an official landmark on the outside and the interior would have kept it preserved as  has a historic site no matter what new business comes along.  At the end of the day, if folks are really concerned about keeping culture intact, the bigger picture would be to save the sites for future generations in Harlem and not make it about taking sides with businesses disputes.

☞ INTRODUCING: Lobster Rolls at Harlem Public

Saturday, November 16th, Starting 1:00PM, Lobster Rolls at Harlem Public, Broadway and 149th Street.  The New England seafood shack trend has been popping up downtown and in Brooklyn but most of the seafood eateries uptown are of the fast food kind.  Lobster are relatively cheap and having a lobster shack uptown would make sense but new eateries have steered away from this business model.  Luckily restaurants like Harlem Public switches up the menu often and will be offering the much coveted lobster roll this Saturday. More details on Facebook:  LINK

☞ READ: National Urban League Leaves 125th?

The half dozen stores that make up the retail component of  parking garage on 125th Street could be the future headquarters to one of the most prestigious and oldest civil rights organizations but local politics might jeopardize the $225 million development plan which would also include affordable housing.  We have been waiting for any updates but the last bit of news published was that the National Urban League has the option to move to Brooklyn if locals are so against their arrival.

Politicians have locals angry at the displacement of the fast food vendors and chain stores which would have been given a compensation package by the government.  The posturing is that big business is diminishing Harlem by destroying smaller businesses but a lot of people would also say that the National Urban League would actually help Harlem regain some of its lost political clout as the center of black America.  This is not a stadium project handed out to a private developer to make money for wealthy investors or a billion dollar Ivy League school only serving the elite.  We are talking about the National Urban league which has helped millions of minorities in the fight for equality and also plans to have a civil rights museum up on the boulevard.

Articles have been written on how Brooklyn is quickly becoming the center of black politics and the National Urban League could further strengthen that sentiment if this development falls through.  Read more about the current National Urban League controversy in the Daily News: LINK

Thursday, November 14, 2013

☞ REVIVE: Copper Elements at the Bailey Mansion

The Bailey Mansion on Sugar Hill has been under renovation for almost three years now and progress is slow but dramatic at the same time.  This large estate at the corner of 150th Street on St. Nicholas Avenue had been a funeral home for several decades but was originally built for the business partner of the world famous Barnum and Bailey Circus over a century ago.

A lot of meticulous details have been attended to for this restoration project which has quite an intricate roof that is taking some time to finish up.  The conservatory had the windows accurately replaced along with slate shingles and now some stunning copper casings for the edges have recently been installed.  This is all only for exterior but the fantastic interior is probably also taking some time to get fixed up also: LINK

☞ LISTEN: Live Music at Vinateria

Thursday, November 14th, Live Cuban Music at Vinateria, 118th and FDB/8th Avenue.   Live music is such a Harlem heritage and every new restaurant uptown eventually has a night were a band plays for entertainment.  Vinateria will have a Cuban band at dinner service tonight: LINK

☞ DWELL: An Affordable Harlem Studio

A recent report has it that the average rent for a studio in Manhattan was set at about $2,500 per month and Brooklyn was at about $2,100 per month: LINK.  As far as Harlem goes, studios rents are somewhere a bit under $2,000 but we figured we could find something lower than that if we look hard enough.  There were not a lot of options but we found just one studio on the market that is going for $900 and the location is just below 125th Street.  The block (pictured above) is just south of were actor Neil Patrick Harris purchased his brownstone this year and the finishes are as to be expected for this price range: 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

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

☞ REMEMBER: Vogueing Originated in Harlem


The book Vogueing and The House Ballroom Scene of New York was published in the last year or so and reminds us of the impact that modern day Harlem has had on popular culture.  Madonna introduced the nation to the underground dance movement that centered around vogueing back in the 90s but the masses probably do not know that her dancers were from Harlem.  There was a massive underground  ballroom scene in Harlem (which no longer exists today) that was a secret world to the general public.

A couple of decades later, a generation who was not born during the height of the vogue scene is bringing the art form back to the clubs but it's never the same the second time around.  Those interested in Harlem's most recent cultural legacy should check out Vogueing and The House Ballroom Scene of New York at any of the major book retailers.

Photos by Chantal Regnault from Vogueing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York