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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner

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20 reasons I love uptown (part 4)

With the end of the year just a few days away, I thought I'd use this abbreviated week to count (in no particular order) the many reasons I–a former downtowner–love living uptown. Some are personal, some a bit more general–but all are unique to a part of the city that offers so much more than I ever could have imagined. ICYMI: 20 reasons I love uptown (part 3) ICYMI: 20 reasons I love uptown (part 2) ICYMI: 20 reasons I love uptown (part 1) 16. A hop and a skip to the Boogie down When I lived downtown, I hardly ever went to the Bronx. Today, it's only a short bus ride down 145th Street to the Boogie Down. On a nice day I'll walk to the Target or Home Depot at the Bronx Terminal Market, ride

20 reasons I love uptown (part 3)

With the end of the year just a few days away, I thought I'd use this abbreviated week to count (in no particular order) the many reasons I–a former downtowner–love living uptown. Some are personal, some a bit more general–but all are unique to a part of the city that offers so much more than I ever could have imagined. ICYMI: 20 reasons I love uptown (part 1) ICYMI: 20 reasons I love uptown (part 2) 11. Brownstones as time machines Sometimes it feels as if every corner of New York has been razed, renovated, or rebuilt. But a walk down Harlem's side streets reveals many buildings that haven't been touched in decades, maybe even longer. To me it sometimes feels like I'm traveling back in time

20 reasons I love uptown (part 2)

With the end of the year just a few days away, I thought I'd use this abbreviated week to count (in no particular order) the many reasons I–a former downtowner–love living uptown. Some are personal, some a bit more general–but all are unique to a part of the city that offers so much more than I ever could have imagined. ICYMI: 20 reasons I love uptown (part 1) 6. Dirt-cheap fruit and veggie stands Yes, there are fruit and vegetable stands throughout the city, but not like there are uptown. Here it's hard to walk more than a block down Broadway without running into a dirt-cheap display of fruits and vegetables. It might come from an actual store or just a guy with a van. Either way–ten limes

20 reasons I love uptown (part 1)

With the end of the year just a few days away, I thought I'd use this abbreviated week to count (in no particular order) the many reasons I–a former downtowner–love living uptown. Some are personal, some a bit more general–but all are unique to a part of the city that offers so much more than I ever could have imagined. 1. The Audubon Mural Project Spotting the Audubon Mural Project's bright, beautiful paintings throughout Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights feels a bit like the act of bird watching itself: you have to keep looking up and around until you finally find what you're looking for. A collaboration between the National Audubon Society and uptown gallery Gitler & _, this project

Giving back for the holidays (while sipping on a terrific cocktail-in-a-can)

As the end-of-year holidays approach, dreams of burrowing deep into your couch–maybe with a favorite drink in hand–are probably swirling in your head. Of course, you could take a more proactive approach to enjoying your time off. And everyone knows that one of the best ways to feel good is to give back. In that spirit, I'm listing just some of the many local organizations that caught my eye and heart this year–and could use our donations. And to put a festive spin on the occasion, why not pour yourself a chilled can of Hochstadter's Slow & Low Rock & Rye? I first discovered this easy, delicious take on the Old Fashioned at new-wine-store-on-the-block Hamilton Wine House. It's a lovely cockta

Uptown Links: Dear Mama Coffee is coming to Columbia's new campus, West Harlem is the neighborho

• A hip East Harlem-based coffee shop is coming to Columbia's new Manhattanville campus. The university's sleek Renzo Piano-designed Jerome L. Greene Science Center has its second tenant, Dear Mama Coffee. The cafe will occupy a bi-level space that faces the serene outdoor plaza in the back of the building. • West Harlem is StreetEasy's top neighborhood to watch next year. Here's one couple that recently moved into a new condo on West 127th Street. • Good news, let's hope: Foot Locker, the parent company of Footaction, the new shop that recently bricked over the "Spirit of Harlem" mural on 125th Street, is backtracking and saying it will restore the mosaic. • An uninterrupted bike path aroun

Playing film and book catch-up

It's almost the new year, and I'm not even close to having read and watched all the books and movies on my list for 2017. Two releases in particular were critical hits and relate to life uptown each in their own way, so I'm sharing them here in case you missed them too. Hit up your local library, bookstore, or streaming service and join me in playing catch-up. I Am Not Your Negro Filmmaker Raoul Peck took James Baldwin's notes for an unfinished book about his three assassinated friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr, and combined them with past interviews and essays into a powerful documentary about the history of race in America. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the movi

Discovering uptown's beautiful old mantels

Before I moved uptown a few years ago, I would take the subway to Hamilton Heights to visit my friend Carol, who lives on the third floor of a beautiful Beaux-Arts style townhouse that at some point had been converted into four apartments. The ornate mantel in her living room was my first introduction to the elaborate styles that can be found throughout Upper Manhattan (see photos above and below). Doing a little bit of research, I discovered that it was common for houses like Carol's, built in the very early 1900s, to come with embellished, state-of-the-art gas fireplaces. Today, Carol is my neighbor, and my own Hamilton Heights apartment, built in 1902, has two non-working gas fireplaces (

The Harlem Art Book Gift Guide

It's crunch time for gift-getting–which means if you still need to find someone a present, you should probably keep it simple. My suggestion? An art or photo book that's easy to buy and enjoy. Luckily, there are many great new (and a few perennial) books about fascinating, beautiful Harlem. ICYMI: The Shop Harlem Gift Guide ICYMI: The I-Love-Uptown-Museum-Shops Gift Guide ICYMI: The Uptown Foodie Gift Guide New Alice neel: Uptown Earlier this year, writer Hilton Als curated painter Alice Neel's show at the David Zwirner gallery. This book is an extension of that exhibit, offering insights into the artist and the diverse people she painted while living in Spanish Harlem and on the Upper West

Where to find uptown cheer: a celebrity's house, Lenox Avenue's holiday tree row, and more

Holiday decorations are now fully up all around the city, and uptown is no exception. From east to west, here are some of the best spots to find festive cheer to melt even the coldest, weariest heart: It's always fun to take a stroll past Neil Patrick Harris's townhouse on Fifth Avenue just north of 125th Street to see how Hollywood does the holidays. This year the actor's home has it all: giant ornaments, Santa, a wreath and even a small, decorated Christmas tree. For more holiday glamour, check out the "73 Questions" Harris did with Vogue this time last year. The guy goes all out. Photo via NYCgo When you think about it, there's nothing so pretty as holiday lights reflecting on water. In H

Uptown Links: a potential new historic district in Harlem, a plush new Dapper Dan x Gucci store on L

• Excellent news! New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission will review whether to designate a new historic district in Central Harlem: approximately 130th to 132nd Streets between Lenox and Seventh Avenues. • It's for real: Gucci and designer Dapper Dan are opening up a luxe, by-appointment-only atelier on Lenox Avenue in January. See the first pics in GQ. • Hamilton Heights' beautifully rehabilitated P.S. 186, built in 1903 and now a Boys & Girls club and apartment building, was among the winners of the New York State Historic Preservation Awards. • The Daily News' fun Subway Fare series takes a peek at three restaurants near the B train's 116th Street stop. • Ah, if only! I love t

A budding #ladybaker's guide to Hamilton Heights

I wish this website had smell-o-vision because there are no words to describe the heady scent that greeted me on a recent visit to Carmen Keels' Hamilton Heights apartment: a mix of homemade spelt sandwich bread baking in the oven and fresh Christmas tree. Reader, it was close to divine. Keels, a private school music teacher and mother of two, is in the process of launching her very own bread business. A self-taught baker who has been experimenting with bread recipes since she was pregnant with her son three years ago, she finally made her first big move this summer. Photo via Instagram With her mother's help Keels designed a logo and created labels for her new business, Heights Baking Co. S

The annual "A Visit from St. Nicholas" reading and procession to poet Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house...You know the rest, right? Fans of Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem have a big reason to head uptown this Sunday, when the 107th annual reading of A Visit from St. Nicholas will take place at the Church of the Intercession in Washington Heights. This year Joy Reid, political analyst at MSNBC, will recite the holiday classic. The free reading will be followed by a lantern procession headed by St. Nicholas himself, who will be guiding visitors across the street to Trinity Church Cemetery & Mausoleum for a wreath-laying at Moore's grave. If you're more into the historical side of things, you can sign up for local author Eric K. Was

The Uptown Foodie Gift Guide

Every week until Christmas I'll be featuring unique gifts you can find all around uptown. This week's theme? The tasty sips and bites made or sold exclusively north of 100th Street. Here are just some of the items I think make the perfect gift for foodies this holiday season. ICYMI: The Shop Harlem Gift Guide and The I-Love-Uptown-Museum-Shops Gift Guide​ Usambara Earl Grey black tea from Serengeti tea & Spices Serengeti Tea and Spices, a shopable oasis in Central Harlem, sells a whole range of teas, from rare African varieties to classic Earl Grey, plus blends like jasmine lemongrass green tea, antioxidant-rich rooibos, coffee, and hot chocolate. What's more, the canisters double as pretty

Uptown double date: holiday concerts at the Morris-Jumel Mansion + Hamilton Grange

Two of Upper Manhattan's most beautiful old homes are not just welcoming visitors during the holidays, they're also less than a half-hour walk from each other. And this weekend both have concerts that you can enjoy while taking in their historic vibes. So why not make it a date and visit them both? Start your tour at Hamilton Grange, the Federal-style house founding father Alexander Hamilton built for his family in 1802. On Saturday at 1pm Linda Russell and Companie will be offering an hour-long musical tribute to Hamilton through "ballads, broadsides, love songs, military music, parodies and dance tunes." The songs will be accompanied on the dulcimer, harp, guitar and flute. The concert won

Uptown Links: a new coffee-and-pizza spot opens in Washington Heights, a Harlemite joins "Top C

• The Uptown Garrison, a new spot in Washington Heights with a trendy industrial vibe, is already drawing plenty of locals with its Toby's Estate coffee and brick oven pizza. • Adrienne Cheatham, an African-American woman chef who lives in Harlem, is one of the 15 new contestants on season 15 of "Top Chef." She was recently the executive chef of Red Rooster and is now hoping to open a restaurant serving Southern classics. • Let's try to change this: an 11-year-old glass mosaic mural on 125th Street called "Spirit of Harlem" by artist Louis Delsarte has been bricked over by the new tenant, a sneaker shop. Here's a petition you can sign to try and bring it back. • The New York City Council fin

A cool new calendar for your crazy-busy family

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. A friend of mine who is a mom to three boys (and a former lifestyle editor) just came out with a brilliantly simple and sanity-preserving family organizer called the Giant Family Calendar. And since it's almost the new year and I know there are families uptown, downtown and all across the world who will love it, I'm sharing it here. Double the size of your average wall calendar–it's 22" x 16"–the GFC ($29) features one huge gridded page for each month, making it easy for everyone in the family to see the full schedule. There's also plenty of room on each day to add and subtract activities (erasable pens and pencils work best). What's more,

Take the new, high-tech A train to Harlem (in 2020)

Hey uptown train buffs! The MTA is planning on introducing a new class of spacious, high-tech subway cars in 2020, and they'll be starting with the lettered lines–that means the A, B, C and D trains for anyone who lives uptown. You have until tomorrow, December 6, to check out the two prototypes and give the MTA your feedback on the slick new designs (they're on the mezzanine of the 7 train's Hudson Yards stop). If, understandably, you're short on time, here are some of the more interesting details. Keep in mind, nothing is set in stone yet. • Each car will have six fewer seats so there will be less space to rest your weary feet, but more standing room–crucial during rush hour. Three seats i

The I-Love-Uptown-Museum-Shops Gift Guide

Every week until Christmas I'll be featuring unique gifts you can find all around uptown. This week's focus? Museum gift shops. There are so many great collections to visit uptown, and each has its own store filled with gems that somehow reflect their exhibits or mission statements. Here are just some items that caught my eye. ICYMI: The Shop Harlem Gift Guide lapel pins with a cause at The Schomburg Shop The renovated shop at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (a division of the New York Public Library) is an amazing place to find books and gifts related to the black experience. These clever lapel pins from Radical Dreams let you show your support for modern-day icons with i

Harlem holiday weekend: neighborhood tree lighting, festive windows, and local markets

If you love getting into the holiday spirit, this weekend is for you. Kick things off tonight at 6:30 with the festive tree lighting ceremony and holiday party in Montefiore Park in West Harlem. If past events are anything to go by, there will be caroling in English and Spanish, making things extra fun. On Saturday head to Central Harlem to admire the Christmas tree in front of Corner Social (the 2nd annual lighting ceremony was this past Wednesday), then check out the Harlem Holiday Windows along Lenox Avenue–they start at Lenox Sapphire and end at Harlem Coffee–designed by FIT students and local artists. You won't have to go far to visit the Shop Harlem Live Harlem Holiday Vendor Fair, als

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