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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner

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Spotted: more progress in the battle against dog poop

A fair portion of New York City sidewalks are minefields of dog waste, and Harlem is no exception. Five years ago there was even a rash of stories in The New York Times and the New York Daily News covering the problem. Of course, we all hate dodging the stuff, and the city has plenty of rules in place for people who don't clean up after their pets. In St. Nicholas Park, for example, signs warn of a maximum fine of $1,000 for those who don't get rid of their fur friend's poo. The only problem? The agent issuing the ticket has to catch the rule-breaker in the act. Every small step towards finding a solution is welcome, which is why I was thrilled to spy shiny new metal Mutt Mitt boxes attached

What's coming to Hamilton Heights this spring and beyond

It only takes a quick walk around Hamilton Heights to see that changes big and small are coming to this western pocket of Harlem. As many as a dozen empty storefronts are showing new signs of life, and a handful of businesses have even put up signs to announce their arrival. Online research and conversations with some owners, workers and neighbors have revealed more details. Let's take a stroll up and down the main commercial arteries and see what's in the works: Broadway An intriguing new awning with the name Buddha Taco Bar recently appeared in front of the old Unione space at 3628 Broadway between 149th and 150th Streets. A row of flat-screen TVs can be seen through the large black-paned

This Harlem market is the best place to stock up on African fashion–for "Black Panther" sc

For Black Panther's record-breaking premiere weekend, hordes of fans flocked to movie theaters dressed in their best African looks, from bold dashikis to head wraps in colorful African prints. Their inspiration was the movie's fictional African country of Wakanda, but all had different reasons for dressing up. Moviegoer Rhondel Whyte told Fashionista that he and his friend Isaiah Alexander wanted to reconnect with their African heritage: "Both of us are from Trinidad and Tobago. But we thought we should focus on not where the [slave ships] dropped us off, but where they picked us up. So, we chose outfits with bright African prints that reflect our heritage." If you want to join in the Wakand

Uptown Links: H Mart opens in Morningside Heights, Harlem fashion icon Lana Turner strikes a pose, a

• Uptowners now have one less reason to schlep elsewhere for their Asian groceries: the new H Mart in Morningside Heights is finally here! The official grand opening is March 1, but the huge store is already up and running. Stop by for an impressive range of Asian goods, including fruit and vegetables, condiments, noodles, rice, fish, meat, prepared foods, snacks and much, much more. • Harlem fashion icon Lana Turner, known for her vintage fashion collection that includes more than 500 hats, is the subject of a new photo exhibit. Although the show is in St. Louis, you can see some of the beautiful images in this Vogue slideshow. • Permits have been filed for the Bro/Sis Center, the new home

Lenox Avenue turns into fictional "Gotham" as the Fox TV series shoots in Harlem

A historic part of Harlem got a comic-book makeover yesterday as shooting took place for Season 4 of the Fox TV series "Gotham." Its mid-season premiere is next week. Yesterday the show's production team turned Lenox Avenue between 120th and 121st Streets into a scene straight out of the fictional crime-ridden Gotham City. With the help of a number of official-looking seals across its facade, Harlem's iconic and stately Mount Olivet Baptist Church was transformed into the Gotham City Police Department. Lined with retro Gotham City police cars and prisoner transport vans, the streets outside the Harlem church looked the part, too. News vans for the fictional station WPFK-TV Gotham were parked

Teyana Taylor opens '90s-themed Junie Bee Nails on Seventh Avenue in Harlem

After a swirl of media coverage in Vogue, Page Six and WWD and an opening party last Thursday with guests including Missy Elliot and Lil' Kim, Teyana Taylor's Junie Bee Nails finally opened today on Seventh Avenue in Harlem. A collaboration between the recording artist/actress and nail polish brand OPI, the salon is an homage to the streetwise '90s-era Around the Way Girl, known for her door knocker earrings and Reebok Freestyles. (A row of those sneakers hangs across the back of the store while a sign with the price $54.11 alludes to the shoe style's informal name and original cost after tax.) Taylor was born and raised in Harlem, and the neighborhood isn't just the salon's home, but a deta

Double date: "Black Panther" at AMC Magic Johnson Harlem + Black Panther "Wacombo Mea

Black Panther is finally here! Already getting rave reviews for, well, everything, the epic stars Chadwick Boseman as the panther mask-wearing superhero who fights evil in the high-tech (fictional) African nation of Wakanda. With its stellar majority-black cast and powerful portrayal of T'Challa, the African king battling his nemesis, Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan), the movie is already on its way to breaking box-office records. And there might not be a more fun place to see it than at the Magic Johnson theater on 125th Street in Harlem, where you can reserve your seat at any of the showtimes (tomorrow, Saturday, February 17, there are 21 standard and seven 3D screenings) and

Uptown Links: women are taking over Harlem one business at a time, from restaurants to boxing gyms

• Boxing trainer Reese Scott just opened Women's World of Boxing, New York's first all-women's boxing gym, and it's in East Harlem. "It's daunting going into a boxing gym," Scott told Eyewitness News. "They don't feel comfortable. If I don't feel comfortable, I'm not staying. That's any woman. So I knew early on it would be a challenge." (Photo: Instagram/@wwboxnyc) • Restaurants are booming in Harlem, and women are leading the charge: according to Crain's New York, a third of the neighborhood's top eateries are now owned by women (in the city at large, it's 1 in 10). • Rachael Ray Every Day throws the spotlight on 8 women who are conquering the male-dominated food world, and one of them is

The real reason to visit the renovated George Washington Bridge Bus Station isn't the new market

Two years behind schedule and $17 million over budget, the revamped George Washington Bridge Bus Station finally re-opened last May, making it easier for uptowners to access both the local commuter buses and the subway. Since then, its retail arm, the GWB Market, has slowly welcomed some of its biggest new tenants, including Marshalls, the Gap Factory Store, Spectrum and Blink Fitness. (On a recent visit I still didn't see any sign of the local small businesses that were supposed to have signed leases; here is who was on the list as of last May.) While it's certainly nice to have a clean, new place to enter the subway, buy discounted fashion and replace your cable modem, for me the real reas

Inwood's Choc NYC makes destination-worthy pastries and chocolates (and is looking to expand)

Inwood's residents are already familiar with Choc NYC, their very own wonderland of jewel-like pastries, cakes and chocolate bon bons. But if you don't happen to live on the northern tip of Manhattan and crave a sweet-yet-sophisticated bite, then a visit to Choc NYC is definitely in order. "We've become a destination spot," confirms pastry chef Jemal Edwards, who owns the dessert shop with partner Brad Doles. Now two years old, the immaculate storefront is quite tiny relative to the open kitchen in the back (Edwards says it was designed to support two or three more locations, which they hope to open in the near future; they're looking for spaces between Washington Heights and Riverdale). It'

London gallery expands to Strivers' Row in Harlem

Now it's not just downtown moving uptown: London's Gallery Eight has joined forces with Faction Art Projects to open a new 4,000-square-foot space in Central Harlem. The collaborative gallery joins a growing list of big art-world names–including Elizabeth Dee and Gavin Brown–that have decamped or expanded to larger new uptown homes. Located on the west end of Harlem's historic Striver's Row, the gallery's massive glass windows reveal its art to all who pass by on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Right now it's an eye-catching mix, from Enrique Gomez de Molina's glamorous taxidermy to Marc Dennis's lush, flower-filled canvases. The connecting thread of the first show, "All That You Have Is Your

Valentine's Day ideas beyond dinner: dessert, music, games and more

Come Valentine's Day, many of you will be searching for the perfect restaurant–one that's unique, intimate, and where guests rave about the food. In Harlem, spots like Belle Harlem and Tastings Social presents Mountain Bird–small gems with glowing reviews–fit the bill perfectly. Risotto with butter-poached lobster, chanterelles, smoked corn, and black truffles, anyone? Of course, Valentine's Day doesn't just have to revolve around restaurants. If you're looking for something else to do, here are eight great uptown spots to check out before, after–or instead of–that special meal. AFTER-HOURS DeSSERTS Photo: Instagram/@sugarhillicecream Sugar Hill Creamery is the rare uptown dessert shop that'

Uptown Links: Oprah comes to the Apollo (and Red Rooster), Teyana Taylor is bringing back '90s n

• Did you hear Oprah was at the Apollo yesterday? She was getting back to her talk show roots hosting SuperSoul Conversations, including interviews with Salma Hayek, Stephen Colbert, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Yara Shahidi, Trevor Noah, and Jordan Peele– plus 2 Dope Queens! The special will air on Tuesday, February 27 on OWN. (She also dropped by Red Rooster after the show–here's proof.) • Singer and dancer Teyana Taylor announced she's opening a '90s-themed nail salon this month in Harlem called Junie Bee Nails. • Uptown's branching out downtown: Marcus Samuelsson just opened a mini version of his casual chicken joint Streetbird Rotisserie called Streetbird Express at Madison Square Garden. (And j

The Uptown Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Live uptown? You don't have to go far to get your Valentine something delightful. From traditional flowers to an unexpected treat, here are some local gift ideas that are sure to please. bouquet of Flowers from La Fleur d'Harlem Whether you're looking for a more informal, organic-style bouquet ($85 and up) or a classic dozen red roses ($145), La Fleur d'Harlem has got you covered. The actual shop is located on 144th Street, but it delivers anywhere in Manhattan. Sparkling Wine from Hamilton Wine House You won't just find the usual fancy bottles of Champagne at Hamilton Wine House–although it's got that too. From affordable American sparkling wine to organic Prosecco, the bubbly selection at

A block in Hamilton Heights gets a retro makeover for Ed Norton's "Motherless Brooklyn&quot

Wondering why a small stretch of 148th Street in Hamilton Heights is suddenly in a 1950s time warp? The movie Motherless Brooklyn, set in mid-20th century New York, is shooting today in this northern corner of Harlem. Directed by and starring Ed Norton, the thriller is based on the Jonathan Lethem novel about a detective with Tourette's Syndrome who tries to solve his mentor's murder. The cast also includes Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Cherry Jones. Vintage signs for a hardware store, pens and a hosiery shop are clustered near the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 148th Street, which has temporarily been turned into East 108th Street and Lexington Avenue. Nearby stands a vin

Uptown view: the 1 train in West Harlem

I must be a die-hard subway fan: despite all of the MTA's recent problems–incessant delays, slow-moving trains, unchecked panhandling–I still have lots of nice things to say about my local station, the 137th Street–City College stop on the Broadway-Seventh Avenue line. For example, did you know a young Barack Obama had a part in its renovation? It used to be one of the worst stations in the entire system, but thanks in part to community organizing efforts by Obama in the 1980s, it was given a head-to-toe makeover. If I'm completely honest, I wish it were an express stop. But at least it's on the 1 line–compared to other neighborhood options like the A, the 1 rarely has massive delays or slow

5 stylish, low-key Harlem cocktail bars without big-screen TVs

If you're planning on watching the big game at an uptown bar this Sunday, you've got plenty of choices: from neighborhood pubs to boisterous beer gardens, there's truly something for everyone. But what if you're just not that into football and would still like a nice evening out? The fact is it's not that easy to order a drink at a bar without a huge, distracting screen shining in your face. Luckily, Harlem has an increasingly wide array of low-key cocktail bars sans big TVs. From north to south, here are five to check out this Sunday–or any day you need an escape from that bright, LED glare. Uptown Bourbon This tiny, brick-walled bar in the upper reaches of Hamilton Heights has an uncomplic

Uptown Links: Harlem Renaissance books to love–and style to follow

• NPR's book critic picks three "revelatory" Harlem Renaissance novels to review–half of the six books by African-American writers that Penguin Classics is reprinting for Black History Month. The groundbreaking The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman (not to be confused with the Kendrick Lamar song) tackles color prejudice in the African-American community through the life of a dark-skinned character named Emma Lou who moves from L.A. to Harlem. • Did you know Rihanna's performance of "Wild Thoughts" at the Grammys last Sunday was a nod to the Harlem Renaissance? (Or was it more Crazy Horse?) • Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of In the Heights, gathered with other members of the cast a

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