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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner


This new interactive map lets you support women-led restaurants–in Harlem and beyond

Still haven't done your part to celebrate Women's History Month (which, as a reminder, ends tomorrow)? Here's an easy one: dine or order in from a woman-led restaurant. Grubhub has made it super easy with a new initiative called RestaurantHER that works in a few ways. To start with, for every person who pledges to eat at or order from a woman-led restaurant in March, the online ordering giant is contributing $1 (up to $1 million) to support restaurants run by women and similar social causes. Besides voicing your support this month, you can also use RestaurantHER's fun map to follow through and find a woman-led eatery near you. Simply type in your zip code to search for a place you can patron

Uptown Links: three East Harlem spots get landmark status, the old St. Nick's Pub building is be

• Hurray! Three East Harlem beauties were landmarked on Tuesday: the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics (formerly the Benjamin Franklin High School), the former Richard Webber Harlem Packing House, and the former Public School 109. (Photo: nyc.gov) • The bad news keeps coming ever since firefighter Michael R. Davidson died battling a blaze at 773 St. Nicholas Avenue, the rowhouse where Ed Norton was shooting "Motherless Brooklyn." First the next-door neighbors who had to vacate their apartments discovered they had been robbed, then the tenants in the building itself filed a lawsuit against the film production company. Two days ago came word that the historic building, which once ho

MamaSushi in Harlem is expanding–a perfect time to ask, What exactly is Dominican sushi?

Do you like sushi? How about sweet plantains? If you said yes to both, it's time for you to check out MamaSushi. Plenty of fans are already flocking to this restaurant known for its Japanese food with a Caribbean twist, and its original location in Inwood has quickly spawned a second in Harlem and one more planned for New Jersey. And with word that the location on Broadway and 146th Street is expanding into the space next door, now's a good opportunity to see what the buzz is all about. Having trouble grasping the concept? All will be revealed once you walk into the modern, red-and-black space. Large Japanese motifs adorn the walls and are interspersed with silhouettes of real and fictional

So much to explore at the African-American museum in D.C., including Harlem's outsize role in bl

You could easily spend a few days making your way through the National Museum of African American History & Culture, the Smithsonian museum that opened in Washington, D.C. in late 2016. There is so much absorbing history to cover, from the barbaric years of the African slave trade (included are the remnants of a slave ship) all the way to the election of President Barack Obama (one of Michelle Obama's dresses is part of the exhibit). In between you'll get to see an actual plantation slave cabin, a segregated train car and, maybe most moving of all, Emmett Till's coffin. And that's just the lower-level galleries. Then there are the packed upper floors dedicated to community and culture, highl

Seeing the Obama portraits in person

If you're an art lover, no visit to Washington, D.C. is now complete without a visit to see the utterly original Obama portraits, unveiled earlier this year at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. And if you're a fan of the Studio Museum in Harlem, uptown's museum dedicated to African-American artists, there's an added reason to go: both portraits were painted by its alumni. Kehinde Wiley, who references formal portraits by Old Masters in his hyper-realistic paintings of African-American men, was not just an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum at the beginning of his career, but the subject of a solo show there in 2008. Amy Sherald, who made her name with gray-toned portraits of

Fire on Motherless Brooklyn set: firefighter dies, old St. Nick's Pub building is gutted

Last night, an FDNY firefighter died while battling a blaze on the Harlem set of "Motherless Brooklyn." Two of his colleagues were seriously injured as well. Firefighter Michael Davidson, 37, was the first to brave the flames, according to the New York Daily News. The fire started in the basement of 773 St. Nicholas Avenue, but the reasons are still unknown. The building seems to be gutted. The old rowhouse was home to the former St. Nick's Pub, which was being used to shoot scenes from the movie based on the Jonathan Lethem detective novel. Set in 1950s New York, the film stars Ed Norton and Bruce Willis, among others. For the last month, the film crew has been taking the Harlem neighborhoo

Uptown Links: a Harlem Renaissance librarian at the center of it all, a free screening of HBO's

• Atlas Obscura came out with a great piece about Regina Anderson, the impressive Harlem Renaissance librarian who hosted some of the most famous figures of the movement in her apartment on St. Nicholas Avenue. Later in her life–nevertheless, she persisted!–Anderson became the first ever African-American head of a New York Public Library branch. (Photo: Schomburg Center/New York Public Library) • Hurry–you have until the end of today to register for a free screening of "King in the Wilderness" at The Riverside Church. The new HBO documentary spotlights the last three years of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and marks the 50th anniversary of his assassination. • And the Dapper Dan stories keep

Celebrate spring with a tour of the Audubon Mural Project (or just check out the latest birds to hav

It may not feel like it today, but spring is finally here! Looking for a way to celebrate the change of seasons once the weather finally catches up to the calendar? Why not sign up for a tour of the many colorful bird murals dotting Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights–known officially as the Audubon Mural Project. The amazing public art project by The National Audubon Society and Gitler & _ Gallery commissions various artists to paint murals of birds threatened by climate change in naturalist John James Audubon's old uptown neighborhood. Just in time for spring, Audubon's New York City chapter has planned a series of tours that visit 30 of the murals (plus Audubon's grave nearby). The fi

This artist was famous for cutting massive holes in New York's derelict buildings, starting in t

Now that three of uptown's five biggest museums have closed their galleries for renovations, it's a good time to go further afield looking for great art. Perfect in size–neither too big nor too small–and always free is the Bronx Museum. Currently there's a fascinating show about Gordon Matta-Clark, whose work cutting monumental holes through neglected urban architecture had its start in the Bronx. In the early '70s, Matta-Clark, who called himself an "anarchitect" (anarchist + architect), drew attention to the decaying corners of the borough by carving massive holes through the neighborhood's crumbling buildings. The exhibit, "Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect," includes an actual cutout of a

Documenting a disappearing Manhattanville

The changes to Manhattanville wrought by Columbia University's new campus, documented through evocative photos and interviews by Nathan Kensinger, is the subject of a fascinating essay in Curbed NY. For decades this western patch of Harlem right above 125th Street was an industrial area with its peak days long behind it. Today Columbia's hyper-modern science and art buildings are just the first wave of new construction that will completely reinvent the neighborhood. Kensinger takes stock of the changes with his camera, but also talks to a few people who remember what the area was like in the old days. Ana Diaz, the daughter of the owner of the remaining auto body shop west of Broadway recall

Uptown Links: Harlem EatUp! tickets go on sale tomorrow, "Top Chef" runner-up Adrienne Che

• Tickets for annual uptown food festival Harlem EatUp! (May 14-20) go on sale to the general public tomorrow. Citi cardmembers can already purchase tickets, so hurry–one of the "Dine in Harlem" events hosted by Marcus Samuelsson at Ginny's Supper Club is already sold out. (Photo: Instagram/@harlemeatup). • If you want to attend one of Top Chef runner-up Adrienne Cheatham's new Sunday Best pop-ups in Harlem, follow her on Instagram to get the details. (She'll also be a guest chef at Harlem EatUp!, so there's that.) • More gorgeous photos of Harlem fashion plate Lana Turner in The New Yorker, courtesy of photographer Dario Calmese. • A Sotheby's auction in May will raise money for the constru

Uptown's produce stands will cure your end-of-winter blues

It's winter's home stretch, when even snow stops being exciting. Dying for a tropical escape? Here's an idea: find your closest Latin American or Caribbean produce stand (there are still a few stores and plenty of street vendors that qualify starting on Broadway at 135th Street and higher) and fill your shopping bag with your favorite tropical fruit and veg. It will instantly transport you to warmer climes. If you're feeling creative, you can make this eye-catching fruit dish I found on Instagram. You'll need a ripe papaya (or another large oval fruit like pineapple), a bit of yogurt and granola, a few kiwis, bananas, strawberries, and some small dark fruit like blueberries or purple grapes.

Checking up on the latest news-making changes coming to 125th Street

While the astounding changes to Harlem's main street continue apace, the truth is that many of these much-hyped projects will take years to reach fruition–just look at the Whole Foods, which took half a decade to go from rumor to reality. A recent walk down 125th Street confirms that only a few of the most recent plans to make headlines are actually close to being realized, while the biggest have a long way to go. So here, then, is what is (and isn't) on the horizon. The next chain to arrive looks to be appliance retailer P.C. Richard & Son, which now has job posters in front of its "new Harlem superstore" at 309 W 125th Street. A peek at its website confirms the store is looking for sales a

A new film noir festival is coming to Columbia's Manhattanville campus (plus two other uptown sc

Uptown movie buffs have reason to cheer: a new film festival is debuting at the Lenfest Center for the Arts on Columbia's rising Manhattanville campus–and it's open to the public. "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: Paris 1946 and American Film Noir," is the first installment of the Dr. Saul and Dorothy Kit Film Noir Festival, which will be an annual event for the next decade. Most of the movies will be shown in 35mm. Running from next Thursday, March 22 to Sunday, March 25, the series will feature eight films in all, with three movies being offered each day during the weekend. Look for stylish classics like "The Maltese Falcon," "Double Indemnity" (top image), "Murder, My Sweet," and "Laura

Harlem Chocolate Factory just opened–and its owner has big plans

Jessica Spaulding, the owner of the just-opened Harlem Chocolate Factory, has always wanted to live on Strivers' Row. "That's the pinnacle," she says of the famed Central Harlem enclave known for its blocks of historic townhouses. At least professionally, she's pretty much arrived. Her three-week-old chocolate shop on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard sits just across the street from those dreamy Harlem rowhouses. Inside the store, the front space has been made to look like an imaginary Strivers' Row parlor, complete with a small electric fireplace, a phonograph and, across one wall, a black-and-white image of the stately homes themselves. "We're basically making a chocolate shop into someone's

Uptown Links: Dapper Dan's story is headed to the big screen, Season 2 of Luke Cage has a releas

• For those following the resurgence of Dapper Dan, this might be the biggest news of all: according to The Hollywood Reporter, the Harlem designer's story is coming to the big screen. The biopic will be based on Dapper Dan's memoir (due out in 2019) and will be adapted by Jerrod Carmichael, star of The Carmichael Show. • Fans of "Luke Cage," the TV series based on the Harlem superhero, won't have to wait too much longer for Season 2. Netflix has finally announced the premiere date: June 22. • The New York Times has published the obituaries of 15 women it says it overlooked in its 167 years of existence. One of them is Harlem Renaissance writer Nella Larsen, whose mixed-race heritage influen

Farewell to another piece of Harlem's history

A major piece of Harlem's history is now rubble: the former Childs Memorial Temple Church, famously the site of Malcolm X's eulogy, has been demolished. The church, then known as Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, agreed to conduct the funeral after a number of others declined due to fears of violence (Malcolm X had been a leader of the Nation of Islam, until he repudiated the movement in 1964; he was assassinated the following year). A special Muslim service was held there in February 27, 1965, and was peaceful to the end. The building itself has an even longer history: it opened as the Bluebird Theater in 1921, and subsequently became the Ramona Theater, then the Teatro Granada, and fin

When the prestigious James Beard Foundation pays attention to Harlem's master of fried chicken,

Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken isn't necessarily the kind of restaurant that's trendy in Harlem right now, offering, say, a fried-chicken-and-waffle brunch with bottomless mimosas and maybe some jazz on the side. It's a modest but busy takeout joint with a handful of basic tables for those who prefer to stay in. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go. Quite the opposite. Last month Charles Gabriel, the legend behind this old-school soul food spot, was named as a semi-finalist in the James Beard Awards' Best Chef in New York City category. To understand what a big deal this is, you only have to look at the list of fellow nominees, which includes chefs from critical darlings such as Estela

Two uptown buildings–and their illustrator–get their 15 minutes of fame on LinkNYC

Love 'em or hate 'em, the LinkNYC kiosks–those modern tech columns that offer free internet accesss on city streets–are now a part of our everyday lives. Walking down the streets of Harlem recently, I noticed flashing on the screens–amid the event listings and seemingly random bits of information–two cool illustrations of uptown buildings. The credits reveal they are the work of James Gulliver Hancock, the obsessive artist behind the popular 2013 book All the Buildings in New York, which has been reprinted at least eight times. (There are now similar books for London, Sydney, Melbourne, and, most recently, Paris; the artist himself is originally from Australia). The two buildings appearing o

Get to know Dance Theatre of Harlem's trailblazing founder, then go see the company perform next

Harlem's legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem spends a lot of time on tour, so if you want to see them perform in New York, now's your chance: The dance troupe will be at City Center for four shows only, from April 4 to 7. And this year is special: until March 11 you can also go see a great little (free) exhibit about the company's founder called "Arthur Mitchell: Harlem's Ballet Trailblazer" at Columbia University's Wallach Art Gallery. Mitchell was New York City Ballet's first African-American star–hand-picked by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein long before the civil rights movement kicked into high gear–who went on to found Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969. The school opened on West 152

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A Curated guide to life in Harlem And beyond
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