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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner


Buddha Taco Bar and Sita Thai are now open–the first in a spate of new eateries coming to Hamilton H

The first two of nine new eateries slated to open this spring and summer in Hamilton Heights are finally here (and based on the number of papered-up storefronts in the neighborhood, even more will be joining these nine). After a few weeks in soft-open mode, Buddha Taco Bar (3628 Broadway between 149th and 150th Streets) had its grand opening last week. The menu–you check off your picks and hand them to the server–lists nine types of tacos, from strip steak and pulled pork to fish and portobello mushroom; even more fun might be deciding which of the four house-made sauces (roja, verde, tequila and habanero) to add on top. A few "not tacos" items like chicken wings and guacamole round out the

The City Fresh Market on East 116th Street is back–and now offers fresh sushi and thin-crust pizza f

In 2016 the City Fresh Market on East 116th Street was in danger of closing for good, much to the dismay of the community. But after a strong show of support–including a 2016 rally that attracted local politicians–the grocery store managed to hang on to its location. Now, after a long renovation, it has finally reopened (bringing the total number of City Fresh Markets in East Harlem to three). The new, week-old spot is bright and welcoming, featuring a variety of freshly-prepared food reminiscent of New York's upscale supermarkets. Even the facade feels more in step with the times, including brick details and large, open windows that reveal a series of decorative arches inside. Photo: Wahizz

Uptown Links: Hillary Clinton visits her own pantsuit, reserved street parking for residents gets a

• Hillary Clinton stopped by the "Beyond Suffrage: A Century of New York Women in Politics" show at the Museum of the City of New York–and got to see her own Oscar de la Renta pantsuit that she wore when she was sworn in as New York's junior senator. [Museum of the City of New York Instagram] • Suburban commuters who park their cars in residential neighborhoods before heading to work in midtown may have to rethink how they travel. A group of City Council members are introducing two bills that would reserve curbside spots for city residents (one is limited to Manhattan above 60th Street). Council member Mark Levine, whose district includes Morningside Heights, West Harlem, and Washington Heig

Explore endlessly fascinating New York during Jane's Walk NYC–including 18 amazing tours above 1

Now in its eighth year, the Jane's Walk NYC festival invites you to explore the city's most fascinating corners via free guided walking tours–and, not surprisingly, Upper Manhattan has more than its fair share of gems. Inspired by the work of urban activist Jane Jacobs, the 200-plus walks are taking place May 4-6 across all five boroughs and cover themes like advocacy, art & architecture, environment, food & entertainment, and history & culture. Featured strolls–most are around 90 minutes–include "David Bowie's New York," which starts in Washington Square Park. But if you're an uptowner and want to learn more about your own neck of the woods, you can pick from 18 walks north of 110th Street,

Contemporary dance inspired by Africa comes to Harlem Stage next week

Africa is the theme at Harlem Stage next week, when three modern choreographers who were born on the continent share new and re-imagined works as part of E-Moves, the performing arts venue's signature dance series. Each piece offers a different vision of Africa, drawn from the choreographers' unique perspectives. Photo: Robert Bader Born in Zimbabwe, Nora Chipaumire has created “Dark Swan,” a modern solo–performed by dancer Shamar Watt–with a black African woman as the original inspiration. The dance is set to Camille Saint-Saens' classic cello solo, The Swan. Originally from Burkina Faso, choreographer Lacina Coulibaly performs his ode to Africa, "Sen Kɔrɔ la," together with dancer Ibrahim

This fashion expert gives in-the-know shopping tours of Harlem–and is bringing them to the South Bro

Mikaila Brown wants to be the Anthony Bourdain of fashion, exploring all the world's underappreciated shopping havens. "The same way [Bourdain] would say to you in Madrid, This is what they eat, this is why they eat it, this is where you should eat when you go to Madrid, I'd do the same for fashion," explains Brown. Her first stop? Harlem, USA, where Brown offers two-hour shopping tours four times a week through Airbnb's Experiences. Each costs $35, and includes a brief history of fashion in Harlem, a discussion of the area's major designers, and a visit to four boutiques that Brown handpicks based on the questionnaires that people fill out before the tour. (Tour-goers range from college stu

Where to find a little bit of Prince in Harlem

Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of Prince's tragic death, and although Paisley Park in Minnesota serves as a mecca for die-hard fans, visitors to Harlem can find a few places to honor the Purple One right here. The Apollo Theater Prince played the Apollo for the first time in 1993 ("Yeah, we uptown tonight!" he told the crowd), returning for two more appearances in 2009 and 2010. A few months after he died, the theater inducted Prince into the Apollo Walk of Fame, joining the likes of Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Ella Fitzgerald. Fans need only walk in front of the famed Harlem music venue to find the musician's name etched in bronze. The Schomburg Shop This cool shop attached to th

Uptown Links: finding authentic jazz in Harlem, Beyoncé pays it forward, and more

• Harlem's proud jazz roots are on display at American Legion Post 398, a music-filled basement that's "one of the last authentic jazz venues in Harlem." [NY Times] • Not done with sprinkling her magic this week, Beyoncé donated clothing from her Ivy Park line to the young women of Figure Skating in Harlem, then invited them to model the latest looks. The girls hit the ice and struck a pose at Riverbank State Park Skating Rink. [Time] • Finally! The statue of Dr. James Marion Sims, the physician who performed experiments on enslaved back women, was removed from its East Harlem perch on Tuesday. The city will move the controversial monument to the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where Sims i

A Brooklyn pop-up selling vintage outdoor gear sets up shop in Manhattanville

A colorful little pop-up selling vintage camping and hiking gear has opened inside the nine-month-old Steep Rock West Bouldering on Columbia's new Manhattanville campus. Brooklyn-based Monroe Garden Vintage Outdoor Gear has taken over the bouldering spot's airy lobby and filled it with American and European outerwear brands from the '70 through the '90s, including Fjallraven, Patagonia, North Face and L.L. Bean. The temporary shop features a curated selection of bright backpacks, fleece jackets, old boots, vintage copies of hiking magazines such as Summit, and what it calls "crumbling equipment." Items like an old backpacking stove and small antlers add a rustic vibe. While you may not find

Enjoy Car Free Earth Day in Upper Manhattan this Saturday, then check out these other spring activit

Car Free Earth Day is now an annual event the Saturday before Earth Day when a few sections of the city are blissfully closed to traffic. Uptowners can take part in the exhaust-free fun this weekend on St. Nicholas Avenue between 181st and 190th Streets (there's also a bigger event on Broadway between Union Square and Times Square). The nine uptown blocks will be buzzing with activities all day, including dance performances, Zumba classes, helmet giveaways and tours of nearby Highbridge Park. Not sure you'll be able to make it? Here are a few of the participating organizations you can check out anytime you feel like enjoying the outdoors in the upper reaches of our fair city. Bike New York T

A primer on Central Harlem's avenues for visitors (and the perpetually disoriented)

Manhattan's amazing grid system makes navigating the city a breeze for locals and tourists alike–except when you find yourself on a part of the island where the numbers suddenly vanish (these pockets are more common than you think). Take Central Harlem. The streets running east to west are all numbered (note that 125th Street is also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard). But it's the avenues here that can get a little tricky. Over the years, three in its heart have been renamed (some a few times), and visitors may find the lack of numbers–and epic names–confusing. But it's not that hard. Memorize the following and you'll be able to explore Harlem and never get lost. Malcolm X Boulevard = Le

An Asian cuisine boomlet is coming to Hamilton Heights

In late February, a whopping six new businesses–a mix of restaurants, a smoothie joint and a bakery–looked to be putting down stakes in Hamilton Heights (one, Buddha Taco Bar, is already in soft open mode). Now five more are joining them or expanding–and all have an Asian bent. Although none have firm opening dates yet, activity has been ramping up at all of the spaces. The buzz is already swirling over the newest location of Jin Ramen at 3599 Broadway (at 148th Street), which will open towards the end of the summer, according to a manager at 125th Street. Jin has three other locations, but this newest will most resemble the one on the Upper West Side, which has a larger menu that blends the

Uptown Links: a kitschy bar serves "extraordinary" cocktails, a newcomer reinvents farm-to

• The New Yorker stopped by Hamilton Heights basement cocktail bar The Honeywell, marveling at the '70s kitsch and its "extraordinary drinks" such as the Monk Fashion and the Tiger Beet. • Harlem newcomer Clay made it onto Time Out New York's list of "best brunch[es] in NYC to try right now." The mag is impressed at how it turns "tired 'farm-to-table' on its head." • 6sqft named East Harlem's Urban Garden Center one of New York City's 10 best plant shops. If you "want to spend a few hours walking through a veritable garden, it’s a good spot to check out." • Where to find the best mole poblano in the city according to New York Magazine? Homey South Bronx favorite La Morada. • Top Chef Season

Junot Díaz returns to Washington Heights for a reading of his new children's book, Islandborn (b

I've been a Junot Díaz fan for a while, and not just because of his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Somewhat oddly, he's also been my longtime Dominican food Sherpa–thanks to a deeply knowledgeable guide to Upper Manhattan he wrote for Gourmet magazine many years ago. (I've been consulting it ever since and am now a regular at Malecon.) So when I heard the Dominican American author was reading from his new children's book, Islandborn, this Friday at the United Palace of Cultural Arts, I knew I wanted to mention the event somehow. Then, earlier this week, Díaz surprised everyone with a harrowing account in The New Yorker of his sexual assault when he was eig

A flashback to a grimier New York comes to Hamilton Heights as Ryan Murphy shoots his new '80s-e

Earlier in the year the swanky 1950s took over Hamilton Heights, but now the grimy '80s are here. On the heels of Ed Norton's '50s-era film shoot for Motherless Brooklyn comes Ryan Murphy's circa-1980s production for his upcoming TV series Pose. A musical drama in the mold of Glee, the show takes place in 1987 New York and revolves around downtown ballroom culture set against the backdrop of Trump-era excess. The series features stars like Evan Peters, Kate Mara, and James Van Der Beek, but is also getting major attention for having the largest cast of transgender series regulars ever. It will premiere this summer. Hamilton Terrace, one of the prettiest blocks in all of Harlem, got a major m

Mind-bending art collective finds a temporary home in a cool Hamilton Heights garage

Feeling the urge to expand your artistic horizons in the coming months? Look no further than a beautiful old garage at 1850 Amsterdam Avenue in Hamilton Heights. The raw space is the new, if brief, home of Qubit, a contemporary art collective that has planned a series of concerts and shows over the next three months. Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, April 10, Qubit is teaming up with the MATA festival, an annual showcase for young and emerging composers (its founders include Philip Glass), to present a sound installation by Italian composer and sound artist Alessandro Perini. While there you'll be able to sit in a special chair and “hear” one of Perini's compositions through vibrations on your bo

A play about Charles Ignatius Sancho–born on a slave ship, painted by Gainsborough–is coming to Harl

Like many actors, Paterson Joseph–who you might recognize from TV shows like HBO's The Leftovers and NBC's Timeless–dreamed of performing in a costume drama, complete with wigs and waistcoats. But as a black Briton, lead roles were few and far between. So he spent hours doing research and learned of a man that would change the course of his theatrical career forever: Charles Ignatius Sancho, who in 1774 became the first British-African to cast a vote in the UK. Born on a slave ship, Sancho in time learned to read and write, becoming a poet, playwright and composer. He later sat for a portrait by the society painter Thomas Gainsborough–which, it turns out, is how Joseph first discovered him.

Uptown Links: participatory budgeting is here again, South Harlem's 'percolating' real e

• Let the city hear your voice: next week (April 7-15) is your once-a-year chance to vote in your community's participatory budgeting. In Upper Manhattan, Districts 7 and 10 (headed by Council Members Mark Levine and Ydanis Rodriguez, respectively) are inviting locals to decide how at least $1 million of the public budget gets spent in each of their areas (Central Harlem's District 8 and East Harlem's District 9 currently don't participate). Check out which parks, schools, libraries and public housing are on your community's list, then vote! • The New York Times stopped by South Harlem for its weekly "Living In" column on local real estate trends. While many members of the community continue

Now that there's an H Mart uptown, making poke (and other Asian-style dishes) is a cinch

The poke trend–a yummy Hawaiian dish of raw fish mixed in an Asian dressing that's practically on every corner downtown–has yet to make its way to my part of Harlem. But luckily H Mart–the superbly stocked Asian grocery chain–recently opened on Broadway and 110th Street, making this popular ceviche incredibly easy to create at home. All I had to do was find a good recipe, and this one from Mark Bittman looked perfect–I love that it was billed as poke that would only take nine minutes to assemble. The great thing about H Mart is knowing you'll find all of the necessary ingredients for most any Asian recipe–in my case, potentially tricky items like daikon, a large white radish, and sushi-grade

Bulb signs are so Harlem

Made of bright neon or hand-painted in bygone lettering, vintage-looking signs have been all the rage for a while now. And maybe the most popular of them all are bulb signs. For the last decade or so any new shop or restaurant looking to imbue its space with some old-fashioned warmth has incorporated big letters illuminated with bulbs into their signage or decor. A handful of years ago the terrific blog New York Neon was one to spot the trend, explaining that bulb signs had their heyday in the very early part of the 20th century, only to be pushed aside by cheaper neon. These days, the author writes, they have the "latent ability to conjure up the aura of all things way-before-our-time." In

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A Curated guide to life in Harlem And beyond
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