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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner

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Uptown links: another surprise Harlem closing, car sharing companies are coming to grab street spots

• Streetbird Rotisserie is now the third Harlem business in recent weeks to surprise its fans by closing, joining Morningside Coffee and Artist & Craftsman Supply (A&C won't actually shut its doors until June 8). Chef Marcus Samuelsson's casual spot on 116th Street served its last meal this past Sunday, but the good news is that Southern food favorite BLVD Bistro is moving in. Side thoughts: I wonder what will happen to the classic "Old Fashion' But Good!" neon sign Samuelsson saved from the trash heap of history? And a fond farewell to my favorite Harlem bathroom, an amazing ode to Grace Jones! [NY Times] • Starting Monday, Hamilton Heights will lose 20 street parking spots as part of a new

4 fab events to check out as the month-long Uptown Arts Stroll kicks off

Celebrating all things art and culture in northern Manhattan, the 16th Annual Uptown Arts Stroll is here–and it's vast, stretching from 135th Street in Harlem all the way to 220th Street in Inwood at the tippy top of the island. Whether it's a concert–jazz, bachata, opera, Japanese drums, you name it–a dance performance (flamenco!), a literary event, or an art exhibit, there's something to see or do every day in June: more than 300 events in all. Whoa. Be sure to bookmark the handy Uptown Arts Stroll calendar, which expands to show the activities for each day (some have as many as 14), then check back regularly. Or just keep tabs on your favorite uptown arts venue–including the United Palace

Drafts on the double: Two new beer spots are set to open in Central Harlem very soon

Ambitious beer joints keep multiplying in Harlem, and two more are getting ready to join them. This duo will be close enough to each other that you'll soon be able to plan a serious new–albeit mini–Central Harlem beer crawl. Here's where to go and what to look for: Harlem Ale House 101 W 127th Street between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevards The history of the building is so palpable in the decor of this charming space–since the 1860s it's been home to a bowling alley, a speakeasy, a gambling hole, and a number of Masonic lodges–it's easy to forget the latest occupant just got here. The new pub will offer, according to a sign in its window, "American cuisine and 200 beers from

Uptown Links: André Leon Talley wears custom Dapper Dan (made with Gucci fabric), a red rose vanishe

• Barrier-breaking fashion legend André Leon Talley was at the Schomburg Center on Tuesday night to attend a screening of The Gospel According to André, filmmaker Kate Novack's new documentary about his life. According to a profile in the New York Times, Harlem designer Dapper Dan made the reversible caftan Talley has been wearing to all his film-related appearances: "Mr. Talley chose the fabric, a reversible Gucci gold and crimson Chinese brocade covered in leaping tigers. It took three fittings to get the final robe right." [image via @gospelaccordingtoandre on Instagram; NY Times] • Can the person who took artist NaomiRAG's crocheted rose from the East Harlem fence she installed it on ple

9 spots expanding in Harlem and further uptown

From national chains looking to make their first move in Harlem to local businesses opening their next neighborhood joint, there are quite a few expansions currently underway uptown. From south to north, here are the ones generating the most buzz: Taco Mix 1621 Lexington Avenue at 102nd Street Everyone's favorite destination for authentic al pastor tacos on East 116th Street is opening a second East Harlem location in about a month. (NB: There's now also an Industry City branch and another coming to Queens.) The new corner spot looks like it will have a lot more seating than the original counter-only address–one awning reads "Tapas & Wine Bar"–so fans should be able to make an evening of it.

5 fun twists on rosé–and the top Harlem wine shops in which to find them

Pop into any of Harlem's growing number of excellent wine stores and you'll find that rosé season is already in full swing. Front-of-store displays–from lilac-filled tables to rustic carts–are piled high with bottles of what's become the unofficial drink of summer. An even more careful look reveals it's not just traditional bottles of rosé that are for sale. Everyone's favorite pink wine now comes in a variety of different containers, textures, and even flavors. As Memorial Day weekend approaches, why not pick up one of these fun twists on rosé to start your summer off with a smile? 40-ounce bottle of rosé Fun but serious stuffHamilton Wine House.Packaged in bottles typically associated with

Looking for more examples of diversity in classical music after the royal wedding? Don't miss th

One of the top moments of the royal wedding had to be watching young cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason perform three moving pieces–including Maria Theresia von Paradis' "Sicilienne" and Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria"–for the guests inside St George's Chapel (top photo via Instagram). Not only is Kanneh-Mason just 19 years old and impressively talented, he's also the first black musician to win the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year award. It comes as no surprise to learn it was Meghan Markle who invited him to perform at her and Prince Harry's big day. Image via Harlem Chamber Players The wedding now seems like some beautiful fairytale, but if Kanneh-Mason's performance has whetted your appetite for

Summer on the Hudson = gorgeous river views + fun events all season long (including the Sweet Spot F

The weather has been a tad soggy lately, but Summer on the Hudson is already in full swing up and down Riverside Park. This weekend the river-hugging West Harlem Piers at 125th Street will host the Sweet Spot Music + Art Festival. The afternoon has a West African theme–it's being called a FELA-bration in honor of Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician–and will also include vendors selling food like African-inspired hot sauces and crafts such as jewelry. (Note: It was planned for Saturday, but has been moved to Sunday at 3pm because of the rainy forecast.) After you've taken in the festival and the killer views, be sure to take advantage of the cool area surrounding West Harlem Piers. The park is j

Uptown Links: U2's coming to the Apollo, Swizz Beatz scores at an art auction to benefit the Stu

• U2 will play the Apollo Theater in June. Here's your chance to hear "Angel of Harlem" in Harlem (how could they not sing it?), although you have to be a SiriusXM subscriber to get tickets. [NY Post] • "Creating Spaces," a two-day auction at Sotheby's to benefit the Studio Museum in Harlem's new building, kicked off last night with the sale of five paintings. Hip hop artist and producer Swizz Beatz was there and won the portrait "An Assistance of Amber" by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. "It's time for us to buy more of us," he said. [Bloomberg] • The brand-new Rennie condos–which replaced Harlem's historic Renaissance Ballroom–are about to hit the market. The developer says the average price will b

Tiffany & Co. ads surface in A$AP Ferg's corner of Harlem

​A string of Tiffany & Co. ads featuring Elle Fanning recently surfaced on a quiet block in Hamilton Heights–not the first part of Harlem you'd think the luxury jeweler would pick to unveil the campaign for its new Tiffany Paper Flowers line. But a deeper look into the campaign offers some clues. For one, it was launched with a dreamlike video of Elle Fanning standing in front of a Tiffany window–and the short is accompanied by a remix of "Moon River," sung by the actress and A$AP Ferg. And the rapper, it just so happens, grew up in Harlem. In fact, the spot where the Tiffany ads can be found is just steps away from Ferg's old stomping grounds on 143rd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam A

Show your favorite urban oasis some love with It's My Park

Our local city parks give us so much: a visual break from all that concrete and glass, flowers in the spring followed by deep green foliage throughout the summer, a riot of fall color, a peaceful bench on which to relax, a grassy spot to enjoy the sun or picnic with friends, birdsong...the list goes on and on. Wouldn't it be nice to give back in some way? Well, now's your chance. It's My Park is a citywide project presented by Partnerships for Parks that brings volunteers together to improve their local public gardens, and there are more than 50 such events planned for this weekend alone (Saturday May 19th and Sunday May 20th). If you live uptown, you'll find parks big and small in need of v

East Harlem's Dear Mama Coffee opens second spot on Columbia's Manhattanville campus; Mornin

Over the weekend two Harlem spots announced big moves. After a little more than a year in business, biscuit purveyor Morningside Coffee at 547b Malcolm X Boulevard between 137th and 138th Streets shuttered abruptly. "Unfortunately today was Morningside Coffee's last day of business. I want to thank you for all your past business and support. We are very thankful and grateful in having you as our loyal customer," reads a notice that was posted Sunday on its Instagram account. No reason was given for the closure. The small but cheery spot offered tempting buttermilk biscuit sandwiches served with scrambled eggs or fried chicken. Coffee, including basic drip, espressos, cappuccinos and flat whi

Mother's Day Double Date: "Heavenly Bodies" at the Met Cloisters + the Heather Garden

Looking for the perfect Mother's Day date with Mom? Wow her with an afternoon of fashion and flowers–it just so happens that two of the most spectacular displays in the city happen to be in Upper Manhattan right now. Monday night's annual celeb-packed Met Gala signaled the opening of the latest fashion blockbuster from the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." While much of the show is at the Met's main building on Fifth Avenue, you won't want to miss what the museum has dreamed up at the Met Cloisters in Inwood. The intimate museum, which is laid out like a medieval cloister, is the perfect foil for the exquisite coutur

Uptown Links: source of tragic Harlem fire is revealed, Trader Joe's is getting closer, and more

• The FDNY has determined the reason for the Harlem fire that killed firefighter Michael Davidson: the heat from a boiler ventilation pipe ignited flammable materials nearby. Ed Norton was filming Motherless Brooklyn in the historic building at the center of the blaze. It was known for once being the home of the beloved St. Nick's Pub, but had to be razed. [NY Post] • Trader Joe's is inching its way up Manhattan. The newest location on Columbus Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets just opened to big crowds. [West Side Rag] • Here's a British travel piece about Harlem in anticipation of Harlem EatUp! starting next week. Jazz, Red Rooster, gentrification–it's got it all. [The Guardian] • Harle

Shuteye Coffee, a new Harlem spot where the owners serve up modern brews with a friendly touch

Walk into Harlem's month-old Shuteye Coffee on any given day and you won't be met by a rotating mix of anonymous employees behind the counter. Rather, you'll be greeted by the welcoming faces of Joe Vannucchi and Guy Samuelson, the owners themselves. That's not by accident. Vannucchi and Samuelson opened their small coffee shop on 116th Street not just as a business, but as part of a carefully-thought-out dream to serve top-notch coffee while bringing neighbors together. "I was looking for a way to get involved in the community, and Guy and I had always talked about having a little shop for people to relax and connect in," explains Vannucchi. Their minimalist-but-warm cafe serves East One Co

Uptown and Bronx cyclists, rejoice! Bike lanes are coming to 6 Harlem River bridges

After successfully expanding bike access across the city's four East River bridges (including the iconic Brooklyn and the increasingly busy Williamsburg), New York's Department of Transportation is finally taking steps to make crossing the Harlem River on two wheels safer, easier and more welcoming. On Friday the DOT announced it will be installing bike lanes on six of the 13 Harlem River crossings: the Madison Avenue, 145th Street, Macombs Dam, Washington, University Heights and Broadway bridges. The other seven will see a variety of improvements for both cyclists and pedestrians. The path over the Third Avenue Bridge, for example, will be reserved for pedestrians only (the car lanes will a

CBD drinks come to Harlem (and, yes, I tried one)

A sidewalk sign with a big green marijuana leaf now stands in front of Hamilton's on Broadway near 146th Street, announcing that cannabis coffee has finally arrived in Harlem. Inside the coffee shop, a more detailed notice spells out everything: its special coffee is made with cannabidiol (CBD), a legal substance derived from cannabis that actually won't make you high (it lacks the psychoactive compound known as THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol). But CBD is meant to relax you–it is often used to relieve pain, reduce anxiety, and help with insomnia, among other benefits. Hamilton's suggests ordering the CBD with one of its "lattes, cortados, Americanos or cappuccinos to be, like totally chill"–so

7 tasty taco spots to try in Harlem this weekend–or, even better, after the Cinco de Mayo crowds hav

If your idea of celebrating Cinco de Mayo involves a plate of warm, tasty tacos and a drink or two to wash them down, you're in luck: Harlem has a greater variety of taco joints than ever. In fact, the newest, Buddha Taco Bar, opened just last month in Hamilton Heights. (Craving a more cultural experience? Head to one of the biggest Cinco de Mayo festivals in the city–complete with music and dancing–on 116th Street between Second and Third Avenues tomorrow from noon-6pm.) From north to south, here's where to find some of Harlem's best Mexican bites, and what makes them special. Come for the tacos, but stay for... ...the four homemade hot sauces (ask a server which one pairs best with each ta

Uptown Links: the future of 125th Street includes a Shake Shack, a Marriott hotel, and the final sto

• The foundation for the Victoria Theater redevelopment on 125th Street is now complete, which means the building–set to be one of the tallest in Harlem and the future home of a Marriott hotel–will be rising soon. [New York YIMBY] • First Chipotle, now Shake Shack. The popular New York-based burger chain has announced it will be putting down stakes on a short stretch of 125th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues. The restaurant will be located at 1 W 125th Street–most recently an Applebee's. [Harlem + Bespoke] • The MTA has released more information about the planned Second Avenue Subway extension to 125th Street: Construction might start by the end of next year, and service could begin so

Spinning uptown: two small cycling studios that do it right

Here in the Big Apple, the first week of National Bike Month–yes, the one we're in right now–kicks off with Bike Expo New York this Friday and the TD Five Boro Bike Tour on Sunday. Uptown, it's also the first spring since Citi Bike expanded into Harlem–there are now almost 50 new bike stations reaching all the way up to 130th Street. Got a good helmet yet? Of course, hopping onto a bike and hitting the streets is easier said than done. Happily, uptowners who crave a fast-paced ride but could do without the traffic now have a choice of two dedicated cycling studios above 110th Street. Although each has its own distinct vibe, both are small and thoughtfully imagined, offering friendly encourag

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