• Pinterest - Grey Circle
  • Twitter - Grey Circle
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner


Sushi Sushi jumps from Morningside Heights to Manhattanville

Sushi Sushi has moved about seven blocks north from Morningside Heights to Manhattanville in Harlem. The mini sushi chain–there's also one on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village–relocated from 54 Tiemann Place to 1504 Amsterdam Avenue (near 134th Street) a month ago. The sushi spot is now much closer to City College than to Columbia University. The bare-bones storefront makes it hard to spot–it's still waiting to move its signage–but inside things are up and running. There's a sushi chef working behind the counter, while the front space has plenty of seating for those who prefer to eat in. The menu features a long list of traditional and signature rolls made with "high quality, carefully h

Uptown links: Netflix's new ad is a nod to a famous Harlem image, Washington Heights is a millen

• On Sunday, Netflix ran a much-buzzed-about ad during the BET Awards called "A Great Day in Hollywood," featuring the many black artists–from Spike Lee to Laverne Cox–who work for the streaming company. The shoot was inspired by "A Great Day in Harlem," Art Kane's classic black-and-white photo of a group of jazz legends in front of a Harlem brownstone. Image: Netflix [Variety] • Washington Heights is the new Williamsburg, says the New York Post. According to the latest census data, the Upper Manhattan neighborhood currently has way more millennials than Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and even Bushwick. [NY Post] • It's also number three on the list of the 10 best New York City neighborhoods f

Harlem's Cool Pool makes its debut

Not only did all of New York City's public pools open today, but five special Cool Pools also made their debut. As part of a pilot program, the city's Parks Department gave a makeover straight out of HGTV to five outdoor pools, one in each borough. Harlem's Sheltering Arms Pool on Amsterdam Avenue and 129th Street was the pick in Manhattan. According to the NYC Parks' website, the city chose only medium-sized pools in underserved neighborhoods, and none had had a major renovation since they were built in the 1970s. The changes at the Sheltering Arms Pool are simple but dramatic: bright blues and yellows add summery cheer to the facility's buildings, while chairs and umbrellas you're more lik

Get to know Hamilton Heights–and some of its most colorful characters–through the eyes of local arti

Over the years, Hamilton Heights artist Tom Sanford has found plenty of inspiration in the residents of the Harlem enclave where he has lived since 2002. So when his friend Avi Gitler, owner of the local art gallery Gitler & _, invited him to exhibit some recent work that would engage the neighborhood, an idea was born. The show would feature a group of Sanford's portraits of the neighborhood, but the jumping off point would be a painting of Jose Rivera, a self-described local "art observer" who has shown up to practically every opening party at Gitler & _, rain or shine. "We think he started coming for the free beer," says Sanford with a laugh. The result is "Have You Seen This Man?," an ex

A treeless stretch of Washington Heights turns back into gritty Times Square for Season 2 of "T

As was nicely documented when it first premiered in the fall of 2017, HBO's "The Deuce" used a number of blocks in Washington Heights as stand-ins for New York in the 1970s. The series' design team did an almost uncanny job recreating a gritty Times Square where the sex industry had its roots. Now that filming for Season 2 is well under way, the crew has returned to the same stretch of Upper Manhattan, notably Amsterdam Avenue between 164th and 165th Streets. Last Thursday a Mexican restaurant was morphed into the iconic New York arcade Playland and a nearby driving school into an X-rated movie theater. The show's production team found the right mix of qualities it needed to recreate a vinta

Where to find the Harlem film locations in Season 2 of "Luke Cage"

Harlem's bulletproof hero is back! Season 2 of "Luke Cage" is out today on Netflix. Naturally, the uptown marvel's neighborhood features prominently in the show again. "The character of Harlem is as important to the story as any of us," said actor Mike Colter in an interview with AOL Build about the neighborhood's significance in Season 2. Harlem is so integral to "Luke Cage"–and to its fans–that when the first season came out in 2016, many articles tracked down the exact uptown locations, including Pop's Barbershop and Genghis Connie’s. While we wait for another round of super sleuths to do their work for Season 2, here are some clues: The trailer for the second season shows snippets of a m

Uptown links: the hidden gems of upper Broadway, the music of "Luke Cage," and more

• Here's a fun walking tour of Broadway, with a rare focus on the northern stretch. It's led by Fran Leadon, a City College architecture professor and the author of a new book, “Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles.” Even though Hamilton Grange is located three blocks east of Broadway, it's prominently featured. I understand–I find it pretty irresistible myself! [NY Times] • If you're a fan of the music in "Luke Cage"–Season 2 comes out tomorrow and features artists including Method Man, Jidenna, and Faith Evans–then watch this behind-the-scenes featurette about how the black music experience has been woven into the show and its fictional nightclub, Harlem's Paradise. [Gizm

Double the melody: Make Music New York + Sing for Hope Pianos

Tomorrow, June 21, is the longest day of the year–hurray! To help the city celebrate, the 12th annual Make Music New York is bringing jazz, hip hop, folk, punk, opera and much more to a sidewalk or park near you. The day-long music festival has more than 1,000 free concerts planned throughout the city, 26 of which are taking place above 100th Street in Manhattan. Uptown's biggest event is "Harlem to Broadway!" at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park, which will celebrate former Harlem residents such as Eubie Blake, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, II, Alonzo Hart, Noble Sissel, Fats Waller–not to mention the outdoor theater's namesake. Other promi

Common Good Harlem, a new coffee shop serving La Colombe draft lattes, is coming to FDB

These days there are so many new coffee shops in Harlem, it can be hard to stand out. But Common Good Harlem, a cafe set to open in July on Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 149th Street, has a sure plan: it will be the first spot in Upper Manhattan to serve not just La Colombe coffee, but its deliciously creamy draft lattes as well. Karina Paz-Oshiro, who owns the shop with her husband, Dalen Oshiro, says they decided to use the Philadelphia roaster's beans after being dazzled by its cool outpost in Fishtown (a section of Philly commonly compared to Bushwick). They promptly ordered the special machine that makes the draft lattes–a tap, basically–to bring the super frothy, ice-cold espresso-a

Maren Hassinger's "Monuments" take shape in Marcus Garvey Park with the help of her Ha

Take a walk along the northern edge of Marcus Garvey Park and you're bound to catch sight of a mysterious new structure resembling a massive bird's nest. Head around to the eastern section and you'll pass another large arrangement of branches, this one resembling a group of soft mounds. Six similarly enigmatic shapes await in other corners of the park. At first glance, it may seem as if some fantastical creature has been gathering bits of tree detritus and using them to build lairs throughout the park. But these eight sculptures are actually the work of some very real humans: artist Maren Hassinger and her team of industrious volunteers. A Harlem-based multidisciplinary artist, Hassinger con

Uptown links: Harlem Hops is now open, the movie version of "In the Heights" has a release

• The new craft beer bar Harlem Hops, which debuted on Saturday, gives a starring role not just to small-batch brews but to Harlem itself. Among other signs that give props to the neighborhood is one that spells Harlem across the ceiling in big light bulb letters. “It’s not just your regular-looking beer bar,” says co-owner Stacey Lee in a recent interview in The Undefeated. “We know that Harlem is one of the most recognized places in the world, so when people come to Harlem, we want them to think of Harlem Hops.” [The Undefeated] • The film adaptation of In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony award-winning musical about a bodega owner in Washington Heights, is not only back on track, the

Meet uptown artists and get an intimate peek at their work at this weekend's Open Studios

Ever wonder who created the iconic "Planet Harlem" mural on the northwest corner of Malcolm X Boulevard and 126th Street? The one where everyone from Langston Hughes to Barack Obama seems to be rejoicing in communal celebration of their achievements? Now's your chance to find out. The mural's artist, Paul Deo, will be welcoming fans to his studio on W 147th Street this Saturday as part of the Uptown Arts Stroll's Open Studios in West Harlem and Washington Heights. He will be sharing past and present art (which means you can probably ask him about his Harlem mural), as well as a progress report on his latest piece at Harvard. Deo is one of about thirty painters and photographers–including Lak

Get your sweet, Georgia-fresh watermelon on a Harlem street corner near you

Now that it's practically summer, you don't have to walk far in Harlem to find a street vendor selling watermelon. Up the widest avenues, down the busiest cross streets, and near the most trafficked subway exits, there they are under their small white tents hawking the sweet summer treat. Some are even worth a special trip. Take Rich and his wife, Shavokeya. You'll find them on the northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and 140th Street peddling heaps of huge, green watermelon trucked in two to three times a week from a farm in Georgia. Although it's not their farm–Rich says they are part of a group of eight vendors around Manhattan and the Bronx who work for a man who brings the fruit to the ci

Last call for Galicia Restaurant in Washington Heights, closing this month

"The love of money and shiny new things is slowly but surely erasing the past," says Anthony Bourdain in a recent episode of "Parts Unknown" in which he visits Hong Kong. "So before it's gone, this is a reminder how [the city] used to be." In the scene that follows, he visits a dai pai dong, a type of open-air food stall serving cheap-but-delicious food; according to one stall owner, there are only 28 left in Hong Kong. "Pull up a plastic stool, crack a beer, fire up the wok," Bourdain narrates while digging into a bowl of drunken chicken. Just like Hong Kong, Washington Heights (and many other parts of New York) is changing before our eyes. Money is king, and older businesses that can only

Fresh new juice spot Break Juicery is coming to Edgecombe Avenue in Harlem

Always on the search for a healthy sip or bite? You'll be spoiled for choice at Break Juicery, a new shop opening on Edgecombe Avenue in Harlem in about three weeks. The focus will be on cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and açaí bowls made with locally-sourced and organic produce, says founder Nicolas Chase, above. The menu will also include yogurt parfaits, fruit salads and wheatgrass shots. Chase, who already owns a Break Juicery inside a Long Island City food hall and also has plans to open a third location in Philadelphia, is taking over the space formerly occupied by Tony's Juice Bar at 132 Edgecombe Avenue. He says he is collaborating with the previous owner during the transition. Visit

Uptown links: Rucker Park hits the big screen, A$AP Ferg has a "Harlem Anthem," and more

• Harlem's Rucker Park is about to become a whole lot more famous. The summer comedy Uncle Drew–based on a popular Pepsi Max ad starring the NBA's Kyrie Irving–follows the titular septuagenarian as he takes a cross-country trip to gather a team for the legendary Rucker Park street ball tournament. The production spent about a week last year filming at the actual park in Harlem. [NY Times] • Speaking of Uncle Drew, have you heard A$AP Ferg's "Harlem Anthem" yet? The new song from the movie's soundtrack is full of fun samples and funk. Check out the just-released video for a quick tour of the 'hood, including stops at Jimbo's Hamburger and Levels Barbershop–there's even a cameo from Dapper Dan

There's lots to admire about this historic Harlem library now that the scaffolding is down

It's time for another big sigh of relief and appreciation for fans of historic architecture: The scaffolding has come down from NYPL's Hamilton Grange Branch on West 145th Street. Now we can all go back to admiring this stately city landmark, designed in 1905-1906 by American architects McKim, Mead & White. Constructed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style–it's meant to resemble a Florentine palazzo–the Hamilton Grange Branch is one of 12 libraries the famed firm built around the city. Look closely at the limestone facade and you'll discover a slew of fascinating details, including the city's coat of arms over the door. What looks like a cross is actually four windmill sails that evoke Ne

"Pose" and its Harlem roots, past and present

Ryan Murphy's groundbreaking TV series "Pose" premiered on FX last night, and the 8-episode show takes a deep, empathetic, dance-filled dive into New York's 1980s ball culture, juxtaposing it with Trump-era excess (think "RuPaul's Drag Race" meets "Wall Street"). In the pilot, a trans character named Blanca sets up her own drag "house" to compete in the wild balls where extravagant outfits and voguing are the main draw. She invites a young, gay African American dancer banished from his parents' house, a sweet trans prostitute, and other struggling LGBTQ youth to join her, and we begin to follow their lives both inside and outside of the pageant-like balls. Murphy was originally inspired by "

Uptown's top outdoor movie spots

Upper Manhattan has a ton of outdoor movie screenings coming up this summer, and many are in some pretty spectacular locations: there are those with river views, while others feature sloping lawns practically made for al fresco movies or have historic homes as their backdrop. From south to north, here are 5 to visit starting this month (more can be found on the NYC Parks page–be sure to search your specific neighborhood for a full list): Randall's Island Park This increasingly destination-worthy island's next summer movie–the '80s comedy classic "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"–will be held in Field 81 on the waterfront (June 9). Walk across the 103rd Street Footbridge in East Harlem and you're th

NEW and Noteworthy





A Curated guide to life in Harlem And beyond
  • Black Pinterest Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon