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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner

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Jump's dockless electric bikes have arrived in the Bronx–and I tried one

Yesterday the Bronx got its first dockless bike share program courtesy of Jump, an Uber-owned company that is testing 200 electric bikes in the Fordham area for the next four months. (Citi Bike's dockless bikes are also coming there in a few weeks.) Although I don't live close to the zone where Jump has placed these bikes, I decided I had to try one. My northern Manhattan neighborhood is extremely hilly, and an electric bike share program would be a dream. So I got on my standard bicycle and pedaled over to the Bronx. As I crossed the Harlem River and headed north, I spotted the first neon-red Jump bike locked to a street sign near the Grand Concourse and 170th Street, which is technically o

Uptown's in Vogue

For the August issue of Vogue, the magazine didn't have to go far to find the beautiful locations featured in its main fashion story. Shot by famed documentary photographer Martin Parr, the 12-page spread entitled "Seize the Day" follows a parade of models wearing the latest fall fashions in a variety of only-in-New York spots, including Times Square and Katz's Delicatessen. Image: Google Maps But not all of the locations are tourist traps. Look closely and you'll see that two in particular are off the beaten path, more familiar to fans of uptown's arts and culture scene: the United Palace theater and the Met Cloisters museum. Even better, both are open to the public and cost little-to-no mo

Driving under the "the apartments" on your way out of New York City this weekend? Here&#39

If you're a New Yorker whose weekend plans involve getting into a car and heading to points south, west or north, there's a good chance you'll find yourself driving "under the apartments," as they're often called in traffic reports. Also known as the "Bridge Apartments," these four blocky buildings sit directly on top of the Trans-Manhattan Expressway–the part of I-95 that passes through upper Manhattan right before the George Washington Bridge–and are home to about 4,000 people. How exactly did these apartments (with balconies, no less!) manage to get built above a thoroughfare as fume-filled and noisy as I-95? It turns out they were designed by Brown & Guenther and constructed in 1964 as t

Uptown links: Harlem Week kicks off with a day-long festival, five uptown spots join NYC Restaurant

​• Harlem Week, which is actually more of a month, starts this Sunday with the day-long "A Great Day in Harlem" festival at the U.S. Grant National Memorial Park–look for dance performances, a gospel concert, and more–and runs through the end of August. Other fun events include Summer in the City on August 18th and the Upper Manhattan Auto Show on August 19th, which features a vintage auto parade. [Time Out New York] • NYC Restaurant Week–another misnomer since it stretches from July 23 to August 17–is your chance to eat at fancy spots around town for a set price (no budget-busting surprises). The five participating uptown restaurants are The Cecil Steakhouse, Lido, Vinateria, Red Rooster Ha

Having pedaled across six continents, this cycling advocate is now offering free bike tours of East

Judi Desire, founder of the 11-month-old Uptown & Boogie Bicycle Advocacy, is on a mission to promote bicycle riding throughout Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. To achieve her goal, this Harlemite dreams up fun group rides that encourage people to explore a variety of uptown and Bronx neighborhoods while socializing with fellow cyclists. Just this month, Desire–whose passion for cycling has previously taken her on solo bike hikes across six continents–organized a tour of community gardens and their deeply invested caretakers. She also led a 12-mile ride from East Harlem to City Island in the Bronx, using the three-year-old Randalls Island Connector to cross from one borough to the other. Photo

Have you discovered the Bronx Night Market yet?

Love exploring the foods of New York but haven't made it to the Bronx yet? You'll get your chance this weekend at the Bronx Night Market, a new monthly food festival that will take your tastebuds on a ride through the Boogie Down and beyond. Organizers Marco Shalma of creative agency BloxNYC and Amanda Celestino of Edible Bronx launched the open-air market last month as a way to highlight both up-and-coming and established businesses from across the borough. They range from traditional Albanian restaurant Cka Ka Qellu to local craft beer powerhouse Bronx Brewery. After a very successful first run–more than 10,000 people descended on Fordham Plaza on June 30th–the event is now adding vendors

"The Tick" turns to a perennially popular Harlem film location to shoot scenes for Season

Season 2 of "The Tick," the Amazon series based on the 1980s comic book character, has been shooting all over New York City this spring and summer, including Bayside, Queens, and Harlem. Last Thursday the production resurfaced in Upper Manhattan, using a perennially favorite film location–under the 12th Avenue Viaduct in Harlem, which most famously appeared in "The Amazing Spider-Man"–to shoot a scene with a character that was half man, half lobster. Using the viaduct's dramatic steel arches as a backdrop, the lobsterman clambered up an old station wagon and waved his claws over and over again. There was no sign of the blue superhero. Season 2 of "The Tick" will premiere sometime in 2019. Fo

Harlem Chocolate Factory's ice cream is here

Since it opened in February, Harlem Chocolate Factory has been rolling out all sorts of mouthwatering handcrafted treats, from Champagne-infused truffles to sweet-and-salty chocolate "pretzato" clusters. Now that summer's in full swing, there's finally ice cream, featuring the shop's house-made chocolate in all sorts of fun ways. In other words, don't expect your run-of-the-mill scoops. Stop by right now for your choice of two frozen desserts: Jet Black Gelato Pops ($3.50), made with dark chocolate gelato dipped in milk chocolate and sprinkled with chocolate pearls, and ice cream sandwiches ($5), made with the shop's own salted chocolate chip cookies and house-made vanilla ice cream. (You ca

Uptown links: fresh guides to Hamilton Heights and Inwood, an Ethiopian spot where expats eat, and m

​• Did you know that jazz great Billy Strayhorn–who famously composed "Take the A Train" for the Duke Ellington orchestra–lived at 315 Convent Avenue? Discover those details and more in this fun guide to Hamilton Heights. [amNY] • Large, affordable apartments and plenty of green space are two great reasons to move to Inwood. (I can think of another big one that the article forgot to mention: Choc NYC!) [NY Times] • New York magazine's excellent annual Cheap Eats roundup includes newish Ethiopian spot Benyam. While there, the critic overheard an Ethiopian expat announce that the restaurant's doro wat was the best in the city. [Grub Street] • Built in the '60s, Lasker Park is finally getting a

Plowshares Coffee, the Studio Museum and more join Harlem's Manhattanville Factory District boom

Long-planned but slow to change on the street level, Manhattanville's burgeoning Factory District is now really starting to transform before our very eyes. Not only are the final two developments by Janus Property Company coming along quickly, but more new businesses and art spaces are starting to crop up in and around the area. They include the second location of Plowshares Coffee at 1351 Amsterdam Avenue, complete with an in-house roastery, set to open sometime in August; the Studio Museum's new satellite space at 429 West 127th Street, home to both its curatorial offices and the art space Studio Museum 127 while its new building rises on 125th Street, and Charm Thai Express, a new Thai ta

The city's roving fitness van is here and ready to make you sweat

If gyms aren't your thing but you still have trouble finding the motivation to exercise on your own, here's an idea: NYC Parks has a roving fitness mobile that will get your heart pumping in no time–and it's all for free. On Fridays this summer, you'll find the snazzy blue van parked from 11am to 5pm near the north end of St. Nicholas Park, right down the hill from Hamilton Grange. (Enter from the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and 141st Street.) Walk right up and you'll be greeted by fitness instructors like Giovanni Feliciano who are ready to put you through your paces using the equipment in their big blue van. Choose from kettlebells, battle ropes, weights, yoga mats and more, and get read

Uptown links: Lin-Manuel Miranda's mini tour of the Heights, JJ Johnson's new fast-casual re

• Lin-Manuel Miranda just took the "In the Heights" movie team on a tour of the neighborhood–the film hits theaters in June 2020–and his stops included the iconic 190th Street tunnel, the United Palace theater, as well as a bodega, a car dispatcher, and a spot with a fantastic view of the George Washington Bridge. [Broadway World] • Big Harlem food news! Chef JJ Johnson (formerly of Minton's and The Cecil) will be opening Field Trip, a new grain- and rice-focused fast-casual restaurant at 109 Lenox Avenue between 115th and 116th Streets. [NY Post] • If you're looking for a way to "remind yourself of America's spirit," says opinion writer Roger Cohen, it's a great time to reread the Langston

After 6 months of repairs, the Morris-Jumel Mansion finally reopens

Six months after unforeseen repairs closed the Morris-Jumel Mansion, this colonial jewel in Washington Heights has finally reopened. The doors at Manhattan's oldest house swung open yesterday, welcoming back visitors to historic rooms that let you time travel to the exact spot where George Washington planned his first victory in battle and where Aaron Burr (the man who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel) once slept. ​For those who have been patiently waiting to go on a proper docent-guided public tour, the next one is this Sunday. Luckily, the mansion was also able to extend the Charles Addams exhibit "Family and Friends" through August 26th. Featuring the famed New Yorker cartoonist's orig

Harlem chef Marcus Samuelsson's new PBS show, "No Passport Required," celebrates the i

Harlem chef Marcus Samuelsson is taking a page out of his late friend Anthony Bourdain's book and hosting a new travel show about food and culture. Unlike Bourdain, however, Samuelsson won't be leaving the country–hence the title of the series, "No Passport Required." Instead he'll be shining a light on America's vibrant immigrant communities. "We want to go to six cities and tell the stories of immigrant experiences in this country through food," said the Red Rooster chef in the promo for the show, which airs tonight at 9pm on PBS. The first stop is Detroit, Michigan–specifically Dearborn, sometimes also called the capital of Arab America. According to The Detroit News, the episode follows

A 17-story high-rise, a soft pretzel store, and more are the latest additions to 125th Street in Har

Have you been keeping up with the changes sweeping Harlem's main street? Here are the latest: Last week, news came that a 17-story apartment building will be arriving on 125th Street. According to YIMBY, a high-rise with rentals will replace a series of dilapidated four-story structures at 56 West 125th Street. Nearby, Philly Pretzel Company will be putting down stakes at 14 West 125th Street–last year the Philadelphia-based soft pretzel chain announced that it would be opening 25 stores in Manhattan. Co-founder Dan DiZio told Philly.com, “We are trying to replace the bagel" in the borough. Further west, a CVS will be coming to 288 St. Nicholas Avenue on the southeast corner of 125th Street,

3 just-opened spots to check out this weekend, including a new Taco Mix on Lexington Ave

Just in time for the sizzling summer weekend, a trio of new spots have opened in Harlem and East Harlem, ready to dazzle your tastebuds and refresh your palate. Here's where to go and what you'll find, from south to north: Taco Mix 1621 Lexington Ave at 102nd St A longtime destination for fresh, authentic tacos, this family-run joint on East 116th Street is slowly branching out across the city. Its first proper sit-down location in East Harlem opened last Monday, and the corner space has a charming outdoor patio where you can enjoy not just tacos, tortas, and quesadillas, but sangria, draft beers and cocktails–including icy margaritas and mojitos. (Top image: @tacomixusa via Instagram) Image

Uptown links: Gayle King's favorite drink in Harlem, a new public plaza in Washington Heights, a

• Gayle King has picked the perfect summer drink–and she found it in Harlem. The refreshing juice from Home Sweet Harlem combines pineapple, mint, lemon juice and fresh ginger. [Oprah] • Despite some protests last year, Manhattan Community Board 12 finally green lighted a new public plaza in Washington Heights. It will be located on Haven Avenue between W 169th and Fort Washington Avenue right next to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. [Streetsblog NYC] • Hurry–you have until tomorrow to apply for the six middle-income apartments in a new Washington Heights building that meets passive house standards. [6SQFT] • One of New York's just-announced dockless bike programs is coming to Fordham in the B

"Antigone" goes Afropunk for this summer's free performances at Marcus Garvey Park

It's back! Free summer theater at Marcus Garvey Park is returning for the sixth year in a row, and this time the Classical Theatre of Harlem is taking "Antigone," the famous Greek tragedy by Sophocles, and giving it an Afropunk twist. Like most Ancient Greek tales, it's a doozy. Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus Rex (the very same king who married his mother), defies an order by the new monarch to leave her dead brother's body unburied, and a series of unspeakable tragedies follow. This fresh Afropunk version is set in a dystopian Thebes of the future. The costumes, set design, and music are similarly inspired–think Ancient Greece meets "Black Panther." For a sneak peek, check out some of th

The most charming shaved ice cart in town

During the summer months, Upper Manhattan is crawling with shaved ice carts, but possibly the most charming can be found on a quiet corner of Amsterdam Avenue near 160th Street in Washington Heights. There sits an old-timer named Jose selling frio frios–that's their Dominican name; in Puerto Rico they're known as piraguas. He makes them from a repurposed shopping cart hand-painted with childlike drawings of the icy treats coupled with the phrase "Que rico frio frio" (or "Frio frio is so delicious"). There's something magnetic about the cart's unstudied graphics, painted in shades of yellow, black and blue. The rows of bright syrups and stacks of colorful plastic cups only add to the eye-catc

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