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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner


Weekend wish list: Little Red Lighthouse Festival, banned books, bubble tea, and more

A spectacular fall weekend is coming up, so be sure to take advantage. Grab a banned book at the library, craft a customized bubble tea, then get outside at one of these events. Hope to see you there!​​ Little Red Lighthouse Fesitval Saturday, September 29, noon-4pm Yes, getting to the Little Red Lighthouse–on the banks of the Hudson right beneath the George Washington Bridge–can be a challenge. But you're in luck this Saturday because it's the annual Little Red Lighthouse Festival, and the organizers are providing a shuttle from 181st Street and Fort Washington Avenue from 11am until the end of the event. Banned Books Week Ends Saturday, September 29 Did you know it's Banned Books Week, an

Uptown links: the story of a multimillion-dollar brand with Harlem roots, and more

• From selling handmade soaps from a table on 125th Street to selling his company to Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever and pocketing $850 million, this is the story of Richelieu Dennis, the 49-year-old cofounder of Sundial Brands. [Forbes] • Congratulations to Studio Museum director Thelma Golden, who received a 2018 J. Paul Getty Medal for being "a cultural anchor in the Harlem community, focusing on the rich and diverse histories of artists of African descent," per the ad the Getty posted in the New York Times this weekend. [L.A. Times] • The city finally approved a proposal to designate a new historic district in Central Harlem, from West 130th to West 132nd Streets between Lenox Avenue a

The Renzo Piano-designed Forum, the third building on Columbia's Manhattanville campus, is here–

The Renzo Piano-designed Forum, the third building to rise on Columbia's growing Manhattanville campus, opened today and will now begin serving as a university meeting area, conference center, and site for a variety of academic and public programs. The ground floor, which features a cafe offering light meals like oatmeal for breakfast and soup and sandwiches for lunch, will be fully open to the public. It is wrapped in glass and intentionally transparent, building on the idea of a new style of campus that's more accessible and integrated into the neighborhood. The other two floors, covered along the front in precast concrete, house the 437-seat auditorium, meeting rooms, and sunny offices to

Photos: Harlem's streets are transformed into a faded amusement park for Joaquin Phoenix's &

The new "Joker" movie starring Joaquin Phoenix has started shooting around New York City, and with it has come a string of fun sightings. The first real action was spotted in Harlem last week. The film's production vans, filled with props including dummies of wounded-looking people, took over a remote section of 12th Avenue in Manhattanville. A soundless video quickly spread of Phoenix dressed in plain clothes, talking with another character dressed as a clown. The scene was filmed between 133rd and 134th Streets, which was made to resemble a gritty area near an old amusement park. The walls of two huge industrial buildings were painted with colorful-but-faded signs reading "Amusement Mile:

Weekend wish list: Mott Haven's new bagel spot, the free dance festival in Highbridge Park's

So many things to check out this weekend, so little time–from a dance festival in the empty Highbridge Park pool to the new Das Bronx lager at the Bronx Brewery. Hope to see you there!​​ Mott Haven Bagel & Barista Open 7 days a week, 6am-5pm Yesss! Mott Haven's got a brand new bagel joint making "authentic hand rolled, water-boiled" bagels in the back. Iran: Women Only Closing Sunday, September 23 Photojournalist Randy Goodman's show documenting the lives of contemporary women in Iran closes this Sunday, meaning it's now or never. Oktoberfest at the Bronx Brewery Saturday, September 22 from noon to 8pm You'll be exclaiming both ja! and yo! at this Saturday's Oktoberfest at the Bronx Brewery

Uptown links: Harlem mourns ballet star Arthur Mitchell, and more

• Arthur Mitchell, the groundbreaking ballet star who co-founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem and "showed the way for black dancers," died yesterday at the age of 84. As the news spread, the Apollo Theater paid tribute on its iconic marquee. Earlier this year the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University devoted an entire show to the dancer (above), but if you missed it, all is not lost. You can still browse the Arthur Mitchell Online Exhibition, featuring the photos, letters and other material Mitchell donated to the school. [NY Times, @apollotheater via Instagram] • Watch all the music and dancing from the 49th annual African-American Day Parade from the comfort of your couch. [YouTube] •

Two new bars are joining the just-opened Boxers in Washington Heights, starting with Hilltop Park Al

The Boxers in Washington Heights (3820 Broadway at 159th Street) had its grand opening this past weekend, and uptown's new gay bar is already a hit, judging by the line in front on Friday night. And it's not alone. Plywood is up around many Broadway storefronts in this southern section of Washington Heights. By the looks of it, locals can expect a spate of new bars and other businesses in the coming weeks and months (as well as a remodel of Liberato Food Market at 3900 Broadway, whose iconic helicopter sign sadly no longer hangs out front). Across the street from Boxers the signs are up for Hilltop Park Alehouse at 3821 Broadway. The relatively large corner pub–which shares its name with a h

A$AP Rocky's skate rave is the latest fashion pop-up in Harlem

Harlem is becoming quite the destination for stars looking to drop their most recent sneaker collabs, fashion collections, and more. Last Friday A$AP Rocky was the latest big name to head uptown, this time for the launch of the new skate sneaker he designed with Under Armour. The event took place at the mostly-abandoned Hamilton Theater on Broadway and 146th Street (pictured above), which acted as both a pop-up shop and skate park where pros performed tricks modeling the rave-style footwear. According to Vogue, a VIP section covered in graffiti painted just for the event welcomed Rocky's friends, including Jaden Smith. Of course, it adds to your credibility if you're actually from Harlem lik

Get your fish fry fix in Harlem before summer ends

Did you catch last week's great piece on the late-summer fish fry in The New York Times? It explained the significance of these gatherings in the African-American community, for whom fried fish dinners have been a tradition since the era of slavery. Singled out were restaurants from Atlanta to Los Angeles that specialize in this humble dish, incorporating seafood such as catfish, tilapia and red snapper. Although no spots in New York made the cut, plenty have caught the attention of foodies over the years. Martha Stewart once even documented her pilgrimage to Famous Fish Market in Harlem. And while some fear New York's fried fish restaurants are on the wane, bright spots do exist. One "urban

The off-season is the perfect time to admire the haunting bathhouses of Orchard Beach

New York City beaches closed for the summer last weekend, but that doesn't mean you should stop going. In fact, some of the most popular shorefront destinations have a completely different set of attractions once the lifeguards have left for the season. Take Orchard Beach, a.k.a the Bronx Riviera. A mile-long strip of sand on the western end of Long Island Sound, this crescent-shaped beach is not just a sun-soaked place to enjoy the water, but a living museum dedicated to the early vision of city works czar Robert Moses. Walking through the main entrance to the beach, it's impossible to miss the two majestic Depression-era pavilions Moses built when he was Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia's Parks Co

Uptown links: two Harlem restaurant openings "you need to know about" this fall, Inwood&#3

• Chef JJ Johnson's Fieldtrip on Lenox and chef Pierre Thiam's Teranga at The Africa Center are two of the "32 Fall Restaurant Openings You Need to Know About," according to New York Magazine. Coincidentally, both Harlem eateries will have a focus on grains–the former on rice, the latter on West African fonio. [Grub Street] • Before the reshaping of Inwood starts in earnest, a photographer took a tour of the neighborhood and documented its wild shoreline. [Curbed NY] • Peek inside the Convent Avenue prewar apartment of Harlem style icon Lana Turner, filled to the rafters with hat boxes holding her vast collection of eye-catching toppers. [The Cut] • After an 11-year battle, there's finally a

El Museo del Barrio's galleries reopen after a 10-month renovation with two new shows that exemp

After a 10-month renovation, El Museo del Barrio's galleries are finally reopening. And now that the museum has upgraded the lighting and climate control in its ground-floor exhibition space, it's welcoming two new shows that exemplify its spirit. "Liliana Porter: Other Situations" is the fifth retrospective in El Museo's series dedicated to women artists, featuring the full breadth of the Argentine-born Porter's work. Many of Porter's early pieces are stark contemplations of space as it relates to the human body–for example, a mural of a large circle that looks like it was drawn by a hand in a photograph. Newer works include miniature toy figurines working on human-appropriate tasks, fillin

"Antigone in Ferguson" comes to Harlem Stage–and is the latest version of the Greek traged

For the second time in three months, a free production of "Antigone" is coming to Harlem. Created in response to Michael Brown's 2014 death in Missouri, "Antigone in Ferguson," is set to begin a five-week run at Harlem Stage this Thursday. This latest staging–translated and directed by Bryan Doerries of Theater of War Productions–combines dramatic readings of Sophocles' tragedy by a rotating group of actors with live choral music composed by Phil Woodmore. It ends with an audience discussion focusing on race and social justice. The cast, which changes every week, includes Tamara Tunie ("Law & Order: SVU") in Week 1, Adepero Oduye ("12 Years a Slave") in Week 2, and Samira Wiley ("Orange Is t

New York primary election reminder: vote this Thursday (not Tuesday) and double-check your polling p

​It's just about time to head to the polls again, citizens of New York! Registered party members will be voting this week in New York's (mainly Democratic) primary races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and more. The race getting all the attention, of course, is the Democratic gubernatorial primary, pitting Governor Andrew Cuomo against actor-cum-activist Cynthia Nixon. Uptowners who live in New York State Senate District 31 (running along Manhattan's west side from Chelsea all the way up to Inwood) should know there's a battleground race involving two Democrats: former City Councilman Robert Jackson is trying to unseat incumbent Marisol Alcantara. In a break from previous

A bird-themed lantern parade in Morningside Park, and more fun uptown events this weekend

There's a little bit of something for everyone this weekend in Harlem, from a pretty pop-up flower shop at one of Harlem's newest cafes to the 7th annual Morningside Lights, a spectacular lantern processional with birds as the focus. Here's where to find the fun: Pop-up Flower Shop at Common Good Harlem Saturday, September 8, opens 9am (while supplies last) Harlem Stage Open House: Drum Circle, Community Sing & DJ Party Saturday, September 8, 3pm-6pm Morningside Lights: Flight in Morningside Park Saturday, September 8, parade starts at 8pm Top image: Morningside Lights 2016. Photo by Karli Cadel. For daily updates, follow The Curious Uptowner on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #CentralHarle

Uptown links: Harlem goes haute, Senegalese comfort food comes to the Africa Center, and more

• The September issue of Essence is out and features quite the collaboration. For the fashion story "Haute in Harlem," legendary documentary photographer Jamel Shabazz captured supermodel Naomi Campbell and designer Dapper Dan together on the streets of Harlem. [Photo by Jamel Shabazz via @essence] • Chef Pierre Thiam, born and raised in Senegal, plans to open a restaurant called Teranga in Harlem's Africa Center this October. The menu will be inspired by the foods of his native country as well as Nigeria, Mali, Ivory Coast and Guinea. [NY Times, @chefpierrethiam] • Here's an evocative history of Harlem in the 20th century through the life and times of boxer William Ward, who bought a browns

Here are two easy ways for uptowners to join New York City's composting movement

Itching to do some good for the environment? The idea of collecting your food scraps and turning them into compost is gaining momentum throughout New York, and the city's sanitation department is making it easier than ever to join the movement–especially if you live in Manhattan or the South Bronx. There are two ways how: curbside collection and neighborhood drop-off locations. The first method involves a bit of online paperwork and time, but is easier in the long run: requesting a brown organics collection bin from the Department of Sanitation. (Currently you must live in Manhattan, the South Bronx, or a 10-plus unit apartment building in any other borough to participate.) ​Simply go online

3 stylish coffee shops–and one cool cart–have jolted Harlem's java scene this year. Now even mor

Sigh–summer's languorous days are almost over. Whether you're headed back to school or just your personal grindstone, you probably need a good cup of coffee to help you get where you're going. Luckily Harlem's coffee scene is booming, and the scent of freshly ground coffee is spreading block by block. Already, three stylish new spots have opened this year, and two more will be debuting in the fall. With a passion for java and community as their common inspiration, these warm, creative spaces each offer their own unique take on the urban coffee shop. Herewith, the full list. Shuteye Coffee (opened April) 137 W 116th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd and Lenox Ave Opened five months a

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A Curated guide to life in Harlem And beyond
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