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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner

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Uptown links: Citi Bike's expansion into northern Manhattan is looking a lot closer, Carrot Top

• Big news, folks. Lyft, the parent company of Citi Bike, has agreed to dramatically expand the city's popular bike share program, promising to invest $100 million and double the service area. Although the new boundaries haven't been determined yet, there are strong hints Upper Manhattan's bike-share drought is almost over (the current northernmost docking station is 130th Street in Harlem). "I look forward to working with Motivate, Lyft, and the Department of Transportation on expanding Citi Bike access further into Manhattan neighborhoods that are still waiting for it,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer in a statement. Another big clue: Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, who re

6 unique holiday markets to check out in Harlem and beyond

For the next few weekends Harlem will be bursting with holiday markets where you can check off everyone on your list. Schedule your time wisely, though, for they'll be gone in the blink of a Christmas tree light. Listed in chronological order (a few events run on multiple weekends–be sure to check below): Crafts at the Cathedral Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave Thu, Nov 29-Sun, Dec 2; $10 Admire St. John the Divine's solemn beauty while strolling through the indoor stalls displaying intricate jewelry, ceramics, woodworking, and more. This is the only market on this list with an entrance fee, but proceeds go to a good cause. DUNVI Harlem Holiday Bazaar Bierstrasse, 2346 1

3 holiday shows with fun uptown twists

Looking for a refresh button on the usual holiday fare? Look no further than these uptown productions putting a clever spin on three Christmas classics. A Christmas Carol in Harlem Aaron Davis Hall at CCNY, Nov 25-Dec 8 Based on the Charles Dickens novel, this witty retelling of the Christmas classic by the Classical Theatre of Harlem is set in present-day Harlem. Here, Ebenezer Scrooge is a real estate mogul who has gotten rich at the expense of others, but on Christmas Eve three visitors show him the value of family and community. Expect original and classic holiday music infused with the sounds of gospel, hip-hop, pop and R&B. (Above photo: Jill Jones) A Harlemettes Holiday Harlem School

The Uptown All-Star Gift Guide

For presents with uptown flair, look no further than The Curious Uptowner's four holiday gift guides rolling out over the next month. This Monday's theme? Gifts designed, conceived and written by some of uptown's most famous denizens. These folks sure have been busy!​​​​​ Dapper Dan, Harlem: Gucci-Dapper Dan: The Collection Although you have to make an appointment to visit the Dapper Dan Harlem atelier that opened earlier this year on Lenox Avenue, you only need a laptop and a credit card to shop the many cool Dapper Dan pieces–from oversize T-shirts to belt bags–on the Gucci website. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Washington Heights: "Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me & You" What began as upli

3 lists of food pantries, free meals and more to share with a hungry neighbor

As the biggest food holiday of the year approaches, you might be wondering how to help a neighbor who can't afford groceries or doesn't have access to hot meals. Thankfully, a number of organizations offer lists of soup kitchens and food pantries. Here are three–from the hyper-local to the city-wide–that are easy to share: 1. The office of Mark Levine, the council member for the 7th District of New York, offers this print-out of West Harlem food pantries (as well as many other services): ​2. For a list of free meals throughout Manhattan, divided by neighborhood, consult Street Smarts NYC's well-designed map, which also notes information like food that's kosher or locations that are for women

3 skyline-changing buildings going up in the Harlem area

Change may be synonymous with New York, but the current construction boom in Harlem and its surroundings–a historic area that has long looked much the same–has been positively dizzying. Just so you're not completely disoriented, here's what to expect from three skyline-changing construction projects currently on the rise: The Victoria Theater 223 W 125th St between Frederick Douglass Blvd and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd Stories: 26 The redevelopment of Harlem's Victoria Theater on 125th Street is set to create the tallest building in Central Harlem. Designed by Aufgang Architects, the T-shaped high rise will include 191 rentals (half of which will be "affordable"), a 210-room Renaissance Mar

Weekend (and beyond) wish list: the 40th anniversary of The Wiz, the Harlem Chamber Players' ann

​So many great things to see and do uptown, and never enough time. Here are some ideas to get you started: The Harlem Chamber Players Annual Bach Concert Friday, November 16, 7pm One of the Harlem Chamber Players' most popular annual concerts is finally here. Tonight's performance by this diverse group of musicians will feature four pieces by J.S. Bach, including the famous Double Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins featuring Joyce Hammann and Claire Chan. The Wiz & 40th Anniversary Celebration Sunday, November 18, pre-show: 4:30pm, movie: 5pm Watch Diana Ross and company ease on down the road at the United Palace's 40th anniversary celebration of "The Wiz." Come early for the pre-show perfo

Uptown links: Stan Lee's lasting connection to Washington Heights, made-in-Harlem rugelach is on

• Marvel comics legend Stan Lee, who died on Monday at age 95, grew up in Washington Heights, living for a time on Fort Washington Avenue. "On Saturdays I could walk...to the Loews theater on 175th Street and Broadway," he once reminisced to the New York Times. The neighborhood's landmarks clearly left a lasting impression. Many years later in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, gets thrown off a bridge that Lee, as editor of the comic, mistakenly labeled the George Washington Bridge. The text was later changed to reflect the span that was actually depicted in the art, the Brooklyn Bridge. [NY Times] • Oprah's annual Favorite Things list is out, and Le

Hamilton Heights restaurant update: construction is winding down at wine bar L'Argot and signs a

Earlier this year an astounding number of new restaurants seemed poised to debut in Hamilton Heights. A few months later, an Asian cuisine boomlet looked ready to follow. Of course, opening a dining spot isn't necessarily a linear process–especially in New York–which is why not all of them were up and running after the first signs appeared. Some, like Buddha Taco Bar and Sita Thai (serving pretty much what they sound like), debuted shortly after their awnings went up. Others, like Venezuelan wine and tapas spot Barepas and Hawaiian barbecue joint Makana, took a little bit longer, but finally got there in the late summer and fall. Now two more spots seem close to opening. L'Argot, at 142 Hami

Jackie Robinson Park is about to get a whole lot more beautiful

Jackie Robinson Park–one of Harlem's four magnificent historic parks–is getting ready for its $4.4 million makeover. The ten-block city landmark was recently selected to be a part of the city's Parks Without Borders program, which aims to make eight deserving parks across the city more welcoming and beautiful. As part of the redesign, the 13-acre public space will lose its chain-link fences, get wider entrances as well as renovated stairways and sidewalks, and also gain trees and benches. During the lead-up, the city submitted a very thorough design proposal, complete with historic photos of the park, which first opened in 1911 and was originally known as Colonial Park. According to the Park

As the holiday shopping season kicks off in Harlem, here's what's new and notable on 125th S

When the traditional holiday lights on 125th Street turn on this Thursday evening, it's a sure sign Harlem's shopping season has begun. And the official parade that kicks things off at 7pm can't do better than this year's grand marshal, Dapper Dan. Once the hoopla is over, you'll want to check out all the new stores and restaurants that have–or are about to–set up shop along the famous strip. Many are offering special deals online, so be sure to head there, too. Here are the most notable: Serengeti Teas & Spices 22 E 125th Street Formerly Serengeti Kitchen, this beautiful space has now fully absorbed its sister tea shop that shuttered earlier this year on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Enjoy

Weekend wish list: a free French film series, Malcolm X's lost chapter, unicorns, and more

So many great things to see and do uptown, and never enough time. Here are some ideas to get you started: Blackness in French and Francophone Film Through Friday, November 16 This film series at Columbia showcases movies exploring the black experience–from documentaries to feature-length flicks–by women directors of African descent. Free and open to the public! Only After the Deepest Darkness: The "Lost" Chapter & Manuscript of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" Through Saturday, November 10 Earlier this year, the Schomburg acquired the "lost chapter" of Malcolm X's autobiography, and tomorrow's your last chance to take a peek at sections of the text on view in the front lobby. Saturday is als

Uptown links: Cardi B visits her abuelos in Washington Heights, a new Caribbean-southern spot opens

• Cardi B's just like us: She loves being coddled by her grandparents. For a profile in the current issue of W Magazine, the rapper chose to meet at her abuelos' modest walk-up in Washington Heights. She relaxed barefoot on their brown suede sofa, ate a salad that her abuelito cleared when she was done, nursed her new daughter, Kulture–and took full advantage of the free babysitting. "See, that's why I like to be here...Because it's everybody around her." (Not like us: wearing Valentino and being photographed by artist Mickalene Thomas.) [W Magazine] • Get the jerk chicken, advises a critic who stopped by the new Caribbean-southern joint, Greedy Pot, on Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard. [Got

Dogs and their "hoomans" are welcome at the new Café Bark in Washington Heights

Dread leaving your pup at home as you head out for a cup of joe? You won't need to anymore now that there's Café Bark, a new dog cafe in Washington Heights where your furry friends aren't just welcome–they're practically an obsession (Exhibit A: the canine portraits that take up much of the wall space). Here's how it works: Enter through Café Bark's canopied main door, where you can tie your dog to one of the many leash hooks in the entryway or the modern lounge behind it. In the separate shop to the left–just look for the glass door that says "Hoomans Only"–get your coffee, pre-packaged sandwiches and snacks, then come back to the dog-friendly area to enjoy both your purchases and your pup'

Bar 314: a new spot in Morningside Heights for rustic pies, pizza dough sandwiches, and–very soon–It

At first glance, the two-week-old Bar 314 doesn't seem all that different from the last two restaurants that came and went on this corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 122nd Street. There's an airy front space where customers can order from an Italian menu, a relaxed bar in the middle, and an eye-catching igloo-shaped brick oven in the back. ​But that's where most of the similarities end. For one, co-owner and chef Andrew LoPresto–he also runs Babbalucci on Lenox Avenue–and partner Bruno Molfetta decided on a concise and simple food menu that doesn't stray far from pizza (314 is a reference to the value of pi), small plates like roasted artichokes, and Italian sandwiches only available during lunc

Three uptown spots making irresistible holiday desserts with a twist

And just like that, Thanksgiving is around the corner. Whether you're hosting the big meal yourself or going to someone else's home as a guest, one way to ease the pressure is to leave the desserts to the pros. Luckily, three uptown spots are offering an impressive selection of pies, tarts and cakes that go way beyond the usual pumpkin–but time is of the essence. Read on and be sure to make your pick before it's too late: Choc NYC Order by Sunday, November 18 (for Tue 20 or Wed 21 pickup) Although you won't find any typical Thanksgiving pies at this delectable Inwood pastry shop, do expect drool-worthy desserts with just a hint of traditional holiday ingredients. Two signature creations incl

Photos: Forest Whitaker crime drama "Godfather of Harlem" films in, yes, Harlem

The new Epix crime boss series, "Godfather of Harlem," has been shooting all over New York City this fall, but it's especially gratifying to see the production come to Harlem. Earlier today the show's crew took over a number of blocks in Sugar Hill, using both the surrounding historic streets and the interior of an elaborate brownstone to shoot scenes for the upcoming cable series. The ten-episode drama tells the true story of gangster Bumpy Johnson (played by Forest Whitaker), who returns to Harlem after a decade in prison only to find the neighborhood ruled by the Genovese crime family. With the help of activist Malcolm X (Nigél Thatch), he starts a mob war to take back Harlem's streets. V

Uptown links: a $198 million jackpot ticket and a $9.45 million condo make headlines in Harlem, and

​• A mystery buyer just snapped up the most expensive Harlem condo ever. The top-floor apartment at the Circa on Central Park North sold for a whopping $9.45 million. [WSJ] • On the heels of this headline-making sale comes another uptown pad that just hit the market for $12 million. Naturally, it also overlooks Central Park. [Curbed NY] • The person who bought one of two winning Powerball tickets in a Harlem deli last weekend will be able afford to buy dozens of pricey condos uptown–or anywhere else. They'll be taking home $198.1 million (that's half of the cash payout). The winner hasn't been announced yet, but the deli owner thinks it was one of his regulars. [NY Post] • Michelle Obama thr

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