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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner


Uptown links: Broad City's Abbi and Ilana swing through Upper Manhattan, and more

• Broad City's Abbi and Ilana kicked off their fifth and final season with a walk from the "tippity top" of Manhattan to the bottom, and engaged in some hijinks along the way. The uptown part includes stops at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Red Rooster, and, well, you can watch the rest on Comedy Central's website. [Gothamist, Comedy Central] • Here's everything you need to know about Teranga, chef Pierre Thiam's much-ballyhooed pan-African spot opening at the Africa Center next Saturday, February 9. Plus, Eater NY's got the full menu. [Food & Wine, Eater NY] • The 100 Gates Project just debuted 22 colorful new murals in East Harlem, and the city's Health Department wants you take a walk or bike

5 stylish, low-key Harlem cocktail bars without big-screen TVs (updated)

If you're planning on watching the big game at an uptown bar this Sunday, you've got plenty of choices: from neighborhood pubs to boisterous beer gardens, there's truly something for everyone. But what if you're just not that into football and would still like a nice evening out? The fact is it's not always easy to order a drink at a bar without a huge, distracting screen shining in your face. Luckily, Harlem has an increasingly wide array of low-key cocktail bars sans big TVs. From north to south, here are five to check out this Sunday–or any day you need an escape from that bright, LED glare. Uptown Bourbon This tiny, brick-walled bar in the upper reaches of Hamilton Heights has an uncompl

Warm up at uptown's best (and possibly only) spot with a fireplace

Insanely cold weather is coming in the next few days–Thursday's high will be a shiver-inducing 16 degrees–so if you're planning on venturing out, it's best to have a warm destination in mind. Uptown's got plenty of cozy spots, but only one* with a working fireplace: Harlem Public. Roaring away in the back corner, this laid-back pub's hearth is a rustic, cast-iron affair that will warm you up faster than you can say "polar vortex." Harlem Public's welcoming menu is just as likely to take the chill off. Its creative burgers–one of its most popular is topped with peanut butter–and sandwiches tend to require a lot of napkins, always a good sign. There's also a wide selection of craft beer: the c

The 1960s come alive on the set of Godfather of Harlem in Sugar Hill

Sugar Hill was awash today in 1960s details for the upcoming TV series "Godfather of Harlem," starring Forest Whitaker as infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson. The Epix show has been filming all over Harlem for the past few months, and the production just moved to St. Nicholas Avenue between 146th and 148th Streets in the atmospheric Sugar Hill Historic District. A shop on the corner of West 147th Street was transformed into 22 West, an iconic Harlem soul food restaurant that once stood at 22 West 135th Street. Malcolm X, a regular, used to call it his "home away from home." A vintage flyer on the eatery's wall advertised a James Brown concert at the Apollo Theater on October 3, a possible refe

These two pop-up markets are returning to Harlem with a batch of new vendors

Two vibrant pop-up markets that first surfaced over the holidays are coming back to Harlem this month and the next–and they're bringing new vendors with them. Stop by both to support local creatives and build community–all while stocking up on Valentine's Day gifts and more. The Harlem Pop-Up Collective Silvana, 300 W 116th St, Sunday, January 27 11am-5pm Located downstairs at Silvana, this Sunday market curated by fashion industry alum Sade Akin Boyewa El ran during the holiday season and is now back for three more dates. Stop by this weekend plus February 10 and February 17 to meet a fresh group of vendors bringing their one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry, beauty items and treats (think brown

Uptown links: Ki Smith gallery is opening in Harlem, and more

• Another art gallery is headed to Harlem. The Ki Smith Gallery is moving to 712 West 125th Street, right by the Hudson River. The first exhibit, featuring art by Sei Smith, debuts on February 2. [ArtNews] • Inwood's Darling Coffee just shuttered, but java lovers will be happy to learn Buunni Coffee is taking over the space at 4961 Broadway. Specializing in Ethiopian coffee, Buunni already has two other locations, one in Washington Heights, the other across the river in Riverdale. [Buunni Coffee via Facebook] • Java chain Birch Coffee is opening its 11th location at Fifth Avenue and 111th Street, a stone's throw from Central Park. [NY Post] • Check out the first images of the new Plowshares

Step inside the new KD New York, a downtown dancewear boutique that just moved uptown

It was a quiet but significant move for anyone who's been keeping track of the New York retail scene: KD New York, a fashionable dancewear boutique that stood on the corner of Lafayette and Bleecker Streets in NoHo for more than 20 years and closed in 2016, just re-opened inside the Dance Theatre of Harlem on West 152nd Street. Located on the ground floor of the legendary dance company's headquarters, the new shop is an extension of the almost-40-year-old knitwear brand co-founded by former dancer David Lee. On the racks is a colorful assortment of KD New York's signature figure-hugging knits, including soft wrap tops, leggings, and leg warmers. (Ballet slippers from Capezio, in a true range

Bask in the spirit of Harry Potter at these Upper Manhattan spots

You've got less than a week left to go see "Harry Potter: A History of Magic" at the New-York Historical Society, which closes this Sunday January 27. If time is not on your side, don't despair: Upper Manhattan is filled with remarkable spots where you can bask in the spirit of Harry Potter any time of the year. Here are the best: 1. On the hunt for magical beasts? You'll find plenty at the Met Cloisters, where dragons and more lurk in the museum's medieval murals, stained glass windows and manuscripts. Don't miss the special room dedicated to a series of tapestries depicting the hunt for a unicorn. The last one–The Unicorn in Captivity–makes a brief appearance in "Harry Potter and the Half

6 ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr in Harlem this weekend

Harlem's the perfect place to find events all weekend long that celebrate the civil rights giant. Here's a shortlist: Martin Luther King Prix Fixe Menu at Red Rooster Harlem Through Monday, January 21 Reserve this special dinner menu–inspired by the Stone of Hope statue at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in Washington D.C.–throughout the holiday weekend and enjoy dishes including rock shrimp, Chicken à la King, and Coca-Cola swirl cake. Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr. at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Saturday, January 19 (the center is closed Sun and this Mon) This photo exhibit highlights lesser-seen images of King during his travels to India, Oslo (to accept the No

Uptown links: a revealing look at an iconic map of 1930s Harlem, and more

• A famous Harlem map illustrated by Elmer Simms Campbell–acquired by Yale in 2016 for $100,000–reveals how Prohibition turned Harlem into a nightlife hub in the 1930s. "Though Prohibition had been in effect for 10 years by the time Mr. Campbell arrived in New York," explains an in-depth piece in the New York Times, "notoriously selective enforcement of the law made Harlem a nightly destination not just for African-Americans but also for middle-class whites in search of booze and urban thrills." Map via Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University [NY Times] • Discover how the owner of Harlem Cycle was inspired to use her experience managing a $500 million consumer goods compan

L'Argot, a cozy new restaurant with live music and art, opens in Hamilton Heights

Doubling as a spot that will host art exhibits and live jazz and classical music, new Hamilton Heights restaurant L'Argot couldn't have found a better location. Nestled in a narrow space at 142 Hamilton Place a few blocks up from Alexander Hamilton's historic home, it's also right across from a plaza named after legendary jazz singer Johnny Hartman. Or as the restaurant's Facebook page puts it, "Tucked in between Hamilton and Hartman, the founding father who inspired the greatest musical ever and the most romantic voice in jazz." Behind the vision for the restaurant are Moises Tenesaca and Daniel Schnyder, two local partners who, it should come as no surprise, have backgrounds in food and mu

Double Date: ice skating at Lasker Rink + hot chocolate at Little Bean Coffee

Cold-but-clear winter days are made for ice skating outdoors. Luckily, there's Lasker Rink in Harlem. Located on the quiet northern edge of Central Park, it's open every day–and blissfully free of the crazy crowds found at most of the city's other outdoor rinks. A short walk from the 110 Street Station on the 2 and 3 lines, the spot features twin rinks: one for public ice skating, the other for separate events such as parties and ice hockey games. Whichever oval you end up in, there's nothing to keep the sun from warming your face on a bright winter's day (the facility doubles as a pool in the summer). Looking for a special reason to go? Don't miss Figure Skating in Harlem's annual winter sk

Good Stuff Juice Company in Hamilton Heights is here to get "your body and mind right"

Good Stuff Juice Company is here and just getting started.​ Welcoming passers-by with its glass front and exposed-brick wall, this new juice bar and eatery at 3671-4 Broadway near 152nd Street began slinging fresh juices and smoothies last month in an area of Hamilton Heights with few healthy options. In the next few weeks, paninis and wraps featuring ciabatta and focaccia from Baked in Brooklyn will join the menu. Green salads are in the works, too. It's all part of owner Ariam Liz's plan to help locals get their "body and mind right." Liz, who who was born and raised in the neighborhood (his grandmother has also lived there for over 50 years), says he was inspired to offer an alternative t

TCU message board: community board applications are here, the latest on Hamilton's Bakery, and more

And now a few messages from local organizations and readers that have reached out in the past weeks: • Want to have a real impact on what happens in your neighborhood and solve issues relating to parks, transportation and more? It all comes down to joining your local community board, which is now accepting applications (the deadline is February 8, 2019). April Adams, the community liaison for Community Boards 7 & 9, sends this handy link: nyc.gov • After a successful year of events at a former garage at 1850 Amsterdam Avenue, contemporary music and performance art initiative Qubit is moving and raising funds to help pay for its new rent. Watch the inspirational video here, then make sure to

Uptown links: an "unheard of" price in Harlem for two adjacent brownstones, and more

• A record-setting Harlem property just hit the market. Two adjacent historic brownstones on Mount Morris Park West could be yours for a cool $27 million (image via Google Maps). [The Real Deal] • Figure Skating in Harlem, an organization that aims to build confidence and academic success in girls of color via ice skating, gets its much-deserved closeup in the paper of record. [NY Times] • Ball icon and "Pose" consultant Hector Xtravaganza (born Crespo), died at the end of last year at the age of 53. From a profile in the Times: "On weekends, they attended balls at the Elks Lodge in Harlem, where Mr. Crespo and Mr. Villa-Chauvin walked runway and collected trophies for 'Butch queen runway,'

Hamilton Grange, Alexander Hamilton's historic home, is closed due to the shutdown

If you were hoping to visit Hamilton Grange–founding father Alexander Hamilton's historic country home–on his birthday this Friday, you may want to rethink your plans: the memorial is run by the National Park Service and has been closed during the current government shutdown, the second-longest in modern political history. A sign in front of the house, located at 414 W 141st Street in Hamilton Heights, reads: "AREA CLOSED. Because of a lapse in federal appropriations, this national park facility is closed for the safety of visitors and park resources." Built by Hamilton in 1802, the charming two-story country estate welcomes visitors to learn more about the life of this famous founding fathe

Bid farewell to this block-long 1920s auto showroom in West Harlem

​Fans of vintage industrial architecture, take note: a block-long former auto showroom in West Harlem, built in 1920, is being prepared for demolition. It sits on the west side of Broadway between 131st and 132nd Streets. Scaffolding is now up, and after asbestos abatement is complete, the building–most recently a Tuck-It-Away storage facility–will come down, according to a recent construction update from Columbia University. The state infamously used eminent domain to take the property from its last owner on behalf of Columbia University, which has been building its glassy new Manhattanville campus over the last decade. Read more about the changes that have been sweeping West Harlem–and che

Taszo Espresso Bar opens its second location in Washington Heights

Onward and upward: Cozy Washington Heights coffee bar Taszo just opened its second location two dozen blocks further uptown at 366 Audubon Avenue between W 183rd and W 184th Streets. Only a few steps from Yeshiva University, the two-day-old location is currently just serving coffee and pastries. But owner Haitem Weslati says he hopes to have a full kitchen and liquor license in place in the next two weeks. The menu will focus on Mediterranean/Israeli food, with pastries and paninis available until 3pm and dinner starting at 5pm. The new cafe's unassuming black facade hides an industrial-but-intimate space that features a welcoming front coffee bar and a long, sunny room with plenty of tables

Get your sweet Rosca de Reyes in East Harlem–just in time for Three Kings' Day this Sunday

This Sunday is Epiphany, also known as Día de los Reyes–Three Kings' Day–in the city's Hispanic communities. That means there's still plenty of time to stop by one of East Harlem's bustling Mexican bakeries and buy an authentic rosca de reyes, the holiday sweet bread shaped like a crown and decorated with candied fruit symbolizing the kings' jewels (a toy baby Jesus is usually hidden inside). Start at Don Paco Lopez Panaderia at 2129 Third Avenue. With a second location in Sunset Park as well as its own branded rosca de reyes box, this bakery definitely runs a smooth operation. You can even order your rosca in advance online. There are three sizes: small ($23), medium ($38) and large ($45).

Uptown links: a real skyscraper is coming to Morningside Heights, and more

• A truly supertall building is coming to Morningside Heights. The 42-story condo and office tower, designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects, will soon rise at 100 Claremont Avenue, right down the street from Riverside Church. The Union Theological Seminary is behind the project; it is selling its air rights to a developer to help pay for repairs to the seminary's older buildings (seminary photo: Wikimedia Commons). [Crain's New York] • “Showtime at the Apollo: The Epic Tale of Harlem’s Legendary Theater” is a cool new graphic novel telling the colorful history of the Apollo. Here's just one fascinating detail: In 1934, the same year when the burlesque theater at 253 W 125th Street reopened

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A Curated guide to life in Harlem And beyond
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