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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner


Where to celebrate Pride uptown this weekend

New York's massive Pride March is this Sunday at noon, but you don't have to get on a train if you don't want to–there are plenty of spots where you can celebrate uptown. Start at Harlem Pride, marking its 10th anniversary, this Saturday, June 29 for an afternoon of live entertainment, dancing, and food under the 12th Avenue viaduct. Then head to one of these Pride-friendly bars or cafes for special drinks and more. From south to north: Sugar Monk Harlem's opulent new cocktail lounge is celebrating Pride through the end of the month with its El Torero de la Torah cocktail. Made with mezcal, falernum, hibiscus and lime, it's inspired by a recent article about Sidney Franklin, a "Gay Jewish Ma

Uptown links: a boathouse by architect Norman Foster is coming to Upper Manhattan, and more

• Norman Foster–the architect behind New York's Hearst Tower and London's "Gherkin"–is designing a new two-story boathouse on the Harlem River for Row New York, a non-profit that offers rowing training and academic support to kids of all backgrounds. [Architectural Digest] • Another day, another dispiriting story about a beautiful old Harlem church. This time it's the Church of All Saints on Madison Avenue and 129th Street. The Archdiocese of New York is planning to sell the building but wants to remove the stained glass windows first because it considers them devotional objects that would be profaned if the church was used for other purposes. [Daily News] • Harlem historian Michael Henry Ad

Harlem just got its second Cool Pool

Thanks to the return of the NYC Parks Department's Cool Pool initiative, Harlem now has two brightly renovated outdoor pools to dip into this summer. Last year it was the Sheltering Arms Pool at W 129th Street that got the Cool Pool treatment, this year it's Wagner Pool's turn. Built in the early 1970s, the intermediate-sized pool on E 124th Street between First and Second Avenues has been totally transformed. Its makeover includes fresh coats of paint in turquoise, orange and yellow, pop-art graphics (including the words MARCOOOO POLOOOO along the walls), plus new plantings, furniture and umbrellas–the last two parts courtesy of West Elm! New York City's outdoor pool season runs from Thursd

The Mt. Morris Baths may gone, but the space that housed Harlem's gay bathhouse holds a few secrets

The Mt. Morris Baths, once the only gay bathhouse in New York to admit African American men, has been closed since 2003. But the basement of 1944 Madison Avenue, today the martial arts studio Sword Class NYC, still holds a few of its secrets. A recent visit to this former gay gathering space right off 125th Street–find the full history on the terrific NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project–revealed some fascinating details. Although the baths' colorful signs are long gone, the main entrance can still be found down a set of metal stairs facing Madison Avenue. Sword Class NYC owner Raab Rashi, who took over the space a few years ago, explained that the actual baths were filled in with concrete–it's n

Urban Umbrella's high-design scaffolding comes to Harlem

Urban Umbrella, the industry-disrupting scaffolding company that began prettifying New York sidewalks in 2017, has finally made its way up to Harlem. Its signature white scaffolding–resembling a series of Art Nouveau umbrellas–recently went up around the Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church at 2365 Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 127th Street. The first new sidewalk shed design in half a century, Urban Umbrella's structure eliminates traditional cross bracing that blocks street-level windows, while also offering a clear resin roof and stylish, halo-like LED lights. The company's simple white parapet and graceful arches are the perfect complement to the Harlem church's neo-Classical cornice; the

An outdoor festival saluting the Harlem Renaissance, and more fun things to do this weekend

It's the first day of summer, and uptown is ready! Check out these three events where you can kick off the season right with music, shopping and bites. Make Music New York on East 125 E 125th St between Fifth and Lexington Aves Fri, June 21 from 3pm Celebrate the longest day of the year at this free outdoor music event humming with drumlines, R&B, jazz, latin and more. If you get hungry, stop by Taste of East Harlem at the Union Settlement Community Garden for unlimited tastings of the many cuisines of East Harlem ($30-$45). Midsummer Night at Harlem Makers Collective Gallery Eight, 2602 Frederick Douglass Blvd at 139th St Fri, June 21 2pm-9pm; Sat, June 22 11am-9pm; Sun, June 23 10am-6pm H

Uptown links: Chipotle is eyeing a location in 'Washington Heights South,' and more

• Analyzing cell phone data and social media geotagging to figure out where to expand in New York, Chipotle recently narrowed its search down to Hamilton Heights and what's being called "Washington Heights South," two areas with growing populations of millennials. The Mexican chain is now in lease negotiations for a space on Broadway and 159th Street. [Commerical Observer] • Harlem's "best-kept jazz secret" is the National Jazz Museum. [Forbes] • This walking tour of 11 important locations in LGBTQ history includes two stops in Harlem: the Schomburg and the Langston Hughes House. [NY Times] • A wave of new investment has come to Harlem, but longtime neighborhood restaurants could suffer if r

This graffiti artist just took over the Bowery Wall, but an uptown tunnel has even more of her work

The latest artist to take over the famed Bowery Wall on Houston Street is Queen Andrea (aka Andrea von Bujdoss), the New York-based graffiti artist known for her neon-bright murals with an old-school hip hop vibe. Her new mural–urging us to "Believe" and "Love More" in bright, bubbly letters–just went up, so there's plenty of time to go see the piece before the next artist comes along. But if you live uptown and won't be passing that corner of Houston and Bowery any time soon, there's a closer place to see Queen Andrea's work: the 191st Street 1 Train Tunnel, stretching from Broadway to St. Nicholas Avenue. In 2015 the Department of Transportation decided to give the grungy tunnel a makeove

Reverence, a new restaurant on Strivers' Row from chef Russell Jackson, is coming into focus

Chef Russell Jackson, a longtime West Coast restaurateur as well as Food Network star and the founder of the long-running underground supper club known as SubCulture Dining, is gearing up to open his seventh restaurant–and in Harlem, no less. Mysterious signs posted in the windows at 2592 Frederick Douglass Boulevard–right on Harlem's historic Strivers' Row–show the outlines of a logo and a digital barcode that leads to a website with a name: Reverence Harlem. Speaking recently on the Shaken & Stirred podcast, Jackson revealed his fine dining restaurant would offer a five-course prix fixe menu with an emphasis on "modern California" cuisine (think healthy, farm-to-table dishes with a Mediter

This Sing for Hope piano in Riverside Park has the best views

New Yorkers have until Sunday, June 23 to enjoy this year's Sing for Hope pianos–the 50 artist-designed pianos placed temporarily in parks and public spaces throughout the five boroughs. Haven't had a chance to tickle the ivories in public just yet? Head straight to this Sing for Hope piano with some of the best views in the city. Painted by Washington Heights-born self-trained artist Nick Stavrides, the "In the Depths of" piano is perched in the middle of a rotunda in Riverside Park between 151st and 152nd Streets. Sit down to play, and you won't just get incredible views of the Hudson River, but the George Washington Bridge in the distance as well. Choice of river-themed music is optional.

Uptown links: Lenox Ave's outdoor dining scene gets its due, and more

• The dozen or so Lenox Avenue restaurants with sidewalk seating made The Post's list of best outdoor dining spots in the city. [NY Post] • Plans are coming into focus for Mart 125, the long-vacant Harlem vendors' market on 125th Street. Firelight Media, an award-winning documentary production company, will be one of its first tenants. [The City] • East Harlem is home to a new 140,00-square-foot facility offering cutting-edge proton therapy to treat cancer. [Patch] • The Handpulled Noodle, a favorite spot for Chinese noodles and dumplings in Hamilton Heights, has joined a group of companies both big and small to complain about what it's calling Google's unfair business practices. [NY Times]

Blink and you'll miss this tropical Flower Flash in Washington Heights

A stunning pop-up floral installation by Harlem-based florist Cape Lily appeared without much notice yesterday morning in La Plaza de las Americas in Washington Heights. The so-called Flower Flash–in this case a Caribbean-themed arrangement of tropical fruits and flowers–was wrapped around "The Source," a 2015 mosaic-covered water fountain by artist Ester Partegàs. The installation was one of many across the city yesterday and today–including the Atlas statue in Rockefeller Center and the Astor Place Cube–that served as a preview of next year's L.E.A.F. flower festival. Taking place next June, the event is being billed as a "celebration across Manhattan for all New Yorkers to come together a

A look back at the set of 'When They See Us' in West Harlem last year

Now that "When They See Us" is finally out, here's a look back at the time director Ava DuVernay and her film crew came to West Harlem to shoot scenes for the Netflix series. The drama shines the spotlight on the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were falsely accused of raping a jogger in Central Park. After serving 7 years in prison (one spent 13), they were exonerated in 2014. The four-part series features a cast including Felicity Huffman as prosecutor Linda Fairstein and John Leguizamo as the father of one of the accused boys, Raymond Santana. On a Sunday last October, the team's production designers magically transformed W. 134th Street between Broadway and Am

From restaurants to exhibits, Ruby Dee is having a major moment in Harlem

Five years after her death at the age of 91, legendary actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee is having a major moment in Harlem–the neighborhood where she grew up and got her start. Here's where to soak up a bit of her light: The archive of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture 515 Malcolm X Blvd and 135th St Last year the Schomburg announced it had acquired the joint archive of Ruby Dee and her husband, Ossie Davis. The couple didn't just perform in memorable plays such as "A Raisin in the Sun," but was actively involved in the civil rights movement–from integrating Broadway to emceeing the 1963 March on Washington. A fascinating assortment of v

Hell's Kitchen sports bar 123BSB expanding to Harlem

Hell's Kitchen sports bar 123 Burger Shot Beer–its name refers to the menu concept: $1 sliders, $2 shots and $3 beers–just announced it's coming to Harlem this summer. According to information posted on Instagram, it'll be "right next to Dinosaur BBQ on 125th." A liquor license application notice at 712 W 125th Street and Marginal Street–two doors down from the barbecue restaurant–lists the applicant as Peaceful BSB Restaurant, making that the likely location. The corner space, right opposite the West Harlem Piers, most recently housed BTH Restaurant & Lounge. The sports bar will be joining a number of new and imminent arrivals in the immediate vicinity, including the recently-opened Ki Smit

Uptown links: funding is close for East Harlem's African Burial Ground, and more

• Today it's an unused bus depot, but in the 1660s a small plot of land in East Harlem was the only place where people of African descent could be buried. Known as the Harlem African Burial Ground, it is a space the city is hoping to turn into a cultural center and memorial with the help of a nonprofit operator. (Visit the temporary exhibit inside La Marqueta, pictured above, for more information.) [The City] • A man was caught on video burning two gay pride flags hanging outside of Alibi, Harlem's only gay bar. [CBS New York] • Artist Tschabalala Self's textile work, opening this Sunday at MoMA PS1, is inspired by people she saw on the streets of Harlem. [T The New York Times Style Magazine

Yatenga team opening French-African sports bar Ouaga across the street

Harlem is getting a new sports bar, Ouaga, at 2280 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard and 134th Street. But banish any ideas of a typical American pub. Instead, imagine a chic space with a copper bar straight out of a Paris bistro matched with bold industrial fixtures, including a draft beer tower made from bold red pipes. As it turns out, Abdel Ouedraogo and Sivan Baron, the team behind Yatenga, the stylish French restaurant across the street, are running this venture as well. Ouedraogo, originally from Burkina Faso, promises lots of soccer programming on the TVs that will hang throughout the corner space. When the sound is off, you might even hear live acoustic music–no surprise, considering

'In the Heights' has started filming in and around Washington Heights

The big-screen adaptation of "In the Heights," Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony Award-winning musical, began filming this week on location in Inwood and Washington Heights–the very same neighborhood where the original play is based. Fans who hope to catch a glimpse of the cast and crew doing their thing–some musical numbers are being shot on the street–will have many chances to do so as the production will be filming throughout Upper Manhattan all summer long. At an open casting call for extras this past Saturday, Miranda talked about how excited he was to see the musical come to Washington Heights: "The fact that we are filming the entire movie in the neighborhood that it's about is a dream come t

Here's where to celebrate World Pride Month in Harlem

June is World Pride Month–marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots here in New York– and Harlem is joining in on the celebration in a big way. Here are some of the best Pride events to look for uptown: Pride: Photographs of Stonewall and Beyond by Fred W. McDarrah Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St Opens Thu, June 6 See Fred W. McDarrah's photos of the Stonewall uprising, plus more seminal moments in the LGBTQ rights movement. The museum is also collaborating with Harlem's Maysles Documentary Center on a special Thursday, June 6 screening of two short films called Portraits of Pride: Stormé, Marsha and Stonewall. For the full list of Pride events at the mus

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A Curated guide to life in Harlem And beyond
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