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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner


Uptown links: Keith Haring's 'Crack Is Wack' mural is back, and more

• Keith Haring's recently renovated "Crack Is Wack" mural in East Harlem reopened to the public last weekend. [Hyperallergic] • Chef JJ Johnson's new fast-casual rice concept Fieldtrip is a New York Times Critic's Pick. [NY Times] • Many East Harlemites would welcome the Second Avenue Subway despite the fact that the new line would accelerate the neighborhood's development. [NY Times] • A beautiful landmarked Harlem church, built in 1897, is on the market for $6.26 million. It is zoned for residential use, so could be someone's home. [6SQFT] • Restaurateur Matthew Trebek, son of Jeopardy's Alex Trebek, has two successful spots in Harlem, and might open up more. [People] • New York City park

Montefiore Square revamp has a new completion date

Improvements to the infrastructure surrounding Montefiore Square in Hamilton Heights have been underway since the fall of 2016. But last week the city held an official event announcing the $15.5 million capital project to renovate and expand the park–and also gave a new completion date: Summer 2020.​ ​The revamp will triple the size of Montefiore Square by expanding the park into what is now Hamilton Place between Broadway and 138th Street. It will also include a new terraced lawn with built-in seating and a small plaza for local festivals, performances and green markets. The area has been a major construction zone these last two years as workers have been digging up the streets and sidewalk

The surprising Harlem location where 'Joker' was filmed

Fans of the new "Joker" movie starring Joaquin Phoenix have been busy hunting down all of the New York locations that appear in the blockbuster. They've even turned a set of stairs in the Highbridge section of the Bronx–now known as the Joker Stairs–into a bona fide tourist attraction. Few, though, know about a pair of old buildings in an industrial corner of Harlem with a surprising role in the movie. ​Located on 12th Avenue between 133rd and 134th Streets, the two buildings were used as locations for Ha-Ha's Talent Booking, the clown agency where Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) works in the beginning of "Joker," and its surroundings. A building that houses Cleantex, a rug cleaning business,

These 4 historic Harlem neighborhoods have major Halloween spirit (and some gorgeous houses to boot)

Now that Halloween is less than a week away, it's the perfect time to take a walk through some of Harlem's prettiest neighborhoods and get into the holiday spirit. Choose one–or all–and don't just admire the gorgeous architecture, but the creatively spooky decor while you're at it. 1. Sugar Hill ​The landmarked brownstones between Convent and St. Nicholas Avenues between 145th and 150th Streets are some of Harlem's most beautiful, but make sure you don't skip Convent Avenue itself: there's a pretty spooky stretch on the southeast corner of 147th Street. 2. Hamilton Heights For a glimpse of some of the most impressive homes in Harlem, stroll down Convent Avenue between 141st and 145th Streets

7 fun things to do in Harlem this weekend

Harlem is the place to be this weekend, with some of the neighborhood's biggest cultural institutions and landmarks inviting you to come on by. There is truly something for everyone–shoppers, literature buffs, dancers, history hounds, kids and, yes, even your fur friends: Harlem Makers Collective holiday shopping event Gallery 8, 2602 Frederick Douglass Blvd and W 139th St Friday, Oct 23 2pm-9pm; Saturday, Oct 24 11am-9pm; Sunday, Oct 27 10am-6pm One of Harlem's best shopping events–packed with local vendors selling fashion, beauty, treats and more–is back for the holidays. Don't miss happy hour on Friday and Saturday evening starting at 5pm. Apollo Theater Presents: Between the World and Me

Uptown links: Trump name is removed from Lasker Rink in Central Park, and more

• Just in time for ice skating season, the Trump Organization has removed the Trump name from the two ice skating rinks it runs in Central Park, including Lasker Rink in the park's north end. [Washington Post] • For a cool $1.59 million, you can live above Dapper Dan's Harlem atelier in a brownstone at 241 Lenox Avenue. [NY Post] • Lidl, the German discount grocer that bought 27 Best Market stores in January of this year, says it will take two years to convert all of the locations, including the one in Harlem on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. [Newsday] • The city has begun accepting bids for a project that would redevelop the old 126 Street bus depot into a memorial for a historic African bur

3 free blink-and-you'll-miss-it events in Harlem today and tomorrow

An immersive outdoor light installation, a roaming production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, and a mass inspired by the life and music of Beyoncé–all free and in Harlem today and tomorrow. Waterlicht NYC Public Plaza at the Columbia University Lenfest Center for the Arts, 615 W 129th St between Broadway and 12th Ave Wednesday, Oct 23 and Thursday, Oct 24; 7:30pm-11pm; FREE There are two more nights left to see Waterlicht, a large-scale, outdoor light installation by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde. Make sure to register before you go. The Public Theater's Mobile Unit: Shakespeare's Measure for Measure Pelham Fritz Recreation Center, 18 Mount Morris Park West and 122nd St Thursday, Oct 2

New coffee shop NBHD Brûlée opens near Strivers' Row

The area around Strivers' Row has seen an influx of boutique businesses in the last few years, including a popular spin studio, an artisanal chocolate shop, an art gallery and a number of ambitious restaurants. But what it has lacked so far is a roomy, sit-where-you-please coffee shop with affordable bites. Enter NBHD Brulee. Like many of the area's other newcomers, this brand new spot on the corner of Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 140th Street has a relaxed vibe that invites the neighborhood in: exposed brick walls, chalkboard signs and subtle gilded touches that evoke the neighborhood's historic character. But here you can really hang out for much of the day. The shop, which opens at 7a

Citi Bike is getting ready to expand to 155th Street. Here's your chance to propose locations.

Earlier this year Citi Bike announced plans to double its service area, including all of Upper Manhattan. As part of the expansion, the bike share program is now turning to the section of Harlem between 130th and 155th Streets. To help with bike station locations, Citi Bike and the New York City Department of Transportation are inviting the community to have its say. Community outreach workshops will be held the next two Mondays, starting with Manhattan Community Board 9 on October 21, followed by Manhattan Community Board 10 on October 28. There will be two sessions per evening, each featuring a short presentation and discussion, followed by comments regarding locations. Neighborhoods in th

Your uptown weekend: Day of the Dead celebrations, visits to NYC landmarks, and more

From a Day-of-the-Dead-inspired musical procession in East Harlem to a chance to enter some of uptown's typically closed-off landmarks, there's lots of great stuff to check out this weekend. Take your pick from these four standout events: Congo in Harlem 11 film series Maysles Documentary Center, 343 Malcolm X Blvd between W 127th and W 128th Sts Through Sunday, Oct 20 The 11th annual Congo in Harlem film series kicks into high gear this weekend with photo exhibits, Q&As, and movies that encourage you to learn about the beauty as well as the challenges facing this huge country in the heart of Africa. It all caps off with "Cold Case Hammarskjöld," a documentary investigating the mysterious 19

Uptown links: HBO's 'The Apollo' doc trailer is here, and more

• HBO just released the trailer for its documentary about The Apollo, packed with gorgeous archival footage. It comes out November 6th. [Gothamist] • Bronx-based artist Vinnie Bagwell's proposed 18-foot winged angel was chosen to replace the controversial statue of J. Marion Sims on 103rd Street and Fifth Avenue, but only after a major community protest. [Gothamist] • Two buildings in Central Harlem were recently sold but will remain "deeply" affordable for at least 40 years. [NY Post] • "The Arches of Harlem" is a proposal by local architectural firm Focus Lighting to light up the Riverside Drive Viaduct at night. [6SQFT] • A 16-story mixed-use building with 92 apartments and major commerci

Wine & Unwind, a new shop with under-the-radar wines, opens near City College

There are two types of wine, explains Leonel Arias, the owner of a bright new wine shop in Hamilton Heights: The kind you recognize from, say, a Super Bowl commercial, and the kind you've never heard of. The latter–the wine with little-to-no marketing–is exactly what you'll find at Wine & Unwind, located on a mom-and-pop-filled stretch of Amsterdam Avenue near City College. "I have to sell these wines," says Arias, who is quick to describe the taste and body of any wine on the shelf. He points to The Dissident, a red blend from Washington State boutique winery Mark Ryan, as a wine he is proud to sell in his store, which is mainly stocked with bottles from the West Coast, France, Italy and Sp

A peek inside Roland's, your new Harlem spot for crispy, Roman-style pizza

Harlem has a new pizza spot, and this one's slinging thin-crust Roman-style pies. Roland's (2367 Frederick Douglass Blvd at 127th St), from the team behind Harlem Bar-B-Q right next door, is still in soft-open mode. But a full menu is already in place, offering Italian appetizers like salumi and focaccia, salads, and both traditional and gluten-free pizza. You won't find any pasta, though. "We wanted to do a few things really well," said co-owner Philip Chapman, who hopes the arrival of Roland's will mean locals won't have to "schlep downtown and Brooklyn to have great pizza." The cozy bar, still a work in progress, offers beer and wine. Cocktails are coming next week. Manning the bright red

On Indigenous Peoples' Day, a visit to Shorakapok Rock

On this Indigenous Peoples' Day, here's an Upper Manhattan landmark worth visiting: Shorakapok Rock. This boulder in Inwood Hill Park marks the spot where, according to legend, the Lenape tribe “sold"–or more likely traded the right to pass through or use–the island of Manhattan to the Dutch for tools and beads worth 60 guilders. Not everything about the transaction is known–the original Dutch letter referencing the sale doesn't mention details like the actual date or which tribe received the payment. But what is certain is that Manhattan was originally Native American land. On your next visit to Inwood Hill Park, be sure to stop by and acknowledge this important spot in history. There's an

Columbia's Manhattanville expansion continues with the purchase of another building on Broadway

Columbia's Manhattanville expansion continues with the just-disclosed purchase of 3300 Broadway between W 133rd and W 134th Streets for $33.6 million, reported yesterday in the Commercial Observer. The three-story industrial building belonged to the family of self-storage king Nick Sprayregen. The Tuck-It-Away mogul, who died in 2016, also owned a nearby property at 3261 Broadway and famously fought the university from using eminent domain to buy the block-long building for its new campus. The current main occupants of 3300 Broadway are El Mundo and Extra Space Storage. Photo: Google Maps For daily updates, follow The Curious Uptowner on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter #realestate #ColumbiaU

Uptown links: massive Lenox Terrace expansion plan worries residents, and more

• A zoning plan seeking to add five 28-story buildings to Lenox Terrace has residents worried about the changes it would bring, including gentrification and the end of a black "oasis." Built in the '50s, the Harlem apartment complex is located between Malcolm X and Fifth Avenues and 132nd and 135th Streets. [Gothamist] • A housing lottery has opened for 399 affordable units at 1465 Park Avenue in East Harlem, two blocks from Central Park. [6SQFT] • Drag queen Marti Gould Cummings is running in 2021 for Manhattan's District 7 City Council seat. If elected, they would be the first drag queen to serve on the City Council. District 7 includes Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights, Manhattanville

Harlem's best smoky drinks, and where to find them

There's no drink better suited for Halloween than the smoky cocktail. Looking like something from an underworld cauldron, it's bound to put you in an appropriately eerie mood. Happily, Harlem has some truly fantastic versions, crafted with the kind of creativity and care that rewards patience. Ready for your very own cocktail in the mist? Here's where to find the best: Sugar Monk 2292 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 123rd and W 124th Sts One of the most creative new bars in the city, this four-month-old spot surprises with intricate cocktails inspired by history, music and art. Here visitors are asked to be seated at all times, so find one of the plush chairs and order the Marie Laveau, a

Friendly reminder: Uptown's farmers markets are bursting with produce and open through November

​The leaves may finally be changing color, but that doesn't mean the season for buying local produce has ended. Quite the opposite, in fact. Take a look at the New York State harvest calendar and you might be surprised to discover that 36 varieties of fruit and vegetables are typically available in October. That means you can stop by your local stand right now and find piles of colorful apples, pears, watermelon, beets, kale, cauliflower–the list goes on and on. And, yes, this includes tomatoes, those glorious symbols of late summer. There are 15 farmers markets above 100th Street alone according to New York City's official Manhattan Farmers Market map, and all of them are open until the wee

The Little Red Lighthouse Festival, the Harlem Harvest Festival and more things to do this weekend

You can feel it in the air–fall is really here. Be sure to take advantage this weekend at these three outdoor events: Grab a local bite at the pumpkin-and-music-filled Harlem Harvest Festival Festival, celebrate the iconic Little Red Lighthouse, and get your pet blessed (and ready for the afternoon costume parade) at St. John the Divine. See you there!​​ Harlem Harvest Festival St. Nicholas Ave between W 117th and W 118th Sts Saturday, October 5 11am-4pm Explore some of Harlem's best food vendors, artisans and restaurants–from Little Hot Dog Wagon to Royal Jelly Harlem, plus newcomer Fieldtrip by JJ Johnson–while swaying to the beats by DJ Stormin' Norman. Bring the kids–there will be face p

Uptown links: Ming, tiger raised in a Harlem apartment, has died, and more

• Ming, famed tiger of Harlem–he was raised in apartment 5E in the Drew Hamilton Houses (pictured above) before being taken to an animal sanctuary–has died. [NY Times] • Kanye West shared his new album, "Jesus Is King," and accompanying IMAX film at a closed-door event at the United Palace on Sunday night. The reviews were mixed, from "I can’t believe it’s come to this shit” to “That was fire." [Pitchfork] • The plan to rezone Inwood was first announced in 2013. Since then real estate investors have bought more than $610 million in properties. [NY Times] • At the reimagined MoMA opening later this month, Harlem-born artist Faith Ringgold's painting "American People Series #20: Die" will hang

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A Curated guide to life in Harlem And beyond
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