• Pinterest - Grey Circle
  • Twitter - Grey Circle
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner


Take the A Train to Harlem–now all the way up to 145th Street–with the MTA's holiday nostalgia rides

Want to ride on the very same subway cars that inspired jazz great Billy Strayhorn to write "Take the A Train" in 1939? For the next five Sundays–and for the price of a regular swipe–you can. The MTA is bringing back its holiday nostalgia trains on December 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. And starting December 15 there's a new stop in Harlem: the trains will go all the way to 145th Street (aka Sugar Hill, the neighborhood Ella Fitzgerald sings about in the famous jazz standard). To take the vintage trains to Harlem, get on at the 2nd Avenue stop on the F line; the special rides leave at 10am, noon, 2pm and 4pm every Sunday in December and go up to 125th Street until the middle of the month; after that

7 Harlem shops with irresistible holiday gifts

Preparing to tackle your holiday shopping this weekend? Here are seven Harlem spots where you're sure to find loads of irresistible gifts. From south to north, they are: 1. Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market 52 W 116th St between Fifth and Lenox Aves Lined with vendors selling goods from all across sub-Saharan Africa, this lively market on 116th Street is the perfect destination for gifts like shea butter, beaded jewelry, and colorful Senegalese baskets (about $35 for a medium size). 2. Silvana 300 W 116th St between Frederick Douglass Blvd and Manhattan Ave Silvana's bohemian ground-floor cafe on 116th Street doubles as a shop and stocks gifts the two owners–one from Israel, the other from Burki

Neighborhood standby Geisha Sushi is expanding

Geisha Sushi, the first sushi spot to arrive in Hamilton Heights a little over five years ago, has moved next door–and will eventually grow in size. The neighborhood pioneer, popular for its affordable sushi, sashimi, bento boxes as well as cocktails, wine and beer, is now located at 3472 Broadway between 141st and 142nd Streets–just a few steps north of the old storefront currently under scaffolding. The previous location will undergo a renovation and the restaurant will eventually expand into the old space, explained a worker. The new address features a bar, plus plenty of seating, including a large corner booth in the back for larger parties. Fans of Geisha's huge Japanese menu shouldn't

The 9 best holiday markets 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): Schomburg Harlem Holiday Marketplace Fri, Nov 29 & Sat, Nov 30 noon-6pm Schomburg Center, 515 Malcolm X Blvd at 135th St Head to the Schomburg's lobby for this market featuring brown and black makers and small businesses such as Just Keebs, Royal Jelly Harlem and Zuri Kenya. Uptown Artisanal Pop-Up Sat, Nov 30 11am-6pm 2878 Broadway and 112th St This collective of uptown artisans and small

The Harlem Tree Corner is back and just got its Christmas trees

The Harlem Tree Corner, on the southwest corner of Broadway and 145th Street, is back and officially open. The first batch of trees arrived last night under the cover of darkness–2am to be precise–and are now neatly lined up on the sidewalk and ready for sale. Decorated with string lights and homemade signs, the cheery stand is currently offering only big trees–they start at $60 for a five-foot Fraser fir–but by the end of the week will be stocked with $35 tabletop trees as well. This is the ninth year for the Harlem Tree Corner, run by two Brits and a Spaniard. It opened about five days behind schedule this year due to Thanksgiving falling so late. For daily updates, follow The Curious Upto

The most beautiful streets in Harlem and beyond

It's the last weekend before the holidays–and all the attendant craziness–kick into high gear. Why not spend it taking a stroll through the neighborhood and exploring the architectural gems throughout? Here's a tip: start with these seven beautifully preserved streets and follow the brown street signs designating the surrounding historic district. From south to north they are: 1. Lenox Ave between W 122nd and W 123rd Sts A perfectly preserved row of late-19th-century houses, this block is pretty much the defining image of brownstone Harlem. Number 241 Lenox Avenue is where you'll find the by-appointment-only boutique fashion legend Dapper Dan runs with Gucci. 2. Doctors' Row, W 122nd St bet

4 fun things to do in Harlem this weekend

Spectacular art, dance, music and more to brighten up your weekend–and you can only find it uptown: Zilia Sánchez: Soy Isla (I Am an Island) Wed-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun noon-5pm; through March 22, 2020 El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave between E 104th and E 105th Sts This first-ever retrospective of Cuban-born artist Zilia Sánchez includes the 93-year-old's minimalist, often-erotic "topologies," the large-scale shaped canvases that make up the bulk of her work since the '60s. The Harlem Chamber Players Annual Bach Concert Friday, Nov 22 at 7pm; $20 Broadway Presbyterian Church, 601 W 114th St and Broadway Looking for examples of diversity in the world of classical music? Look no further than the

5 top pie spots in Upper Manhattan (psst, don't wait to order)

​Don't worry about who's bringing the pie this Thanksgiving, because these local bakers have got your covered. From desserts made using old family recipes to the latest gourmet confections, there's a pie for every taste. Here's where to find them: Lady Lexis Sweets Known for its snickerdoodles featured in Shake Shack Harlem's Concretes, this Harlem catering company run by mother-daughter duo Sharon and Lexis Gonzalez are offering five types of pie this year: pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, apple and peach cobbler. To order, call 646-590-9858 or DM them on Instagram. The Harlem Pie Man The Harlem Pie Man started out as a street vendor on 125th Street twenty-odd years ago. Today his pies–includi

Two new Studio Museum art shows to see in Harlem (but not in its old 125th Street space)

The Studio Museum's old home on 125th Street may be closed while it builds its new David Adjaye-designed space, but that doesn't mean it's stopped putting out great art shows in the neighborhood. Quite the opposite. The museum recently debuted two new exhibits featuring up-and-coming artists that will whet your appetite for its eventual return to a much larger home. Here's what's on and where to find each: Chloe Bass: Wayfinding Daily 6am-10pm; through September 27, 2020 St. Nicholas Park, main entrance at W 135th St and St. Nicholas Ave A series of signs lining three main paths in St. Nicholas Park, Chloe Bass's outdoor art project starts by asking three main thought-provoking questions. He

The Hotel Olga–the premier hotel for African-Americans during the Harlem Renaissance–is now rubble

In April scaffolding appeared around 695 Lenox Avenue, the boarded-up building on the corner of 145th Street that once housed the Hotel Olga, the premier hotel for African-Americans during the Harlem Renaissance. It was the first real sign the notable three-story building would likely will be torn down. Local historian Eric K. Washington called it "one of the last iconic structures of that storied era," where guests such as Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith stayed when segregation in public accommodations was still a fact of life. And now the building is officially gone. A demolition crew got to work in late October, and only fencing and rubble remain. New signs reveal the owner as "Lenox by

Uptown links: NYC's creatives are moving to Washington Heights, Inwood and Harlem

• A new report by Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on the city's always-shifting creative economy reveals that people working in creative industries like film and the performing arts are leaving neighborhoods such as the Upper West Side and moving to more affordable areas including Washington Heights, Inwood and Central Harlem. [Comptroller.nyc.gov] • Korey Wise, one of the Exonerated Five portrayed in the award-winning Netflix series "When They See Us," will be one of the three grand marshals at Harlem's annual "Parade of Lights" down 125th Street on Wednesday, November 20. [amNewYork] • In a recent interview, Lin-Manuel Miranda said that filming "In the Heights" in Washington Heights this yea

5 fun things to do in Harlem and Washington Heights this weekend

Make it a fun weekend with these events you'll only find uptown, including an exhibit featuring long-hidden Harlem art, a classic Hitchcock screening in a spectacular venue, and a brand new documentary film festival celebrating black filmmakers and topics. Harlem Roots Friday, Nov 15 to January 12, 2020; open Fridays noon-7pm; FREE Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building, 163 W 125th St and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, 2nd floor art gallery and community room After years spent hidden in a flooded basement, then moved twice (including a stop in Albany), the New York State Harlem Art Collection has returned home to the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building and will be on displa

Two new locations of Buunni Coffee–and more–debut at George Washington Bridge Bus Station Market

New shops continue to debut at the renovated George Washington Bridge Bus Station Market, which first opened more than two years ago. Uptown roaster Buunii Coffee, specializing in single-origin Ethiopian beans, just unveiled two locations inside the main terminal on the west side of Broadway (between 178th and 179th Streets): a glassy sit-down cafe close to the building's Fort Washington Avenue entrance and a to-go spot one level down near the A train entrance. Also new (and steps from the Fort Washington Avenue entrance) are VS Berry, a frozen yogurt shop, and GWB Juice Bar, offering everything from fresh smoothies to Nathan's Famous hot dogs. Shoe-shine spot Dr. Shine just opened on the lo

The 10 most Instagrammable spots in Upper Manhattan (updated)

​New York is bursting with Instagrammable places like the Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square. Unfortunately, they're also frequently packed with tourists. Prefer not to follow the pack? Take your camera to Upper Manhattan, which has just as many photo-worthy spots as more famous parts of the city, only they're much less trafficked. Sure, some are already popular with shutterbugs, but not so much that you'll ever be short of elbow room. From south to north, here's an updated list of 1o places to check out right now: 1. Mount Morris Fire Watchtower Four years ago, this last-of-its-kind watchtower–built in 1857 and used to spot fires in pre-telegraph NYC–was falling apart. Now, after a lengthy re

You stood in line for Popeyes' fried chicken sandwich. Now give these crispy Harlem versions a try.

By now, most people who have been curious enough to try Popeyes' chicken sandwich–the one it famously ran out of in August and resumed selling last week–have done so. Yes, that includes Justin Bieber. The sandwich, complete with pickles and a smear of mayo on a toasted brioche bun, has been praised for its extra crispy and flavorful fried chicken–just like grandma used to make. Still, not everyone's the fast-food-chain type. If you prefer your fried chicken sandwich made with a side of Harlem TLC (and an extra helping of hot sauce), here are four destination-worthy spots. From south to north, they are: Harlem Shake 100 W 124th St and Lenox Ave This '50s-style burger-and-shake spot offers not

Last days for Harlem's old Baptist Temple Church

A green plywood fence is now up around the old Baptist Temple Church at 18-20 W 116th Street–as is the demolition permit–meaning the building's days are officially numbered. In 2016 New York YIMBY reported that a new 11-story development with 28 apartments would take its place, and that the church would return to the new building, taking over the basement and first floor. The demolition is part of a Harlem-wide wave in which old churches are being torn down or repurposed as the number of congregants shrinks and the price of upkeep skyrockets. The house of worship has a fascinating history. It was built in 1906 as a synagogue for Congregation Ohab Zedek in a neighborhood that was then home to

Uptown links: La Placita is back–and ready to host the Harlem Night Market

• After a $5.5 million renovation, La Placita, the community space at La Marqueta in East Harlem, has reopened. Look for upcoming events such as the brand new Harlem Night Market, launching this December–it's currently accepting applications from vendors. [Patch, Uptown Grand Central] • Community Board 10 in Harlem voted down the Olnick Organization's plan to build five new apartment towers, including stores and restaurants, in the neighborhood's storied Lenox Terrace. The vote will serve as a recommendation for the New York City Council and Mayor. [CBS New York] • The New York City Council has started hearings on La Hermosa Church's plans to rezone its property and build a 30-story developm

'Respect,' the Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson, is filming in Harlem

A second movie is filming in Harlem this week, and it's a biggie. (See yesterday's post for the other.) “Respect,” the Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson, has been shooting in the Mount Morris Park Historic District since the weekend. Various media outlets ran photos and video of the American Idol star filming a scene on Sunday with costar Marlon Wayans, who plays Ted White, Franklin's first husband. Yesterday vintage cars from the 1950s and 1960s lined W 122nd Street as the film crew prepared the area for a movie scene. Hudson was handpicked by the Queen of Soul before she died in 2018. The movie’s producers told Deadline: “We were given the rare privilege to work with Ms. Fran

Old-timey cars line Strivers' Row for film adaptation of 'Passing'

The film adaptation of "Passing," a novella by Harlem Renaissance author Nella Larsen, was shooting in Harlem today. Directed by Rebecca Hall, the movie stars Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson. Set in 1920s Harlem, the story focuses on two light-skinned childhood friends who meet as adults after one has chosen to "pass" as white. The movie's cast and crew took over all of W 138th Street on Harlem's historic Strivers' Row, which had a smattering of vintage cars parked in front of the stately row houses. The current release date is January 2020. For daily updates, follow The Curious Uptowner on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter #film #filmlocation #Passing #Harlem #architecture #striversrow

Photos: a near-perfect marathon day in Harlem

It was a near-perfect day for a marathon on Sunday, with sunny skies accompanied by a crisp high of 55. And Harlem, with its historic brownstones and wide, tree-lined streets, served as the ideal backdrop. After crossing the Madison Avenue Bridge into Manhattan, the 50,000-plus runners came streaming down Fifth Avenue, where crowds cheered as DJs along the route played Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys ("Concrete jungle where dreams are made of..."). ​Just below 125th Street they looped around Marcus Garvey Park, where endless rows of brownstones stood watch like an architectural royal guard. Leaving the smaller park behind, the marathoners headed for their final destination: Central Park. But b

The NEW Normal

New and Noteworthy




A Curated guide to life in Harlem And beyond
  • Black Pinterest Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon