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© 2020 by The Curious Uptowner


4 excellent places to enjoy art and coffee in Harlem

​Art and coffee are just one of those things that go hand in hand. Luckily, Harlem's got a growing number of solid spots where you can enjoy this perfect combo. From south to north, here's where to find them: 1. Studio Museum 127 + Gavin Brown's Enterprise + Plowshares Coffee Stop by the Studio Museum's temporary gallery on 127th Street this Saturday for a chance to see what current artists-in-residence E. Jane, Naudline Pierre and Elliot Reed have been up to. Right next door is Gavin Brown's Enterprise, currently featuring the sculptures (think huge shelves of dried bread rolls), paintings and video of Uri Aran in "House." Contemplate everything you've just seen across the street at Plowsha

Uptown links: Justice Thurgood Marshall's former home is for sale, a new Harlem speakeasy, and more

• For $550,000, you can own the two-bedroom co-op at 409 Edgecombe Avenue that once belonged to late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. [NY Post] • Room 623 is a new speakeasy on 119th Street with live jazz. There's no real sign–you reach it by going down a metal staircase between two buildings. [Untapped Cities] • The waiting list for rent-regulated apartments at Residences at PS 186, a redeveloped school building in Hamilton Heights with a lot of history (Harry Belafonte was just one of the students who passed through), is now open and accepting applications until March 25. [Patch] • Clove, an Indian-American restaurant opposite City College, has a lot of "remarkable" dishes. [Eater

The plastic bag ban is coming. These totes with uptown style have got you covered.

Are you ready for the plastic bag ban? The new rule, which starts this Sunday, March 1, bans stores in New York from using plastic bags; it also requires them to charge 5 cents for any paper bags. As we all get used to the idea of bringing reusable bags to go shopping, here are some totes with major uptown style to consider: Above: "Harlem" tote by Dohanyc $10, from street vendor on south side of 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr and Frederick Douglass Blvds Harlem Toile All Purpose Travel Tote by Sheila Bridges Home $150, sheilabridges.com #HARLEMSFINEST tote from Hashbags $24.95, hashbags.com Harlem Map Tote Bag by AFineLyne $35, NiLu, 191 Malcolm X Blvd, and etsy.com Schomburg C

These portraits by Jordan Casteel, now at the New Museum, are like an intimate walk through Harlem

Jordan Casteel's just-opened show at the New Museum, "Within Reach," includes nearly 40 of the artist's large-scale paintings, from her early portraits of classmates at Yale to recent oils of her students at Rutgers. Jordan Casteel, Yvonne and James, 2017 But it's the work from her residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2016 and her subsequent "Nights in Harlem" series in 2017 that Harlemites visiting the exhibit will immediately recognize. Jordan Casteel, Benyam, 2018 Thirty-one-year-old Casteel, who lives in the neighborhood and had her studio there for a time, found her subjects by walking the streets of her home. Jordan Casteel, The Baayfalls, 2017 Although most of the people in her

New Harlem coffee shop 9 Tails is a real zen oasis

It's only one block from traffic-choked 125th Street, but coffee shop 9 Tails feels miles away. Located in the light-filled ground floor of a historic Harlem brownstone, the new spot opened last month at 34 W 126th Street between Fifth Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard. Owner John Cho named the cafe after the East Asian fox spirit–it also happens to be a Pokemon character–and has given it a zen-like look and feel. The large, all-white space is furnished with blonde wood tables and benches paired with sculptural pieces of driftwood and hanging plants. Shelves of plants are also visible behind the glass doors in the kitchen, but they belong to Mushtari Hardware, a separate business that guests ha

3 fun things to do in Harlem this weekend

There's a little something for everyone this weekend, from an all-day festival celebrating the food, music and style of Africa to a free jazz concert in one of Harlem's historic parks: African Pop-Up Festival Mist Harlem, 46 W 116th St between Fifth Ave and Malcolm X Blvd Saturday, Feb 22 noon-7pm Celebrate the tastes, sounds and style of Africa at this all-day event featuring food tastings, a pop-up market, live cultural performances, DJ sets and business panels. Find out which country from Africa and across the diaspora has the best-tasting rice dish at the Rice Dish Challenge, featuring chefs from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Jamaica, Haiti, and more. Piano Concert with Emme Kemp Jackie Robin

Uptown links: two new bike lanes are coming to Harlem and Washington Heights this year, and more

• Two new bike lanes are coming to Upper Manhattan. One on Fifth Avenue will connect the ten blocks between Marcus Garvey Park and Central Park, while the other will run up St. Nicholas Avenue between W 165th and 170th Streets. [Patch] • Bikers who use the path in Riverside Park should start planning an alternative route this spring: a stretch of bike lane from about 110th to 125th Streets will be closed to make repairs caused by Hurricane Sandy. [Streetsblog] • Harlem's Queen Sheba is one of the city's best Yemeni restaurants, according to Eater's food critic. [Eater NY] • Photos of a young Louis Armstrong, the original Cotton Club, and more snapshots from the Harlem Renaissance. [History]

New beer bar Oh Craft! is coming to Hamilton Heights

A new craft beer bar is coming to Hamilton Heights. Oh Craft!, offering 16 varieties of beer on tap, will be opening at 1739 Amsterdam Avenue between 146th and 147th Streets within the next month. A refrigerated case in the back will also feature beer by the bottle, can and growler (to stay or to go). The food menu will include light bites like charcuterie boards and pizza. The owner, who has another business nearby but prefers to stay out of the spotlight, gave a quick tour of the unfinished space, which he says will have an "industrial-rustic" vibe. For now the narrow space features exposed red brick walls and polished cement floors, soon to be warmed up with details like printed wallpaper

This year's commemoration of Malcolm X in the former Audubon Ballroom features a Netflix docuseries

Malcolm X was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights 55 years ago this Friday. Every year The Shabazz Center, which now occupies the historic location at 3940 Broadway, holds a special commemoration. Among other details, the educational space features a statue of Malcolm X in the lobby and a podium that marks the exact spot where the murder took place upstairs. This year's remembrance includes something new: a screening of the recently released six-part Netflix documentary "Who Killed Malcolm X," a fresh look at his death and the subsequent investigation. The screening will be followed by a discussion moderated by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The event is from

The Inwood Film Festival, celebrating local stories and talent, is back for its fifth year

The Inwood Film Festival is back for its fifth year. The annual film event celebrating local stories and talent is returning to the Campbell Sports Center (Broadway and 218th St) from March 13 through 15. Organized by neighborhood nonprofit Inwood Art Works, the weekend-long fest features a 25-movie lineup that includes a variety of short shorts, long shorts, student films (who's ready for "Kimchee Taco"?) and feature films. Also in the mix: three seminars taught by film industry veterans. “This festival truly embodies Inwood Art Works vision to foster a vibrant multicultural community nourished by local connectivity," said Aaron Simms, Inwood Art Works’ Founder and Executive Producer, in a

How to find the highest point in Manhattan (and what drew George Washington there)

If your idea of fun is climbing to the highest point in any given area–and you still haven't been to the one in Manhattan–here's your next field trip: Bennett Park. Directly outside the Fort Washington Avenue exit of the 181 Street station on the A line, this well-tended park in Hudson Heights is home to the highest natural spot on the island, measuring 265.05 feet above sea level. (The park itself is named after a newspaper publisher and editor who bought the land in the 19th century.) There's even a small plaque marking the exact geographic location–it's toward the west side of the park in the middle of an outcropping of Manhattan schist, the near-mythical gray stone that supports the city

East Harlem's Mojo is the Belgian mousse bar of your dreams

You didn't know you needed a Belgian mousse bar in your life until you visit Mojo (177 E 100th St between Lexington and Third Aves), a new spot in East Harlem serving up five different flavors of the fluffy dessert. The brainchild of Belgian chef Johan Halsberghe, the week-old shop is set up like a luxe ice cream parlor, offering mousse by the scoop–$3 per small-but-rich dollop–served with a signature gold spoon. The chocolate mousse is made the traditional way: in small batches with fresh whipped cream and Callebaut chocolate, specially imported from Belgium. Other flavors include white chocolate and hazelnut praline–and for the really adventurous, matcha and passion fruit. The chic little

Uptown links: 'Godfather of Harlem' renewed for Season 2, and more

• "Godfather of Harlem," the Epix series about Harlem crime boss Bumpy Johnson who returns to the neighborhood in the early 1960s, has been renewed for Season 2. The first season was filmed throughout Harlem; reports say the production is returning to New York later this year. [Deadline] • The big Harlem real estate news of the week: CNN anchor Don Lemon is selling his two-bedroom in Harlem (2280 FDB) for $1.75 million, with the help of his fiancé and broker Tim Malone. According to reports, the couple is staying in the neighborhood. [NY Post] • Here's a great roundup of vintage photos from the Harlem Renaissance. [Buzzfeed News] • El Museo's career retrospective of Cuban-born artist Zilia S

Reminder: There's a month left of ice-skating season at these two Harlem rinks

There hasn't been much snow lately, but you can still get that winter feeling by going ice skating. Luckily, uptown's two ice skating rinks are open for about another month–and are perfect spots to enjoy what's left of the season. Here's what you'll find at each, and how much longer they're open: Lasker Rink Central Harlem Entrance at 110th St and Lenox Ave; open through March 22 Located on the northern edge of Central Park, Lasker Rink is open every day–and blissfully free of the crazy crowds found at most other outdoor rinks in the city. The spot features twin rinks: one for public ice skating, the other for separate events such as parties and ice hockey games. No matter which oval you end

Teranga, chef Pierre Thiam's fast-casual African spot in Harlem, expands its hours

Fans of chef Pierre Thiam's fast-casual take on "African grandma's cuisine" can finally make a night of it at Teranga, his year-old fast-casual eatery inside the Africa Center at 1280 Fifth Avenue between E 109th and E 110th Streets. The restaurant, which used to close in the early evenings, just announced it is open until 9pm every night (Tuesdays through Sundays). "Yay!!!! 🙌🏾 No more sprinting the streets like Jackie Joyner-Kersee just to...get a plate after work!!," wrote one commenter in response to the news. Despite the extended evening hours, reservations still aren't required. Grab your food from the back, where a server assembles a plate of food from the ten or so colorful pots beh

Shop for your Valentine–think chocolates, bubbly, and, yes, spa treatments–at these 6 Harlem spots

Valentine's Day is almost here. Bookmark these Harlem destinations for gift ideas you won't find anywhere else: 1. Dulceria Central Harlem 2220 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 119th and W 120th Sts If you haven't been to Harlem's new Chilean pastry shop yet, now's the time to check it out and–while you're at it–grab a box of the heart-shaped alfajores, delicate cookies layered with dulce de leche, specially covered in dark, milk, white and raspberry chocolate for Valentine's Day. 2. Wine & Unwind Hamilton Heights 1536 Amsterdam Ave between W 135th and W 136th Sts ​Discover a wide range of affordable French Cremants, Italian Proseccos, Spanish Cavas, and other sparkling wines from under-the

The East Harlem street where Scorsese recreated a real-life mobster hangout in 'The Irishman'

One of the movies nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this Sunday is Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, the mob flick that follows the rise of Teamster Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) and his relationship with Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Like Joker, another Best Picture contender, parts of The Irishman were filmed in Harlem–East Harlem, to be exact. The neighborhood, New York's original Little Italy, was once the stomping ground of Genovese crime boss Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno–the mobster used an East Harlem storefront called the Palma Boys Social Club as his base. Incredibly, Scorsese was able to recreate Fat Tony's social club in the exact same location: 416 E 115th Street (between First an

Uptown links: the latest on the plans to rezone Lenox Terrace, and more

• A developer's contested plan to rezone Lenox Terrace cleared another hurdle when the city's Planning Commission voted in favor of the changes. The 1950s apartment complex would gain five 28-story buildings with 1,600 units of mixed-income housing and 160,000 square feet of retail. The City Council makes its decision next. [Gothamist] • Have you been on one of the new all-electric buses in Harlem? The MTA is testing them on the M60 line, which crosses 125th Street into Queens. [Patch] • There's a new plan to build an exit ramp connecting the RFK Bridge directly with the Harlem River Drive, alleviating traffic and pollution around E 125th Street in East Harlem. [amNewYork] • Dos Toros is ope

Jackie Robinson Park renovations are taking shape

The reconstruction of Jackie Robinson Park as part of the city's Parks Without Borders initiative is slightly behind schedule, but the improvements are quickly taking shape. The park's beautification along 145th Street and Edgecombe Avenue, which began in October 2018, was supposed to end by January 2020, but the Parks Department now has a new completion date: May 2020. Even so, the renovation of the southern end is already finished and recently opened to the public. The shortcut connecting Bradhurst and Edgecombe Avenues has a wide new stairway, elegant benches and welcoming new entrances on either side. Judging by the many people using it on a recent day, the path is a hit. Workers have ye

A peek inside Michael Bloomberg's campaign office in Harlem

Wondering what the Harlem campaign office of a billionaire former New York City mayor running for president looks like? If you live anywhere near 125th Street and Park Avenue, now you can go see for yourself. In January Michael Bloomberg's campaign opened its second New York office in a 3,500-square-foot space at 69 East 125th Street (the headquarters are in Times Square). Occupying the ground floor of a seven-story apartment building that went up in 2017, the loftlike space feels new though unfinished, with cement floors and white walls. Campaign posters with slogans like "I Like Mike" and "Women for Mike 2020" cover the glass facade, while the inside is filled with rows of collapsible tabl

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A Curated guide to life in Harlem And beyond
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