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Uptown links: Riverbank State Park's performance space gets a $1 million gift (plus a new name),

The view from Riverbank State Park

• Businessman and philanthropist Robert F. Smith donated a million dollars to the Cultural Performance Center at Riverbank State Park, which will receive new lighting, sound equipment, seating, flooring–and a new name: the Robert Frederick Smith Center for the Performing Arts. “Music and artistic expression have a unique power to unite families and communities,” Smith said in a statement. “Few places embody that more than Harlem. I’m humbled by the opportunity to contribute to a center where people of all ages can come together in appreciation of the arts.” [NY Times]

• Music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs pledged $1 million to his Harlem charter school network–existing spots include Capital Prep Harlem and Capital Prep Bridgeport–and said the third location would open in the Bronx. “I came from the same environment these kids live in every day,” announced Combs. “I understand the importance of access to a great education, and the critical role it plays in a child’s future.” [NY Post]

• Ruby's Vintage, a new Harlem cocktail and wine bar inspired by actress Ruby Dee (she once lived upstairs), just had its soft opening. [NY Times]

• If you want to read up on the terrific new show "Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today" before you head on over, here's an in-depth review. [NY Times]

• It's never too late for a great profile, and the three-year-old Sugar Hill Museum just got one. [NY Times]

• The members of the Sugar Hill Quartet–a longtime Harlem jazz ensemble that now play Mondays at Studio 735 Bar & Lounge–have deep memories of St. Nick's Pub, which burned down last year. [Amsterdam News]

• A two-story building in Washington Heights that was constructed in 1911 very well might become a seven-story building combining residential and retail. [Patch]

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