Harlem – MTA to move depot built on slave graveyard

The New York City Transit Authority 126th Street bus depot will close after a 17th century African burial ground was found there.

The New York City Transit Authority 126th Street bus depot will close after a 17th century African burial ground was found there.

The MTA will likely shut down its East Harlem bus depot because it sits atop a 17th-century African burial ground, two transit sources told The Post.

The 126th Street facility — home to the M15 fleet that traverses Second Avenue, the city’s busiest bus route — could close permanently as early as June, one of the sources revealed.

The Post first reported three years ago that the agency had confirmed the existence of the burial ground, used by Harlem’s first house of worship, the Elmendorf Reformed Church, from 1665 until 1869 to bury slaves and freed slaves.

Community activists began lobbying to relocate the 67-year-old depot, a former trolley yard, to memorialize the cherished ground and even establish a cultural center around it. At the time, the MTA maintained it would continue to study the issue but planned to go ahead with the refurbishment of the depot in 2015.

Now the agency appears ready to wash its hands of the 104,000-square-foot building, sources said.

“It’s impractical to close down this depot. It’s going to disrupt service,” said J.P. Patafio, an official with Transport Workers Union Local 100. “They should put up a monument.”

A report commissioned by the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force from Hunter College recommended “bus depot relocation” in the fall of 2011 “to provide space for the proper memorialization of the burial ground.”

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz would only say the authority hasn’t made any decision on the depot’s fate. A report completed by the MTA in February 2013 shows it has considered “renovation, rehabilitation or replacement” and noted the site could be subject to “redevelopment.”

The burial ground’s history dates to 1658, when New Amsterdam’s Dutch governor, Peter Stuyvesant, ordered African slaves to build a nine-mile road from lower Manhattan to what was then known as Nieuw Haarlem. Two years later, the First Reformed Church of Harlem — which would later become Elmendorf — was founded, and in 1665 it set aside land for a “Negro burying ground,” according to the Hunter College report.

By Michael Gartland

A big story for October 27

A big story for October 27 – On this day in 1904, New York City Mayor George McClellan takes the controls on the inaugural run of the city’s new rapid transit system: the subway. Though London boasts the oldest underground train network (opened in 1863) and Boston built the first subway in the U.S. in 1897, New York’s soon became the largest American system.

The first line, operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), traveled 9.1 miles past 28 stations. Starting at City Hall in lower Manhattan the subway travels to Grand Central Terminal in midtown, then west along 42nd Street to Times Square. The line turned north and ran all the way to 145th Street and Broadway in Harlem. The first day McClellan enjoyed being the engineer so much that he stayed on the controls the length of the line to 103rd Street.

In the evening of Oct. 27 the subway opened to the general public and more than 100,000 people paid their nickel to take their first ride.

A year later the service expanded to the Bronx and in 1908 to Brooklyn and Queens in 1915. In 1968 the Metropolitan Transport Authority has run the system that now has 26 lines and 468 stations. Every day roughly 4.5 million passengers take the subway in New York. It is the only rapid transit system that runs around the clock 365 days a year.

Written by Suzanne Marino

‘Emergency’ meeting set for May 23 to brief Harlem on proposed DOT plans for 125th St. bus routes

Plans call for addition of bus lanes, subtraction of some stops, signals set to speed buses and parking restrictions to be altered

M60 buses are stopped along 125th St. more than 60% of the time, according to city statistics; at times, they crawl along as slowly as 2.7 mph. That’s slower than the average pedestrian. Proposed changes would make the route 10-15% faster from end-to-end, the city Department of Transportation says.

M60 buses are stopped along 125th St. more than 60% of the time, according to city statistics; at times, they crawl along as slowly as 2.7 mph. That’s slower than the average pedestrian. Proposed changes would make the route 10-15% faster from end-to-end, the city Department of Transportation says.

SOME BUS stops could be eliminated along 125th St. in Harlem. Dedicated bus lanes could be added, commercial loading could be restricted and signals could be set to help buses spend less time idling at red lights.

Those are just some of the changes being proposed by the city Department of Transportation to ease congestion along Harlem’s busiest corridor as the strip braces for the large scale redevelopment that’s in the works from river to river.

Residents and business owners are being asked to attend an “emergency town hall meeting” next Thursday, where they will be briefed on the proposed changes by DOT Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione.

“We are having this meeting to make sure the community fully knows what’s at stake,” said state Sen. Bill Perkins, whose office is holding the meeting along with Community Boards 9, 10, 11 and 12 and the 125th St. Business Improvement District.

“We want to make sure this is properly vetted by the constituents,” Perkins added. “ . . . decisions are being made, and your input is needed. Your daily life will be better or worse.”

Among the proposed changes are modifications to the M60 line, the area’s busiest route.

The M60 bus line would be “upgraded” to Select Bus Service, which would add off-board fare payment and dedicated bus lanes, limit the number of stops and introduce transit signal priority to reduce the time buses stop at a red light.

More than 9,700 of the 32,000 daily riders along 125th St. use the M60, making it the busiest route along Harlem’s main east-west thoroughfare.

Ridership statistics provided by the city also show the M60 buses are stopped more than 60% of the time; at times, the bus crawls along as slowly as 2.7 mph. That’s slower than the average pedestrian.

The changes would be make the route 10-15% faster from end-to-end, and 15-20% faster from 125th St. and Lexington Ave. to LaGuardia Airport.

Residents queried by the Daily News said they’d more than welcome any change that improved the speed of their commute.

Ruth Rayford, 82, who was waiting for a bus Thursday on W. 125th St. near Lenox Ave., agreed that Harlem’s most traveled strip can be a headache.

“It is congested,” said the Washington Heights resident. “I remember years ago, it wasn’t congested like this. There could be some improvements made.”

Shawnette Scott, 39, who was also waiting for the bus, questioned whether the proposed changes to the bus service would completely alleviate the congestion.

“That’s not going to stop the traffic,” the Harlem resident said. “I don’t think the bus stops are the problem. . . The buses stop where they are supposed to, and keep it moving.”

She said the congestion is just the result of 125th St. being heavily traveled and booming with businesses, comparing it to 34th and 42nd Sts. in midtown Manhattan.

Other proposed changes include cameras to capture vehicles illegally traveling or standing in a bus lane; changes to parking in the area; and limits on commercial loading.

The meeting will be held at the United House of Prayer for All People, located at 2320 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (between 124th and 125th Sts.) at 6:30 p.m. People are asked to RSVP by calling (212) 222-7315.

mfeeney@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/emergency-town-hall-meeting-set-unspool-bus-125th-st-article-1.1346567#ixzz2Tg3ZrnUi

After 200 years, 125th still Harlem’s ‘main street’

When 125th Street was signed into existence 200 years ago, Harlem was a nondescript country village, a day’s trip north of New York City. The story of the street is the story of Harlem: its shifting economic fortunes, demographics, and popular image.

This article is the first in a two-part series exploring the past, present, and future of 125th Street, Harlem’s main street. Read part two here.

When 125th Street was signed into existence 200 years ago by surveyor John Randel Jr., Harlem was a nondescript village in the countryside, a day’s trip north of New York City. The street was intended to be the village’s major thoroughfare. Continue reading

East Harlem eyes brand new zone

New zoning could transform Park Ave., which looks much the same now as it…

New zoning could transform Park Ave., which looks much the same now as it…

Park Ave. in East Harlem is an industrial streetscape best known for vacant lots, fenced-off parking and stalking spots for muggers — but that could change if the city revamps the local zoning, community officials say.

Bold new zoning would lure new residential and commercial development to the darkened, desolate 17-block strip — and create a thriving neighborhood hub in the area between E. 115th and E. 132nd Sts., advocates argue.

A big chunk of the corridor under the elevated Metro-North tracks is now zoned for manufacturing and auto uses. It’s no surprise, then, that the area is dotted with auto-body shops, gas stations, tire repair yards, parking lots, U-Haul rentals and masonry, ironworking, woodworking, fencing and hoisting-and-rigging companies.

There’s a need for many of those services. But Community Board 11, which represents East Harlem, and CIVITAS, an East Side citizens action group, are exploring zoning scenarios that could tempt developers to build housing and retail on some of those low-lying lots and empty parcels.

In addition to Park Ave., CB 11 and CIVITAS are mulling other zoning changes in a 449-lot area between Lexington and Madison Aves. They expect to submit proposals to the City Planning Commission, which must sign off on all city zoning changes, by early 2013.

One proposal would create a special mixed-use zone that would permit a healthy combination of residential, commercial and light industrial activity in an area now zoned largely for auto services and manufacturing. Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Old Boy! NYC Subway Turns 108 Years Old

NYC subway station entrance, Undated. (Courtesy MTA)

NYC subway station entrance, Undated. (Courtesy MTA)

The first American subway trip left New York City Hall heading north for Harlem 108 years ago today. The Independent Rapid Transit line connected Manhattans most traveled crossroads in one zig-zaging route.  The first IRT line ran under Park Avenue South to Grand Central Terminal, crossed 42nd Street to Times Square, then up Broadway to 145th Street in Harlem — a combination of today’s 4/5, shuttle, and 1/2 lines.

A year later the route extended into the Bronx, then within five years, over to Brooklyn. Transit expansion was fast a century ago.

The subway quickly gained popularity because it was much faster than trolley cars and existing elevated trains. About 20 years later, New York got it’s second subway company, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit company combining existing elevated lines in south Brooklyn with newer routes connecting to Manhattan. In 1932, Independent Subway launched, which, despite the name, was municipally-owned and operated. Continue reading

Harlem gas station owner says city can’t develop his land: lawsuit

A longtime Harlem entrepreneur has a message for the city: Hands off my business!

Carmie Elmore, 67, and a partner took over the gas station at the corner of 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in 1981, when shootings, robberies and drugs ruled the neighborhood.

OIL CHANGE: Carmie Elmore says the city is trying to take back the gas station he and his family have run since 1981.

OIL CHANGE: Carmie Elmore says the city is trying to take back the gas station he and his family have run since 1981.

Now that Harlem is blooming, the city has put developers on notice, asking for ideas to build on the property — even though the city hasn’t owned it for years.

The city’s power play would put more than 20 people out of work.

“They didn’t want it when it was in such terrible disarray over there, and now that things are good, they want to take it and do something different with it,” Elmore told The Post. “I understand what they want, but I know it’s not right, and I know it’s not fair, and that’s why we’re fighting it.”

The owners argue in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed last week that the city has no right to the property, and are asking a judge to declare them the sole owners.

Elmore, who now runs the business with the sons of his original partner after the latter died in a boating accident, bought the property under a community-renewal plan that gave the city the right to repurchase the plot.

But that right expired in 2008, Elmore said, a point the city has ignored.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation began seeking ideas for the property in June, looking for a mix of retail and residential development.

“They just pretended it was still in effect,” Elmore said of the repurchase agreement. “I’ll fight them to the end.”

A Law Department spokeswoman said the city “strongly disputes” Elmore’s claims, and that the city is reviewing the court papers.The gas station is one of the few left in Manhattan.The business includes a car repair shop, a convenience store, and employs 21 people.

Elmore and his co-owner operated on a month-to-month lease for 15 years before buying the property and spending more than $1 million on improvements.

When they started, “the amount of robberies and terrible things — shootings on the corner, and drugs galore on 111th Street — was just horrific, and today it’s just a normal atmosphere,” Elmore said. “There are no major problems, a lot of new neighbors have moved in, a lot of new buildings have sprung up.

“It’s night-and-day. It is absolutely night-and-day . . . We made the decision to come here when no one else wanted it, and we’ve been there for a little over 30 years, and we want to stay.”

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/harlem_battle_station_ugm2AEh2yveJa2EIFSY1FJ#ixzz240SrwRW9

Rezoning Transforms Character of Harlem Boulevard

The fragile yet promising community of new businesses around Frederick Douglass Boulevard from 110th to 125th Street in Harlem is struggling to maintain the charm that has attracted new residents, shoppers and diners in the face of large-scale development nearby and a still-shaky economy.

The 124-room Aloft hotel, on Frederick Douglass Boulevard near 125th Street, opened in 2010. Two recent closings — Nectar, a wine bar at 121st Street, and Society, a cafe at 115th Street, both recently shuttered — point up some of the challenges. Among them are the housing slump, which closed off the pipeline of new developments in the area; the arrival of nationwide chain businesses in the district, like a Red Lobster set to open on West 125th Street near the Apollo Theater; and the persistent debate over gentrification.

Louis Gagliano, who in 2007 took over Harlem Flo, a florist at 2292 Frederick Douglass at 123rd Street, and in late 2010 opened Harlem Flo Boutique, a gift shop a block south, said that to compensate for lower-than-expected foot traffic, he has created an active schedule of book signings, tea classes and fashion events. “You have to bring awareness and create other opportunities,” he said.

Nonetheless, independent restaurants and shops continue to sprout along and adjacent to Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Among the newcomers are Harlem Shambles, a butcher shop, and Harlem Tavern, a sports bar with a popular outdoor patio.

Other recent arrivals along the boulevard include Patisserie des Ambassades, a West African bakery that also serves sandwiches and salads; Levain, the cookie purveyor whose other store is on the Upper West Side; Lido, a bustling Italian restaurant; 5 and Diamond, a restaurant that has managed to survive turnover in the kitchen in the last two years; and Melba’s, the soul food restaurant created by a relative of Sylvia Woods, whose namesake restaurant is on Lenox Avenue and 127th Street. There is also a high-quality supermarket, a yoga studio and a CVS.

Marva Allen, who has run the Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe at 2319 Frederick Douglass near 123rd Street for 10 years, said she was concerned about the development pressures confronting the area.

“Harlem was oversold and underdelivered,” she said, noting that an expected influx of new residents has been slow to build, in part because of the financial crisis that afflicted the condo market in 2008 and 2009, pushing back the pace of construction, although a number of projects have recently opened.

Starting in the early 2000s, condominium and apartment development in the area soared because of Bloomberg administration initiatives and rising housing values.

A 44-block area centered on Frederick Douglass from 110th to 124th Streets and Morningside Park to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard was one of the first of the Department of City Planning’s rezoning efforts under the leadership of Amanda Burden, said Edwin Marshall, who led the rezoning for the department.

The city saw the area as “an untapped resource,” Mr. Marshall said, referring to great swaths of vacant city-owned land following the extensive seizure of properties across Harlem as landlords walked away from tax bills.

The rezoning led to more foot traffic and more retailers while reducing allowable building heights to 10 to 12 stories from 18 to 20 stories on the boulevards and preserving blocks of brownstones on the side streets.

Some 1,100 housing units have been created in the rezoned area, most along Frederick Douglass.

Kelley Lassman, an associate professor of education at Pace University, was one of the nonresidents who bought into the area as the market grew. Ms. Lassman bought her one-bedroom on West 117th Street in 2008, a year after moving to the city from Nashville. “Then everything crashed. It was really unnerving,” she said.

Her building, a seven-story rehabilitated school now called the Fitzgerald, was one of a few new projects available to buyers at the time. “A lot of the buildings weren’t ready,” she recalled. “Now, there are 15 buildings that are ready for sales. It was a neighborhood in transition.” Ms. Lassman was the first buyer to close, and now just seven of the 47 condos are unsold.

She describes the ethnic makeup of the building as mixed, adding that there are couples with and without children, as well as professionals and artists. “Age-wise, it’s leaning toward younger people,” she said.

Ms. Lassman said that although many people often have “preconceived ideas” about the area, “once they visit they really enjoy it. I like that there’s a lot of economic diversity in this neighborhood.”

One decidedly nonindependent business now operating along Frederick Douglass just south of 125th Street is the Aloft hotel, a 124-room Starwood franchise that opened in December 2010. The general manager, Daniel Fevre, said occupancy for 2012 is expected to be “well above 70 percent.” Planning for the project began six years ago, including ground-floor retail and 44 market-rate condos, most of which have been sold.

Mr. Fevre said his guests reflected the Aloft brand’s younger target market, with a mix of European and Asian customers and a spillover of visitors to nearby Columbia. More than half of the 28-person staff are local residents, he said. Echoing Ms. Lassman, he said that “a lot of my guests are still worried about Harlem. The big challenge is to get everybody to come.”

The late February closing of Nectar, the wine bar at 121st Street, was as much a reflection of the changes taking place along Frederick Douglass Boulevard as was the decision to open it as the economy crested in 2008. Four years earlier, with development beginning to stir, Jai-Jai Greenfield and a partner opened Harlem Vintage, a liquor store next to the Nectar site that has proved more durable.

The optimism behind the wine bar came face to face with the stark reality of still-slow foot traffic, limited hours of operation and its own limited menu and alcohol selection, on top of a struggling economy. Its closing as other businesses arrive reflects a developing streetscape that is only slowly catching up to the dreams of some of its biggest boosters.

Even that pace may feel too rapid and sweeping for some longtime business owners and residents, who will most feel the pinch of rising rents along with the more benign effects of gentrification.

The benefits of growth, including greater retail diversity, increased services, new residential units and safer, busier streets also can price out neighbors and shops of long standing.

Ms. Allen said some of the businesses that are arriving in the district, like the Red Lobster, represent a mainstreaming that suggest the area is “not even Harlem any more.” But she said that “business has grown every year” at Hue-Man Books. “It’s a niche market bookstore,” she said, “so it’s not as affected as other independents.”

And though she clearly has her concerns about where Harlem may be headed, she is also hopeful. “It would be great to retain its villagelike quality,” she said. “I hope it can be sustained.”

Harlem bus depot renamed after Tuskegee Airmen

A Harlem bus depot was renamed after the famed Tuskegee Airmen today in a moving ceremony attended by many of the surviving members of the heroic group.

Tuckegee Airman Reginald T. Brewster, 94, middle, and on the left is his grandson Roland D. Brewster, 14. The NYC Transit renamed a transit facility in honor of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen and dedicated to the 12 Airmen who formally worked for the transit system. Twelve Tuskegee Airmen — who battled Nazis and the systematic racism of the 1940’s military — worked for New York City Transit upon returning from World War II.

Reginald Brewster — one of the two surviving former transit workers — attended the ceremony with his son and grandson.

He received a standing ovation, then delivered an off the cuff speech.

“Thank you so much for making this such a beautiful and such a momentous occasion, one that I will never forget,” said Brewster, 94, who was stationed in France during WWII.

The former transit clerk said that he was “living testimony the color of your skin does not determine your mental capacity or your character.”

The remarkably spry Brewster — a recently retired lawyer and classically trained pianist who speaks five languages — also urged the crowd to be thankful for everything this country has to offer.

“I ask each and every one of you to be proud . . . that you are able to live in a country of freedom where the ability to forge ahead is only limited by your determination to forge ahead,” he said.

After the ceremony, he signed his autograph on programs for many of the bus drivers who work at the depot.

His 14 year-old grandson watched his speech from the front row.

“I’m really proud of my grandfather,” said Roland Brewster, an eighth grader at the Dalton School on the Upper East Side.

“He paved the way for African Americans.”

Roscoe Brown — a Tuskegee Airman who went on to become director of the City University’s Center for Urban Education Policy — said that New York City Transit was one of the best employers for returning black World War II servicemen.

“You can’t understand just how segregated it was in 1946,” said Brown.

“People would tell you to your face we don’t hire Negroes here.”

New York City Transit was quick to hire the returning black soldiers, he said, in part because it recognized the enormous pool of talent.

“This is truly a great day . .. and the greatest day for those of us still here to enjoy it,” said Brown.

He did not work for transit but attended the ceremony to honor his friends who had.

“Transit opened doors,” he said.

In addition to renaming the former 100th Street Depot, the MTA also installed a bronze plaque outside the state-of-the-art facility commemorating the 12 heroic workers.

The other surviving former transit worker Noel Harris, who was born in 1925, was too ill to attend the ceremony.

All buses that leave from that depot will have a Tuskegee Airmen decal on its side.

“All these men were heroes in war and they were heroes after the war in New York City Transit when they served all of the people of the city of New York,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota.

The legendary group of airmen all trained as pilots in segregated Tuskegee, Ala.

Those well-trained soldiers eventually performed so well in battle that historians credit the pilots with leading to the desegregation of the military.

Their undisputed heroism was also a catalyst for the modern civil rights movement.

Harriet Dickenson attended the ceremony in memory of her late father, a Tuskegee Airman who was a deputy chief engineer at NYC Transit.

“I’m very honored,” she said.

Harry Dickenson spoke often of his time as a pilot, and kept in touch with the other airmen throughout his life.

“I grew up on the stories,” she said.

Some were not so pleasant.

“They were officers, but some of the white privates wouldn’t salute them out on the street,” said Dickenson.

She described her father as a “well-rounded” man who loved mentoring young people, and instilled in her from an early age the importance of a good education.

It worked.

She’s now a doctor who works for the MTA helping injured employees.

jennifer.fermino@nypost.com

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/harlem_bus_depot_named_after_tuskegee_WoqsbUBqWJSeUZlmDme6YI#ixzz1q5D6ikvM

A curator’s mission: Keep art exhibits at East Harlem’s El Museo del Barrio informative and interesting

El Museo del Barrio curator Rocio Aranda-Alvarado strives to put on exhibits that are historic as well as contemporary

Here’s how Rocío Aranda-Alvarado describes her mission as curator at East Harlem’s El Museo del Barrio.

Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, curator of East Harlem's El Museo del Barrio  Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/a-curator-mission-art-exhibits-east-harlem-el-museo-del-barrio-informative-interesting-article-1.1048138#ixzz1ptnpLZAf“It requires a lot of intellectual curiosity, and you have to care about how you’re conveying your message to the public,” she said. “You want them to come away with a complete story about something they might not have known about or cared about before.

“You have to make them interested, make them want to learn more and acknowledge the importance of whatever it is they just saw.”

El Museo del Barrio’s massive and varied collection is almost tailor made to that end, she said.

“The museum’s mission comes from the collection, which has pre-Colombian objects in it, Colonial objects in it, modern and contemporary objects as well as objects that fall into popular traditions, handmade objects made by artists who were not trained in a traditional way.

“So we have to pay attention to all those things,” she said. “We have to do shows that are historic as well as shows that are contemporary.

“In a way, the historic shows are more important because they contribute to developing a history of art that is more inclusive,” Aranda-Alvarado said. “It’s not just about what was going on in Europe. It’s about what was happening here also.”

Aranda-Alvarado discovered a love for art when she was a 16-year-old volunteer at the National Gallery in Washington, DC. She worked the Sunday shift with her mother, Elsie Alvarado, riding in together from their Silver Spring, Md. home.

The family had immigrated to the United States from Chile in 1974 and lived on the West Coast and in the Midwest before settling in Maryland.

Volunteering at the National Gallery most often meant giving directions to the nearest bathroom, but what hooked Aranda-Alvarado was the behind the scenes tours of the museum departments.

“I remember once we were about to visit the department of prints and drawings, and we saw a print by the German Renaissance Artist Albrecht Durer,” she said. “To be there, three feet from the unframed print, was an amazing experience.”

(Following tradition, Aranda-Alvarado took her mother’s surname but added her attorney father’s, Patricio Aranda. Her husband, James Congregane, is facilities manager at the Bard Graduate Center.)

Aranda-Alvarado would go on to earn a bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland, a master’s from Tulane University, and a Ph.D. from City University of New York, each in a specialized area of art history.

She teaches an introductory art class at CUNY and joined El Museo in 2006 after nine years at the Jersey City Museum.

And she’s glad to be there.

“I love my job, I love my colleagues,” Aranda-Alvarado said. “My favorite part of my job is visiting with an artist in their studio and listening to them talk about what they think, where the ideas come from, why they do the work they do. Because making art is one of the hardest things you can do. Artists follow their paths because its something they love and something they can’t stop themselves from doing. They take our culture and kinda make sense of it.

“East Harlem has a rich art scene, from graffiti, street art and murals throughout the neighborhood to the monthly shows mounted by Taller Boricua at the Julia De Burgos Latino Cultural Center and the well-known artists who still live in the neighborhood, like Diogenes Ballester.

“Artists continue to live here, and new artists come all the time, so there is a vibrant art community,” Aranda-Alvarado said.

As curator Aranda-Alvarado organizes El Museo’s exhibits, which are usually either from the permanent collection, which stay up for about a year, or temporary exhibitions mounted in five of the museum’s galleries, which stay up about six months.

In June, El Museo will join with The Studio Museum in Harlem and The Queens Museum of Art to mount a show that was six years in the making.

That exhibit, “Caribbean, Crossroads of the World,” will feature more than 435 art pieces gathered from Europe, Central and South America, the Caribbean and all across New York and the United States, to explore six broad themes — including tobacco and sugar crops, water, race, and languages — which shaped the history and making of art in the Caribbean.

The exhibit “involved two years of traveling research where curators from the Studio Museum, Queens Museum and El Museo went to different parts of the Caribbean to meet with artists, art museums, art historians, and museum colleagues,” Aranda-Alvarado said.

The show is so huge it will involve three opening nights – El Museo del Barrio, June 12; The Studio Museum on June 14, and Queens Museum of Art on June 17.

“It’s something that has not been done before,” Aranda-Alvarado said. “It’s not like there was a gap in the scholarship, because there are many Caribbean scholars. It’s just that there was kind of a need to bring some people together and bring objects together to tell the story.

“We felt it was a great project to focus on because our mission is Latin American, Caribbean and Puerto Rican art,” she said. “This exhibit dovetails with our mission and it expands our purview into the non-Spanish-speaking Caribbean.”

For more on the museums hosting the Caribbean exhibit, see the websites, www.elmuseo.org; www.studiomuseum.org; and www.queensmuseum.org.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/a-curator-mission-art-exhibits-east-harlem-el-museo-del-barrio-informative-interesting-article-1.1048138#ixzz1ptnbRnMZ