Beaches Coming to the East River Under Harlem Nonprofit’s Redesign

East River Esplanade

East River Esplanade

East Harlem — A beach on 60th Street, a boat launch on 96th Street, a cove on 107th Street and a waterfront park above the FDR Drive on 111th Street, these are some of the ways a nonprofit wants to change the East River Esplanade.

Citivas, a nonprofit that promotes quality of life issues in the Upper East Side and East Harlem, released an 8-month study on how to develop the East River Esplanade Thursday evening.

“It feels wonderful [to complete the study],” said Civitas Executive Director Emma Bologna. “The community was so involved in the process and we have had a great outpouring of support.”

The announcement comes days after State Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez released his “Tale of Two Rivers” report that explored ways of developing the narrow waterfront space between the FDR and East River.

Rodriguez’s office and Civitas worked together on their studies. While the assemblyman focused on policy, the nonprofit focused on design and feasibility, Bologna said.

Civitas has already started working on making its recommendations happen, Bologna added.

The nonprofit has partnered up with the New York Harbor School to study the environmental benefits of building up the shoreline between 96th and 115th streets, it announced Thursday evening.

Expanding the shoreline would not only bring life to the area but also help protect it from future floods, according to the report.

Additionally, Civitas is developing plans and a cost estimate analysis for temporarily reopening Pier 107 to the public and creating a boat storage facility on vacant land under the FDR Drive at 96th Street.

Civitas’ study also outlines long-term projects that would dramatically change the look of the East River Esplanade.

Those plans include reconstructing Pier 107 into a large multi-use cove-like structure that sticks out into the East River and turning the pedestrian bridge that connects Thomas Jefferson Park to the Esplanade into a land bridge that is integrated with the two parks.

“I definitely think this is the start of something special,” Bologna said. “If we all work on this together we can create an amazing waterfront park.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who hosted the unveiling of the study, lauded Councilman Ben Kallos and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for securing $35 million for immediate repairs.

But more needs to be done to bring the East River Esplanade up to par with waterfront parks on the west side, she said.

“I know to the credit of the mayor he put in some money but we need much more,” she said. “It’s small steps, that’s how it starts.”

By Gustavo Solis on February 6, 2015 3:23pm

Brown Butterfly

Brown Butterfly 021515-page-2TimeTHREE ON 3 PRESENTS Craig Harris’ tribute to Muhammad Ali with the music from the award-winning multimedia work, BROWN BUTTERFLY. Featuring Craig Harris (trombone), Jay Rodriguez (reeds), Franz Hackl (trumpet), Adam Klipple (keyboard), and Kahlil Kwame Bell (drums). Based on the legacy and exquisite physical gestures of Muhammad Ali, trombonist Craig Harris celebrates the essence and spirit of Ali through a contemporary musical composition that transposes the boxer’s physical language into a rich, vibrant, notated score. Rhythms shadow Ali’s footwork, melodies sing the song of his jab, and harmonies display the power of his combinations.

“Mr. Harris is known for his precise and sensitive melding of musical styles. His score is a robust wonder, a rainbow of world music, jazz, blues and popular period music.”          Jennifer Dunning, New York Times 

This is going to be epic!

Mt. Morris Acsension Presbyterian Church
15 Mount Morris Park West
New York, NY 10027

February 15, 2015

Time: 3PM

Jay Rodriguez and Sound – Harlem Afternoon Jazz Series

Jay Rodriguez Jay Rodriguez is a Grammy-nominated Saxophonist, Flautist, Clarinetist, Film Composer, Producer and Arranger. He studied under a full scholarship at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, co-founded by Arnie Lawrence, who said, “Mr. Rodriguez is more than a musician. He is a visionary… and a true light to hear and see.” Jay is the consummate artist; his resume reads like a Who’s Who of the music world. He has performed, produced recorded and/or arranged for artists like Elvis Costello, Roy Hargrove, Bobby Sanabria, Musiq Soulchild, Natalie Cole, Melissa Manchester, Patti Labelle, Arturo O Farrill, Bernie Worrell, The Mingus Big Band, Al Macdowell, Kenny Barron, Mongo Santamaria, The Gil Evans Band, Celia Cruz, Doc Cheatham, Miles Davis, and Prince amongst many. He has taught/lectured all over the world including the Royal Academy of Music in Denmark, Berlin, Estonia, Japan, University of Cairo, Uninorte in Colombia and Unam in Mexico. Jay has been a guest on the Jimmy Fallon Show with The Roots as a soloist for English sensation singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Jay co-founded the NYC phenomenon, the Groove Collective, which influenced many modern hip hop and dance music bands.

Featuring:

Jay Rodriguez – Reeds

Preston Fulwood – Piano

Ronnie Burrage – Drums

Melissa Slocum – Acoustic Bass

December 30, 2014

Tickets: $15

1st set: Noon – 12:45pm (15-min break) 2nd set: 1:00 – 1:45pm

House doors open at 11:30am

Franz Hackl IDO Quartet – Harlem Afternoon Jazz Series

Franz HacklFranz Hackl, trumpeter, composer and brass instrument maker is founder and artistic director of the Outreach Orchestra, Festival and Academy and leads his own group, Franz Hackl’s IDO Quartet His feed – forward approach, building on traditions and looking beyond the fashionable trend leads to his distinctive style. As a trumpet player Franz has toured the international festival circuit and concert halls for over twenty years and performed in renown Jazz clubs like the Jazz Standard (as a leader), Blue Note, Birdland and Sweet Basil to name a few. As a composer Franz was commissioned to write original music for the “Year of the Mountains” launch event at the United Nations for the opening of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York, and has composed for numerous festivals and ensembles such as Tiroler Festspiele, Europ. Forum Alpbach, Klangspuren, Festival der Regionen and the Absolute Ensemble.

Featuring:

Franz Hackl – Trumpet/Flugelhorn

Adam Holzman – Piano

Fred Cash – Bass

Kim Plainfield – Drums

December 16, 2014

Price: $15

Tickets

1st set: Noon – 12:45pm (15-min break) 2nd set: 1:00 – 1:45pm

House doors open at 11:30am

 

What’s next for Harlem’s Assembly member Keith Wright?

New York State Assembly member Keith Wright (D-70) has a slew of options if he decides to seek higher political office, uptown politicos said, whether that’s running for Congress, becoming the New York County clerk, or speaker of the State Assembly.

The 59-year-old Wright has been in the State Assembly since 1992, and has long been rumored as a possible successor to Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) in 2016. He is also the chair of the Manhattan Democratic Party, and a fixture in Harlem politics.

keithwrightWright may be waiting to become speaker of the State Assembly—former Gov. David Paterson said in an Oct. 17 Gotham Gazette article, “He is in line for other opportunities – I think he’d do very well as Speaker.”

But a New York Post article published the same day quoted sources close to Wright saying he was considering leaving politics altogether and becoming the New York County clerk.

Community Board 9 member Daniel Marks Cohen said that if the Democrats recapture Congress, running for federal office might become more attractive to Wright.

“He’s got a great leadership position in Albany right now,” Cohen said, citing his position as chair of the Committee on Housing. “That would be a lot to give up to be in the minority in Congress.”

Neither Wright nor his staff responded to multiple requests for an interview.

If he decides to run, Wright would likely face tough competition in a rapidly changing 13th Congressional District. Still, two-time challenger State Sen. Adriano Espaillat (D-31), armed with a new Hispanic majority in the district, came within 2 and 4 percent of unseating Rangel in the 2012 and 2014 Democratic primaries, respectively.

Rangel’s impending retirement after 46 years in Congress could lead to a crowded field for his seat in 2016. Other rumored potential candidates include Espaillat; State Sen. Bill Perkins (D-30); the Rev. Michael Walrond, who also challenged Rangel in the 2014 Democratic primary; and former City Council member Robert Jackson.

“If Rangel does retire … it creates this kind of flux that hasn’t existed in a long time,” political strategist Richard Fife said, adding that Wright should consider seizing the opportunity to run for an open congressional seat.

“Wright could be a strong candidate because he’s built a record, and people know that,” Fife added.

“I think he would love to be in Congress for a lot of reasons,” Curtis Arluck, a district leader of the Broadway Democrats Club, said of Wright. “But it would be a difficult race to win against Sen. Espaillat.”

Continue Reading

By Aaron Fisher

 

Spectator Staff Writer
November 13, 2014, 4:56am

Harlem Gets in the Swing

dancingThe Lindy Hop era originated during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, and it’s still going strong today. On Tuesdays, The Harlem Swing Dance Society brings back the lively dance with its weekly swing classes and other events.

The non-profit organization was created during the summer of 2010. Program coordinator Barbara Jones made clear the purpose of this program for the community.

“The Harlem Swing Dance Society is dedicated to provide quality services to all who want to be a part in spearheading the impact of Harlem’s dance art legacy of the Lindy Hop,” explains Jones.

Savoy Ballroom legend Sonny Allen leads the class through the basic steps of swing. He remains one of a small number of dancers who can still interpret the swing style dance.

“The most important thing [is to] listen to the music,” says Allen as dancers from his beginner class prep on a recent Tuesday. Allen’s vivacious energy lightened the mood and gave participants a relaxed vibe as they danced together.

Participant Ronald Freeman says he signed up for swing classes to try something new.

“[It was] something to stimulate me socially,” says Freeman, 53. “Also to improve my dancing technique. The instructor is very attentive; the environment is very nice and accessible.”

The Harlem Swing Dance Society holds classes at the Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center located at 34 W. 134th Street between Lenox and Fifth avenues on Tuesday at 7 PM. For $7 you can indulge in Harlem culture by learning a classic dance craze.

Check the group’s Facebook page for information and other events.

Taylor Coleman | 9/26/2014, 11:53 a.m.

Harlem Farmers Market Helps Ex-Cons Turn Their Lives Around

HARLEM — A group of former inmates are using fresh vegetables to stay out of jail.

Every Saturday from July to November, young men who have been in and out of the criminal justice system run a fresh produce stand at Grassroots Famer’s Market on 145th Street and Edgecombe Avenue.

“Overall, the program is great,” said Alex Rosario, 30, the manager of Fortune Fresh stand. “Being out here working definitely keeps you out of trouble.”

The stand is run by Fortune Society — a nonprofit that offers education and career services to ex-inmates — and receives funding from Capital One bank.

When it started in 2012, the program had two participants and was open for six weeks. This year they have seven workers and will be open for five months, said Kristen Pederson, manager of Food Services and Nutrition for Fortune.

Rosario used to walk up and down the stands of Yankee Stadium selling hot dogs, Cracker Jack and nachos. His experience in customer service is why Pederson picked him to manage the stand.

Throughout the day Rosario talks with customers in both English and Spanish about the produce they are selling and where it came from. The stand has only been open for a month but he has already developed a good relationship with some of the regulars.

“They don’t get a lot of fresh food around here,” he said.

The rest of the staff comes from Fortune’s pre-GED class — which is now the pre-High School Equivalency class. Only the students with the best attendance records are considered to work in the stand. Those that qualify go through an interview process and then receive customer service training from Capital One, Pederson said.

The entire staff, including Rosario, have been in trouble with the law. Some of them were referred to the program by their probation officers, Pederson added.

The seven staffers are paid $10 an hour. Some, like Prince Crusoe, are saving that money to continue their education.

If Crusoe, 20, passes the High School Equivalency test next month, he plans to enroll in an auto mechanic working program and Co-op Tech.

“I like working on Mustangs, Corvettes, Range Rovers,” he said. “I don’t like working on a Prius.”

He started a similar program about a year ago but had to put it on hold when he was incarcerated, he said. Like Rosario, Crusoe said working at the stand and staying active is a good way to avoid trouble. It’s something that is a lot easier said than done.

“You see a lot of people get stagnant,” Rosario said.

By Gustavo Solis on August 8, 2014 7:45am | Updated on August 8, 2014 10:30pm

Select Bus Service to Launch on 125th Street in May

larger trafficHARLEM — The harsh winter delayed the launch of Select Bus Service on 125th Street but the controversial service is slated to run from May 25, according to the Department of Transportation.

The service was supposed to launch in April but was delayed because of bad weather, according to DOT spokesman Nicholas Mosquera.

“[T]he very harsh winter had an impact on DOT scheduling, as it did on many city agencies, and we proceeded with the project as soon as resources and materials allowed,” said Mosquera.

The paint used for the red bus lane and other markings can only be applied when temperatures are consistently warm. Work on the striping is now underway.

The M60 bus to LaGuardia Airport will be the only one of the four bus lines along 125th Street to make a reduced number of stops — six along 125th Street. Passengers pay at a terminal before boarding the bus to help speed the trip.

Under the setup, there will be dedicated bus lanes from Lenox Avenue to Second Avenue. The bus lanes will be camera-enforced and left turns will be restricted at Lexington Avenue and Fifth Avenue to improve traffic flow.

The DOT and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority spent a year gathering feedback from residents and riders along 125th Street, including conducting walking tours.

But when the agencies unveiled their plan, Community Boards 10 and 11 and State Sen. Bill Perkins criticized it, saying that the concerns of residents about parking and making other 125th Street bus lines part of the Select Bus Service were ignored.

Saying they couldn’t come to an agreement with residents, DOT canceled the plans in July. In October, the agency announced that the proposal, largely unchanged from initial DOT and MTA concessions, would once again move forward.

The M60 is the most-used bus line on 125th Street. More than 9,600 of the 32,000 passengers who use the four bus lines on 125th Street use the M60, according to MTA data.

The majority of riders use the bus for cross-town travel, and just 10 percent use it to get to LaGuardia. The changes could reduce bus travel times on 125th Street by 18 percent, according to the MTA.

By Jeff Mays on April 29, 2014 7:23am

Harlem Oral History Project – Information Session

What’s Your Story?

Volunteers needed!

We are looking for any and all recent and long-time neighborhood residents who want to share their stories and experiences of Harlem as well as people interested in conducting interviews or who may know anyone interested in participating in oral histories.

Join us at one of our TWO information session to learn more about the project and get some basic interview skills.

Please RSVP by phone: 212-666-9393

For more check out this blog post about a similar project conducted at the Jefferson Market Library.

  • Saturday, April 5, 2014, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

115th Street Library, Alvin Ailey Community Room

Presidential formula: Harlem Pastor Michael Walrond hopes to use Obama playbook to topple Rangel

The 42-year-old leader of First Corinthian Baptist Church says he can get thousands of young voters out to vote. But records showed Walrond has a spotty voting history and has lived out-of-state up until recently. His opponents, Rep. Charles Rangel and state Sen. Adriano Espaillat weren’t frazzled by the minister’s ambitions.

He aims to be the Barack Obama of Harlem.

Pastor Michael Walrond thinks young people will vote for him.

Pastor Michael Walrond thinks young people will vote for him.

Pastor Michael Walrond is convinced he can vanquish two heavyweight opponents and snag the uptown Congressional seat by using the 44th President’s 2008 campaign playbook as a guide.

The charismatic leader of the 9,000-member First Corinthian Baptist Church , on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., is banking on his loyal flock to entice young apathetic upper Manhattanites to get out and vote during June’s primary election.

“Young people will vote because I am running,” Walrond said. “We want to make history. And we are going to make history.”

It doesn’t faze Walrond that he’s up against 83-year-old political vet Rep. Charles Rangel and state Sen. Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights), who narrowly lost his bid to unseat Rangel two years back.

Nor does it bother the 42-year-old Freeport, L.I., product — who seems to have lived everywhere except Harlem — that some have called him an interloper.

RELATED: HARLEM MAY NEED TIME TO GROOM RANGEL SUCCESSOR

“I tell people my bed was in Jersey but my life was here in this community,” said Walrond, who has lived in Edgewater, N.J., and upstate Rockland County since he returned to the area from Durham, N.C., where he served as a minister at Duke University from 1996 to 2004.

Walrond says that he and his wife, Lakeesha, moved into a luxury high-rise building on Fifth Ave., across from Mount Morris Park, six weeks ago, but declined to give a tour of his new digs.

He also shrugs off questions about his spotty voting record: Walrond has visited the polls in the last three presidential elections, but ignored them during the off-year congressional races, records showed.

“Who am I to say Michael Walrond can’t be like Barack Obama?”

simonew@nydailynews.com

Continue Reading: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/congressional-hopeful-michael-walrond-aims-obama-harlem-article-1.1716965#ixzz2vzVXS7Sf