Category Archives: Community

Is Trader Joe’s eyeing retail space at Circa Central Park in Harlem?

Rumor has it that the antithesis of Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, is working hard to have a presence in Harlem, specifically central Harlem so that they can compete with that Texas-based grocery chain. A real estate broker(s) has informed this blog that Trader Joe’s, the California-based food chain, is moving into the entire retail space offered at the swanky Circa Central Park building in Harlem! 

You know which building I’m talking about! It’s the space of a former gas station and the one selling an apartment for more than $8million dollars at the corner of West 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd! 

Yup, apparently the developers, which got Starbucks to move into their other building on Manhatten Avenue and 110th Street, are or close to sealing the deal with Trader Joe’s to move into Circa Central Park in Harlem. 

Hmm, there is another grocery store directly across from that new building. It’s called Central Market.

Let’s see what happens! Stay tuned! And of course, I’d love to hear what you think about Trader Joe’s moving into Harlem at this location? Digame (Talk to me)!

Citi Bike inching it’s way into Central Harlem

Walking along Central Park West in the 100s, I noticed a Citi Bike station at West 106th Street and CPW. It’s spanking brand new! Then it got me thinking, what about my area–Central Harlem? I know it’s coming, but where?

For those that do not know, or do know, the Citi Bike station is coming soon to 110th Street and Adam Clayton Powell! And that’s it for now for us Harlemites! Poohie. See map!

Citi Bike is well into East Harlem! Lucky them!

Ponty Bistro in Harlem turns two, happy birthday 

Time flies when your making delicious food in Harlem! Ponty Bistro, the Harlem restaurant, helmed by Chef Cisse—a 2009 finalist in the hit Food Network show “Chopped,” turns two this month. 

Stop by Pontry Bistro Harlem located just off Strivers’ Row at 2375 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard at 139th Street and wish them Happy Birthday! While you’re there try some of their signature dishes: Crispy Tuna, Fish Fataya, Truffle Macaroni and Cheese, Le Poulet Yassa, Niokolokoba and Poisson Braise A Le Guet Ndar. 

Brunch on weekends offers Lobster Benedict, French Toast, Scrambled Bruchetta, and much more.

Happy Birthday Ponty Bistro! And continued success in Harlem!

Former Harlem mosque turning into luxury rentals 

Does anyone remember this Harlem space on Frederick Douglass Blvd between 115 and 116th Street? It used to be a place of worship, a mosque. Now there are signs up on the scaffold that says the space is being turned into luxury rentals! Great, right?

This space probably would have been more ideal for affordable housing since it’s right in the thick of where all the change is happening. Is anyone surprised? Probably not.

How many luxury this and that do we need for this area? Oh I forgot, I’m in New York! There’s no such thing as affordable housing!

Have a great weekend!

Live Periscope Tour of FLUX Art Fair in Harlem May 2

Can’t make it to one of the May art events in Harlem by FLUX Art Fair. Then log on to Periscope May 2 at 10 am! NYC Parks joins the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance for a special preview tour of the FLUX Art Fair in Marcus Garvey Park “live” on Periscope, a social app for streaming and watching live video broadcasts. Founder of FLUX Leanne Stella will join to answer questions and lead the tour.

Throughout the month of May, FLUX artists will present performances, large-scale installations, and subtle artist interventions throughout Upper Manhattan, including in Marcus Garvey Park, Eugene McCabe Field, Harlem Art Park, along Fifth and Lenox Avenues, and Harlem Grown farm on 127th Street.

Visit or download the app and follow NYC Parks on Periscope to participate in May 2 tour! For a list of artists click here.

Harlem Harvest Festival happening today, October 10

Harlem Harvest Festival (presented by Harlem Park to Park) takes place today from 11am to 4pm at 116th Street and St. Nicholas. 

There is something for everyone at this one-day fall festival featuring food, farmer’s market, artisan products, family and kid friendly activities food/baking competitions, classes and live performances by local Harlem businesses and community members. See full schedule here:

· Activities/Stage/Live Performances – Bikram Yoga East Harlem class at 11:30am. Main stage: Whole Foods Market live cooking demonstrations 12:45 & 1:45pm, performances by Harlem Swing Dance Society at 3:15 and Majica Latina Jazz Group at 3:30 pm; DJ Stormin’ Norman & Sundae Sermon hosting. 

· Kids Corner – Chloe the Yogi Children’s Yoga at 12-12:30pm; Arts and crafts, pumpkin carving, face painting, NYPD rock climbing wall and The Bubble Man 

· A ‘Taste of Harlem’ featuring Harlem restaurants and retailers offering seasonal tasting menus for purchase such as Babbalucci, 67 Orange Street, Sexy Taco, Seasoned Vegan, New Harlem Besame, Settepani, Sol Cacao

· Cook-off (1pm)– Annual Cooking competition showcasing culinary dishes prepared by Harlem residents – categories are: 

– Healthy Soul food dish (vegetarian or meat)

– Healthy side dish using produce found at farmers markets 

· Bake-off (2pm) – Annual Baking competition showcasing baked desserts prepared by Harlem residents. Categories include: Best Pie, Best Cake, Best Cookies/Brownies, Best Cupcakes

· A Farmer’s Market & Artisanal Food Fair featuring fresh vegetables, produce (pumpkins, fruit, etc.) from New York farms as well as food from artisanal food vendors and wineries/breweries available for purchase. 

· Whole Foods Market Artisanal Vendor Review 12-3pm – local Harlem artisanal vendors will have an opportunity to present their products to Whole Foods Market foragers/buyers for the new store coming to Harlem.   


Kids clothing Pop-up shop August 23 at Bibi Salon in Harlem

Listen up Harlem parents! This blog just learned that on Sunday August 23, Bibi Salon at 2220 Frederick Douglass will be hosting a Pop-Up shop featuring kids clothes, shoes, & accessories from the children’s boutique, ‘Yummy Yummie Goodness’. The pop-up shop will run from 10am-4pm. See you there! 


Harlem getting another Starbucks, new condo on 110th will house Seattle giant

 Strolling along 110th St. approaching Manhattan Avenue in Harlem, what will you see? A big sign that says Starbucks coming! It will open up two or three doors down west of Cafe Amrita, a long time favorite Harlem business.

Clearly, the Seattle based company sees that the cafe/coffee business is booming in this part of Harlem, along with mid to high end restaurants. In the last few years, several cafes have open up just along Harlem’s restaurant row, aka Frederick Douglass Blvd., such as Double Dutch, Silvana, Amaretto Espresso Bar, and Cafe Frederick Harlem Parlor.

Not sure I care for another Starbucks in this area. There are plenty of good coffee options now that exist! Agree or disagree?

Where to listen to Make Music New York in Harlem, June 21

Mark your calendar! June 21 is when Make Music New York happens and there are plenty of options to experience the rhythm right here in Harlem! Below is a complete list of Harlem businesses participating, along with the talented artists/musicians! Check it out!

Central Harlem
Billie’s Black

271 W 119th St

7:00 PM Core Band with Margeaux Davis

8:00 PM Core Band with Darrius Booker

8:30 PM Gloria Ryann

 Corner Social

321 Lenox Ave at W 126th St

11:00 AM Gensis Neil and the Rhythm Wheels, original groove-feel jazz

2:00 PM Claire Rodriguez, sultry vocals over rhythmic guitar

3:00 PM Katt Rockell, blends R&B, soul & hip-hop

4:30 PM SuperBlack Band, the superhero within you

6:30 PM Marquise Ruffin, grandson of Motown legend David Ruffin

Drastadub Studios

31 W 127th St

7:00 PM Num & Nu Afrika, roots reggae

Grandma’s Place’s

84 W 120th St

11:00 AM – 2:00 Street Studio: Harlem, one of 12 small mobile recording studios on sidewalks throughout NYC, for the spontaneous, collaborative production of original music. Stop by and contribute to a track! See sidebar for details

3:00 PM Gina, prolific singer

Harlem Food Bar

2100 Frederick Douglass Blvd at W 114th St

all day DJ Stormin’ Norman “Sundae Sermon”

Harlem Haberdashery

245 Lenox Ave at W 122nd St

11:00 AM Gina, prolific singer

2:00 PM Daryl Stewart, singer & performing artist

Harlem Tavern

2153 Frederick Douglass Blvd at W 116th St

5:00 PM Marquise Ruffin, grandson of Motown legend David Ruffin

6:45 PM Claire Rodriguez, sultry vocals over rhythmic guitar

7:15 PM Rachel Arac, mixes dance beats with sultry & soulful vocals

Harris Garden

St. Nicholas Ave & W 153rd St

12:45 PM4 Unity, gospel duo

3:00 PM Donna Dixon, encourager of the soul who shares all

4:15 PM Division X, spoken word artist from the Bronx

5:45 PM Vett Stunna, recording artist from Baltimore

Jackie Robinson Amphitheater

Bradhurst Ave & W 146th St

12:15 PM N’YCE, positive & inspirational blind rapper

12:30 PM Roquois, new breed of pop music

12:45 PM Shawnee Jay, modern singer/songwriter with an old soul

1:00 PM Mel Smoove, new generation of music

1:30 PM Bukonla Bello, R&B/pop artist signed to Melodream Records

1:45 PM Juanita Wynn, releasing her solo single, “Be Who You Are”

2:15 PM Israyl, reggae performer of positive & inspirational music

2:30 PM Cush I Kushanti “reggaelutionary” artist who motivates the masses

3:15 PM Conceptz, conceptual rap duo from Orange County, NY

3:30 PM Chase “Bakeman Global” Baker energy built upon an empowering force

Joseph Daniel Wilson Memorial Garden

219 W 122nd St

5:00 PM Kenny Butler and Friends,  oldies, R&B, jazz & blues

7:00 PM The Goddess Lakshmi Band named for goddess of abundance

Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

Mt Morris Park & W 122nd St

4:00 PM Lyshae from Chicago, performing pop/dance

5:00 PM Roquois, new breed of pop

6:45 PM Chellz, hip hop

Nabe Harlem Underground Lounge

2367 Frederick Douglass Blvd at W 127th St

11:00 AM – 9:00 Dennis Davis, John Cooksey, Stare Case, Gregory Bastien, DJ Zubetei Xzz, Sophia L. Coffee hosting musicians from Stevie Wonder’s drummer to the best DJ in NY


191 Lenox Ave at W 119th St

6:30 PM Kojo Stone, neo-soul singer

Saint Nicholas Miracle Garden

St Nicholas Ave & W 126th St

1:00 PM Brotherhood Experience positive choice for urban gospel

1:30 PM Phantm Phuego, hip hop

2:00 PM 8waves and the Weathermen bare minimum soul clashing

2:30 PM Motivation, mash-up of hip hop, pop, gospel

3:00 PM The Phryg prog rock jam, spread thick on a toast of funk

3:30 PM Malcolm Rhymer, iconoclastic hip hop

4:00 PM SuperBlack Band, the superhero within you

4:30 PM Just-One,  last of the real lyricists


196 Lenox Ave at W 120th St

6:00 PM Carolyn & Jay Leonhart, father-daughter jazz duo

St Nicholas Park

St Nicholas Ave & W 135th St

Presented by the Harlem Arts & Culture Initiative, in collaboration with the Harlem Arts Alliance

2:00 PM Judith Insell violist with Stephanie Berry (recitation) and Yuri Lemeshev (accordion): “Journey: Black Lives Matter”

3:00 PM Kelvyn Bell, the roots of American acoustic guitar

4:00 PM Steff Reed Grammy-nominated R&B

5:00 PM Warren Smith jazz percussionist, freedom songs for 21st Century Harlem

West Harlem Piers Park

Hudson River & W 125th St

12:00 PM Elgin Giles, R&B singer and actor

William B. Washington Community Garden

327 W 126th St

1:15 PM Ian Bamberger, melodic guitar, abundant harmonies

2:00 PM Red Sahara, quartet influenced by everything

2:45 PM Jordan Chude, hip-hop and poetry

3:30 PM Status IV riveting a cappella

4:15 PM Jim Joustra Band blues & jazz

5:15 PM Michael Persall, combines classic soul with modern pop

 East Harlem

103rd Street Garden

Park Ave & E 103rd St

12:30 PM Just-One, last of the real lyricists

El Catano Community Garden

171 E 110th St

3:00 PM Dabumrushkrew against the commercialization of hip hop

3:45 PM MakerzMark, embracing jazz standards

4:45 PM Just Another Folk Singer ballads of life, liberty & the pursuit of music

5:45 PM Just-One, last of the real lyricists

Emery Rose Salon

1888 Park Ave at E 128th St

12:00 PM Maggie Anderson, catchy rhythms & great hooks

1:30 PM Kama Linden MMNY, veteran who has travelled the globe

Family Garden sponsored by Tiffany

431 E 114th St

11:00 AM Carrie Lane NYC’s “Pop Princess”

 H&M Art and Home Decor

17 E 125th St

5:00 PM Elgin Giles R&B singer and actor

Target East Harlem Community Garden

415 E 117th St

11:00 AM Lamayah pop vocals, moves & tunes

3:00 PM Marcela mixes Latin rhythms with funk & pop

4:15 PM Hunter College Haitian Drumming Workshop

Thomas Jefferson Park

First Ave & E 114 St

11:00 AM El Taller Latino Americano performs with East Harlem schools

1:00 PM Harlem Samba Brazilian percussion ensemble

Urban Garden Center

1640 Park Ave at E 116th St

11:30 AM Unigen one-man band with an electro-jetpack instrument

2:00 PM MakerzMark embracing jazz standards

The Taxman comes to Harlem’s restaurant row, Five and Diamond seized says sign

If you’re looking to dine at 5 and Diamond in Harlem tonight, forget about it! Orange is the new black (ie in creative reference to the color of the signs) for the windows at 5 and Diamond located on Frederick Douglass Blvd between 112th and 113th Street in Harlem. There’s several signs that say SEIZED due to the failure of paying taxes. 

The timing couldn’t be worse. Five and Diamond was slated to participate in Marcus Samuelsson’s Harlem Eat Up, which is happening soon. 

Stay tuned. Maybe things will turn around for this establishment in time for Harlem Eat Up. Let’s hope for the best!