6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Albert Vecerka shares some images from his “Harlem project.” Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
After moving to New York in 1992 and earning a degree in architecture from City College, Yugoslavia-born photographer Albert Vecerka moved to Harlem and started documenting the neighborhood. Originally an attempt to dispel the notion that Harlem was “dangerous,” his “Harlem project,” also captures its architectural fabric and aesthetic changes over time. 6qft recently caught up with Vecerka to hear his thoughts on Harlem–what it was like 20 years ago and why he still calls it home.
See more photos and hear from Albert
There’s no overlooking this studio apartment from the former Harlem public school at 220 West 148th Street. Carved from the early 1900s school building, this is a 750-square-foot pad with 12-foot ceilings and light through three exposures. In this bright space, the current owner has packed every corner with a rococo-inspired design. Plenty of elaborate touches make this feel less like a tight studio and rather a lofty apartment with plenty to look at.
Head right in
Despite the city’s recent rezoning efforts to make East Harlem more affordable, it seems as though the latest batch of lotteries are anything but. Last month, a middle-income lottery came online for 111 East 115th Street, where some of the “affordable” apartments were actually more expensive than the market-rate units. As of today, New Yorkers earning 130 percent of the area median income can apply for five one-bedroom apartments at the new rental 1992 Third Avenue, just off 110th Street. The units are reserved for one- and two-person households earning between $77,246 and $99,320 annually and are renting for $2,253/month–not much less than the neighborhood’s $2,392/month average for one-bedrooms.
Find out if you qualify
This is quite the appealing one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment, located on the first floor of the Harlem cooperative 1919 Madison Avenue. And it’s asking $512,000, a reasonable price for NYC real estate. There is, however, a catch behind that asking price. This is an HDFC apartment, meaning that to qualify to buy it you may need to make less—rather than more—money. (Such tight income restrictions have kept hundreds of HDFCs empty around the city.) Still, the apartment value has seen a boost in recent years, as it last sold in 2013 for $140,000.
Take a tour
Photo of Randolph Houses via HPD
Applications are now being accepted for 106 newly constructed, affordable units at Central Harlem’s Randolph Houses. Named in honor of civil rights leader, Phillip Randolph, the houses consist of 36 buildings along West 114th Street, between Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Qualifying New Yorkers earning 50 and 60 percent of the area median income can apply for units ranging from $675/month studios to a $1,289/month three-bedrooms. Located at 265 West 114th Street, the building is just a five-minute walk to Central Park.
Find out if you qualify
6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Katsu Naito shares his 1990s portraits from Harlem. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
In 1983, when Katsu Naito immigrated to America at the age of 18, he spoke barely any English. Growing up in Maebashi, a small city about 90 miles north of Tokyo, he had never heard of Harlem before moving to New York but was drawn to the energy of the neighborhood, quickly realizing he wanted to document it with his camera. Now, more three decades since he first fell in love with Harlem, Naito’s photos of the ‘nabe’s residents in the early to mid-‘90ss are being published in a book and unintentional time capsule titled “Once in Harlem,” out now from TBW Books. 6sqft chatted with Naito about his journey and what makes Harlem so special to him, and he shared a collection of his amazing images.
See them all here
1955 First Avenue, image via Aspen Management Office
An East Harlem building, dubbed the Aspen, is currently accepting applications for low-income studio and one-bedroom apartments and will also replenish its waitlist. Designed by Costas Kondylis and Magnusson Architecture and Planning, the building, located at 1955 First Avenue, rises seven stories and features 232 apartments. Qualifying New Yorkers earning between $22,903 and $26,720 can apply for $613/month studios, and those earning between $25,549 and $30,560 are eligible for $659/month one-bedrooms.
Find out if you qualify
6sqft’s series “My sqft” checks out the homes of New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to comedian Pat Brown‘s Harlem apartment. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!
When it comes to her stand-up routines, comedian Pat Brown (you may recognize her from the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” or as the winner of the Las Vegas Comedy Festival’s best female comic) doesn’t shy away from bold topics, touching on personal issues, politics, and NYC-specific themes. But after finishing a set at one of New York’s many comedy clubs, Pat prefers a less in-your-face aesthetic at home, opting for comfortable furniture, soothing colors, and a display of keepsakes from several trips to Africa.
6sqft recently paid Pat a visit at her Harlem apartment and got a glimpse into her professional and personal lives. She filled us in on how she decorated her place after moving from her hometown of Atlanta, what makes performing comedy in New York City unique, and how she’s seen the neighborhood change–“I’m beginning to see white people on the weekdays now,” she jokes.
Have a laugh and tour Pat’s apartment
Photo of King via Wikimedia; photo of the MLK cubed sculpture courtesy of Wally Gobetz on Flickr
While some of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most memorable moments of his career happened down South, like the Montgomery bus boycott and his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, support for his goals hailed first from advocacy organizations based in New York City, like the National Urban League. King held sermons at Riverside Church in Morningside Heights, led a march from Central Park to the United Nations in protest of the Vietnam War and received a Medallion of Honor from Mayor Robert Wagner. As a way to honor King and his immense impact on the advancement of civil rights, the city has named streets, parks, playgrounds and more after him. On MLK Day this Monday, 50 years after his untimely death, celebrate by learning about memorials dedicated to him citywide.
Learn more about NYC’s MLK memorials here
Photo of East Harlem’s 116th Street via Wikimedia
A brand new residential building at 245 East 115th Street in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood is currently accepting applications for four middle-income one-bedroom apartments. The eight-story building sits just one block from 116th Street, the business hub of Spanish Harlem that features lots of restaurants and shops. Qualifying New Yorkers earning 130 percent of the area median income can apply for the one-bedroom apartments for $2,270/month.
Find out if you qualify