Photo of Harriet Tubman Memorial, “Swing Low,” in Harlem via denisbin on Flickr
Harriet Tubman, the fearless abolitionist and conductor of the Underground Railroad who led scores of slaves to freedom in some 13 expeditions, fought for the Union Army during the Civil War, and dedicated herself to Women’s Suffrage later in life, was known as “Moses” in her own time, and is revered in our time as an extraordinary trailblazer. Her status as a groundbreaking African American woman also extends to the now-contentious realm of public statuary and historical commemoration, since Tubman was the first African American woman to be depicted in public sculpture in New York City.
Tubman’s statue, also known as “Swing Low,” was commissioned by the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art program, and designed by the African-American artist Alison Saar. It was dedicated in 2008 at Harlem’s Harriet Tubman Triangle on 122nd Street. In her memorial sculpture, Saar chose to depict Tubman “not so much as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, but as a train itself, an unstoppable locomotive that worked towards improving the lives of slaves for most of her long life.” She told the Parks Department, “I wanted not merely to speak of her courage or illustrate her commitment, but to honor her compassion.”
Learn all about this statue
The Apollo Theater c. 1946, via Library of Congress
The Apollo Theater, the legendary venue at 253 West 125th Street “where stars are born and legends are made,” opened its hallowed doors on January 26th, 1934. That year, a 17-year-old Ella Fitzgerald made her debut at Amateur Night, kicking off a tradition that has served as a launch pad for luminaries including Sarah Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and the Jackson 5. To celebrate its 85th anniversary, we’ve rounded up 10 things you might not know about this iconic Harlem institution, from its beginnings as a whites-only burlesque club to becoming the place where James Brown recorded four albums.
All this and more
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta being greeted by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (left) and labor leader A. Philip Randolph (right) at the Pan American World Airways terminal, in New York City: Image: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. (1950 – 1959).
Open as of January 15, a new photography exhibit titled, “Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr.” at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center considers Reverend King as man, traveler and friend. The show offers an intimate travelogue of the civil rights leader’s visits to India, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance in Oslo, Norway, and work as a crusader for non-violent civil rights action, captured by noted photographers of the day.
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A record-shattering listing just hit the market: twin adjacent townhomes in Harlem are seeking a whopping $27,000,000 for both properties. The homes are currently independent but could be combined into a rather impressive megamansion. The price is unparalleled in the area and five times the record selling price of a Harlem townhouse, which sold last February for $5.1 million. As Mansion Global reported, listing agent Siddiq Patterson of the Corcoran Group said he believed the price was justified by the property’s scale and storied past. “The bones and the history is something you just don’t get” with other homes in the area, he stated.
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Entering the 1880 townhouse at 210 West 122nd Street in Harlem is like stepping back in time. The six-bedroom property—now on the market for $3,750,00—is currently a bed and breakfast where guests from all over the world enjoy the grandeur of this authentic Victorian home filled with original details: mahogany millwork, stained glass transoms, inlaid floors, and seven fireplaces. The old world charm is balanced by luxurious 21st-century amenities including a recently updated kitchen and waterfall jacuzzis. Prospective buyers will be able to continue operating the bed and breakfast or simply enjoy this architectural gem for themselves.
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Rendering via Kostow Greenwood
Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, which helped launch the careers of Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, and other such luminaries, is expanding for the first time since it opened in 1934, by adding two new performance spaces and additional office space as part of the redevelopment of the Victoria Theater on West 125th Street. Scheduled to open in fall 2020, the new Apollo Performing Arts Center will allow the nonprofit Apollo Theater to increase the number of programming, educational, and community programs it offers.
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The sale of a $9.45 million penthouse in Harlem closed last week, setting a new record for the most expensive uptown condo sale, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. The 11th-floor apartment at Circa Central Park, which hugs the northern end of Central Park on the corner of West 110th Street, features five bedrooms and a private terrace measuring over 1,200 square feet. The sale is the most expensive condo sale above 96th Street on the West Side of Manhattan, and 102nd Street on the East.
See the penthouse
, Thu, September 27, 2018
Left to right, Jerome L. Greene Science Center and The Forum. ©Frank Oudeman/Columbia University.
Sixteen years after Columbia University president Lee Bollinger announced the development of the school’s $6.3 billion 17-acre Manhattanville campus, he joined Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano to celebrate and unveil the third and final building of the starchitect’s ensemble in West Harlem. Previously, Piano completed the Jerome L. Greene Science Center and the adjacent Lenfest Center for the Arts, and today he marked the completion of the Forum, the ship-like structure that peaks at the triangular intersection of Broadway and West 125th Street. The 56,000-square-foot building will serve as a flexible meeting and conference hub, and like its siblings, was purposefully designed with a transparent, public ground floor surrounded by plazas.
See photos of the Forum
, Fri, September 21, 2018
This unusual three-family townhouse at 532 West 148th Street in Hamilton Heights was purchased by Portuguese-born architect Luis Da Cruz in 2006 for $995,000 and thoroughly renovated as a canvas for the artist’s personal creative vision. Cruz restored the 1920 home’s carved wood stairways and railings, moldings, five fireplaces, beamed ceiling, and exposed brick walls, and added his signature art pieces to an eclectic, bohemian decor, calling the house Musée Maison (Museum House) and making it his studio and workshop. He also hosted art events during which all of the work was for sale and he would perform tricks on aerial silks suspended from the ceiling. The house itself has been on and off the market since 2007. In 2015 6sqft featured the artsy listing at $2.5 million and again after a broker change in 2017 asking $2.7M. Now, another broker switch and more conventional photos–but no change in price–herald the latest attempt to find a suitably visionary buyer.
Tour the toned-down version of this unusual townhouse
Striver’s Row via Wiki Commons
Less than a half block outside the bounds of Central Harlem’s Striver’s Row historic district, five middle-income units are up for grabs for households earning 130 percent of the area median income. Once home to prominent African-American performers, artists, and professionals, the district’s rows of stately brick rowhouses are about as charming as it gets. The building in question is 303 West 137th Street, a new 15-unit rental, which is also just one block from St. Nicholas Park and two blocks from the A, C, and B trains at 135th Street. The units range from $1,850/month studios to $2,695/month two-bedrooms.
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