Here Stays the Neighborhood: In Washington Heights, Bodega Pizza Spins Thin-Crust Pies | Village Voice

By Zachary Feldman

Bodega Pizza

(Photo: Bradley Hawks)

Among the tags, sketches, and declarations of love permanently scrawled in Sharpie on Bodega Pizza’s bathroom walls, one customer’s optimistic sentiment reads, “This proves that gentrification comes & goes but culture remains forever.” It’s a contemplative assessment of the lively pie parlor, a longtime dream of Washington Heights resident Jose Morales.

Until the beginning of this year, the L-shaped room was home to Apt. 78, Morales’s boisterous nightlife venue and community hub that ultimately proved unsustainable. He gave the façade a mustard-yellow makeover and installed a custom-built wood-burning oven. In late June, it re-emerged as another kind of cultural nucleus, albeit one that centers around simple, modestly priced Neapolitan pizzas rather than impromptu dance-offs.

With help from Rome native Francesco Bentrovato, head pizzaiolo Eziquiel Marquez (most recently of 10 Devoe in Williamsburg) bakes a selection of ten-inch signature pizzas ($12–$16) with occasionally winking names, like the Jay Z–themed “Picasso Baby” pie, with wide flaps of pepperoni, or the “Summer of 86,” a nod to Mets fans that lays broccoli rabe over spicy pork sausage and cherry tomatoes. These aren’t archetypally puffy and airy pies, however. The kitchen keeps crusts cracker-thin, and Bodega Pizza’s sweet sauce is the standard margherita’s most prominent feature. In a concession to contemporary diets, you can order whole-wheat or gluten-free crusts, and the menu lists two vegan pizzas (opt for the Vegan 2.0, which eschews fake Daiya cheese).

Read more: Here Stays the Neighborhood: In Washington Heights, Bodega Pizza Spins Thin-Crust Pies | Village Voice

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New York City Wages War on the Zika Virus | NY Times

By MARC SANTORA

Zika Spraying - Washington Heights

A truck spraying an adulticide, which awakens mosquitoes and then kills them, in a northern Manhattan neighborhood last week. (Photo: Alex Wroblewski | NY Times)

It was well after midnight on a hot and sticky weeknight in Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan when the hunt got underway.

A police car rolled slowly through the empty neighborhood in the predawn hours, its lights casting shadows on the buildings as a voice over a loudspeaker blared a warning to clear the streets.

Following behind, at six miles per hour, was a white pickup truck carrying men in protective clothing and equipped with a machine intended to cast off a cloud of poison targeting the prey: mosquitoes.

The droplets would awaken any insects in the area, cause them to take flight and then kill them.

The spraying is called adulticide — as opposed to larvicide, or killing insects before they hatch — and it was the first time that such a truck had ever rolled through the neighborhood.

They were taking aim at Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian tiger mosquito, a relative of the dreaded Aedes aegypti, the main transmitter of the Zika virus around the world.

While the Asian tiger mosquito has not yet been shown to be an effective vehicle for the spread of Zika, and there have been no locally transmitted cases in New York City, officials are still moving aggressively against the pest.

“We are just trying to kill Aedes mosquitoes,” Mary T. Bassett, the city’s health commissioner, said in a speech on Friday at New York Law School. “We are trying to push down a potential vector without evidence that it is yet a public health threat.”

Read more: New York City Wages War on the Zika Virus | NY Times

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The battle to save Langston Hughes’ home from gentrification | CNN Money

by Heather Long

Langston Hughes - Harlem Home

Langston Hughes on his Harlem stoop in June 1958. (Photo: Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Ivy still grows on the front of Langston Hughes’ home in Harlem. There aren’t many houses like it left in New York City. Real estate agents estimate it’s worth over $3 million.

And that’s before anyone talks about the fact that one of America’s great writers — a hero of the Harlem Renaissance — lived there for much of the 1950s and 60s, until he passed away. His typerwriter is still on a shelf.

Pressure to sell “Hughes House” is escalating. The current owner listed it for a mere $1 million a few years ago, but it didn’t sell. For now, the home sits empty. The owner doesn’t live there. No one does. Paint is chipping off the front steps.

Renee Watson thinks it’s a tragedy. That’s why she started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $150,000 to rent the home and turn it into a cultural center honoring Hughes.

“The more Harlem changes, the more I’m motivated to do something,” says Watson, a writer who lives nearby, and has watched gentrification flood in. A Whole Foods is set to open in the area early next year. Realtors predict prices will skyrocket even further.

Read more: The battle to save Langston Hughes’ home from gentrification

Related: Maya Angelou’s Harlem Home for Sale | NY Times

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09/18/16: The Medieval Festival

Medieval Festival

(Photo: Briana E. Heard)

Get ready to be transported to the Middle Ages!

The 32nd Annual Medieval Festival returns to Fort Tryon Park on Sunday, September 18th from 11:30 am to 6 pm. The already majestic Fort Tryon Park is magically transformed to a medieval market town replete with ornate banners, authentic medieval music, dance, minstrels and jesters. Oh by the way, there is also a thrilling joust between knights on horseback.

The event is free, there are no charges for admission or entertainment but bring a few schillings to partake in the wide variety of medieval crafts, food and drink that will be available. This is one of biggest events that happens Uptown. Get this: For the past few years, the Medieval Festival has had an average attendance of 60,000 people. See you there!

For more info: http://whidc.org/festival/

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Press play below to check out a cool collab between Uptown’s own I.B. Manhattan and Hip-Hop icon Buckshot of Black Moon.

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