Finding Washington Heights | NY Times


By DOMINIQUE BROWNING

Paul Cox

Paul Cox

The first time I climbed out of the subway stop at Broadway and 157th Street in Washington Heights, I thought I had stepped back in time — and wound up in Paris.

I didn’t notice littered sidewalks, graffiti or boarded-up shop fronts. I saw the graceful oversize arches of Beaux-Arts windows, the golden sunshine slanting across the absinthe-green patina of copper roofs. I saw huge flocks of pigeons swirling through an open sky, fleeing a hawk wheeling lazily overhead. And I felt a fresh river breeze on my face.

Broadway was still a grand old boulevard, not yet overwhelmed by the anonymous glass fronts of high-rises and chain stores farther south. People on the wide sidewalks strolled past blankets covered with shoes and books and crockery for sale; luscious fruits spilled out of vans; a boisterous game of dominoes drew a circle of 20 enthusiastic men. A woman peeled oranges in continuous spirals and bagged them; their sweet sharp scent hung in the air.

As I was obsessed with real estate at the time, it was the architecture that caught my breath. Ahead of me, down a steep hill, was a triangular fantasy, covering an entire block, which managed to look like a Venetian fortress: the Grinnell apartment house. To my left was another intriguing facade, its stone frieze etched with the names of Indian tribes. Beyond that was an ancient cemetery. This felt like an older New York, its strong character unmolested by thoughtless development. I knew immediately it would become home.

Read more: Finding Washington Heights | NY Times

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Writers to turn Langston Hughes’ Harlem home into cultural center after successful fundraising campaign | NY Daily News

BY

Langston Hughes Home

Poet Langston Hughes’ Harlem home of 20 years will be turned into a cultural center starting next year.

The former home of Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes will be reborn as an arts center after a writers collective successfully raised money to rent it.

A brownstone on 127th St. where he lived for 20 years in the 1920s and 30s has stood vacant for years, but has fallen into disrepair and currently has 20 open Department of Building violations.

Fears that the structure could eventually lose its tie to the legendary writer led children’s author Renee Watson and a group of fellow writers to try to turn it into a cultural center.

The I, Too, Arts Collective, named for a 1945 Hughes poem, has now raised $130,000 and is planning on signing a lease in the coming weeks in order to start operations by the poet’s Feb. 1 birthday, Watson told the Daily News.

Read more: Writers to turn Langston Hughes’ Harlem home into cultural center after successful fundraising campaign | NY Daily News

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

Uptown Poetry: Langston Hughes – Harlem

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After Years Underground, a Subway Singer Gets the Spotlight | NY Times

By SUSAN HARTMAN

Alice Tan Ridley

The title of her newly released album is “Never Lost My Way.” (Photo: Credit George Etheredge/ | NY Times)

Alice Tan Ridley sat before the mirror in her Harlem apartment. She brushed on gold eye shadow, took an auburn wig off a mannequin’s head and put it on. “I really, really don’t know what I’m doing,” she said, laughing. “I never used to wear makeup at all. And I never wore wigs. I just braided my hair in teeny braids that would hang when I’d get wet.”

Ms. Ridley, 63, has recently warmed to glamour. She has performed at B. B. King’s near Times Square and at theaters across the country and abroad. But she first changed her look after appearing on “America’s Got Talent” in 2010. “They put all this jewelry on me,” she said. “That’s when I came out in full bloom. They were bringing me to the television world.”

On this sweltering day, she was getting ready for a lower-profile gig, one that she has played for 30 years: the Herald Square subway station in Midtown Manhattan.

She took one last look in the mirror and started packing her gear. She put her amplifier, a folding chair, a pillow, her new CDs and a set list of more than 100 songs into a blue valise. Then she headed toward the subway to be at her spot by 4:30 p.m.

Read more: After Years Underground, a Subway Singer Gets the Spotlight | NY Times

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City’s first orchestra music charter school to open in 2017 | NY Post

By Carl Campanile

WHIN Music Project

In a development that is sure to be music to the ears of city parents, a new, orchestral-themed charter school is scheduled to open in upper Manhattan next fall — the first of its kind in the Big Apple.

The Washington Heights and Inwood Music Community Charter School will offer two hours of orchestral music and voice instruction to all students in grades K to 5 during an extended school day. Musical concepts and content will also be integrated with other courses, such as math and science, according to founder David Gracia, a pianist and conductor who is a manager of artistic-training programs at Carnegie Hall.

The state Board of Regents approved the charter for WHIN in June.

“This is a dream come true,” said Gracia, a native of Spain who studied music as a child. “This is very exciting. This is a project I started from scratch . . . We have an opportunity to transform young people’s lives. I have seen it happen.’’

Read more: City’s first orchestra music charter school to open in 2017 | NY Post

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Mood Music: Jarina De Marco – Tigre

jarina-de-marco

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Chef Marcus Samuelsson brings his African and Swedish roots to Harlem | CT Post

By Joel Lang

Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Photo: Christopher Setter / For Hearst Connecticut Media

Most of the menu Marcus Samuelsson is planning for his Sept. 24 VIP dinner at the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival is made up of signature dishes from his famed Red Rooster Restaurant in Harlem, N.Y.

The main course will be Whole Fried Yardbird Royale accompanied by family-style servings of mac and greens, bird-liver doughnuts and succotash with yogurt. Choices for dessert will include rum cake with ice cream and pecan-glazed plums, as well as red velvet cakes.

The menu, however, contains only a few hints that Samuelsson’s roots, both culinary and personal, extend far beyond Harlem. The biggest giveaway is the gravlax salmon with seared watermelon that is listed as an “amusement” to be served immediately before the jerk bacon appetizer.

It is the salmon — along with the double S in his surname — that points to the beginnings of Samuelsson’s almost miraculous odyssey: from Africa to Sweden to Harlem; from motherless child to celebrity chef to international brand.

Born in Ethiopia in 1971, Samuelsson was barely a year old when his mother died of tuberculosis and he and a sister, who both survived the disease, were adopted by a Swedish couple. In “Yes Chef,” his James Beard Foundation award-winning memoir, and in the newly published “Red Rooster Cookbook,” he credits his grandmother, Helga, as his earliest cooking influence.

Read more: Chef Marcus Samuelsson brings his African and Swedish roots to Harlem | CT Post

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