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Blog Posts by Subject: Harlem

Schomburg Treasures: WPA Artwork

The Schomburg Center's collection of WPA artwork is now available on the NYPL's Digital Collections site.Read More ›

Where in New York is Sesame Street?

Can I tell you how to get to Sesame Street? Well, I can try. You can get to the Sesame Street Subway Stop by the A, B, 1, or 2 trains, which if you check any MTA map, do not intersect at any current station.Read More ›

Pic Pick of The Century: An Homage to Walter Dean Myers

It is with sad news that I write here today, a very short poem of a great writer that has just gone away. A man who's presence is no longer here, But whose words and spirit would remain and never disappear.Read More ›

A People's History of Harlem: Celebrating Its Launch!

As NYPL's oral history projects continue... we've launched our oral history project in Harlem at 115th Street Library!Read More ›

Oral History Project celebration Saturday May 10th

Do you like to meet new people? Are you a good listener? Maybe you are passionate about local history, or the arts, or politics. If any of these describe you, allow me to introduce an exciting new project at the 115th Street Library. Read More ›

ON THE AIR: Music Landmarks in NYC - Yankee Doodle to Jay-Z

Pearl Street Native/Indigenous

AIR is a Native American and ancient colloquialism for music and voice, as heard upon the earth. Musicians and singers performed at festivals at sacred places like Pearl Street, where shells mounded for centuries, in Lenape tradition, to honor and "give thanks" for the sun, moon, stars, rain, wind and all elements of the air.

New Amsterdam. ca. 1625 - People arrived to the various ceremonies and festivals along the East River shoreline via rafts, canoes and by walking down the main island trail (widened for vehicles in the 

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Classroom Connections: 'Grace Aguilar's American Journey,' A Common Core-aligned Research Experience (Gr. 11-12)

By 1900, New York City and the United States were undergoing waves of dramatic, traumatic change. Industrialization, Reconstruction and a surge of immigrants from across the globe were remaking every aspect of life, from transportation to education, leisure, labor, race relations and the status of women. One response to the dislocations and turmoil of this era was the reform efforts that we now classify as the “Progressive Movement.”

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Fiction Atlas: Harlem in Children's Fiction and Picture Books

Where in the world are you reading about? Fiction finds its settings in all corners of the world (and some places only imagined in our minds) but there's something special about fiction set in a familiar city or neighborhood. This week I thought I'd tackle another famous neighborhood of Manhattan, but now we're traveling uptown to Harlem.

Originally founded by the Dutch in 1658, it was named after a Netherlands village (Haarlem). The character of this stretch of Northern Manhattan, however is most known as a center of African-American commerce and art and residence. 

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Hubert Harrison: Harlem Radical

Dr. Jeffrey B. Perry will discuss his book, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918, Saturday March 5th 2pm @ Hamilton Fish Park Library.

"Hubert Harrison is the most significant Black democratic socialist of early-twentieth century America." —Cornel West 

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American Rags-to-Riches Mythos: The Madam C. J. Walker Saga, Part 1

"I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of Manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory on my own ground. Madam Walker National Negro Business League Convention, July 1912." Bundles, A'Lelia. Madam C.J. Walker, 2009.

Almost every school child has heard of

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"Portrait of Harlem" at George Bruce through September 30 and at Hamilton Grange from November 5-30

Lenore Browne, Morning Stroll, 2009 Harlem is an iconic place, a fabled community, a vibrant hub of African-American culture and pride known the world over. Its essence has been captured in music—"Take the A Train" by Duke Ellington, in literature—The Street by Ann Petry The Street and photography—Art Kane's 1958—"Great Day in Harlem" and in many photos by famed photographer

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Harlem Library - Pictures from the Past

Recently we found some old and not so old photographs of the Harlem branch among our files and wanted to share. 

The first is from April 8, 1910 and is a photograph of our 2nd floor children's room with its beautiful marble frieze and fireplace (which at the time seemed to be functioning). This was taken not too long after the branch opened in July of 1909. 

The others are from a 1998 visit by Ossie 

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Changing the Changing City

Seeking further enlightenment into the city we call home, I recently took a class on the literary and cultural history of New York City. Among the many themes common to New York City novels we discussed was the portrayal of the city itself as a character with power to shape the lives of its citizens.

Many of us New Yorkers have felt this pressure in our own lives: we choose where to live based on our budgets, our hobbies, our family situation, and often our ethnic, linguistic or religious 

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Free GED Prep Classes in Harlem

Looking for GED Prep in Harlem?

Follow these links for free prep courses and resources for adult learners. 

http://www.unionsettlement.org/adult-ed Union Settlement House offers free Adult Education and GED classes in its East Harlem Location. http://www.harlemctred.com/eoc/programs.html Harlem Center for Education offers free GED and Adult Education classes. ... Read More ›

The Reader's Den: "Passing" by Nella Larsen

Welcome to July’s edition of the Reader’s Den!  This month we will be reading and discussing Passing by Nella Larsen. Published in 1929, it is a novel of modern black life whose relationships are wrought with psychological tension. Read More ›

"Food" Good for the "Soul"

June is "Soul Food Month" and in keeping with the theme of this post, here are some recommendations for reading from the New York Public Library. Perhaps you will feel inspired to check out one of these books and make a recipe for you and your loved ones.

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How Green is Your Rooftop?

If the answer is not so green, perhaps you might think about coming by the Harlem Branch Library on June 1st at 5:30 pm to get some helpful tips from Kellie Madden of Harlem Lofts. 

This is the latest in our popular Home Owner seminars put on from Harlem Lofts over the past few months.  Join us for helpful tips on creating a rooftop garden and greening your rooftop to enjoy over the spring and summer. 

Limited seating, to register contact Kellie at 212-280-8866 or

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"Shadow of the Wind" Discussion Wrap Up

One last question to wrap things up, Julian and Daniel’s lives follow very similar trajectories. Yet one ends in tragedy, the other in happiness. What similarities are there between the paths they take? What are the differences that allow Daniel to avoid tragedy?

If you enjoyed this book, I recommend the following authors:

Gabriel Garcia ... Read More ›

Reader's Den: "The Shadow of the Wind" Book Discussion

After reading for a week, we've gotten to some of the mystery and intrigue of the novel and some interesting points have arisen for discussion. Feel free to weigh in on any or all of these questions.

The Shadow of the Wind (La sombra del viento) was written in Spanish, and the word "sombra" can also be translated as shade, which gives the title a bit more of an ominous and darker feeling. What is the shadow (or shade) of the wind in this story?

Daniel Sempere and Julian Carax have a number of 

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Cool in Your (zip) Code-STRIVE

STRIVE (Support and Training Result In Valuable Employees)

On the southwest corner of 123rd Street and Second Avenue in East Harlem sits the Cultural Building of Taino Towers. Hope and possibility fill this building. The Harlem Day Charter School occupies the first and fourth floors. The cheerful sounds of children at play on the playground filled the air midday, when I first visited. But I was headed to the third floor to visit

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