WHAT’S UP(TOWN) – Mount Morris Park
By: Adrian Thompkins & Shebrelle Hunter-Green
Welcome to the latest What’s Uptown blog post about neighborhood happenings this week.
This week’s architectural spotlight is on Mount Morris Park, a landmark section of Central Harlem with an unusually rich history, even by historic standards. It’s a history of contrast: Boss Tweed’s cronies and critics resided there, and long-term neglect was followed by infusion of (embezzled) cash and landfills that produced incredible beauty.
Designated in 1971, it was one of the first landmarked districts by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. According to the NYC Department of Planning, the proper boundaries are from West 118th Street to West 124th Street between Fifth Avenue to Seventh Avenue (Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd). Included in this area is West 122nd street, also known as Doctor’s Row. (The father of Richard Rogers, of Rogers and Hammerstein fame, was one notable doctor.) In 1839, it was given the name Mount Morris Square, and it served as a lookout point for Native Americans as well as nature retreat for early New Yorker’s through the 1870’s. The plans for what was then Mount Morris Square were completed in 1840, but the plans for landscaping languished until 1869.
The landscaping was directed by civil servant Ignatz A. Pilat, who also worked with Frederick Law Olmsted during the creation of Central Park. City Hall’s role in the development of this particular part of the city wasn’t just routine—this area became home—and cash cow—to “Boss” Tweed’s cronies. The elegant rows of neo Grec, Romanesque Revival, and of course Queen Anne homes, owe more than a little to the tens of millions of dollars “appropriated” by Tammany Hallers, who transformed Mount Morris swampland into Fifth Avenue quality homes.
Fast forward to the 1970’s, when the area earned landmark status in 1971, the year after Richard Rogers donated the amphitheater to his old neighborhood. (He first lived at 3 West 120th before his father practiced on West 122nd.) 1973 saw the name of the park changed to Marcus Garvey Park,in honor of the the well known Pan African leader. The same year, the Park was placed on the Nation Register of Historic Places.
What: “Coffee Grinder at Lenox Coffee”” a monthly Thursday night event for the LGBT community of Central Harlem. Features Live DJ. Free
When: April 10th 9:00 PM – 1:00 AM
Where: Lenox Coffee, 60 West 129th Street, Harlem, NY
What: Trial attorney and NBC news analyst, Lisa Bloom discusses her new book “Suspicion Nation”.
When: April 11th, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Where: Harlem State Office Building, 163 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027
Pick of the Week:
What: “The Cathedral in Context: Spotlight on Morningside Heights” This two hour event is an illustrated walking tour of the neighborhood and its historic architecture and institutions. The tour begins at Saint John’s Cathedral and ends at Riverside Church.
When: April 12th, 10:00 AM - 12 PM
Where: 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street, New York, NY 10025
What: “Easter Eggstravaganza” The Church’s annual Easter egg workshop, recommended for children ages 4 and up. The organizers ask that you bring two hard-boiled eggs per child and that you make reservations for this event by contacting them at 212-932-7314. Cost is $8.00 per child.
When: April 12th, 10:00 AM - 12 PM
Where: Visitor Center, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street, New York, NY 10025
What: ““Choral Evensong” The Cathedral Choir performs traditional Anglican communion prayers.
When: April 13th 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Where: The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street, New York, NY 10025
What: ”Talks at the Schomburg: Motown + Fashion" Michael Dinwiddie, president of the Black Theater Network and associate professor at Gallatin School (NYU) will moderate a discussion, featuring designer Emilio Sosa, and fashionista Michaela Angela Davis on the impact of Motown on fashion trends : This is a free event but please click here to register in advance.
When: April 17th, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Langston Hughes Auditorium at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10030
What: “In Her Skin: Celebrating Women: You are The Perfect Woman.” Eight female artists share what it’s like to be in her skin and present the beauty, talent, flawlessness and lovely imperfections of women. Exhibiting Artists include: Amy Theard, Beatrice Lebreton, Brittani Sensabough, Capucine Bourcart, Kennedy Yanko, Makeba Rainey, Margaret Rose Vendryes, and Marthalicia Matarrita. RSVP here
When: Through May 18th
Where: La Maison d’Art Gallery 259 West 132nd Street.
Connect with us on Adrian’s agent website and on Shebrelle’s agent website to learn more about the neighborhood, and for all of your real estate needs.
Thoughts of What’s Up (Town) are those of Adrian Thompkins and Shebrelle Hunter-Greene and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC