Second Avenue Subway

•March 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

MTA has begun construction of Phase One of the Second Avenue Subway

Click here for our new Construction Update Page

The Second Avenue Subway project will include a two-track line along Second Avenue from 125th Street to the Financial District in Lower Manhattan. It will also include a connection from Second Avenue through the 63rd Street tunnel to existing tracks for service to West Midtown and Brooklyn. Sixteen new ADA accessible stations will be constructed.

The Second Avenue Subway will reduce overcrowding and delays on the Lexington Avenue line, improving travel for both city and suburban commuters, and provide better access to mass transit for residents of the far East Side of Manhattan. Stations will have a combination of escalators, stairs, and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, elevator connections from street-level to station mezzanine and from mezzanine to platforms.

Under the current plan, the project will be built in four phases. Phase One will include tunnels from 105th Street and Second Avenue to 63rd Street and Third Avenue, with new stations along Second Avenue at 96th, 86th and 72nd Streets and new entrances to the existing Lexington Av/63 Street Station at 63rd Street and Third Avenue.

The first construction contract involves the construction of new tunnels between 92nd and 63rd Streets, the excavation of the launch box for the tunnel boring (TBM) machine at just south of 92nd to 95th Streets, and access shafts at 69th and 72nd Streets. These shafts will be excavated toward the end of contract One and be used for the subsequent construction of the 72nd Street station. Contract One is expected to take about 45 months to complete.

Phase One subway service, which is projected to carry over 200,000 weekday riders, will be an extension of the existing Q service in Manhattan. Q service will operate along Second Avenue from 96th Street to 63rd Street, where it will divert west along the existing 63rd Street line, stopping at the Lexington Avenue/63rd Street Station, where riders will be able to transfer to the F line. It will then continue west under Central Park on tracks that are currently not being used for passenger service and then head south to the existing 57th Street/7th Avenue Station, which is where the northbound Q service now terminates.

South of the 57th Street/7th Avenue Station, this new, extended Q service will follow its current route, making stops at express stations along Seventh Avenue and Broadway before crossing the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn. Passengers traveling to Lower Manhattan on this route will be able to transfer for R and W  local service to destinations south of Canal Street. Final Design for Phase One started in April 2006. The first construction contract was awarded in March 2007



The Map of East Harlem Eateries, Cafes, Night Life and More

•March 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Just in Time for the Holidays! Easy Shopping Inks Big East Harlem Lease

•December 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

With New York shoppers in a recessionary state of mind, discount retailers like Easy Shopping Department Store are finding themselves among a select group of downturn beneficiaries. And in the way of recessionary karma, the discounts are returning. Easy Shopping found that the rents at their new Harlem store had been considerably marked down—about $10 per square foot less than last year.

Easy Shopping Department Store signed a 10-year lease for 9,300 square feet on the corner of 119th Street and Third Avenue. The East Harlem location, opening in January, will be the department store’s third in Manhattan. “This new location expands on our urban department store formula that has served us well for the last 13 years,” said Sammy Zeitoune, Easy Shopping’s owner. The retailer also has a store in the Bronx.

“We were looking for a retailer that would fit into the fabric of the community. Easy Shopping was the perfect fit,” said Cory Zelnik of Zelnik & Co, who served as the retail leasing agent for landlord 119th & Third Avenue Associates. “They are a respected New York City chain that caters to a diverse range of shoppers.”

The location was also made more attractive by the addition to the neighborhood of the Hunter College School of Social Work, which recently moved from the Upper East Side and brought with it a considerable boost in foot traffic.

Adam Langer brokered the deal along with Mr. Zelnik, representing both the building and the department store in negotiations.

By Emily Geminder The Observer


•December 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

El Museo del Barrio is back and better than ever. Located in East Harlem (colloquially known as Spanish Harlem or El Barrio, which means “the neighborhood”), and one of the nine institutions that make up Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile, the museum celebrates the work of Latin American, Puerto Rican and Caribbean artists. The museum’s reopening after a state-of-the-art redesign and renovation coincides with its 40th anniversary as the leading Latino cultural institution in New York. The sleek new space features a futuristic, glass-encased lobby, along with a pan-Latin café and an expanded gift shop.

The museum continues to offer groundbreaking exhibitions, multimedia performances, panel discussions, a book club and Target Free Saturdays—aka Super Sábado—held the third Saturday of every month. The exhibition Nexus New York: Latin/American Artists in the Modern Metropolis, running through February, brings together work from Latin American and Caribbean artists whose creative efforts shaped the American avant-garde in the decades before World War II. Whether you’re looking to further appreciate your own heritage or broaden your cultural horizons, El Museo welcomes you—museum director Julián Zugazagoitia calls the East Harlem institution “a gateway to El Barrio.” To celebrate its designation as Culture Spot for November, El Museo del Barrio is offering “dos por uno” (two for one) adult admission and half off the price of membership all month. Members enjoy free admission, invitations to openings and special events, discounts and more.

Special Offer: The “dos por uno” adult admission and 50% discount on “Amigo” Membership are valid with a coupon throughout the month of November. Coupons will be available all month at the Official NYC Information Center–Midtown, Official NYC Information Center–Times Square Alliance, Official NYC Information Center–Harlem, Official NYC Information Center–Federal Hall, Official NYC Information Kiosk–City Hall and Official NYC Information Kiosk–Chinatown.
by Erin O’Hara

Now Open: Free Food, Expensive Parking at Costco

•December 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Curbed editor Joey Arak visited the brand-new Costco at the East River Plaza in East Harlem this weekend and was so inspired that he wrote us an opening report. What follows is the first installment of Arak on Racked, an intermittent new series.

Like an atomic bomb dropped on East Harlem, Manhattan’s first Costco superstore opened in the new East River Plaza big-box mall on Thursday (Target, Marshall’s, Best Buy, Petsmart and Bob’s Discount Furniture all coming soon). In the rest of the country, Costco is the #1 spot for picking up both chocolate muffins and boxer shorts, and we’re happy to report that this Costco has the same selection—plus LCD TVs, Burberry bags, fresh ground beef, 10-lb jars of mayo, Ugg boots, karaoke machines, cheesecake, pregnancy tests, $40 Kenneth Cole wool coats, and 16-roll bundles of toilet paper.

A quick drive up the FDR leads you right to East River Plaza’s massive parking garage (the big ugly thing seen growing along the highway for the past few years). The nearest subway stop, at 116th and Lexington, can’t really be called “close,” and besides, you’re going to need wheels to carry all that bulk home. The mood was festive outside the store: The Hot 97 street team was on the scene blasting the hits, and Costco employees were handing out free cookies to those waiting in line to sign up for a membership card. The options are 50 for a year, or $100 per year for the “Executive” level (which includes 2% off your total purchases). Sign up by the end of the year and you instantly get a $10 Costco gift card for basic membership, or $25 for being an, uh, Executive.

Maybe because the sign-up process controlled the flow—the wait and the membership processing took about a half-hour in total—the store wasn’t an absolute madhouse. It’s the typical one-floor warehouse layout with stuff stacked to the ceiling that you’ve seen in any Costco or similar store. It also has that trademark Costco “Land of the Giants” feel, because everything (including the shopping carts) is at least 30% bigger than you’re used to seeing. Seriously, who needs that much Tang?

Speaking of Tang, it was all about the free samples, orangey powdery goodness included. Planning a trek up to Costco? Go hungry. Practically every aisle had some sort of demo/freebie going on, and here’s a partial list on what was being handed out on Saturday: Coffee, peanuts, meatballs, brie, Italian sausage, shrimp tempura, veggie stix snacks, chicken egg rolls, brussels sprouts, instant mashed potatoes (yum, btw), tortilla chips and salsa and some weird weight loss beverage. There was a big stink when Costco announced it wouldn’t be accepting food stamps—a decision that was later reversed amid much neighborhood outcry—but they’re basically feeding El Barrio for free, anyway.

There’s also a little fast food café area near the registers for those who didn’t get their fill in the aisles, but if you’re hankering for a hot dog when it’s all said and done, well, then you really didn’t do something right. Checkout was a breeze and all the employees were super friendly and grateful to the point of creepiness, but maybe they’re just as happy as I am about those chocolate muffins. Unfortunately, despite the low prices, you can’t help but feel ripped off when you leave. Turns out it’s $5 per hour to park. Maybe that’s not so surprising considering Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner is an East River Plaza investor. Gotta pay for that Nets arena somehow, right?

•August 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

On Sundays from July to November, from 10am to 4pm, at 106th and 3rd Avenue, East Harlem has its own farmers’ market.

According to Scott Stringer’s (our borough president) blog:

“East Harlem, a “food desert,” lacks access to fresh and local fruits and vegetables on the weekends. The first ever weekend Farmers’ Market in East Harlem is another way in which Go Green and the Borough President are actively combating issues of food equity and environmental justice.”

The market is small, but the vegetables were fresh and extremely inexpensive. Come out on Sundays and support the market.

Taller Boricua August & September Calendar

•August 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment


Taller Boricua would like to invite you to our upcoming events! Below you can find a list of the bands that will be performing in August and September for the weekly Uptown Salsa events. Also our present exhibition will be closing shortly followed by a group show of four Dominican artists. Join us for music, art, dance, food, and friends!



August 5th – Salsa Wed: Bronx Horns with Frankie Vazquez

August 12th – Salsa Wed: Debut of Julio Castro & La Masacre

August 13th – No Holds Barred Open Mic Poetry Contest and $50 Grand Prize!

August 19th – Salsa Wed: Fajardo Jr. & Sus Estrellas

August 22nd – Armando Soto & Luis Carles Art Exhibition Closes

August 26th – Salsa Wed: Orlando Marin & Orch the Last Mambo Kings

September 2nd- Salsa Wed: SonSublime

September 4th – 4 Generations Exhibition Reception with artists Moses Ros, Vicente Fabré, Luís Leonor, Reynaldo García Pantaleon.

September 9th – Salsa Wed:Herman Olivera & Amigos
September 16th – Salsa Wed: Soneros de Oriente

September 23rd – Salsa Wed: Orch Broadway

September 30th – Salsa Wed: Willie Villegas & Entre Amigos

Taller Boricua, 1680 Lexington, New York, NY, 10029,

Legendary E. Harlem Club Re-Opens

•July 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Immersed in nostalgia while blasting into the future, the new Chimney BBQ & SushiBar is East Harlem’s newest haunt for dining, drinking and lounging. A double level room complete with a full service bar, its exotic menu features a French/Asian Fusion of food served on the elegantly laid out main level while the MILK lounge above, boasts an all-white lounging and dance area featuring a state of the art sound system & DJ booth complete with a color kinetics light system that together makes the Chimney a swinging 3,400 sq. feet of sensory sound, spirits and gastronomic experience.

On Friday, July 24th owners Jeremy Chung & Erik Mayor will host their official grand opening with Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell on hand to cut the red ribbon that will open the doors of the Chimney to the diverse residents of New York’s East Harlem. Further, they will be introducing Don Q’s newest “spirit” Rum laced with coconut replacing the traditional “rum & coke” with the latest: “rum & coco.”

Melding French cuisine with an Asian flair and just a twist of his African roots, Senegal born chef Malik Fall will take from his training in Nice, France where he was raised while attending culinary school in Perignon (France). With appetizers like the Tango Mango Ceviche –Crab and Corn Cak e – & Sugar Cane Grilled Shrimp – complementing entrees such as Asado – Argentinean Barbecue Shorts Ribs; Korean Short Ribs; Spicy Pork Ribs; Smoked Barbeque Ribs; Pan Seared Lamb Chops and every conceivable combination of Sushi and Salads and the Chimney becomes a unique dining out experience on the Upper East Side.

The festivities begin with a ribbon cutting at 6 pm followed by a happy hour and at 9 pm live music upstairs with East Harlem’s own Salsa & World Music band Zon del Barrio. A free Salsa dance lesson precedes the live music with a popular Dj working the dance floor between sets. And why not mix a little Salsa with this unusual fusion restaurant when the site of Chimney’s was the former Christopher’s, a legendary Latin music dance club that saw artists such as Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto and Joe Cuba during its heyday in the ‘70s & ‘80s. Today, the Chimney pays homage to those roots while taking the restaurant in the 21st century with its creative culinary menu and friendly ambience. Following this Grand Opening, the Chimney will feature an after-work Salsa dance party every Wednesday while catering to the diversity of the neighborhood with jazz, spoken word, house and karaoke nights during the week.

The Chimney is open for dinner Monday through Sunday from 5:30 pm to 11:30 pm.
2056 Second Ave bet 105th & 106th Street.
Doors Open at 5PM
Open Bar 5-6PM
2 for 1 Drinks 6-7PM
WHO/WHAT: Politicians, celebrities, businesspeople and community leaders will converge at East Harlem’s newest eatery: The Chimney BBQ & Sushi Bar. Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell, State senator Jose Serrano will be on hand for the celebration.

WHEN/WHERE: Friday, July 24, 2009 @ 6 pm
Chimney: BBQ & Sushi Bar
2056 Second Ave bet 105th & 106th Street.
New York, NY 10029

Peer mentors for autism

•July 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“No man is an island.” John Donne 1624
The notion that man cannot survive in isolation is an essential question regarding the treatment of autism. Given that self insulation is the modus operandi for an individual with autism, the tug of war remains a difficult endeavor.
Public perception is vital. How does the outside world perceive those that have developmental differences? How does person with special needs perceive those that attempt to connect with them?
Our son was non-verbal until age 5. Now at 21, he can articulate the frustration and sadness: “When I went to middle school, the kids didn’t understand me. I think they were afraid of me because of my autism. It also took a long time for people to know how to socialize with someone like me. I didn’t understand when kids told me to do wrongdoings. Sometimes kids are rude.”
“Then there were the kids that were nice to me. They were kind and they sat next to me in the cafeteria but I did not go to recess because they said it wasn’t good for me. I would suggest that special ed kids should go to recess and have an aide help them.”
Hopefully the world is about to change. Reported by Art McFarland of ABC News,a school in East Harlem is making a difference. Students help others learn, while learning themselves. The New York Center for Autism Charter School provides a 10 week training session for peer mentors. Following the peer mentor experience, the students give a report about what they have learned about autism. it is the quintessential vehicle for spreading the word.