Sunday, June 26, 2011

HARLEM PRIDE 2011 - Marcus Garvey Park
Harlem One Stop: Gay Pride Uptown!

Marcus Garvey Park HARLEM PRIDE celebration
Manhattan Boro Pres. Stringer, NYS Senator Perkins & NYC Councilman Daune

For the 3rd year Harlem One Stop has served to promote Gay Pride Uptown! through an exciting online calendar and listing of events and programs, which have met with much success, thanks in large measure to the support of uptown's LGBT community. As a part of this effort we've partnered for a 2nd year with HARLEM PRIDE to enhance the activities and public celebration of uptown's LGBT residents, their friends and visitors to Harlem, East Harlem/El Barrio and Washington Height/Inwood. This year has demonstrated even broader support by elected officials, religious leaders, businesses and others for this annual celebration of Harlem's LGBT community.

Harlem One Stop particularly wishes to thank the loyal followers of our "Gay & Lesbian" feature page, your support of the LGBT events listed there have made it the, "go to spot" for what's happening uptown. Isn't it great to know that you don't have to go downtown anymore to socialize and meet one another!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Columbia University
Former Bloomingdale Asylum Site

UPPER WEST SIDE — Columbia University educates top-notch brains, but a century ago, the campus of the Ivy League school was a haven for a different type of mind — the mentally-ill.
Hobbyist historian Michael Susi spoke on the prestigious school's unusual history Thursday at the American Youth Hostel, at 891 Amsterdam Ave.

Susi, a 48-year-old administrator at Columbia University, collects vintage postcards and he's dipped into his collection of nearly 10,000 to publish
two books that reveal how Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side gradually shifted from bucolic to bustling.

Susi once hunted down the antique postcards at flea markets and antique stores, but now most of his collecting happens online, through auction sites like eBay.

Susi often visits the locations depicted in his antique postal pictures to see what they look like today. He discovered during his research that the land where Columbia now sits was once home to the Bloomingdale Asylum for the Insane.

The asylum began operating in the 1820s, and at its height was home to roughly 300 inmates, Susi said. The facility was a "dumping ground" for all of New York City's insane, until the
infamous Blackwell's Island asylum opened in 1839, Susi said.

After that, the Bloomingdale facility catered to wealthier clients who were thought to be curable. It was one of the first asylums in the country that used humane forms of treatment, Susi said.

"They got sun, relaxation and moderate exercise," Susi said. At the time, Morningside Heights was isolated and rural, providing a peaceful setting for patients.

In 1892, Columbia bought the land and began building its campus. Susi said he still admires the original campus design of architects McKim, Mead and White, who positioned Italianate copper-roofed structures in an orderly layout with wide open spaces.

Today only one vestige of the Bloomingdale asylum remains — Macy Villa, the red building near Low Library.

"I don't know how it made it all this time," Susi said. "It's kind of heartening to see that some things are still kept up."

Photo credit: All postcards courtesy of Michael Susi.

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Clarice Taylor, "Cosby" Actress Dies at 93
Former Resident, Harlem's Hamilton Terrace

Clarice Taylor,
the stage and screen vet who found her greatest fame playing Bill Cosby's mom, Anna Huxtable, on The Cosby Show, has died at the age of 93.

However, long before she was known to the world as "Cosby's" mother she was known to Harlemites as a sociable neighbor of Hamilton Terrace. Besides a neighborly spirit she also encouraged African Americans in particular to move and buy homes in her Harlem neighborhood.

Her publicist says Taylor succumbed to heart failure on Monday in Englewood, N.J.

Born in 1917 in Virginia, Taylor got her break in 1976 with a recurring role on Sesame Street as David's grandmother, Harriet, which she followed with guest spots on such TV shows as Ironside, Sanford and Son and Spenser for Hire.

She appeared in Clint Eastwood's Play Misty for Me and in 1975 starred as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North in the Broadway production of, The Wiz. Sheplayed the pioneering black female comedian Jackie "Moms" Mabley in an original off-Broadway play, "Moms," with future "Law & Order" regular S. Epatha Merkerson also in the cast. Taylor later toured as Mabley in a one-woman show.

Taylor began her acting career with Harlem's American Negro Theatre, and in the late 1960s was one of the original members of the New York-based Negro Ensemble Company.

But Taylor will be best remembered as the beloved Grandma on The Cosby Show, a role that earned her an Emmy nomination in 1986.

Taylor is survived by two sons, William and James, and four grandchildren.

Funeral details are pending.