New Cultural Space in The Apollo’s Victoria Theatre to be Named for Jonelle Procope




Exterior of The Apollo and the new Victoria Building. Photo by Shahar Azran.

On Monday, March 27, 2023, The Apollo’s Board Chair Charles E. Phillips announced that the 99-seat theater in The Apollo’s new Victoria Theater—which marks the first major expansion in the organization’s history—will be named after its current President & CEO Jonelle Procope in honor of her two decades as leader of the iconic cultural and civic non-profit dedicated to providing a platform for Black creativity. The new, 25,000-square-foot facility is under renovation and will open later this year, adding two additional stages that will be operated by The Apollo and will welcome in artists, audiences, other cultural and civic organizations and creators, and students. The surprise announcement took place at a celebration in honor of Ms. Procope at the Ford Foundation following her announcement at the end of 2022 that she will step down as President later this year.

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MTA’s Second Avenue Subway in East Harlem Moving Forward & Beyond!




Rendering of Phase 2, Second Avenue Subway at 125th Street. Image courtesy

In anticipation of Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway, an MTA community information center with rotating exhibits is open to the public on East 125th Street, steps from the MTA Metro North Station, and halfway between the #2/3 and #4/5/6.

The New York Post reported on October 23, 2023 that the Biden Administration has agreed to pick up half of the $6.6 billion tab to extend the Second Avenue Subway through East Harlem, providing funds the MTA says are essential to finally getting the project off the drawing boards and into construction.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Harlem) announced deal Tuesday, which will provide $3.4 billion to pay for the 1.5 mile subway extension that will add three new stops on the Q line at 106th St./Second Ave, 116th St./Second Avenue and 125th St./Lexington Ave.

Announced January 9, 2024, Governor Kathy Hochul announced plans to expand Phase Two. In a statement, “Looking to the future, the MTA will evaluate, scope and plan for another extension of the Second Avenue Subway west along 125th Street, adding three new stops at Lenox Avenue, St. Nicholas Avenue, and Broadway in Harlem. This extension would create connections with seven existing lines and serve 240,000 daily customers, with more than 90 percent of them from equity communities. It would also significantly reduce bus congestion along 125th Street, where more than 30,000 people ride the bus along this corridor every day.

This project scored well on the MTA’s 20 Year Needs Assessment, particularly for its cost effectiveness. In advance of environmental review and preliminary engineering, MTA will evaluate the feasibility of performing the initial tunneling work as a continuation of the Phase Two tunneling work and extending the tunnel boring machine’s westward path beyond Park Avenue to Broadway. If viable, this approach could save over $400 million over the life of the project.”

Rendering for Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway for 106th Street Station courtesy

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Zaro’s Family Bakery Opens on East 125th Street




Update September 17, 2020 ~ Lights on….Doors open ~ Reopened!

  • Closed due to COVID-19. Waiting for an update.

This well-established, family-owned bakery, Zaro’s, first opened its doors in 1927, shortly after arriving from Eastern Europe, through Ellis Island. In the 1950s, the next generation expanded the business, and in 1977, opened the first of its four Grand Central Station shops ~ then Penn Station, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, with a total of 11 ~ until last week when they opened their doors along 125th Street in East Harlem.

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The Permanent Collection, ‘Harlem Roots’ to Open at State Office Building in November




‘Harlem Roots’ at State Office Building

Some twenty-five years ago, Commissioner of the New York State Office of General Services, RoAnn Destito, did a walk-through at what is our current State Office Building. The building was in total disarray with no window glass in some of the space. But in the basement she found a treasure-trove of artwork that had been stacked up and left there for several years. It was the work of local artists of that day, names like Barboza, Bey, Catlett, DeCarava, Van Der Zee…….

This work is part of The New York State Harlem Art Collection’s permanent collection, and it will be on view beginning November 15 for the first time since the mid 1990s.

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Uptown Grand Central Paints East 125th Street with Uptown GrandScale ~ East Harlem




Uptown GrandScale, Saturday, September 7, 2019 ~ ‘Harlem’ mural by Maria Castillo aka TooFly-NYC

Uptown Grand Central has stepped out from under the 125th Street viaduct along Park Avenue to transform fifteen hundred feet of construction fencing into a canvas for fifty artists.

We followed Carey King, Director of Uptown Grand Central and Project Organizer, Ayana Hosten, a veteran from the #100GatesProject in East Harlem, when the project began on August 3, 2019 with the artist Gera Lozano (@geraluz) and fellow-artists, WERC, Crow, Jill Folino and Kristy McCarthy, painting the entire south-west corner at Park Avenue and 125th Street.

@geraluz, August 3, 2019

Beginning Saturday, September 7th, the GrandScale Mural Project will kick-off the first of three weekends, transforming construction fencing on both sides of the 125th Street viaduct, to conclude in time for the annual East Harlem Event ~ Party on Park.

On Saturday, September 7th, painting will begin at 10am and continue to 7pm, with DJ Tedsmooth arriving at 3pm to begin celebrating the end of the day.

The dates include Saturday, September 7; Saturday, September 14th and Sunday, September 22nd during Party on Park.

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New Construction Housing The National Urban League Headquarters + Civil Rights Museum Space + Trader Joe’s, Pandora, Sephora and Target at 121 West 125th






The much anticipated mixed-use development located at 121 West 125th Street that will be home to the new headquarters of the National Urban League is now leasing.

In addition to the National Urban League, the building will be used by several non-profit’s including 100 Black Men. It will also house a Trader Joe’s and a Target retail shop, Sephora and Pandora. To answer everyone’s big question, no set date has been set for the opening of Trader Joe’s. However Target may not open until January 2024. Trader Joe’s indicated it would open within the next few months – so that also may be a New Year opening. More to follow.

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Shake Shack Harlem Opened at 1 West 125th Street




Shake Shack Harlem with Facade painted by Creative Art Works. Image taken May 4, 2019

Shake Shack Harlem moved into the old Applebee’s space located at 1 West 125th Street, on the north/west corner across from the National Black Theatre ~ and at the entrance to East Harlem, which is preparing for a number of new projects including the Second Avenue Subway. 

The spectacular opening unveiled artwork by eleven Harlem students, creating murals through a partnership with Creative Art Works inside ~ with exterior artwork currently underway.

Below is a sneak peek from beginning to end, including an update on Creative Art Works outside.

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