Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Here are my playgroup invitations! The plan is to distribute them to a few families with young children that live in my building. Hopefully I will be able to recruit a playmate or two for Marley.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Crack Is Wack

Crack Is Wack Playground is located on Second Avenue and 127th Street. Painted by artist Keith Haring in 1986, it is home to a mural about the crack epidemic in NYC. The playground was deserted the day I took this photo. It felt like a historical burial ground. It was nice to be able to walk right up the handball court and touch it after seeing it several times from a moving vehicle. I had only seen the front of the court until I visited the site and realized there was more to the mural on the back. Keith Haring died of AIDS on February 16, 1990.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is Harlem Safe?

I moved to East Harlem six years ago. I was happy to have a clean renovated apartment. I paid $500/mo for a studio I shared with my boyfriend at the time. Toughing it out in the hood was an exciting experience to me. The truth is I never had a rough time. The fantasy of being a girl from a small town moving to the big city was all in my head.

After living in el barrio for a few months I ventured 2 blocks north of my home one day. I thought I would take a stroll around the block and get to know the neighborhood. It was a different world. I felt so out of place and people knew I did not belong on their block and they let me know it! This is when I discovered your neighborhood could be limited to just your block.

This experience did not make me feel unsafe. It made me realize there was a world beyond my safe haven and the route I took to the train everyday. I had limited experience living in an urban community and I stuck out like a soar thumb. Once I settled in, East Harlem began to settle around me naturally. It just took time.

Today, I am much more comfortable in my environment and know what to expect from my community. I see things on a daily basis that make the reality of living in the inner city disconcerting. Was that a “transaction” I just saw? Did I just see what I think I saw? I am not surprised, but caught off guard. I hope I am never in the wrong place at the wrong time, but couldn't I find myself at the wrong place at the wrong time in SoHo? Or on Wall Street?

Harlem is my home. Six years later I am trying to become more involved in my community. I am interested in making the quality of life better for myself and the people who live here. I do not foresee moving anytime soon. As much as I want to protect my family…I hope karma will keep us safe.

If you are planning on moving to Harlem there is a lot you can do to gain a sense of security about your decision. Here is my short list of considerations:

  • Take a walk through of the neighborhood both day and night.
  • Simulate your weekday and weekend activities; your route to the train and back home, visit the local grocery store where you will shop, visit restaurants you would like to try and the bodega you would frequent if you suddenly run out toilet paper!
  • Become familiar with public transportation, buses and trains.
  • Locate your neighborhood police station.
  • Speak to local shop owners, especially those located at corner intersections around your home. Ask them to give you a sense of the neighborhood in the evenings and on weekends.
  • Note the times various businesses close.
  • Research finding a place in your community, i.e. community service or local politics.
  • Attend a community board meeting.
  • Research museums, parks, exhibitions and attend community events.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Get this

After the Harlem fire on Saturday my partner suggested I send the photos i took on the scene to Curbed and Gothamist. I did not think anything of it until my partner "papas" called me today and said he saw an article about the fire and wanted to know if I submitted my photos. He mentioned the link for more info on the story points to Harlem Fur and NY1, but not to my blog, of course. The post is called Scenes From A Harlem Fire. I am glad Curbed did post a link to my blog because the comment trail gets pretty nasty! People can write really awful things.

So, what is Harlem Fur? I visited this blog to see what it's all about. I discovered a whole community of Harlem bloggers and loads of information about Harlem.

I loved Harlem Bagel, but she is on hiatus right now, sad to say! I found another Harlem mom whose blog is called Uptown Mom. I had to show her some love and left a comment for her. She has some interesting content so check her out and encourage her to keep on blogging!

Tonight I have added a new section to my blog called Harlem Bloggers and I hope to add to the list!

Monday, February 12, 2007

kid o

I was first introduced to kid o by an article in New York Magazine a few issues ago. I folded the page over and made a mental note to look up the site when I had a chance. What interested me about the article were the references to educational philosophies, i.e., Montessori, Reggio Emilia and Bank Street. The article motivated me to research each philosophy further.

About a week ago after visiting the bank street bookstore, I went online to check out kid o. They have amazing toys, quite $$$. I did, however come across a few affordable items, one was the book Montessori From The Start. I figured I would make a trip to the store and if I did not buy anything else, because although their products are wonderful, they are very $$$, I would at the very least get this book.

I definitely recommend a trip to the store. It is a well organized space and very unpretentious considering the cost of their products. The sales people were very genuine. One even managed to sell us an Ergo. I was not expecting that all.

My partner “Papas” (since he rather remain anonymous) was carrying Marley(our daughter) in the Snugli back carrier and was complaining about how it was digging into his shoulders…the salesperson saw an opportunity and we totally fell hook line and sinker. She told us all out The Ergo and let Papas try it on.
He later confided in me that he actually bought it at the store instead of trying to find it online cheaper because she earned the sale…he is a banker…everything is about due diligence with him!

I was complaining a week ago about how it was impossible to carry our daughter around in the Baby Bjorn anymore. My pathetic cries went ignored.

So, if you want your husband, partner or significant other to buy into something or anything make them carry the 20lb baby on their shoulders, chest or back for a few hours.

Definitely check out The Ergo! Visit kid o on the web or in person, it’s much more fun!

3 alarm fire

NY1 featured this story. It turns out this was a 3 alarm fire. The fire started a little after 3:00pm. Several were taken to Harlem Hospital for minor injuries and smoke inhalation. Fireman saved two children left in the building when a resident was unable to return to save his grandchildren upon initially fleeing with other members of his family. Props to the firemen and good samaritans!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I was coming home today with my family. We pulled up to the corner of 112th Street and Lenox Avenue and saw flames shooting from a window of one of the buildings on the corner of 115th and Lenox Ave. I have never seen a blazing fire before. It was amazing to watch fireman work to get the fire under control. They truly are heroes.

It’s Sunday evening. This is the day of rest. It’s when we gather with family friends and/or chill at home. I hope everyone that lived in that building is safe, reunited with their families and that no one was injured bringing the fire under control.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Today I had the pleasure of taking in the sights and sounds of East Harlem.

I headed to the East Harlem Tutorial Program orientation for volunteers with my daughter in tow. The wheel on my stroller broke on my way to the orientation. It was a lot like breaking the heal off of a favorite pair of shoes. While stranded at the center, waiting for Papas to pick us up, I saw a student and his tutor giving the student's mom a run down on what was covered during their session. The tutee’s mom was so happy when she heard about her son's improvements in math. It would be nice to take part in a program like this.
Next on the itinerary was Food, located at 100th and Lex. It’s a great little restaurant with very reasonable prices and good food!

Oh, and of course I took more pictures! I found this radical mural on 117th and 2nd Avenue on my way to the East Harlem Tutorial Program. I must have walked passed this one a million times and only noticed it today!

We ended the night at Hughes House and listened to live music. Definitely a nice way to end the evening. Check their website for upcoming events.

Friday, February 9, 2007

During one of our weekend excursions last fall we decided to stop by romp. When we headed through the entrance there was a beautiful giraffe decal on the wall. We discovered Wallpaper Menagerie by Inke Heiland. Is romp the only place to snag these treasures in the USA?

Thursday, February 8, 2007


After months of searching for some nice, stylish and affordable bibs, I have decided to make some of my own for my daughter. I have some scraps left over from a few sewing projects. Now, i just have to add the binding, easier said than done!SCRAPS would be a great name for a line of bibs! Hhhhmmmmm…

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


My machine broke about three weeks ago. I decided to turn my attention to starting this blog until my machine was operational again! My machine is finally fixed and I am finally ready to get crafty.

Sunday, February 4, 2007


FLOR is modular do it yourself flooring! Living in East Harlem sandwiched between The PJ’s a.k.a. The Projects, we wanted to bring some of the natural outdoors into our home. This is how we ended up with House Pet, a highly durable and wire-haired flooring solution. It’s like having a patch of grass in our living room. We have not gotten around to buying plants as yet. This was the next best thing. Now that Marley is crawling and cruising we got something fun for her floor as well. We were looking at the pattern Camoflower, but the new catalog featured these puzzle pieces aptly named, Jigs Up. The rest is history.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

ga ga for GOMI

Have you heard of Taro Gomi? He is my favorite author/illustrator of children's books. I am in love with his work. My heart literally skips a beat whenever I discover another book I just have to buy! These books are such a joy to read. I have two books by this author and I did not realize this until yesterday. I made the connection as I read the books back to back and said the authors name out loud. The books posted above are my current favorites Todos Hacemos Caca (Everyone Poops) and My Friends. I am hoping to add to our collection soon. The illustrations are brilliant. I never get bored reading them over and over again and Marley, that’s my daughter, she loves these stories. Maybe its because of the sound effects I make. I was online last night looking up the author. Bankstreet Bookstore does not have any books by this author online, so I will call them tomorrow and ask if they can order a few books for me. There are several titles I would like to own. Taro Gomi has published over 300 books! If you are looking for books that are stimulating for both you and your little one, definately chack out Taro Gomi!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Being a Mom Made Me...

I received an email from a friend today about a story a particular magazine wants to do on how being a mom changed your life. I am still thinking about how to finish this sentence “Being a mom made me…” the first thing that comes to mind is "being a mom made my boobs sag." In all seriousness, being mom has made constant memories from the past overwhelm me. All of the things I ever wanted to do, but never had the time to do or put other things before I have the need to fulfill now. I wonder how I will answer this question in twenty years.