District 9
Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, Riverside Park

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District 9 - Bill Perkins
163 W. 125 St. 7th Floor, 10027
City Hall: (212) 788-7397
District: (212) 662-4440
Fax: (212) 442-2732

Committee Assignments:
Governmental Operations, Chair
General Welfare, member
Higher Education, member
Land Use, member
Rules/Privileges & Elections, member
Landmarks, Public Siting & Maritime, member of Land Use Subcommittee

The Second Harlem Renaissance

By Bill Perkins

A little over 80 years ago, the Harlem Renaissance produced a wealth of artistic and intellectual work and exalted the unique culture of African-Americans. For the past several years, Harlem has been undergoing what has been called a second renaissance. It has become the most popular tourist destination in New York City, surpassing both the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. It is experiencing an economic resurgence. The famed 125th Street has been rebuilt with the contribution of Pathmark, the Magic Johnson Theater and other such franchises.

Harlem is on the move. Now the question is, to what extent is this new renaissance beneficial to all the people of Harlem? Over the past four years, I have tried to ensure that the people of Harlem are ready to participate in this second Harlem renaissance.

The best way to do that is to provide each and every child with the opportunity for an education of the highest quality. Parents, teachers, community leaders, school officials and elected officials must come together at all costs to make it happen.

Today we are engaged in a very serious debate about the future of the educational system. Mayoral control is being touted as the bold new solution and the abolition of the Board of Education appears imminent. My colleagues and I at the City Council, particularly members of the Black and Latino Caucus, have expressed grave concerns about the plan. Among our concerns is the role of parental and community involvement in a real and substantive manner. We have all seen mayors and chancellors come and go, along with their promises of change and reform; yet our children continue to be shortchanged. While we recognize that the mayor, if successful in taking charge of the school system, will be the central figure in our quest for successful schools, we can not relax. Mayoral control alone is not the answer for our children. We must stay involved and provide the resources our schools need to succeed.

In housing, the community has made significant gains that have a direct impact on the ability of the average community resident or businessperson to participate in the renaissance.

For example, I introduced legislation to not only place a moratorium on the Third Party Transfer program until we could ensure tenant ownership options, but we required that housing subsides such as Section 8 be provided to those tenants so that they would be able to remain in their homes. When buildings undergo renovation and redevelopment, we provided oversight support to tenants to ensure that the city would meet its obligation for the full relocation costs for all the tenants. Most importantly, we require a written guarantee to all tenants that they will be returned to their apartments. I made sure that each and every project was reviewed thoroughly within the City Council to ensure that community concerns are being met. This includes gaining more involvement from minority contractors, architects, and professionals in the building process.

Another crucial issue is health care. With assault on the public hospital system over the past eight years, there is cause for concern. The rate of HIV/AIDS infection is still on the rise in communities of color. With hard work and support of many AIDS service providers in Harlem, we were able to secure $5 million targeted to communities of color for AIDS education and prevention. We were also able to gain $5 million to address the high rates of infant mortality in communities like Harlem. We were on the front line with community leaders and activists to prevent the closure of Sydenham clinic. I pledge to continue this campaign until all our babies are saved.

On March 25, I introduced lead paint prevention legislation in the City Council. In 1996, New York's highest court declared that childhood lead poisoning was perhaps "the most significant environmental disease in New York City." Lead particles ingested by the human body cause severe damage to the brain - especially for infants and young children. The New York City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning reports that at least 81 percent of children seriously poisoned by lead are African-American, Latino or Asian. This legislation will replace the current law and provide more stringent protections for children particularly in households with children age seven and under. The bill also extends to schools, day care facilities, and public playgrounds.

This year, the mayor's preliminary budget contains the proposed closing of four senior centers. My colleagues and I in the City Council are prepared to fight to protect any and all services for seniors. My office will continue to provide funding support to senior centers through small discretionary grants.

Parks, libraries, and cultural institutions are our urban treasures. In the last four years, we have made improvements to Marcus Garvey Park and the 115th Street entrance of Riverside Park. Funding has been allocated for reconstruction of Courtney Callendar Playground and for a dog run in Riverside Park. We have worked to provide funding for the Studio Museum in Harlem Sculpture Garden project, for the preservation of the Apollo Theatre, and renovations to the Harlem Branch Library and the 115th Street library. I am also pleased and honored to support the full renovation of Malcolm X Plaza at 110th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard.

And we must continue to address basic quality of life concerns like rats and broken mailboxes, issues that residents often bring to my attention. Last year the City Council provided $1 million to help fight the rat problem and I have introduced legislation that requires that a landlord repair a mailbox within 24 hours.

Speaker Gifford Miller and I, with the support of many of my colleagues, have introduced legislation that would enable thousands of low-wage workers to be paid a living wage. As the chair of the governmental operations committee, I will oversee this legislation as well as other issues such as reparations for slavery, campaign finance reform, election modernization, and term limits. Issues of education, housing, and jobs - and the pressing concerns of city residents -- will continue to be my priorities in this new legislative season.

Posted April 1, 2002.

Community Boards for District 9
Community Board No. 9
565 W. 125th St., NY, NY 10027
(212) 864-6200/38
Mr. George Goodwill, Chair
Mr. Lawrence McClean, District Manager
Community Board No. 10
215 W. 125th St., Ste. 340, NY, NY 10027
(212) 749-3105
Mr. Stanley Gleaton, Chair
Mr. Richard Harley, District Manager

Community Plans for District 9 (PDF format)
197-a plan - New Directions: East Harlem Triangle, Randall's and Wards Island (Manhattan Community Board 11)

197-c plan[groundwork] (Manhattan Community Board 11 and CIVITAS)

Comprehensive Community Plan (CIVITAS)

197-a plan - The Village of Harlem (Community Board 10)

Waterfront Revitalization and Access Plan - Comprehensive Manhattan Waterfront Plan (Manhattan Borough President's Office)

Comprehensive Community Plan (West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. & Community Board 9)

Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration

Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration

Public Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports

Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.

City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).

Community Gardens

Click for larger image
Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City

Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.

The Waterfront

map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)