Things are Getting Worse and Worse

Even way North up here in Inwood Manhattan, “home” is not as safe as it once was. When we first lived here we focused on community. We united the 100 or so families here who had young children as we did at the time with our then toddler daughter. But this is no longer possible. At least not everyone will not come together. There are fractures in the neighborhood and it is very sad.

Most are planning how they will escape New York. We are even semi feeling that way. The hope is there to Save NYC Together like a new website we are developing. But is this really possible with the hate and unrest on the streets?

Everyone is terrified that they are next on the hit list. This is what war looks like in America. Civil war. If we look back at the lyrics in music even twenty or more years, we will see that this revolution has been being planned for a long time and when the opportunity presented itself, it was jumped on.

Now that work and meetings can be done remotely, the rich and those who can afford it, are bailing out in droves.

We’re not sure how much longer we can hold on, or even where we would go if we left. It is near impossible to figure out an alternative as compared to our “Big Apple” of old. But the new is here. And it is violent and unafraid to use this violence. We will hold on as long as we can but if violence hits us directly, we will leave with everyone else.

What is Happening to Inwood? Or, for that Matter, New York?!

A Different Environment

In many ways being in Inwood Manhattan is being isolated a bit from the city at large. It is a very different environment in many ways including its parks and community feel.


But we are not necessarily safe here. In fact there was a murder literally in front of our building a few weeks ago and there have been reports of shootings.

Illegal Activities

It seems that the protesting has lead to violent folks destroying small businesses that in turn has impacted the gangs, making them feel all the more insulated from repercussions if they shoot and kill and do other illegal activities.

What Does the Future  Hold?

So really the protests, the looting and all the killings are a part of the same vicious circle, one prodding on the other. We wish we had more happy news but the series of events that  are happening, even in our precious Inwood, has made us pause and reflect on what our future will be in this neighborhood?

Are the Fireworks a Part of a Conspiracy?


If you live in Upper Manhattan or Harlem or nearby, all you need is to hear the word “Fireworks” and you’re likely to start ranting. What is up with all these explosions going on in our neighborhood of Washington Heights/Inwood in Manhattan, NY?

How the Quality?

The weird thing is that although kids do this kind of thing annually, the quality of their wares this time around have gone up immensely.  While before it used to be a couple of sparklers and a handful of low end firecracker, in the summer of 2020 it’s been very high end product, being set off on a schedule.

The Kids are All Right?

We’ve noted that they generally start at 9:30pm and then continue at least once every hour up until 3am or so. How are the neighborhood kids getting access to these better quality pyrotechnics?

A Prelude to Danger?

Some in our hood think that the police are supplying the kids with the explosives to prove how they are needed to clean up the neighborhood. Or there are those who speculate that maybe it’s the protestors, looters and vandals bringing chaos to the neighborhood so that when real guns start going off, we’ll just think it’s the cherry bombs and so on.

It’s a Mystery

What do I think? I really have no idea. It is a mystery though how the quality of these bursts of flames in the sky as well as the noise pollution it brings can be afforded by those setting them off?! Also, why on a schedule every night?  And how come many, many more than usual. What do you think? Let us know!

The “Other Manhattan” Gains Traction

This is not the Manhattan that Inwoodites know.

New Bus Travel Section

Inwood Manhattan is a beautiful place with several tree filled parks. We hope this never changes. But there are some things that are transforming in this “Other Manhattan.” For example a new bus travel section is being developed.

Lowering Carbon Dioxide

Although it takes an installation process that sometimes changes the look of the city, we here at Inwood Manhattan believe that more public transportation the better. Studies have shown that it lowers the consumption of harmful carbon dioxide.

Saves Energy

Traveling by public transportation uses less energy and produces less pollution than comparable travel in private vehicles.

Distance Learning and the Virus

The Approach to School has Changed

Inwood Manhattan is adjacent to the probably better known Washington Heights neighborhood marked by the George Washington Bridge. Although we live in Inwood, our daughter’s school location was just around the corner from the bridge. Although it has only been a matter of months, our daughter going to a school location seems like something from the distant past.

Online Education Approach

Last night parents received a very moving video from the school about the distant learning program they have been doing. Aside from fighting to not go into total waterworks mode (our close to teen daughter rolls her eyes when my wife and I cry), the video was amazing. In a very short time the school has embraced remote learning and figure out a way to do it that makes it clear that our daughter is getting a good education despite doing everything online. Also, we now better understand why our daughter took to learning on her Chromebook so well. Her school has created an extraordinary online education approach.

Education Journey

The school is teaching her math, science, social studies and yes, art, in a way that is vibrant with teachers and administrators who really care. The sense of community online that they have developed make my wife and me rest easy. Since the three of us are all living under one roof, we’ve heard our daughter’s end of school by listening to her voice during class coming from her room. Now we have a more complete picture and feel very grateful and blessed to be a part of this educational journey.

An Idealistic View of Being Outside


I am not someone who goes outside very often. I prefer being inside, behind a computer, or hanging with the fam. But even I am yearning a bit to see the sun again. It’s been over a month since I stepped outside of our apartment building.

Social Distance

My wife hasn’t been inside for quite as long as I have. She went out (against my recommendation) to run an errand. When she came back she described the world out of doors to be a bit of a nightmare. People weren’t wearing masks, nor were they practicing social distance.


After my wife had her final outdoors experience, she pledged to not venture outside until it was safe. It’s now been several weeks since she had her negative outside experience. The three of us sometimes get a bit idealistic about being in the park, but for now we remain in lockdown.

Washing Our Hands Like Everyone Else

Living on the Edge

Yes, those of us here at the tip top of Manhattan, NY, have to wash their hands too.  Outside is deathly quiet, which is odd for this urban environment. You can’t purchase groceries from any one of the 9 different grocery delivery surfaces. Everything is booked up so we’re living on our wits to some extent.

Maybe Outside is No so Bad

Lots of indoor time which as an introvert isn’t so bad, but even for those of us who prefer inside to outside getting a little Vitamin D wouldn’t be bad.

Wash those Hands

But as New Yorkers we’re, most of us, waiting it out. There are those who escaped from the city to go to their Hamptons summer house. I imagine it won’t be easy in Strong Island either, because there won’t be as much availability. Wait. What did I just say? We are now living in the city where we can’t even get groceries. If only we could wash our hands of it.

A Reminder About the Benefits of Living in Inwood Manhattan

Wikipedia’s Take on the History of Upper Manhattan

On May 24, 1626, according to legend, Peter Minuit, the director general of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, bought the island from the Lenape Indians for 60 Dutch guilders and, the story goes, some trinkets. On the southern tip of the island Minuit founded New Amsterdam. A plaque (on a rock) marking what is believed to be the spot of the sale is in Inwood Hill Park, the only natural forest left in Manhattan.

Street Easy’s View on Inwood Manhattan Today

With plenty of parks and scenic views, Inwood is one of the more peaceful neighborhoods in Manhattan.

As New Yorkers perpetually hunt for find affordable, comfortable places to live, many are turning to areas of Upper Manhattan like Inwood, rather than defaulting to the outer boroughs. Upper Manhattan — a submarket comprising Harlem, Inwood, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and Manhattanville — has become an increasingly popular place for both buyers and renters, with Inwood especially enjoying a growing reputation for pleasant living at a good value.

Brick Underground on the Life in the 1930’s in Inwood

The Works Progress Administration guide to New York City, written in the 1930s, describes Inwood as a place where “rivers and hills insulate a suburban community that is as separate an entity as any in Manhattan.”

The buildings are taller and closer together these days, but the gist still holds true to some degree. Inwood’s skyline is low-rise, with a mix of single-family brick houses and five- to eight-story apartment buildings, most built in the first half of the 20th century. A proposed rezoning could change all that in short order, but it has yet to be formally approved.

Inwood NYC Action Plan on Academy Street Manhattan

Parents and their Children

Many parents are worried for their children in the big changes that are coming to Inwood soon. The community is being changed virtually entirely.

The Changes Over the Years in Inwood Manhattan

Inwood Manhattan used to have a mixture of Jewish, Irish and Greek immigrants several generations ago but now it is a largely Dominican neighborhood.” And there is a rezoning issue fueled by $200,000,000 of government money.

Two Sides

Some think the rezoning of the neighborhood is good, while others do not. There is fear on all sides. Folks who have been living in Inwood Manhattan are afraid they’ll lose their homes whereas developers and some residents think the neighborhood needs to be transformed. Thankfully Inwood Manhattan has Lights Camera Read to help keep the peace.

Assurances Given

There is assurance being given though that the investment will be used to build affordable homes, upgrade parks and connect the Harlem River waterfront to Inwood.

How about the Library?

There is another issue that some Inwood Manhattan residents are not happy about. It is the tearing down Inwood’s current library and putting a new state of the art one in its place


There was a petitiion that was created to fight these changes – including the library – but the developers won out. Whether most people will ultimately like these changes is yet to see. “In the end it is all about the children,” says the editor of Manhattan Kids Guide.

Will the Arts Thrive?

One aspect of developers’ promises has some people excited about the prospect there being built a performing Arts Center. This center will celebrate immigrants who have made such a difference in this community.


The claim is that the Inwood NYC action plan was the result of years of work as well as extensive interaction with the existing community. Is this true? Developer claim that a City Team led by NYCEDC were responsible for this neighborhood engagement. Apparently there were over 25 bilingual public events, stake holder meetings and workshops.

Who are the 2,500?

As a long time resident of Inwood we were not invited to any of these happenings so one wonders how the developers contact (they claim) over 2,500 people from the neighborhood. Not once did we receive any literature about this nor received fliers in the streets. How were these so called 2,500 people engaged? If so, was it a positive and inclusive process?

What’s Your Opinion?

What do you feel about the changes in Inwood Manhattan. Contact and let us know if you think that this is a good thing or not for our children.

Inwood Manhattan from Houdini to LCR

LCR and Magic Neighbors

If it weren’t for living in Inwood Manhattan my family and I probably would have never formed Lights Camera Read or started the theater group Magic Neighbors. And as many of you know, Lights Camera Read has evolved into a source of eBooks.

Stepping In

Lights Camera Read came out of need in terms of creating the best for our then, toddler daughter. We knew that someone needed to step in and organize parents and their young children, so that’s what we did.

The Birth of a Nonprofit Sponsored Organization

We started an email list and had a launch event with over a hundred people showing up in costume for a parade on Broadway through town covered by New York 1. Lights Camera Read eventually evolved into a nonprofit sponsored organization at the library where lights and cameras and reading all came into play.

Getting Out the Message

This was manifested in the form of the library theater group called Magic Neighbors, that through performance and video encouraged kids to read. The group traveled initially to the Inwood Public Library and eventually to other branches citywide.

The Mission Continues

As our daughter got older we created events for older children. We also began to uncover the rich history that Inwood Manhattan had. Also as our daughter grew, we realized that one of the greatest things we could do with Lights Camera Read was to not just depend on the library, but create eBooks ourselves that couldn’t be found there.

A Chance Tie to a Conjuring Legacy

Being that I sometimes go by the moniker of “Manhattan Magician,” as mentioned in this blog before, I was thrilled to discover that within blocks of our home was the house that Bessie Houdini occupied after Harry died. This was pure coincidence and was not planned.

New Activities

But recently, now that our daughter is even older, we’ve closed many of the activities of Lights Camera Read, including shows with Magic Neighbors. Our daughter is interested in a whole new slew of things including Harry Potter Books, Minecraft and “Dungeons and Dragons.”

Still Connected

Even though Lights Camera Read and Magic Neighbors are currently in holding pattern we still, as a family, continue to explore the wonders of Inwood Manhattan, including trips to the various parks and participating in outdoor yoga.

Magic Manifested in Different Forms

As summer comes to a close Manhattan Magician gets ready to take on his new volunteer job as the writer of reports for submission to a conjurer’s trade publication for an international prestidigitation organization.

And the Thread Goes On

Magic, Inwood and the library continue to be a big part of our family’s lives together.