Harlem’s Historic Mount Morris House Tour is on Sunday June 9

Harlem's historic Mount Morris House TourPresented by the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association (MMPCIA) of Central Harlem, the 24th Annual Neighborhood House Tour in Harlem’s historic Mount Morris Park area is set for this Sunday, June 9th. This year the theme of the tour is “Details: Architectural. Artistic. Authentic,” featuring 10 homes and churches, a funeral home with a tiffany glass skylight, and the unique Marcus Garvey Watchtower.

Come out and enjoy this event Sunday, June 9, 11 AM-4 PM and purchase advance tickets for $25 ($35 at the door). The 24th Annual House Tour PLUS Inside & Intimate Tour with John Reddick – 
(Advance Tickets: $50 and $70 at the door) is sold out.

Press Release:

HARLEM, New York – May 13, 2013 — Manhattanites and visitors are invited to explore the details that define Harlem’s historic Mount Morris Park neighborhood at the 24th annual Mount Morris Park House tour Sunday, June 9, 2013, from 11 AM to 4 PM. Presented by the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association (MMPCIA) of Central Harlem, the walking tour offers visitors an inside glimpse of some of the neighborhood’s original and renovated brownstone homes and landmark churches, and the details and characteristics of the structures and area that are truly unique. In addition, the tour will turn its attention to one of the city’s most historic hidden treasures, the Marcus Garvey Park Fire Watchtower, designated a New York City landmark in 1967. To cover it all, guests can elect to take a self-guided tour or one of two professionally guided tours – the Marcus Garvey Park Fire Watchtower walking tour, led by preservation architect Angel Ayon; and the Inside & Intimate in Historic Harlem tour, led by Yale-trained architect and historian John Reddick.

This year’s tour, themed “Details: Architectural. Artistic. Authentic,” will feature 10 homes and landmark churches in the Mount Morris Park section of Harlem, with a focus on the details in each location that make it special – from grand scope skylights to marquetry and parquetry flooring; from authentic doorframes to double-scale master suites; from clawfoot tubs to cutting-edge kitchens; from original staircases in vintage brownstones to a soaring plexi-sided add-on that incorporates original floor joists as vertical art. Also on the tour is the Owens Funeral Parlor, which features a Tiffany stained glass skylight in the chapel and whose owner, Isaiah Owens, was featured in the new documentary “Homegoings” that premiered this month at MOMA.

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Refreshments will be available at some key locations and new Mount Morris restaurant, Boulevard Bistro, will feature live jazz from Jazz at the Lincoln Center.

Named an official historic district more than 40 years ago, Mount Morris Park is home to some of the city’s most historic brownstones (or rowhouses) and churches, many of which were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with eclectic gilded age influences, including the Romanesque Revival, Neo-Grec, Queen Anne and 1893’s World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Most of the homes are 20 to 25 feet wide, as they were created for well-off families, and many today still maintain some of their original details. The Mount Morris Park district also features several unaltered 19th century streetscapes, such as that of the historic “Doctor’s Row” on west 122nd street – a rarity in much of Manhattan.

The Mount Morris Park Fire Watchtower went into service in 1857 and is the only surviving example of a number of cast iron fire watchtowers erected in the city in the mid-1800s. The tower gave volunteers a perch from which to watch throughout the city and spread the word of any danger via bell ringing and Morse code. The tower, designed by architect Julius Kroehl, is also among the oldest cast iron structures in the city and the country’s last remaining watchtower, making it a priceless piece of American history. A campaign spearheaded by MMPCIA to raise $4.5 million for its restoration was launched last fall. As part of the guided watchtower tour, visitors will be able to climb the Acropolis in Marcus Garvey Park to view the tower up close and learn more of its history and current restoration efforts.

Other treasures of Marcus Garvey park include New York’s only remaining Shea Stadium – the William Shea Friendship Ballfield – a beautiful Little League baseball field created by attorney William A. Shea (whose family’s name was on the original Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows), and the newly refurbished Richard Rodgers amphitheater, a state-of-the-art performance platform restored with the support of the family foundation of acclaimed composer and former Mount Morris resident Richard Rodgers, whose family donated the first million dollars for this $7 million project.

“ As Harlem continues to see exceptional growth and development in home ownership, diversity and commerce, the MMPCIA’s House Tour has always served as a way to show off the best of modern Harlem while paying homage to its vibrant past,” said Syderia Asberry-Chresfield, president of the MMPCIA. “Mount Morris Park is one of Harlem’s most coveted and historic neighborhoods and the MMPCIA has worked tirelessly to support this community’s development and to protect its most treasured assets. This tour allows

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us to share the special and unique details of our neighborhood and to help further preserve it for many more generations to come,” she added. The organization is working to extend its historic district, which currently

runs north and south between 119th and 124th streets, and east and west from Lenox Avenue to Marcus Garvey Park. The extension, which is designed to protect more of the row homes similar to those in the current district, would extend the area further west to Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., east to 5th Avenue and south to 118th.

Tickets for the self-guided tour are $35, $25 in advance; tickets for the Inside & Intimate tour led by architect and historian John Reddick are $70, $50 in advance; and the Marcus Garvey Park Fire Watchtower tour is included in the general tour price. Guided tours include admission to the general tour as well. The tours begin in front of the Pelham Fritz Community Center, West 122 Street and Mount Morris Park West. For more information on the events of the day, details on how to order tickets and directions to the Mount Morris Park Historic District, visit www.mmpcia.org.