"Know York" – Week 8: Harlem

Yesterday, New York was blessed with cloud-less sunshine and relatively mild temperatures for a March afternoon. My college pal and fellow music-major, Chris, is visiting his sister in the city for a couple weeks, so he agreed to join me on a “Know York” adventure. As we set off, heading West on foot from our meeting spot of 94th and Lexington, I enjoyed hearing his interpretations of my blog thus far, and his excitement to be partaking in some nitty-gritty New York exploring. We walked across Central Park and then caught the B train up to to 125th Street.

Every neighborhood in Manhattan, or New York City for that matter, has its own distinct style and flavor. Each has had its own unique history, events, demographic and traditions. Harlem is no exception, setting itself apart from the rest of Manhattan with a rich history and its ability to overcome setbacks and stereotypes. Today, Harlem is much cleaner and safe than thirty years ago, and is filled with a dynamic population that is overwhelmingly proud of their little neighborhood. More more information on the history of Harlem, I recommend checking out the wikipedia article here.

Once Chris and I got up to street level, we decided to complete our walk across town and catch a glimpse of the Hudson River and New Jersey. One our way we came across the Cotton Club, a historic nightclub. I should mention here that I dropped my camera the other night and it’s in need of some repairs before I can take pictures again. 😦

We saw also some other notable sites, including the Apollo Theater, Clinton’s Tower, and Whitecastle. If you have never been to Whitecastle before, don’t change that. On our way back East along 125th Street, Chris found a shoe store and proceeded to buy some very snazzy dress shoes. I was getting pretty hungry, so we found a little buffet and loaded up styrofoam boxes with soul food. Among my items were baked chicken, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and sweet plantains. In the words of Rachel Ray: “yumm-o!” And you can’t complain about a lunch that costs $6. After lunch, we walked around a bit more, and saw hundreds of picketers, protesting the big businesses on 125th Street. I don’t know much about the situation there, but it seems there are quite a few residents who don’t like the Starbucks, H&M’s, Gaps, and other corporate stores that keep popping up.

Tired from walking and our filling meal, the two of us heading to the 4/5/6 station at 125th Street and took the short subway ride back down to my neighborhood. It was a shorter exploration, with not as much to see, but it was still charming to take in the energy of Harlem, along with the beautiful sunshine!

Happy Easter everyone!

3 thoughts on “"Know York" – Week 8: Harlem

  1. Linda March 23, 2008 / 8:23 pm

    Sounds great, too bad about your camera- hopefully you can sort that out soon, before Spring really shows it’s beauty there!xoxoMom

  2. Lore March 24, 2008 / 10:48 am

    Thanks for sharing your easter activities with us. Hope you had a happy easter. much love, your Oma

  3. Backcut March 25, 2008 / 4:27 pm

    Your explorations of NYC aren’t all that different from my explorations of National Parks and Forests. While you find and experience famous cultural buildings, I seek out the famous geological features. We both get to be treated to the nuances and surprises of our chosen “fields of dreams”.BTW, my latest exploration was in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, last week. I have another Bryce Canyon posting to make and then it is back to work, after the winter layoff. Supposedly, I will be working in Mississippi, doing contract inspection work for re-establishing property lines, after Katrina. After that, I’m scheduled to be working out of Vegas, baby!

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