A visit to Harlem

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Harlem: So, without adjectives or epithets, to dry, by itself able to attract like a magnet and be as visited as any other landmark in Manhattan. Impossible to escape when you visit the memory of so many films that have had her as a protagonist and her world-famous gospel songs.

Emblem of the racial problem and special scenario of the intransigences and difficulties of coexistence between different races, is paradoxically located in the upper area of ​​the city that served the white bourgeoisie for many years of favorite enclave of their second residences, in order to pass there the summer for being much cooler than in lower Manhattan.

Our favorite area of ​​Harlem

For our visit to Harlem we recommend giving preference to the area located from east to west between the 5a avenue and the 7a (also called Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.) and from south to north between 125 streetsth and 138th.

If we walk along 130 streetth between the 5 avenuesa and 7a (also called Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd.) we can see classic stone houses, with the typical stairs with railing in the entrance, some abandoned and others rehabilitated, which are the ones used by the bourgeoisie for the summer.

A Harlem rehabilitation plan is underway that advocates turning these houses into apartments and re-inhabiting them, and is achieving spectacular results, as you can see on your walk. This street will give us an authentic vision of what was Harlem before becoming a ghetto and before returning to be a neighborhood in Manhattan.

The churches of Harlem

Harlem is full of churches of all denominations, some of them from the beginning of the 19th century. Their number and diversity of cult demonstrate the great division of beliefs that exists as well as the extraordinary influence they exert on the population. We highlight among them the Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (between the streets 136th and 137th at the height of the 6a avenue or Malcom X Boulevard / Lenox Ave.), which is the oldest in the neighborhood, and the Abyssinian Baptist Church (138 Street)th, also called Odell Clark Pl, with the 7a avenue, also called Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd.), of which one of its most important pastors became the first African-American congressman and today its name is that of one of Harlem's main arteries, Adam Clayton Powell Avenue.

Gospel Mass in Harlem

In many of these churches we can attend the gospel music show, although not all with the same quality, especially in the summer time when many components of the choirs go on tour. It is best to skip the most famous churches that come in the guides and just walk around the 10 on Sunday morning through Harlem. In any of the churches, tourists are welcome, normally accommodated in the upper floor as they will not participate actively in the Eucharist. Between the 10 and the 11 in the morning many of the masses begin, if it is not in one church it will be in another and the experience is more gratifying if one attends a mass less frequented by tourists. For those who want to avoid problems and go to some of the most famous gospel masses I recommend that you hire a tour of Harlem for that day, such as the one offered by WePlann, Live the history of Harlem and enjoy the gospel.

Baptist Church in Harlem
Baptist Church in Harlem

The brunch after the gospel Mass

After Mass we recommend walking down the Malcom X Boulevard / Lenox Ave. or taking the subway a couple of stops to get off for a good brunch at Amy Ruth's (at the 116th, to 20 streets away), authentic southern cuisine, specialists in barbecue ribs with the typical accompaniment of sweet potato or corn cob.

On the way to the brunch we passed close to one of the most emblematic buildings of the Harlem district, the Apollo theater (125 street)th between the 7 avenuesa and 8a, also called Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blv. and Frederik Douglas Blv.), in which great masters of Afro-American music such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie performed, and where the first stars of the song took their lead such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, James Brown , Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey or Marvin Gaye, or comedians like Bill Cosby or Redd Foxx. In this theater sessions are continued on Wednesdays at the 19: 30 hours where artists who eventually reach fame, as indicated above.

Monument to Adam Clayton
Monument to Adam Clayton

Some shopping in Harlem

Finally, shoppers should go to the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market on 116 Street without hesitation.th, since they will find from traditional clothes to artisan products, masks, oils, drums, etc ...

Video of the route

Here we leave a video where we visit some of the main points of interest of Harlem, I hope you like it.

Map of the Harlem walk

Sites of interest and nearby routes: