Vibrant Harlem

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Apollo Theatre in Harlem

Apollo Theatre in Harlem

Harlem, historically one of the most vibrant areas of New York is the choice of the city’s promotion company as the first highlighted neighbourhood of 2015.

Regular readers will recognise that New York & Co operates a promotion called Neighborhood x Neighborhood which, each month, spotlights a different part of the city and what the visitor should look for on arrival.

Think of Harlem and, apart from the world famous Globetrotters, you think of black culture and music yet it has only been over the last hundred or so years that African-Americans began to move in large numbers to this northern part of Manhattan.

It was here that you found the Cotton Club where Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne Bojangles and Louis Armstrong drew crowds of diners in between the wars. Sadly no longer around but the Apollo Theatre which in 1934 became a theatre into which African-Americans could go after being a white venue since it originally opened at the turn of the twentieth century. Today, the building has been restored and is one of the biggest tourist attractions of Harlem.

To learn more of Harlem in its heyday, visitors should go to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s collection has grown to include more than 5 million items reflecting the experiences of people of African descent; and The Studio Museum’s collection is dedicated to artwork revolving around black culture.

Although Harlem abuts the north of Central Park it has lots of parks and open spaces such as Morningside and Riverside Parks where you can, grab a chili dog in one hand and a coffee in the other as you explore the neighbourhood.  You’ll find Fort Clinton in Harlem, the location of British troops during the American Revolution when they occupied New York and Striver’s Row which – on the lower levels –looks like Georgian architecture as might be seen in Bath or Cheltenham.  Now on on the National Register of Historic Places, many visitors will walk by before trying another Harlem attracttion, the fusion of African-American food with other cuisines such as Italian, Asian and Mexican.

For more about Harlem, click here.

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