Harlem is one of New York City’s most diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. It has also played an extremely important part in the history of the city and the nation. During the Civil Rights Movement, Harlem hosted speakers such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, who actually lived in Harlem for some time. The neighborhood also became known for its unique culture and art. Nowadays, Harlem’s gospel choirs, Jazz music and soul food have become famous throughout the world, as has the iconic Apollo Theater.
To find out more about the neighborhood, check out our video tour of Central and West Harlem. Every year, the neighborhood’s diversity, culture and art is celebrated during Harlem Week: a unique tribute that organizes many events during the summer.
What started in the ‘70’s as just one day of celebrating Harlem has turned into an event that stretches across several weeks. In fact, this year Harlem Week events will begin July 28th 2012 and last until August 25th, for what will be the 38th year of Harlem Week. During this period, the neighborhood’s rich African American, Hispanic, Caribbean and European history will be celebrated with events including concerts, performances, exhibitions, sports events, family programs and, of course, Jazz.
You can check out the full program at the official Harlem Week website, and we will highlight some of the summer’s main events here.
Harlem Week Events
- Sunday July 29th will start off the family-oriented events with “A Great Day in Harlem”. From 1 pm to 8:30 pm, you can enjoy free performance showcases at the U.S. Grant National Memorial Park at West 122nd Street and Riverside Drive in West Harlem. Starting 1 pm, the National Dance Institute and Millennium Dance Company will put on a show. Then, at 3 pm, you can experience a real Harlem gospel choir performance. From 4:30 pm, a Fashion Fusion showcase will be held. The day will end with a “Concert Under the Stars” from 6 pm to 8:30 pm.
- Saturday August 18th will be one big tribute to Bob Marley at “Summer in the City”. From 12 pm to 6 pm, there will be multiple events to take part in mostly along West 135th Street between St. Nicholas Park and 5th Avenue. There will be a free children’s festival with dance performances, theater, arts and crafts plus more interactive events. Furthermore, Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence will be celebrated with a huge dance block party. You can end the day with a free showing of the movie “Marley” at 7 pm at St. Nicholas Park’s Great Lawn.
- Sunday August 19th will be the center of “Harlem Week” with “Harlem Day: Where the World Meets the World”. It is expected over 90,000 people will attend! There will be four outdoor stages where shows will be held during the day, and visitors can also enjoy displays of Harlem fashion and the famous Harlem soul food. Again, the location is 135th Street between St. Nicholas Park and 5th Avenue. Music ranging from Jazz to gospel to reggae to Hip Hop will be featured, as well as another children’s festival which will be held in the afternoon.
Around these three dates, there will be much more to see and do during the month-long tribute to Harlem. For example, the Apollo Theater on West 125th Street and 8th Avenue will hold its famous Amateur Night every Wednesday in August.
Furthermore, on Fridays in August you will have the chance to take a free guided tour at the Studio Museum on 144 West 125th Street. If you’re in New York City this summer, be sure to take a trip uptown to Harlem! You can get to the heart of neighborhood by taking the A, B, C, D, 1, 2 or 3 to 125th Street in Manhattan.
If you’re looking for summer accommodation in New York City, we have vacation rentals available in Harlem so you can experience the bustling neighborhood like a true local.
Have you visited New York City’s Harlem before?
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