One of the great things about living in NYC are all the different neighborhoods one can explore. On any day all it takes is a quick subway ride to hit up any part of the city. Brooklyn (fuggetaboutit!), da Bronx, Queens, every part of Manhattan up down and all around, and even Jersey is easy to get to by the PATH train from NYC. I have explored many parts of the city area riding the rails. Today was no different as we headed up to one of my favorite hoods – Harlem USA – to hang out, shop, and grab a bite to eat.
What started out as an afternoon trip turned into quite a long day up in that part of town and we had a great time. The amount of shopping up there now along the Lenox Avenue (also known as Malcolm X Boulevard) and 125th Street (also known as Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd) area is pretty amazing. There are a ton of places to shop at from electronics, to clothes, to housewares, music, and pretty much everything. All types of small mom & pops to major chain stores are up there now. I loved the hustle and bustle walking along the streets there today. It’s loud, music is pumping from storefronts, boom-boxes at sidewalk peddlers are jamming with old school tunes to reggae, people are hawking their wares, and it just seems to have an energetic feel of electricity in the area. People are hustling about. The streets are ALIVE. It just feels so REAL. There is so much history up here, and you can sort of sense it as you walk the streets.
You can find so many famous establishments here such as the Apollo for entertainment,
Sylvia’s for some down-home soul cooking like chicken and waffles (YUM!),
and the Lenox Lounge (which just recently closed because of a ridiculous rent increase, which reportedly jumped from $10,000 per month to $20,000. Hopefully they will re-open), among others.
There are also many beautiful churches that dot the area, and have that incredible gothic style look that I love so much.
Also along these roads are some beautiful brownstones and wonderful examples of old architecture from a time gone by. I love these structures, as they have character and represent a time when buildings were built to have meaning and an eye pleasing design, unlike the soulless glass and steel look of today.
Along with the past, Harlem has seen a renaissance of sorts with former President Bill Clinton establishing an office up here, and the gentrification of the area with many new stores, bars, and restaurants that have set up shop and now call it home. We stopped in at a few spots this evening for a bite and some drink. I love checking out new places on a whim as sometimes you can stumble upon some hidden gems.
The Corner Social offered up a lively bar/restaurant scene with a nice beer list and some tasty food. Terrific service, cool vibrant decor, and a huge flat screen showing today’s football game. Cheeseburger Spring Rolls, Meatloaf Sandwich with house made potato chips, and Jerk Spiced Chicken Baguette with plantain chips. Perfect to fill our hunger.
We ended the day at the Astor Row Cafe which is an eclectic coffee shop/cafe for some delish cappuccino’s and dessert. Sweet potato bread!
It was a totally worthwhile way to spend a Saturday. If you ever have the chance to explore and wander around Harlem definitely do it. There is so much to see and experience here.