It’s a long way uptown on the 2 train from Lower Manhattan to 135th St in Harlem, but oh so worth it. We went on a highly entertaining and interesting free tour with Lady Altovise (that’s her in the photo below). She reminded me of Queen Latifah.
Lady Altovise – “as in Alto like the singer and vis, like Visa card” – our rockin tour guide.
Abyssinian Baptist Church, W 138th St, Harlem. Apparently for Sunday service you have to arrive by 930am (in your Sunday best, strictly no jeans or sneakers) for an 11am service. The queue to get in goes around the corner and down the block. Sounds like its worth the wait. One of the best places to hear negro spirituals.
‘Strivers Row’, St Nicholas Historic District, W 138th St, Harlem. Originally designed & built in 1891-93 for upper-middle class whites who decided they were too expensive and no longer wanted to live way up on 138th St. The building association wouldn’t sell to African Americans so the blocks stood empty until around 1919 when they association changed it’s mind. By this time the children of freed slaves, who were highly educated and had become doctors, lawyers and the like were looking for homes. All these up and coming inhabitants led to street being coined Strivers Row.
Strivers Row colour.
This is Chance, a local entrepreneur. He’s six. He sells sweet, delicious iced tea. This is him during his ‘sell’ to our tour group. It went something like this…’I have really great iced tea, it’s delicious, why am I selling iced tea? To get money, cause you gotta have money to go places. How many people want ice tea? Everyone?’. The kid with either be President one day or the Zuckerberg of his generation.
Hotel Theresa, Adam Clayton Powell Blvd, Harlem.
The Apollo theatre.