In the Heart of Harlem

New York, New York Guide (A): In the Heart of Harlem

Harlem is world-renowned as a hub of black culture. Its history is full of anecdotes about African-Americans--past and present, rich and poor, famous and infamous. The neighborhood continues to be a popular destination for all those who want to sneak a peek at American life and 125th Street remains the heartbeat of Harlem.
This article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on iTunes App Store and Google Play. You can download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the attractions featured in this article. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and it works offline so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Walk Route

Guide Name: In the Heart of Harlem
Guide Location: USA » New York
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: NY Amsterdam News Building   Magic Johnson Theatres- Harlem 9   Apollo Theater   Hotel Theresa   Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building   The Studio Museum in Harlem   Sylvia's Restaurant   Marcus Garvey Park  
Author: Joy Polanco
Author Bio: Joy is a 2008 graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism. She started her broadcast career in 2000 as a radio news reporter. In 2002, she was the winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award for Excellence in Broadcasting by the New York State Broadcasters Association. Joy continues her pursuit of a career in broadcast journalism.
Author Website:
NY Amsterdam News Building

1) NY Amsterdam News Building

The century old newspaper started as a publication to focus on Black life in America. On December 4, 1909 a man named James H. Anderson sat down at a dressmaker’s table with six sheets of paper, a pencil and $10, which he used to invest in what would later be called the New York Amsterdam News. He sold the paper back then for 2 cents a copy outside of his mid-town Manhattan home. Eventually as more and more African-Americans migrated to Harlem and his paper grew in popularity, Anderson moved...
Magic Johnson Theatres- Harlem 9

2) Magic Johnson Theatres- Harlem 9

This movie theater began as part of a chain of Magic Theatres across the country. The goal of the venture was to build first-rate multiplexes in urban neighborhoods. In addition to providing a high-quality service, the theatres create jobs and encourage local economic growth and development. After the Harlem movie theater was built about a decade ago, multiple businesses followed suit including Old Navy, Disney and Starbucks. Former NBA player, Earvin "Magic" Johnson is the chairman of...
Apollo Theater

3) Apollo Theater

This former burlesque house opened its doors on January 26, 1934 as the 125 Street Apollo. For quite some time, Apollo was the only theater in New York City to have black entertainers. Over the years, it has earned its reputation as the place "Where Stars are Born and Legends are Made", by launching the careers of several superstars including Billie Holiday, James Brown, The Jackson 5, Diana Ross and The Supremes. Most notable is Ella Fitzgerald, who made her singing debut on...
Hotel Theresa

4) Hotel Theresa

Once known as the "Waldorf Astoria" of Harlem, the 300-room Hotel Theresa had an impressive roster of past guests. Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, Duke Ellington and even Fidel Castro are just some of the famous clientele who've either stayed or lived at the hotel. Upon its opening in 1913 and until the construction of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building in 1973, the hotel was the tallest building in Harlem. Hotel Theresa boasts a...
Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building

5) Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building

This nineteen-story high-rise is named after the first African-American elected to Congress from New York. Construction of the building was completed in 1974 and was originally called the Harlem State Office Building. It was renamed after the former Congressman in 1983. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. represented Harlem in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1945 to 1971. He was a vital supporter of important civil rights legislation during his service. In 1970, he was defeated in his election to a...
The Studio Museum in Harlem

6) The Studio Museum in Harlem

This is the place to go if you want a definite cultural experience during your Harlem visit. Containing more than 1600 contemporary and permanent works of art, the museum puts a spotlight on African culture. Founded in 1968, The Studio Museum devoted itself to showcasing the artwork of 19th and 20th century Black-American artists. This includes the work of James Van Der Zee, who photographed Harlem life and celebrities during the 1920's through the 1980’s. The museum continues its mission...
Sylvia's Restaurant

7) Sylvia's Restaurant

Famous for their "soul food", the restaurant was founded by entrepreneur Sylvia Woods in 1962. In addition to its high-profile patrons such as Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Jesse Jackson, Sylvia's has become known for its down-home southern comfort cuisine. As a result, Sylvia has been dubbed the "Queen of Soul Food". Born in South Carolina in 1926, Mrs. Woods is an American success story. The restaurant is complimented by a private catering business and sells a full...
Marcus Garvey Park

8) Marcus Garvey Park

Originally called Mount Morris Park, Marcus Garvey Park is located in Harlem’s Mount Morris Park Historic District. Some of the area’s finest brownstones surround its more than 20-acres, which are maintained by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The park features a natural rock formation, a fire watchtower, an amphitheater and playgrounds. In 1973, Mount Morris Park was named after the black nationalist leader Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. Garvey was born on the island of...

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