Too Hot For Hoops?   Leave a comment

I’m not sure what I expected. There’s a certain connotation associated simply with the name: HARLEM. It evokes thoughts of gospel, jazz and basketball so I suppose those were the sounds I was looking for as we took the subway from midtown Manhattan and hopped off at 116th St.

Stopping first at Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market, we perused the tables and baskets filled with funky jewellery, traditional clothing, hand carved statues and musical instruments from countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana. Fabulously colourful fabrics were a treat to our eyes and, if my daughter had her own place back home, she would have scooped up an armload.

It’s another super hot day in the city but we take our time and inhale the sights and sounds as we make our way towards Grants Tomb to get the tour bus.

Brownstones are an icon in New York and Harlem is no different. I love these buildings and some of them here are more brightly painted. They remind me of London, England where I spent time in a similar style, tall, narrow house (albeit a white one so, technically, not a brownstone).

Across the street, a woman dances on the sidewalk singing along to the tune in her head and, somewhere unseen, a group of singers provide background music to our Harlem walking tour.

Unfortunately, the thump of leather on a court, accompanied by the whistles of Sweet Georgia Brown, is a sound we didn’t hear. I found it strange that kids were not shooting hoops on every street corner (but then again, it is about 35 degrees) I was also surprised to learn that the Harlem Globetrotters actually came from the south side of Chicago. In fact, they didn’t even play their first game in Harlem until 1968, 40 years after the team originally formed. Who knew?

We ate lunch at the Harlem Tavern. Buttermilk fried chicken, corn bread, gravy, beans, spiced lamb burgers and salad. The beer we tried, Blue Moon Agave Nectar, was refreshing but nothing to write home about. The staff was super friendly and the service was wonderful!

We walked to Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd by way of Morningside Park, a beautiful green space that stretches for about 15 blocks. The park is only 1 block away from Central Park and both parks were designed by the same people. At the Riverside Drive Viaduct, we literally staggered up the many steps (it probably seemed way more than it actually was) and then cooled down with a popsicle while watching the kids at play in the park. There was just enough time for a quick snapshot of Grant’s Tomb before hopping on the bus to the Bronx.

Next Stop: The Bronx

Posted September 21, 2013 by Jaclyn in Holidays, New York, Parks, Travel, Uncategorized

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