A Sunday Afternoon in Harlem

It had been a while since I’d last been to Harlem and let’s just say, at that time, the landscape was a whole lot different than it is today. Back in its heyday in the late 20’s and throughout the 30’s, Harlem had been dubbed “The Black Mecca of the World” due to its rich culture and wide array of artistic and political expressions. Its landscape was marked by brownstones and other historic buildings and even though blacks were the majority of its population, it was a melting pot of peoples of different races and cultures.

By the time I got to the US in the mid 1980’s Harlem was already in decline, in fact one could say it had already hit rock bottom and most recall that period as the darkest in Harlem’s history. Crime and drugs ran rampant, poverty was real, and for most non-residents of Harlem our first instinct was to stay away, but places like the Appollo and other small theaters, the churches, renowned and local artists and activists, and families preserved its legacy and culture and kept the people coming.

There is hardly anyone who lives in New York who has not heard of Harlem and the conversations of how gentrification has been changing the landscape and occupants of some of its neighborhoods since the early 1990’s.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the Sunday afternoon in Harlem relishing its rich culture and delicious cuisine with a few close friends. Yes, gentrification was very evident in some of the neighborhoods we passed through, with their high-rise glass buildings and trendy restaurants and stores that have now taken up residence there. There is also change in the complexion of some of the people we passed on the streets and the residents going in and out of those brownstones, but the “heart” of Harlem remains unchanged, still alive and ticking and attracting people hungry and eager to experience its culture.

Harlem is renowned for its Southern comfort and soul food dishes passed down through the years from generation to generation and gives real meaning to the saying, “a moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips”. Yesterday at The Chocolat Restaurant we overindulged on sangrias, shrimp and grits, short ribs, salmon, fried chicken, collard greens, French toast and heart stopping macaroni and cheese. Check out the cheese on that thing below.

Later after great conversation and bellies full of soul food and sangrias, we spent the evening at the El Museo Del Barrio Theater watching the 40th year anniversary rendition of the play “Mama I Want to Sing”. What a lovely Sunday Afternoon it was, in Harlem with Friends.


24 thoughts on “A Sunday Afternoon in Harlem

  1. Harlem is so rich in culture, food and talent. I was pleased to see that the theatre recruited the talents from Harlem and they surely did not disappoint. Everyone deserves a day out in Harlem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re adjoined, but they’re single houses. Usually though, some owners for additional income, choose to divide them into 2 or 3 separate living quarters. They are huge inside and brownstones are very expensive.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:
    My Featured Blogger this week is Janice Reid of Sincerely Jan. Former finance industry professional, in 2018 Jan switched her focus to fighting–and surviving–Acute Myeloid Leukemia. This gave her “an entirely new perspective,” she explains, leading to a life that today “is slower but more fulfilling., more self-aware and spiritual.” And it shows in the thoughtful and always engaging photo essays Jan shares with us. Read on and see!

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