The 25th Annual Mount Morris Park House Tour

For 25 years the community of Mount Morris Park has been opening our doors and inviting New Yorkers from across the island and around the world into our homes. And we are happy to continue this tradition.

Join us in celebrating our Silver Anniversary, Opening Our Doors for 25 Years!

This year’s tour around the Mount Morris Park section of Harlem will feature homes and faith-based institution, and we’re working on some special ideas for our local businesses as well.

Sunday, June 8, 11 AM-4 PM.
Come join us for this very special event!

11 AM to 4 PM: Follow the Self-Guided Tour of Homes at your leisure. Visit 10 venues including brownstone homes, live/work apartments and landmark churches.

12 Noon and 2 PM: Go Inside & Intimate in Historic Harlem with acclaimed Harlem Historian, Michael Henry Adams. You’ll explore inside several extraordinary houses in the Mount Morris Park Historic District that are not on the regular tour. Group size is limited. This popular 1.5 hour guided tour requires a separate ticket which may be purchased in advance or, if space is available, at the Tour Start.

Throughout the day: Enjoy live music at Mount Morris Ascension Church and other locations along Lenox Avenue.

Reserve tickets in advance..and save!

 Volunteer to be a Greeter.
We need 70 friendly volunteers to serve as Greeters in the homes on the day of the House Tour. Our events are successful because of our volunteers. Volunteers help us present ourselves at our best to outside guests and neighbors alike. In exchange for serving a 3-hour shift, you’ll get a free Tour ticket and a souvenir T-shirt. Contact our Volunteer Wranglers and sign up today.


Harlem’s Mount Morris Park historic district heats up

mount-morrisMount Morris Park has evolved into one of Harlem’s most booming neighborhoods, with renovated brownstones selling for more than $3 million and an influx of new commercial tenants.

In 2013, at least six restaurants and cafes either opened and revealed plans to open in the 16-block historic district just west of Marcus Garvey Park. The historic district status, earned in 1971, limits changes to buildings and storefronts. Revised plans are in the works to expand Marcus Garvey Park and therefore remove one traffic lane along Mount Morris Park West.

Throughout the 1960s, Mount Morris Park was known to attract homeless people and drug dealers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“There was a 10-year period, until 2009, when no new restaurants moved in,” Leah Abraham, co-owner of Italian restaurant Settepani at 196 Lenox Avenue, told the Journal.

About a block north of the district, Whole Foods is expected to arrive at Lenox Avenue between 124th and 125th streets sometime next year. In August, the city donated $4 million to save the 47-foot watchtower at the acropolis at Marcus Garvey Park, located at 18 Mount Morris Park West, as previously reported. [WSJ]Mark Maurer

Inside Maya Angelou’s Harlem Home

Exterior of Maya Angelou’s Harlem brownstone

Exterior of Maya Angelou’s Harlem brownstone

In Friday’s premiere of Wall Street Journal’s Mansion section, reporter Sanette Tanaka gives an inside look at the homes of 84-year-old poet Maya Angelou.

In addition to homes in Winston-Salem, N.C., Angelou found a home in Harlem in 2004 through famous friends: the husband-and-wife songwriting duo of Valerie Simpson and Nick Ashford:

“They called me and said, ‘We found your house,’ ” she says. “I said, ‘All right, put $10,000 down on it.’ They said, ‘No, you have to see it.’ And I said, ‘No, I trust you. If you believe that’s my house, I know it’s my house.’ “

Living room in Maya Angelou’s Harlem brown stone

Living room in Maya Angelou’s Harlem brown stone

The 3,500-square-foot home with 14 rooms had seen its share of wear and tear, including rain, fire and vandalism. Angelou spent time and money redoing the house, keeping much of its original oak door mouldings and railings.

In all of her homes, Ms. Angelou likes color. The Harlem house was designed to look like a bowl of summer fruit—watermelon pink, tomato red and plum purple, she says. A lime-green couch and three armchairs in pink, blue and yellow surround a square stone table, set with a bowl of glass fruit.

Living room with stairs leading to bedrooms in Maya Angelou’s Harlem brown stone

Living room with stairs leading to bedrooms in Maya Angelou’s Harlem brown stone


For more photo’s from Angelou’s home, see the slideshow in Portfolio. And check out this 360-degree tour of the poet’s living spaces.

Casa Frela Gallery – Harlem Travel Guide – Sutro Media

The place where art enthusiasts and the local community meet

Casa Frela Gallery is committed to the community of Harlem and the enrichment of cultural life throughout New York City. The gallery creates and produces programs that connect the inhabitants of Harlem with local and international art, music, and culture. Casa Frela also runs programs that trace local culture and history through written research and the oral stories of lifelong residents. Through these activities and programs, the gallery hopes to elevate the cultural standard of living and provide a comfortable, social place to experience art and music. The gallery is also available for event and meeting rental.

Need a place to stay? Harlem’s In at Carmen’s Bed & Breakfast a wonderful Victorian row house-style brownstone in the Mount Morris Park area is for you. Continue the local community feel with a stop at Ristorante Settepani. This bakery and light fare menu restaurant has been a neighborhood staple since 2000. An extensive dessert menu, a complete wine list and draft beers round out the menu.

Transportation: Bus—M1, M7, M102, M116. Subway—2, 3 to 116th St.


  • More than 360 entries with over 2000 photographs
  • This visually rich app consists of detailed New York City visitor’s information from visitor centers, tourist websites, weather, news, holidays, sales tax, smoking rules, tipping and transportation to and from airports and in the city
  • Detailed descriptions which include uncommonly known cultural and historical facts, websites, phone numbers, hours of operation, prices, menus and hyperlinks that link entries and lead to websites for additional historical and factual information.
  • Entries sorted by name, category, distance, price, and neighborhood
  • Once click to websites, phones, online ordering, online reservations, current menus and more
  • Live calendar
  • Ability to share user comments and mark and save favorites
  • Ask the authors questions through in-app comments to get personalized feedback at your finger tips
  • YouTube videos
  • GPS enabled Google maps with walking, driving and mass transit directions
  • Access offline content anytime
  • Free upgrades for life

What’s inside

  • Nightlife and entertainment from jazz, Latin salsa, opera to classical music;
  • Theatre, dance, spoken word and more;
  • Restaurants featuring soul food to French cuisine and everything in between;
  • Unique ethnic retail shops;
  • Museums that celebrate various cultures;
  • Fine art galleries;
  • Majestic churches and gospel music;
  • Amazing landmarks;
  • Parks and free recreational activities;
  • Guest accommodations;
  • Free internet access and Wi-fi locations;
  • Authentic tours of Harlem;
  • Annual events and festivals;
  • Sales & Deals

   Literally a guide in my pocket

Posted by Max on 13th Jan 2012

I can only subscribe to what other people already have told about the guide. It’s just great that I can read a place description, actually give a call its manager, find it on a map and even hook up on its Twitter channel to keep my eye on it. Very smart!

Download the free Sutro World @ and purchase the Harlem Travel Guide today for $2.99!

Follow Welcome to Harlem on:

Website –
Yelp –
Trip Advisor –

For a Harlem Theater, Hope Amid the Hurdles

Actors with the Classical Theater of Harlem rehearsing “Henry V.”

The “Henry V” that begins this Friday in the newly renovated amphitheater at Mount Morris Park is quintessential Classical Theater of Harlem: a gritty, hyperactive production of a Shakespearean drama, featuring a mostly black cast. Not as apparent are the lofty ambitions this play (and the company’s other plans) represent, or the daunting hurdles it faces.

“Henry V” is Classical Theater of Harlem’s first full-scale production in nearly two years, since its founders departed after friction with the board. And the company is kicking off its new life in debt, with no endowment or permanent home, and dependent on corporate, foundation and government financing at a time when such money is harder than ever to come by.

“Everything depends on ‘Henry V’; folks can see the high caliber of the new leadership,” said Ty Jones, a playwright and Obie-award winning veteran of the company who plays King Henry in the new production and is also the theater’s producing director and board chairman.

“I think Classical Theater can be to Harlem what Lincoln Center is uptown and what the Public is to downtown,” Mr. Jones, 41, added after a recent rehearsal.

In its first incarnation, as in its second, Classical Theater’s mission was to bring its versions of the classics to a changing Harlem and nurture new, diverse audiences. Founded in 1999, it presented dozens of productions over a decade, including an audacious mix of Shakespeare; black classics like “Funny House of a Negro”; and even a post-Katrina version of “Waiting for Godot.” It won awards, critical acclaim and provided opportunities for hundreds of actors. Its stars, like Wendell Pierce (“Treme” and “The Wire”), helped bring crowds to Harlem, which has become wealthier and whiter in recent years.

The theater started with about $9,000 from its founders, Alfred Preisser, the artistic director, and Christopher McElroen, its executive director. The two mounted most of the productions while in residence at the Harlem School of the Arts, where they worked.

Mr. Preisser, still a theater director, said recently that he parted ways with the company in November 2009 because he no longer believed that “institutional theater” allowed him to produce his best work and because he had grown tired of working with the board.

In an e-mail Mr. McElroen wrote that he was “puzzled and saddened” by the organization’s “discrediting” the theater’s accomplishments under his and Mr. Preisser’s leadership. Mr. Jones said those accomplishments were never discredited. Both Mr. Preisser and Mr. McElroen said they wished the company well.

The founders resigned because of continuing disputes with the board over issues of accountability, Mr. Jones said. “Things were done without explanation,” he said. “The core of the friction can be seen in the comment that Alfred made” about institutional theater, he added. But Mr. Jones and the seven other board members, who essentially serve as the staff, have vowed to keep the theater going. They have begun a new program to work with youth in Harlem housing projects and have continued a program of readings to support emerging minority playwrights. A free reading of Walter Mosley’s new play, “Lift,” drew about 200 people last month.

The free performances of “Henry V” this Friday and Saturday in the park are an appetizer for its formal premiere on Wednesday (with a Monday preview) at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center, where it will be performed through Sept. 4.

“Seed,” a play by Radha Blank about a social worker in the newly gentrified Harlem, begins with a free dress rehearsal on Sept. 6 at the National Black Theater (the official opening is Sept. 10), where it will be performed through Oct. 9. It is co-produced with Hip-Hop Theater Festival of New York, a performing arts company, and partly financed by a $90,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets for each show will range from $20 to $48, with group discounts available. For this fiscal year the company has a budget of $685,992 and is $172,000 in debt.

In the past few months Mr. Jones and the board have reintroduced themselves and their plans to the city’s political and cultural leadership. Those plans call for seeking an admittedly ambitious grant of some $1 million (over five years) from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone; hiring a staff; and presenting up to four full-scale professional productions a year by 2014. They are counting on a home at the long-vacant Victoria Theater on West 125th Street, which is being redeveloped into a cultural center.

“The community of Harlem really wants them to succeed,” said Freedome Bradley, the director of theatrical programs for SummerStage, which is under the auspices of the City Parks Foundation. “There’s a lot of pride that comes from a company called Classical Theater of Harlem. You have this launch — or soft launch — in the heart of Harlem, and you stick your flag there. There’s a new energy level. I think people will be excited to get behind them — I know I was.”

Bringing together a savvy board, management expertise and a healthy individual donor base are common challenges, said Michael M. Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts who also is a consultant for nonprofit performing arts organizations.

“I think the changes in Harlem represent an opportunity for Classical Theater of Harlem,” Mr. Kaiser said. “There is more wealth in Harlem. There is interest in Harlem as a place to be and a place to raise a family.”

The company’s rebirth could hinge on “surprising art,” making people feel a part of the enterprise with offerings like open rehearsals, as well as increased visibility and joint ventures with larger organizations, he said.

Mr. Jones’s desire to see Classical Theater incubate works that can move on to Broadway and Off Broadway could get a shot with the play “Breathin’ and Hopin,’ ” by Maximillian Gaspard, an emerging playwright. A planned co-production with Mr. Pierce, it is based on the true story of George Junius Stinney Jr., a 14-year-old sent to the electric chair in 1944 by the State of South Carolina. This black youth (so small that he could not be properly strapped into the electric chair) was charged with killing two young white girls in a highly controversial case.

Mr. Pierce said he brought the play to Classical Theater of Harlem because “over the years it gave me an opportunity to do the work I was trained to do at Julliard and to mine the pool of talent of color that is underutilized around the country,” he said.

Mr. Jones said he was confident that support exists. The play will get another public airing Aug. 27 through 29, with performances at East River Park on the Lower East Side.

“I believe that this company has been able to do what it has done on the backs of young, passionate artists of color,” Mr. Jones said, “and we will not let them down.”

By  Published: August 3, 2011