Marcus Garvey Park – Harlem Travel Guide – iPhone, iPad, and iPod

Host to “The Black Woodstock” in the summer of 1969

Marcus Garvey Park, one of the oldest parks in New York City, is located between 120th and 124th Streets between Fifth and Madison Avenues, and is approximately 20 acres in size. In approximately 1835, the park’s land was acquired and the park opened in 1840. Originally named Mount Morris Park (for which the surrounding neighborhood’s historic district is named), in 1973 the park was renamed in honor of Marcus Garvey (1887–1940), who was a publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and crusader for Black Nationalism and who, in 1919, established the Universal Negro Improvement Association. The park is home to the only surviving fire watchtower, which was designed by Julius Kroehl and erected in 1855-1857. It was declared a landmark in 1967 because of its unique post-and-lintel cast-iron construction, which provided the prototype framing for the modern-day skyscraper, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Watchtower serves as an important community landmark. In an effort to contain fires in NYC an elaborate reservoir system was constructed which included the Watchtower and the Croton Aqueduct. The park is also home to the Pelham Fritz Recreation Center, which contains a state-of-the-art physical fitness center, a 1,700-seat amphitheater (which was a gift from Broadway musical giant Richard Rodgers, who grew up across from the park in the early 1900s), and the Harlem Little League, which won the Mid-Atlantic Championship in 2002. The Amphitheater is the site for two popular annual events—the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in late August and the two-day Dance Harlem Festival in September.

Facilities: Basketball courts, two dog runs, Olympic-size pool, playgrounds, recreation center that houses a fitness center containing cardiovascular equipment and a weight room, baseball field, barbecue area, African drumming circle, senior citizen program, computer resource center, and amphitheater where summer cultural events are staged.

Check out the unique brownstone at 4 West 123rd Street, which was “dressed up” by it owners in 1885 with an elaborate cast-iron fence and gate and a stamped, galvanized tin oriel window. Then stop by the Mount Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church and checkout one of the only three copper domes in New York.

Transportation: Bus—M1, M7, M60, M100, M101, M102, M104, BX15. Subway—A, B, C, D, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Metro North to 125th St.

Enjoy the show

Features

  • 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!

Harlem Travel Guide is available in App Store for $2.99!

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Tonnie’s Minis – HARLEM TRAVEL GUIDE IPHONE AND IPAD APP

Coffee house and cupcakes galore

Tonnie’s Minis opened in theMount Morris Park Historic District with a full menu of delicious cupcakes that are prepared to order as you watch. If you are not certain about what you want, the staff will prepare a sample one-and-a-half-inch cake shot that you can just pop into your mouth. Of course, you can purchase the shots by the dozen, which make for quite a novel addition to a dinner party. In addition to cupcakes, Tonnie’s serves up assorted cakes, cookies, brownies, and beverages such as cappuccino, latte, espresso, and teas. Tonnie’s Minis became the top destination for cupcakes after opening in the West Village in 2006. Already the cupcake haven has become a Harlem hangout for those with a sweet tooth. The “Carrot Dream” and “Death by Chocolate” cupcakes are signature cupcakes, but the “Red Velvet” is gaining as the hands-down favorite in Harlem.

Cuisine: Baked Goods

Menu

Features: Delivery

Sales & Deals: 2 medium size cupcakes of your choice for $4 until 12/31/2012

Grab some cupcakes and something to drink and head over to Marcus Garvey Park and relax in the new Richard Rodgers Amphitheater. Then go over to Connections Fine Art Gallery which features work of world renowned artist and spiritual healer Zaccheus Oloruntoba of Nigeria.

Transportation: Bus—M7, M60, M100, M101, M102, BX15. Subway—2, 3 to 125th St.

Enjoy the show

FeaturesHarlem Travel Guide iPhone and iPad App

  • 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

Download the free Sutro World @ www.sutromedia.com/world and purchase the Harlem Travel Guide today for $2.99!

Follow Welcome to Harlem on:

Website www.welcometoharlem.com
Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Welcome-to-Harlem/464732145003
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/welcometoharlem
Yelphttp://www.yelp.com/biz/welcome-to-harlem-new-york
Trip Advisorhttp://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d1977036-Reviews-Welcome_to_Harlem-New_York_City_New_York.html
Blogwww.welcometoharlem.wordpress.com

The Human Spirit: Shabbat in Harlem

Jews fled to the Bronx, Brooklyn and the Upper West Side. By 1930, 5,000 Jewish residents remained of the hundreds of thousands who had lived in Harlem.

Simply put, Harlem was the synonym for inner-city crime while I was growing up in America. Every comedian’s repertoire included a joke about getting off the subway at 125th Street.

So when the broker from a short-term apartment rental agency in Manhattan clarified that the listing for “a luxurious and spacious, yet affordable apartment, 15 minutes from Central Park and a quick subway ride to Grand Central” was in East Harlem, I nixed it.
We would be arriving from Jerusalem, meeting up with our Sabra son, who is in the States for a post-doc stint, and his family. How could I tell them we were staying in Harlem?

A young American house-guest assured me that East Harlem – alternatively called Spanish Harlem or Il Barrio – is now hip and popular. I typed “synagogue” and “Harlem” into a search engine and found the Old Broadway Synagogue on 125th Street. After correspondence, my husband, Gerald Schroeder, was invited to give the sermon there about science and Torah.

WE ARRIVE in Harlem. The apartment turns out to be roomy and convenient. The young moms with strollers on the street are smiling and helpful. The only problem is noisy late-night street partying at the 24/7 McDonald’s across the street. By the second night, I sleep through it.

Comes Shabbat, and on a sunny, late autumn morning, we walk toward the Old Broadway Synagogue. Congregation president Paul Radensky has sent walking directions. Red and yellow trees surprise us along the busy city streets. New Yorkers are in the midst of a planting an additional million trees in their city. They reached 500,000 in October, right here in Harlem, with the planting of a pin oak. The greening initiative is supported by Jewish singer and actress Bette Midler, a Harlem resident. Former president Bill Clinton has his offices here. Harlem’s main streets, squares and playgrounds bear the names of famous black Americans: Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X.

Ironically the decades of neglect in Harlem meant that some of the finest townhouses were never replaced by high rises. Ubiquitous for-sale signs announce luxury condos. City demographers say the black population in Harlem has been shrinking for half a century; in the last decade, white, Asian and Puerto Rican residents have been moving in. Chain stores like Marshall’s, Starbucks, and Cohen’s Optical line the main streets, along with pushcart vendors selling incense, “I Love Harlem” T-shirts and CDs of reggae music.

Amid the festivity, a middle-aged man is hawking tickets to a new show at the Apollo Theater. This is where famed black singers and musicians performed when white stages were not welcoming. Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and dozens of other megastars got their break at the Apollo, a club owned by Jews.

TWO DECADES before Lady Ella sang “A Tisket, a Tasket” at the Apollo, a Ukrainian-born cantor named Yossele Rosenblatt revolutionized Jewish cantorial music at the neighborhood’s Ohab Tzedek synagogue. Rosenblatt introduced tearful sounds – krechts, as they’re called in Yiddish – before an adoring congregation. As the Roaring Twenties opened, Harlem was the third largest Jewish community in the world, after the Lower East Side and Warsaw, Poland. Between 175,000 and 200,000 Jews lived here. More than 100 synagogues and Torah study centers flourished. Perhaps my own grandparents lived right in East Harlem with the other Jewish factory workers. I’d never thought of it.

Jewish Harlem was never romanticized like the Lower East Side, even though Broadway composer Richard Rodgers and radio/TV show creator Gertrude Edelstein, who wrote The Goldbergs, lived in Harlem; the beloved Goldbergs lived in the Bronx.

What happened to the rich Jewish life in Harlem? Black Americans moved to New York City from the south, seeking inexpensive housing in the northern part of the city. The Depression shriveled economic opportunity. Unemployment and crime escalated.

Jews fled to the Bronx, Brooklyn and the Upper West Side. By 1930, only 5,000 Jewish residents remained of the hundreds of thousands who had lived in Harlem.

Although the majority of property owners in the neighborhood were now black, Jewish business owners, landlords and shopkeepers who had remained there became the target of frustrated, poverty-stricken residents. Three years before Kristallnacht, rioters smashed windows and looted Jewish shops in Harlem. One by one, the great synagogues of Harlem became churches. Today, Ohab Tzedek is the Baptist Temple Church. Other churches retained their stained-glass windows and women’s galleries. Only Old Broadway Synagogue has remained. It began as a minyan meeting in storefronts, and just as the tides were changing in the Jewish community in 1921, it inaugurated its building.

Despite the touted gentrification of the area, as we walk to synagogue, a parade of men and women marches down 125th Street carrying a banner calling for the end of neighborhood shootings. A well-dressed, middle-aged woman is preaching at the corner of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building Plaza about the destruction of the Israelites. Turns out she’s reading our own Isaiah. Gwendolyn Pratt says she’s answering a calling to wake up the people of the neighborhood. I invite her to the synagogue lecture.

The stained-glass windows with the Star of David on Old Broadway Street are a welcome sight. The windows, boarded up after the brick-throwing in the violent 1960s, have been restored with a grant from New York Landmarks Conservancy. Congregants step out of the sanctuary to meet us. Coffee and tea are waiting in the women’s gallery.

The wooden pews are old and unvarnished, the ceiling peeling. About 30 men and women have come to Shabbat services, two-thirds of them Caucasian, one-third black. The man leading the prayer service isn’t Rosenblatt, but has a melodious voice. The only unusual touch in this standard Orthodox Shabbat service is that after the misheberach for sick Jewish men and women, prayers for the ill among non-Jews are elicited as well.

Says Radensky, “We are in much better shape than we were a few years ago. The Jewish population in the neighborhood is growing. I suspect that most of the Jews in the neighborhood are young and not connected Jewishly, and if they are, they are largely not connected to Orthodox Judaism. But I think the prospects are good that more religious Jews will move in over time.”

After services, everyone takes part in spicy vegetarian cholent and Middle Eastern salads while they hear about Torah and science. A Saturday night program is announced: An Israeli musician, originally from Ethiopia, will perform together with local talent. We say the Grace after Meals, introducing it with Psalm 126, “Shir Hama’alot.” It was Rosenblatt’s most famous piece, a runner-up to “Hatikva” as our national anthem. “Those who tearfully sow, will reap in glad song. He who bears the measure of seeds, walk along weeping, but will return in exultation, a bearer of his sheaves.”

I think of the ebb and surge of the tides of Jewish history, not only in Europe, but here, in the most Jewish of all Diaspora cities. The liquor store near our apartment already has five different kosher wines, a sure sign that the Jews are moving back. Harlem will be Jewish again, but the shadows of the past are not easily banished, at least not for this short-term tenant from Jerusalem.

The author is a Jerusalem writer who focuses on the wondrous stories of modern Israel. She serves as the Israel Director of Public Relations for Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. The views in her columns are her own.

Bring Back Fats Waller’s Lost Musical!

The jazz great’s Early to Bed was a Broadway hit in 1943 but was written out of history. The gorgeous music deserves a revival.

Did you know that jazz pioneer Fats Waller wrote the score to a Broadway musical? I don’t mean Hot Chocolates in 1929, a black show that started at a Harlem nightclub and made the move downtown, and was a string of songs and sketches. I mean that Waller wrote a Broadway musical with a white lyricist that premiered on the Great White Way, had a mostly white cast and had a mainstream production team. That was not normal in 1943, and it was a hit, too.

It was called Early to Bed, and since it closed almost exactly 67 years ago, in 1944, and Fats’ birthday is this Friday, I am making a pitch for unearthing it because it is, essentially, a lost show. Mainstream histories of musical theater tend to pass by it quickly because it wasn’t written by someone like Richard Rodgers or even “honorary black” Harold Arlen. A one-off show by a jazz musician doesn’t fit into the usual quest to chart the evolution of musical theater as a form.

But then, even works on Waller tend not to have a whole lot to say about the show, since Waller experts are naturally more interested in jazz than in musicals. As I write this, Early to Bed isn’t even mentioned on Waller’s Wikipedia page.

This is a shame, because the score is, as you would expect of Waller at the height of his powers, a major treat. Fans of the Waller-tribute revue Ain’t Misbehavin’ will recall “When the Nylons Bloom Again” and “The Ladies Who Sing With the Band.” They were from Early to Bed. Most would consider those two songs among the catchiest in Ain’t Misbehavin’ — imagine a score with another dozen songs like them. Yet no full score of the show has ever been published, and so you can’t hear them. Ever!

Those inclined to dig around for such things have always loved the handful of other songs from the show that happened to be published as sheet music. I have witnessed the red-hot “At the Hi-De-Ho High in Harlem” enter innocent people’s heads and stay there for weeks. In the show, this number was performed by a kind of Waller substitute, Bob Howard, who went on to become the first black person to host a television show. “This Is So Nice” and “Slightly Less Than Wonderful” are, respectively, nice and wonderful, indeed.

I caught a small-scale revival of the show a couple of years ago and finally heard the other songs, and I am still humming a few of them now. Only Waller could make even the inevitable song based on the title of the show, “Early to Bed,” almost as infectious as “Honeysuckle Rose.” However, a show cannot truly live when done with a tiny cast in a tiny room accompanied by a tinny piano, and besides, the truth is that as a story, Early to Bed was not exactly high art.

The plot involves a bullfighter and a track team, both of whom happen to alight in a bordello in Martinique and think it’s just a hotel. Yes, that was the premise for two-and-a-half hours of show, with lines like the track-team coach saying, “I asked the manager if they had facilities here for a workout, and he said he guessed it could be arranged!” “At the Hi-De-Ho High in Harlem” is introduced by the Fats guy saying to his squeeze, apropos of nothing in particular, that she would have enjoyed the high school he went to, upon which he and the lady then sing and dance about it for five minutes.

That’s what Broadway plots were often like back then. Try to remember what the “plot” is of even an evergreen from the era — Anything Goes, for example. But this means that there are no commercial prospects in a full-scale mounting of Early to Bed, unless City Center’s Encores! series wants to take a crack at a four-day, scripts-in-hand run, as is its now noble tradition.

More usefully, however, Early to Bed needs to be recorded in all of its original glory with full orchestra. The instrument parts do still exist, and the lush, bouncy splendor of Waller’s songs must have sounded fantastic scored for a Broadway pit band. Over the past 25 years, many old-time musicals have been recorded with full orchestra, with the original materials lovingly exhumed and made to sing again. At this point, that this has not been done for Early to Bed is a gaping omission.

Almost every note Waller recorded has been released on CD. Yet because of its orphan status — too “jazz” for show-music people and too “Broadway” for jazz people — Waller’s hit Broadway musical, one of the crowning achievements of a life that ended shortly thereafter, is available only in a few shards of sheet music and in recordings of a few of the songs that Waller sang himself — in, as it happens, a rather apparent state of intoxication.

That won’t do. Here, then, is my pitch to an organization interested in documenting a piece of both black and theater history that will lend endless pleasure in the bargain. Contact a record company that specializes in such projects — I suggest trying PS Classics first — and offer funding for a restoration of the Early to Bed materials, in order to lay down a solid recording of a lost work by a major black artist. Surely there is a decent pitch to be made for a show that includes a song called “A Girl Who Doesn’t Ripple When She Bends”!

John McWhorter is a regular contributor to The Root.

Photo credits to photos8.com

Harlem’s Hebrew Heritage

The Harlem Renaissance. The Apollo Theater. Black culture. Gentrification.

For most people, these are the things that come to mind when they think about Harlem. But how about a thriving Jewish community?

On Sunday afternoon, about two dozen people — including two Riverdale residents — gathered for a walking tour organized by the Municipal Arts Society of New York to learn about the Jewish history of Harlem.

Tour guide Marty Shore, a bespectacled gray-haired man who wore a bright red backpack and an even brighter red coat, began by briefly recounting Harlem’s history from the second half of the 19th century through the early 1900s.

Like most areas north of Manhattan, Harlem was a farming community in the 1860s. Two decades later, it experienced a housing boom after the 2nd and 3rd Avenue elevated train stations were built. In 1895, the first Jews began to migrate there from Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Within the next 15 years, Harlem became the third largest Jewish community in the world, after Krakow (or Warsaw, depending on which historian you ask), Poland and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Mr. Shore said.

In subsequent decades, Jews moved out and other ethnic groups, most prominently African-Americans, moved in.

Today, little remains of Harlem’s vibrant Jewish community but hidden jewels of Jewish culture still exist and Mr. Shore was eager to point them out.

One of the first stops on the tour was Mount Olivet Baptist Church, formerly Temple Israel of New York, which is now located at 112 E. 75th St. Stars of David still remain on the building and, if one looks hard enough, can also be seen through the dirty plexiglass that covers the church’s stained glass windows. Though the tour did not enter the church, Mr. Shore informed the crowd that Hebrew writings remain on the sacristy walls and that there is still a women’s balcony that was once used in Jewish services.

Other churches that were once Jewish places of worship include the Ebenezer Gospel Tabernacle, formerly Congregation Chebra Ukadisha B’nai Mikalwarie, a Jewish congregation from Poland; Mount Neboh Baptist Church, formerly Temple Ansche Chesed, which moved to the Upper West Side in 1927; and Salvation Deliverance Church, formerly Institutional Synagogue, which became known as the “shul with the pool,” because it offered a school and community center complete with a gymnasium and pool on the premises.

“One of my favorite places to give tours is in Harlem,” said Mr. Shore, a former New York City public school teacher, who has been a certified tour guide since 2000. “I like dispelling the myths of Harlem and bringing people to a place they’d probably never go on their own.”

Passing rows upon rows of brownstones, some newly renovated, some burnt out and abandoned, the tour ventured to 120th Street.There, Mr. Shore called attention to the childhood home of Richard Rodgers, of the famous duo Rodgers and Hammerstein, writers of such beloved Broadway musicals as The Sound of Music, Oklahoma! and The King and I. On the same block lived other Jews of notoriety, including Gertrude Edelstein, the actress and writer of the radio and television show The Goldbergs, Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, regarded as the greatest cantor of his time who sang at the nearby Congregation Ohab Zedek (now located on the Upper West Side) and Lena Himmelstein, a clothing designer who founded Lane Bryant.

A final noteworthy stop on the tour was the former synagogue of the Commandment Keepers: Holy Church of the Living God, a practicing sect of black Jews. Founded in 1919 by Nigerian Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, the congregation believes that the lost tribe of Israel has its roots in Ethiopia. The building at 1 W. 123rd St. functioned as their place of worship starting in 1962 but is now padlocked due to a pending court case over who owns the deed. Inscribed Stars of David, a Torah scroll and Hebrew lettering are still visible on the building.

“Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and full of wonderful information,” said Susan Birnbaum, who leads tours herself and has lived in Riverdale for 40 years. She attended with Susan Gordon, a former New York City public school teacher and member of the Riverdale community for 26 years.

“The history of New York is fascinating. This is all a part of the evolving nature of the City,” Ms. Gordon said.

The Municipal Art Society of New York runs weekly and specialty tours. For a full list, go to http://www.mas.org/tours.

Clockwise from center: the now-shuttered former synagogue of the Commandment Keepers: Holy Church of the Living God; glipses of the past on what is now the Mount Olivet Baptist Church; the home of Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt; guide Marty Shore; a tour participant takes in the sights.