Harlem Park To Park sets up gathering with industry bigs to advance area as all-around entertainment hub
Harlem Park to Park logo will be displayed at restaurants participating in the Fall Harlem Restaurant and Retail week starting Oct. 1 and running through Oct. 15.
In a nod to the neighborhood’s explosive growth as an all-around entertainment destination, giants in the city’s restaurant, hotel and culinary service industries will gather at Harlem’s Studio Museum next week for uptown’s first hospitality and culinary conference.
Organized by the civic/business group Harlem Park To Park and sponsored by American Express, Whole Foods and City College, the Wednesday, Oct. 10, conference is meant not only to introduce the downtown hospitality industry executives to Harlem, but also to expand Harlem’s brand in the city, said Harlem P2P’s Executive Director Nikoa Evans-Hendricks.
Nikoa Evans-Hendricks, executive director of Harlem Park to Park, says the conference is meant not only to introduce the downtown hospitality industry executives to Harlem, but also to expand Harlem’s brand in the city.
“Harlem has a thriving hospitality industry which includes a whole array of local and international cuisines, star chefs and celebrity chefs,” Evans-Hendricks said. “We want to position ourselves as a legitimate hospitality and culinary industry in the city, and be included in the city hierarchy in that industry.
“But we are very insular up here, so we need to get some feedback from outside,” she said. “We want to establish relationships with these people so we can integrate Harlem into the larger hospitality and culinary scene.”
Confirmed conference attendees include celebrity chef Roble Ali, Rosa Mexicano founder Douglas Griebel, hotel developer R. Donahue Peebles, as well as representatives from the Meat Packing District Association, NYC & Company, and the New York City Hospitality Alliance.
“We did some outreach downtown to see if these people would come for the panel,” Evans-Hendricks said. “The response was overwhelmingly positive. I could not believe how quickly we were getting confirmations.”
Nine businessmen and women founded Harlem P2P in 2009 as a way to develop marketing plans that would promote each other’s businesses.
The group now has nearly 60 members of all races and ethnicities whose common bond is they work in the group’s geological boundaries — Central Park on the south, Marcus Garvey Park on the East, Morningside Park on the West, and 125th/ 130th St. on the north.
That area is one of the hottest for development in the city, with enough high-end residential buildings and restaurants to qualify it “as Harlem’s Meat Packing District or Soho,” Evans-Hendricks said.
“This area has the largest concentration of premier businesses in Harlem,” she said. “What makes it special is that you also have the neighborhood’s highest concentration of luxury condos and luxury rentals, and people moving in have more disposable income.
“In years past Harlem has been marketed as one gigantic neighborhood, but when you do that something is lost,” Evans-Hendricks said. “Harlem, just like any other part of Manhattan, has been segmented over the years. Which means you need a different strategy to market this neighborhood.”
Evans-Hendriks holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellog School of Management. She was co-owner of an apparel store, N Boutique, in Harlem when Harlem Park to Park formed. She has been executive director since 2010.
Harlem small business owners have long faced a problem keeping dollars in the neighborhood; residents often see “going out” as heading into lower Manhattan, or at least below 110th St., to spend their entertainment dollars.
Harlem P2P aims to keep them and their dollars local with events that duplicate lower Manhattan festivities. For instance, the Fall Harlem Restaurant and Retail week starts Oct. 1 and runs through Oct. 15. (There is also a Spring session.) Participating restaurants display the Harlem P2P logo.
Seventeen participating restaurants, and seven participating retail shops, will offer prix fix menu items for $20.12. “The price is always the year,” Evans-Hendricks said. “Last year everything was $20.11.”
Harlem P2P will kick off its Third Annual Harlem Harvest Festival on Oct. 6 on St. Nicholas Ave. between 116th and 117th Sts.
Earlier this year the group hosted a ‘Battle of the Avenues’ competition between businesses on Lenox Ave. and Frederick Douglass Blvd. A “Battle of the Bars” earlier this year saw 10 of the areas bars compete to create the best cocktail using a newly introduced vodka.
The bar 67 Orange Street won that competition.
The culinary and hospitality conference runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Studio Museum of Harlem, 144 W. 125th St. Tickets are $25 and can be ordered online at at hp2pconference2012.eventbrite.com.
For more information see the Harlem Park to Park Facebook page.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/harlem-group-cooks-meet-and-greet-confab-aimed-showing-uptown-hospitality-article-1.1171011?pgno=1#ixzz28CIdgtal