A few days ago, I posted a list of ten things I love about Harlem and promised to share a few more. Here they are:
- Harlem Stage – A performing arts center that “celebrates and perpetuates the unique and diverse artistic legacy of Harlem and the indelible impression it has made on American culture.” Harlem Stage is located on Convent Avenue at W 135th Street, across from the Aaron Davis Hall, a 750-seat theater, experimental theater and rehearsal studio that’s used by the New York City Opera National Company, Dance Theater of Harlem, Alvin Ailey, the Emerson String Quartet among others.
- Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington Memorial – Located at 110 Street and Fifth Avenue (Duke Ellington Circle), it was created by sculptor, Robert Graham. Thirty feet tall, it depicts the legendary composer, pianist and bandleader standing beside a concert grand piano. It is the first memorial in the U.S. to Ellington and the first monument in New York City that is dedicated to an African American. Ellington, who was born in Washington, D.C. in 1899, lived much of his adult life in Harlem. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969. Some of his compositions include Sophisticated Lady, In a Sentimental Mood, Mood Indigo, and Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. Ellington died in 1974. The memorial was dedicated on July 1, 1997.
- Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters – The 67-acre park contains one of the highest points in Manhattan. It towers over the Hudson River and offers magnificent views of the Palisades and lower Hudson Valley.
- Fort Tryon Park is also home to The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that houses nearly 5,000 medieval works in a reconstructed medieval monastery. The buildings were purchased in Europe, brought to the United States, and reassembled, often stone by stone.
- El Museo del Barrio – Founded in 1969 by a group of Puerto Rican educators, artists and community activists, El Museo has become New York’s leading Latino cultural institution. Its mission has expanded to include the art and culture in all of the Caribbean and Latin America. El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue, New York. Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 212-831-7272
- Grant’s Tomb – This memorial to Ulysses S. Grant is located at Riverside Drive and 122nd Street. It includes the tomb of the general and his wife, Julia. Grant served as President of the U.S. from 1869-77. It is open year round from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
- Hamilton Grange National Museum (Scheduled to be reopened on September 17, 2011) – The only home ever owned by Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury (1789-95), Founding Father and political philosopher. Hamilton was born and raised in the West Indies. He came to New York in 1772 to study finance at King’s College (now Columbia University). As a member of Congress, Hamilton was instrumental in creating the new Constitution. He was also a co-author of the Federalist Papers. As Secretary of the Treasury, he devised plans for funding the national debt, securing federal credit, encouraging expansion of manufacturing and organizing the federal bank. Hamilton was fatally wounded in a duel with his political rival, Aaron Burr, on July 11, 1804. Hamilton Grange was designed by architect John McComb, Jr. It was completed in 1802 and named “The Grange” after Hamilton ancestral home in Scotland. It was home to Hamilton for only two years. The home, now located in St. Nicholas Park, will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except holidays. Admission is free.
- Hispanic Society of America – A free museum and reference library for the study of the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, the Hispanic Society of America houses an impressive collection of twentieth century Spanish and Latin American paintings. Located at 613 W 155 Street, New York. Hours Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 212-926-2234
- Morris-Jumel Mansion – Built in 1765 as a summer retreat for British colonel, Roger Morris and his wife, Mary Phillipse, the Morris-Jumel Mansion is the oldest house in Manhattan. The Mansion served as George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Today, the Morris-Jumel Mansion and Roger Morris Park are part of the Jumel Terrace Historic District. The house features nine restored, period rooms including George Washington’s office, a dining room with 19th century ceramics and glass and Eliza Jumel’s chamber, with a bed that belonged to Napoleon. An archive and library are on the third floor. The Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace, New York. Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 212-923-8008. Admission: Adults $5, Seniors and Students $4, Free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult and for Friends of Morris-Jumel Mansion.
- Riverbank State Park offers a wide variety of recreational, athletic and art experiences for everyone. It houses an Olympic-size pool, a covered skating rink, an 800-seat cultural theater, a 2,500-seat athletic complex with fitness room, and a 150-seat restaurant. There’s also a 25-yard lap pool, wading pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, a softball field, hand/paddleball courts and a running track with football/soccer field. The Riverbank promenade offers spectacular views of the Hudson River, the Palisade Mountains and the George Washington Bridge. There’s a 900-seat amphitheater and docking facilities for excursion and fishing boats at water level. Riverbank State Park, 679 Riverside Drive, NY. 212-694-3600
- Masjid Malcolm Shabazz Mosque – Formerly the Lenox Casino, the building was converted into a mosque after the assassination of Malcolm X. It was renovated by Sabbath Brown, who added middle-eastern architectural features such as arches and the aluminum dome. Masjid Malcolm Shabazz Mosque, 102 W 116th Street, New York.
- City College of the City of New York – The Gothic spires of City College seem to sprout out of the hilly landscape of upper Harlem. Taking up eleven blocks from 130th to 141st Streets on Convent Avenue, many of its buildings have been designated landmarks.
Hope you find these things I love about Harlem as interesting as I do.