Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harlem Gospel Tour and Lots of Walking

Sunday was the Harlem Gospel Tour – great history of Harlem....good out and walked around taking pictures, went to church service, fantastic music, no sermon. There are two tours, one with a "soul food" lunch and one without.  I chose without ...thinking I would have that time to wander around, but no, we were whisked back onto the bus and back to the beginning.  Next time I would do Harlem Tour but with lunch.  Would have liked to get off tour and just take pictures of people. Very interesting.  Would do it again, and get permission to take pictures of interesting people like the tiny elderly lady in a black dress black and white scarf, black heels, black stockings and the wildest black and white hat you've ever seen was dancing like hippies used to do in front of the stage when they were stoned. Only she was about 90 by the look of her., and stoned on Faith....Adorable. And she was so busy that I couldn't get more than a blur of her as a picture because we weren't allowed to use our flash.

After the tour, I changed, and then went on subway for first time to go find The Ink Pad.  I took the train too far and ended up in Brooklyn! Got out, crossed platform and got back onto the train.  There was a young man, about 7 feet tall with dreadlocks that were to his waist.  I asked him if I was in the right place to get back to where I had intended.  He was helpful and informative.  We carried on a conversation in the subway, on the train and right till I got out onto the street.  I don't know where the reputation that New York people are rude comes from.  Absolutely everyone I talked to was overly helpful!  When we parted he said "Good luck Mum."  I loved it! 

I got off at Canal Street this time, which  was an overcompensation for going to far south the first time!  And, of course turned the wrong way and wandered in huge loops to get there. I wandered through Chinatown, Little Italy, Greenwich Village and into Chelsea....finally I had to put my I-phone on roam so that I could get a map with directions. That worked, but still lots of walking.  I found the shop, got stamps for Angie and I and was pleased with my mission being accomplished. 

Little Italy....Sidewalk cafes, streets blocked off for walking, delicious aromas!

That being done, I decided I would find The City Quilter, so that I could arrive on Monday at 4 for the class (which I was invited to) looking fresh and clean. I again had to resort to the I-phone directions. It was at this point that I discovered it makes a great difference if you put it on walk instead of drive when dealing with one way can walk them in any direction but cars have to go extra walking was my own fault!

Surprisingly, the store was open on Sunday! It is closed on Mondays.  I didn’t go in. I needed a shower, and was exhausted so I headed back to the my walk was a very convoluted route from Canal Street to W 45th Avenue. I thought of doing the subway again, but couldn’t find an entrance so just kept plodding along. Luckily I hadn’t been doing a lot of shopping so only had a little bag of rubber stamps to carry!

I arrived at the hostel wiped out, tired and was incredibly grateful for my air conditioned room. Took a shower, relaxed for a while, and then went out to wander around in Times Square some more!

But, points I learned are:

• Below Greenwich Village is the oldest part of Manhattan

• The stone everywhere is called “Manhattan Schist

• 8.5 million people live in 5 burroughs

• 1.5 million people live in Manhattan (and then there’s the tourists!)

• Avenues go North to South and are either Uptown or Downtown

• Apartments in Uptown Manhattan rent for $6300 per month on average

• Streets run East & West.....even running East and Odd #’s running west

• This is called Randalls Grid and was created so that immigrants who can’t read can find their way to work.

• “Manhattan” means rocky hilly place

• Wall street got it’s name because when the Dutch Settlers were living there they built a wall to keep the indigenous people out. The indigenous people used it for firewood in winter.

• In 1658 Harlem was set aside for the aristocracy

The Dakota
• Harlem used to start at 106th but because of Central Park being built, now starts at 110th.

• The Dakota (John Lennon) was built in 1884 by Mr. Clark, who also invented Singer Sewing Machines. (picture #1678)

• The Church of St. John the Divine looks over Morningside Park, where camp fires and picnics are allowed and clean up happens each morning. Becoming a problem because people from other sections of NYC come there to experience this and it’s getting out of control.

• Next to the Church of St. John the Divine is St. Luke’s Hospital. St. John was a preacher and Luke was a Dr. One building was built to take care of man’s spiritual side and the other his physical side and the combination is meant to represent Jesus as God and Man.

• A lot of development was by Frederick Douglas who was a slave who arrived in NY via the Underground Railway 

• One area of Harlem, the oldest was built before real estate got so valuable and because of that, each home has a stoop and a back yard. The trees in those yards now “kiss” each other over the fences. They have “stoop sales” instead of garage sales.

• The Harlem Globetrotters are not from Harlem but were named that so that people would know they were all black.
City College of New York

• The corner of Broadway and Duane is an African Burial Ground.

• There are 400 churches in Harlem alone.

• City College of NY was created to allow people of little means to get an education. Even today the tuition is between 5 and 8K, depending on the program.

• The problem for those students is the cost of accommodation so many commute from the outer burroughs and also have a job.

• People in Harlem consider it not just a black Neighborhood, but THE black neighbourhood.

• The Harlem Bridge crosses the Harlem River to go to Yankee Stadium.