HARLEM

Just being in New
York you’ll notice and understand why it is the fashion capital of United States.
Style is extraordinarily important in the city and Harlem has its own very distinct and unique style. 100_1149To match the personality of its
inhabitants the clothing here is loud, and consists of vibrant colors and designs.
Accessories are a must have and the most popular of which are shoes. You’ll see
that they come in all colors and designs because they must match your outfit in
order to be considered fashionable. Hair maintenance is also highly favored in Harlem; there are barbershops on every street and women
are highly encouraged to style their hair according to the latest fashions. However,
just like the movies there is a very social aspect to the barbershop, walking
by you’ll see more people inside socializing then actually getting their hair
done- further emphasizing the sense of community in the area.

In
accordance with the rest of the city, walking down the streets of Harlem you
will definitely see a lot of vendors on the street in Harlem.
There are people here selling everything from earrings to bootleg movies and
CDs and you are bound to be approached by at least five people in just one
street. The interesting fact about these vendors is that there is never a set
price in particular for any of the items that they plan to sell. The idea is
that the purchaser will have a price in mind for what they want to pay for the
product and the two will engage in a bartering process. It is a skill that is absolutely
necessary to survive in the city especially Harlem.
There are many techniques and methods to the craft but finding the one the
works best for you is the trick!

Harlem has a strong
sense of community and you will find evidence of this everywhere. You can’t go
a block without seeing a wall painted with a mural acknowledging the pride that
these people have for their neighborhood and the history that100_1134 accompanies it.
Many of the murals reference the struggles that they have overcome and there
are also many that simply exhibit beautifully stunning African American art.
Another thing that you will notice in this part of Manhattan is that the advertisements and all
the stores cater to the type of life experiences that are typical to African
Americans, which is very different from the rest of the world. In the rest of
the world advertisements and other things cater to the racial majority,
Caucasians. So it is very interesting to walk into clothing stores and see that
the mannequins were black and that the advertisements on billboards displayed
positive images of African Americans. For example, in the African American
community the people are more comfortable and accepting of different body types
and people of all shapes and sizes. You will see this theme replicated all over Harlem with signs promoting “real women
sizes,” which is a stark difference from the
stick thin models and100_1131_2 advertisements
that we are used to.

Even
though Harlem is a largely Baptist community
you will find that there are a wide variety of churches in the area. Everything
from Mormon belief churches to Nation of Islam temples are present in this neighborhood
and you can’t walk down a street without passing by at least three churches. So
if you are in Harlem and you want to go to a place of worship
there are plenty of options waiting there for you. One
of the major attractions of Harlem is the
Apollo Theater, which is famous for the number of artists that have made their
start there. For instance, James Brown and Gladys Knight made their 100_1152start at
the Apollo Theater. I remember watching the show every Saturday night to see
many aspiring artists try their luck at performing at this venue. You can find
the Apollo Theater on 253 West 125th
  Street and it is a wonderfully persevered part of Harlem’s history. You can go in and take a tour of the
facilities for just eighteen dollars and experience the magical place where
many got their start in the music industry. Another place to visit is Marcus Garvey Park which is in a
beautiful location near a small neighborhood of fabulous brownstone houses on
Park West.

-Gabi Delva

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