Once New York's most fashionable neighborhood, Harlem has a fascinating story to tell. Take a guided bus tour of historic Harlem and witness the current Renaissance. Stroll through charming tree-lined streets in historic brownstone districts before attending a mid-week service in a local church to experience the Soul stirring power of Gospel music.
- Morning Side Heights, Sylvan Terrace, Strivers Row and Sugar Hill
- Abyssinian Baptist Church and St. John the Divine
- St. Nicholas Avenue, where Duke Ellington lived, and the famed 125th street
- The Cotton Club and Apollo Theater
- Sugar Hill
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Harlem USA
- ARC Gospel Choir
Join us on a Wednesday morning in the Black capital of the world and take a guided bus tour and learn from the multilingual licensed tour guides who have a gift for storytelling. Let them captivate your imagination with their extensive knowledge on the history, cultural background and landmarks of Harlem...
Dutch settlers founded Harlem, a 5 1/2 square mile area north of Central Park, in 1658. For two centuries, it was essentially farmland where prominent New Yorkers had large country estates. Harlem was developed during the 1880's, when elevated railroads made the area accessible to downtown New Yorkers. These included residents of English, Dutch, and German descent. For thirty years, Harlem was New York's most fashionable neighborhood, boasting an opera house (founded by Oscar Hammerstein in 1889), a philharmonic orchestra, and a yacht club.
Central Harlem became a Black neighborhood between 1910 and 1920 when its real estate market collapsed, leaving scores of new apartment buildings empty. To find tenants, landlords opened up the area to African Americans, who were leaving the southern states in search of a better life. By 1914, Harlem's population reached 50,000, and between 1920 and 1930, the number quadrupled.
In the 1920's, Harlem became a mecca for Black artists, writers, and intellectuals, who launched the artistic and literary movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. Notable names included writer Langston Hughes, painter Aaron Douglas, and sculptor Augusta Savage.
The 20's and 30's were also the time when Harlem became the center of the city's nightlife. Legendary musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake, and Bessie Smith lived and worked in Harlem and performed at nightspots such as the Cotton Club, the Savoy Ballroom, and the Apollo Theater.
In 1929, the Great Depression hit Harlem hard when 50% of the city's African Americans became unemployed. The period also saw the rise of leaders such as Black nationalist Marcus Garvey, and civil rights activist and politician Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
In the 1960's, Harlem's population declined due to social problems and the relocation of many Harlemites to other neighborhoods. In the 1970's, its housing stock deteriorated as landlords abandoned their properties.
The 1980's saw the beginning of a rebirth as a massive program of redevelopment began. Harlem became a major tourist attraction as travelers added it to their list of sightseeing "musts," flocking to its churches, nightclubs, restaurants, and museums.
Today, Harlem's present day community is brimming with pride and reveling in it's New Renaissance.
Then, join a local congregation for the mid-week Hour of Power worship service and experience the soul stirring power of Gospel music. Witness the beautiful acapella sounds of the ARC Gospel choir and hear their powerful voices singing songs of praise and share their experience. ARC stands for Addicts Rehabilitation Center, the oldest drug-free treatment program center in New York State. The ARC Gospel choir was formed to help finance treatments for people in the community to recover from drugs. They are also the Gospel Singers in Kanya West's hit song.. 'Jesus Walks' ('Walk with Me') and they are original artists of that song.
After experiencing Harlem in the safety of one of our tours, you will have a new perspective and lasting memories. Come and witness this new renaissance, and see History being made!