Harlem is known throughout the world as a center of AfricanAmerican culture, music, and life. The neighborhood invites visitors to see historic jewels such as the Apollo Theater, architecturally splendid churches, cultural magnets like the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, as well as an ongoing list of new and renovated sites and buildings.
Harlem’s 125th Street is at the heart of the neighborhood. Bill Clinton's New York office is at 55 West 125th Street, and the legendary Apollo Theater stands at No. 253. A large number of chains (Starbucks, Red Lobster, H&M) makes it hard to distinguish 125th Street from the city’s other heavily commercialized areas, but there are still a few things that set it apart: an energy created by sidewalk vendors hawking bootleg DVDs, incense, and African shea butter; impromptu drum circles; and some of the best people-watching in Manhattan.
To get a feel for Harlem, spend time visiting its past and present. On 116th Street, particularly between St. Nicholas and Lenox avenues (Malcolm X Boulevard), you’ll find some of the area’s most interesting religious buildings, from ornate churches to a green-domed mosque.
Along Lenox Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, between 110th and 130th streets are restaurants, bars, and a few boutiques offering everything from bespoke cocktails and live music to Harlem-inspired gifts and high-end menswear.