Harlem & Morningside Heights

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Morris Jumel Mansion

Remember the advice "Don't go further than 110th street"? Put me into a tricky situation.  I so wanted to go to Harlem! I admire the musicians of the hay-days, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, just to name a few, and wanted to walk the same streets as they did, wanted to take a peek into the "Apollo" and the "Cotton Club". I know, I'm being naive, those days are long gone. But still, there's got to be a way.

I found a way in form of a guided tour by bus. On 690 Eighth avenue between 43th & 44th street there's the agency "Harlem Spirituals" that offers various tours throughout the New York boroughs. I chose "The Harlem Gospel Tour", and what a good choice it was. It took us all the way to the most northern point of Manhattan, Washington Heights, where we visited the "Morris Jumel Mansion", the later home of George Washington.

Sylvain Terrace
  On our way there, we stopped at the home of Alexander Hamilton, the first premier of the USA. Another stop was Sylvain Terrace, the oldest street of NYC, preserved as it was built in 1776. To my regret, we just passed the "Apollo" and the "Cotton Club" without stopping.

But the highlight of the tour, in my opinion, was our participation in a church service with a gospel choir. We joined the community of the Abessinian Baptist church "Mount Moriah".  Don't ask me what the preacher was preaching about, I didn't understand a word.  And I didn't really care, because the singing of the choir had captured me totally! It was the highlight of my visit to NY in 2004.

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Morris Jumel Mansion
Morris Jumel Mansion
Sylvain Terrace
Sylvain Terrace
New York
photo by: herman_munster