Yesterday Keeping Up attended what Harlem likes to call the biggest day during Harlem Week, Harlem Day. For those of you that do not know, Harlem Week started about 34 years ago, and began as a showcase of Harlem's rich economic, political, and cultural history. It actually started with Harlem Day, and has turned into a series of events that helps celebrate the people of Harlem for more than one day.
On Sunday morning I got up and went to church at First Corinthian Baptist Church on 116th and Adam Clayton Powell. The sermon talked about the 23rd Psalms and it was definitely what I needed to hear. After a hour of preaching and scraping together some money for offering, I headed outside to join in with the Harlem festivities.
I began to walk down the some what crowded 135th street to see what vendors would be out this year. I first approached the huge stage that would later have a few Hip Hop and R&B performers on it. It was completely covered with Hot 97 banners, one of the official sponsors of the event.
As I continued to walk, I came across some of the familiar Fish and Wing spots, Jerk chicken stands, and tent with the Italian sausages that they pile a large number of onions and green peppers on top of. After a few seconds of trying to decide what I would eat, I quickly ran over to the Jerk chicken stand and told them to pour on a heavy amount of Jerk sauce.
As I enjoyed my jerk chicken, I was pleased to see some of the other vendors that had come out. There was a tent that was selling t-shirts with Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes on the front of them. There was also a voter registration table, "I love Harlem" tent, Apollo stand, and TV One. I searched a little bit around for BET, but they were not there. I was still happy to see that TV One came out to join in with the festivities.
One of the most interesting moments of the festival, was "Open Line" Radio Talk Show, recorded live. I watched as the radio station passed the mic around to different people in the audience and listened to millions of concerns the people in the community had. It was your typical concerns that we always hear, but it was amazing to see the faces of the Whites in Harlem, as they heard Blacks say that they did not want them in their neighborhoods.
I listened for a while and then wanted to head towards my house. Before I could make it home,
I ran into the, "N.Y. City Children's Festival", where they were doing a special focus on the health of our children and their families.
That was not the only area at the festival that was focusing on health. As I almost got to the end of the festival, there was a row of tents that were holding the, "N. Y. City Health Fair & Expo". As I went from tent to tent, there were health exams, education, information, health testing, material distribution, holistic medicine, oral health, acupuncture, healthy eating, and Q & A for the entire family.
The event was a blast and Harlem Day was definitely helping the community Keep Up! I cannot wait until next year to see what Harlem Day brings.
1. Did you attend Harlem Day, if so, what was your favorite moment?
2. If you live in another city, does the event remind you of an event in your hometown?
3. This year Harlem Day focused on health, what do you think they should focus on next year?