Nov 30, 2010 @ 13:06
While The Wall Street Journal recently posted their Walkabout in Harlem with Vibe Magazine Co-CEO Brett Wright and the WSJ’s Lee Hakwins, I want to share how I did my very own Walkabout with family members who were visiting Harlem from out West during Thanksgiving week. My Walkabout in Harlem included four kids, one adult (appearances will be smudged for obvious reasons) and one objective: to show them why I love Harlem and how they’ll end loving Harlem right back.
For clarification, two kids were entirely new to New York City. The other half have visited NYC before, however they never received a thorough Walkabout in Harlem. So what did I show my family in Harlem? Let’s begin.
First stop was Morningside Park. Since I had four kids with me, I wanted them to see the greenery that Harlem has to offer. After we walked through parts of Morningside Park, I challenged the kids to race each other up on one of the section of steep steps. I said, “pretend you are Rocky and race to the top.” And so they did! They reached the top in no time. I mentioned how some of the steep steps are workout areas for locals.
After the park, we walked over to Columbia University. I had to be a good and influential family member who must encourage education into the minds of little ones. I wanted them to see an Ivy League located in West Harlem.
Next on the list was St. John the Divine. The kids could not believe they were seeing something so massive and majestic! I told them when they get older and travel to part of Europe, they will see similar cathedrals.
We then made our way to Frederick Douglass Circle. Some of these kids have teachers as parents so I wanted them to learn a bit about Harlem’s history through sculptures. I also wanted them to ask, who is this sculpture of? It was a perfect segue to explain what they were seeing.
Next stop was the Duke Ellington sculpture. At this stop, I took the opportunity to remind both kids and adult that Harlem is the birthplace of jazz and that Duke Ellington played a major role. My family was impressed with the size and scope of this sculpture. And of course the kids wanted to stand underneath the sculpture. When your little, how can one resist.
The weather was perfect during our Walkabout in Harlem and Harlem Meer was a Fall magnet. My family thought this part of Central Park North was absolutely gorgeous! On that day my relatives wanted to just hang by the pond and watch the geese and ducks swim by!
To end the Walkabout in Harlem, we headed to 125th Street to see Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater and partake in some street vendor shopping. On 125th Street the kids purchased t-shirts that said “Harlem or I love Harlem.” Clearly, my family Walkabout in Harlem was a success. It caught on to youth clothing that will be worn out West. My objective was…mission accomplished!