Harlem Street Party

It’s my variation on an old joke:  other than that, Famous Ankles, how was the Harlem street party?

Well, it was pretty nice, excepting the Black Panther Party scum.  The link tells you that they mugged me for a grand total of $2.

Actually, excepting the scum, Harlem was as great as ever.  It’s Harlem Week and the street party was something that I really wanted to see.  All of my previous wanderings of Harlem had been during the morning and afternoon.  I wanted to see Harlem at night, during the time that it might not be quite the same.  Well, except for the scum, it was every bit as vibrant and joyful as I could have hoped.

As I emerged from the subway at St. Nicholas Ave and 135th, I spotted a large stage facing away from me with a sea of people listening, watching, singing, and dancing to a live performance.  I entered the area and just started listening, watching, and taking pictures.  Famous Ankles neither sings nor dances.  But the rest of the crowd made up for it.

Harlem Street Party 1

Harlem Street Party 2

Harlem Street Party 3

The crowd knew the words and it seemed that everyone was accompanying the performers.  I eventually recognized one of the songs, but it wasn’t one of those that I really know, at least like this crowd knew.

I was told that the performers were Ray, Goodman, & Brown.  I don’t know why there are four people up there with three names; but then I had to ask who they were.  Here’s a pretty poor shot of them (I was using the zoom and was a little shakier than the camera could adjust for).

Harlem Street Party - Ray, Goodman & Brown

Anyway, they sang for a while and I eventually just sort of wandered off to see the rest of the street party.  After about a block and a half, I couldn’t hear them anymore as recorded music was being played by a variety of vendors.

Here are some shots from further in the party.  The party covered 135th Street from St. Nicholas Avenue to Lenox Avenue.

Harlem Street Party 4

There were a lot of food and merchandise vendors.  I was actually tempted by one or two vendors, but I tend to avoid street food.

Harlem Street Party 6

As you can see, the crowding was pretty intense.  I can only hint at the boisterousness and excitement that was everywhere.  And, of course, lots and lots of music.  Very enjoyable and memorable.

My favorite part of the entire party was some impromptu dancing that started up.  It was pretty small, and at one point a woman tried joining in and wasn’t quite successful in matching the moves of the others.  But I think we all appreciated her attempt.

Harlem street party dancers

And then I got mugged.  Or, rather, I got extorted out of $2 by the Black Panthers who resented being in part of one of my street pictures.  If you’ve looked at my post, you’ll know it’s a terrible picture.  But I put it in just to highlight the scum that were hanging around a very pleasant time.

Perhaps the worst part (other than the mugging) is that the Panthers had a pretty good following.  They had lots of people listening in to their talk.  I don’t know what they were discussing but it was probably related to their need to prove their identity by raising $2.

Incidentally, something I had forgotten about until writing this: earlier in the day when I was going through Park Slope, I was walking on the street and found, of all things, two one-dollar bills just being blown down the sidewalk. It honestly hadn’t occurred to me that my mugging was just a part of a zero-sum chain of events.

The Panthers are, nonetheless, scum IMHO.

-H

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Explore posts in the same categories: Events, Harlem, Manhattan, Wanderings

One Comment on “Harlem Street Party”

  1. Cuzin Cathy Says:

    Glad you weren’t physically hurt in the mugging. Guess you better leave those homeless dollar bills alone from now on….. But the pics are great and make us feel like we’re there with you, really.


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