On 116th Street, just east of Lenox Avenue, you will find one of my favorite markets – The Malcolm Shabazz Harlem outdoor marketplace, also known as Harlem’s Little Africa. Here you will find not only traditional African trinkets, but also leather bags, coats and hats, all kinds of colorful clothing, wood carvings, drums, textiles and beads beads beads. The market is made up of individual vendors from all over Africa and is open every day from 10am to 8pm.
Find a fabric you like? They have many tailors scattered throughout the market that would love to make something just for you. Right next door on the ground-floor of the Kalahari condominiums is the much anticipated MIST Harlem – 20,000 square feet that will offer live entertainment at least 5 nights a week, including a restaurant that will open soon. Take a peek at the collection of artwork inside the lobby of the Kalahari. My personal favorite is the El Anatsui.
From here you will head west on 116th Street – passing by the famous Amy Ruth’s Restaurant – to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and make a right to head North. As you do, you will be standing in front of the famous Graham Court, which was commissioned by William Waldorf Astor and built in 1901. Walk to 118th Street and cross over to the west side and here you will find Swing Concept Shop. The owner shops the world for her products but favors local artists and her shop is sprinkled with the work of more then a dozen Harlem artists whose works include everything from oil paintings and jewelry to hand-knitted pillows.
Continue walking north to 123rd Street where you will find the gem Little Africa, filled with African masks, drums, clothing and colorful straw bags. You might be needing one right about now. These are only a few of the wonderful shops in Harlem. I hope we’ll get to explore many more as the weeks go on.
On your way to 125th street and your subway or bus home, you will pass by one of Harlem’s favorite art galleries on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd between 123rd & 124th Streets, Renaissance Fine Art. Art is plentiful here and we’ll have to do a tour of them soon. At 125th Street you can make a left to catch the A-B-C or make a right to Lenox Ave and take the 2 or 3. Happy Shopping!