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Harlem Spirituals - NYC's leading cultural and experiential tour company - has created unique, personalized excursions that carry travelers through New York's rich and varied heritage and history. Tours are offered in a variety of languages (English, French, Spanish, German, and Italian), and special packages, accommodations, and itineraries can be arranged upon request. The company believes that tourism can be a part of the empowerment of a community and the preservation of its cultural traditions and historical sights.
Visitors can take a journey back to the roaring 20's, learn about Harlem's role during this fascinating time in musical history, and explore a number of famous sites, like The Cotton Club (where Duke Ellington and Lena Horne spent hours entertaining the crowds), the Savoy Ballroom (where Benny Goodman and Chick Webb went head-to-head during their "Battle of the Bands"), the Apollo Theater (where Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald won the infamous "Amateur Night"), and Minton's Playhouse (where Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk started the tradition of jam sessions). Dinner is held at Sylvia's restaurant, "The Queen of Soul Food." Tours run on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and are offered in English and French. Those who take the tour on Mondays will receive free dance lessons and have the opportunity to swing dance to music performed by a live 12-piece band. On Thursdays and Saturdays, visitors can mix and mingle with the Harlem locals in a popular nightclub while enjoying the sounds of jazz or rhythm and blues.
For tourists searching for a little inspiration, they need to look no further! On Sundays visitors can attend a worship service with a local congregation where they will experience the power of gospel music. Those who opt for the brunch tour will enjoy soul food at a popular Harlem restaurant. On Wednesdays visitors can take in the powerful a capella sounds of the ARC (Addicts Rehabilitation Center, the oldest drug treatment center in New York State), and later enjoy lunch at Sylvia's. All gospel tours will visit famous landmarks, such as the Apollo Theater, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, St. John the Divine, and Columbia University, as well as the residential areas built during Harlem's Golden Age, including Sugar Hill, Hamilton Heights, and Striver's Row. Tours run on Sundays and Wednesdays and are offered in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.
Tourists can visit the diverse ethnic neighborhoods in the Bronx - the only New York City borough attached to the New York State mainland - including the 20-block long Grand Concourse (a boulevard lined with 1920's Art Deco buildings) and the Bronx's Little Italy. They'll also see The Bronx Zoo, Yankee Stadium, Fordham University, and Edgar Allen Poe's cottage in Poe Park. Tours run Saturdays and are offered in English and French.
Excursions around Brooklyn include traveling around Middle Eastern, Jewish Orthodox, Russian, and Italian-American neighborhoods, as well as the borough's booming neighborhoods, such as charming Brooklyn Heights (home to writers Norman Mailer, Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller), artsy Williamsburg, and chic Park Slope, where visitors will stop at a trendy cafe. Excursion also stops at the Coney Island Boardwalk. Tours run on Tuesdays from April to December and are offered in English and French. Night excursions allow visitors to explore the up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhoods and take a walking tour of New York City's Lower East Side, ending with dinner at Katz's Deli, home of the mile-high sandwiches and featured in the movie "When Harry Met Sally." Tours run Saturday nights from April to December and are offered in English and French.
Specialized art tours are available upon request and are designed to fulfill the interests of each group regardless of size. Visitors can explore behind-the-scenes look at artists at work in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, including graffiti art murals in Harlem and The Bronx. Tours can also include but are not limited to trips to New York's finest art collections, from Museum Mile and MOMA in Queens to the numerous galleries in SoHo.
Specialized musical tours and workshops are available upon request and are designed to fulfill the interests of each group. Visitors can explore gospel workshops, learn about the roots of Hip Hop, or take "meet the artists" programs at Lincoln Center or on Broadway. Other interactive activities include but are not limited to breakdance workshops and ballroom, Latin, and belly dancing.
Expert planners can create unique events for any type of group (like corporate event entertainment and family and school reunions). Itineraries include theme parties, gospel concerts, jazz bands, and international food catering and activities, such as shopping excursions, food tasting events, Broadway and dinner packages, helicopter tours, cruise tours, and day excursions to Niagara Falls, the Hamptons, and Washington D.C. All-inclusive packages, including airport transfers, hotel accommodations, and restaurant reservations, are also available.