I don't even know what I expected of this tour but I am really glad we booked it. I assumed it would be a smallish church with a small choir and it was. The tour before the church service was excellent. I learned a lot about the area thanks to Mahalia. She did an excellent job speaking in both English and French! We went to a small church and it was such an authentic, moving experience for us. The ladies I ran into that were attending there were so welcoming and kind. The singing was very good and up lifting. We left after the worship part was over and off we went to The Cotton Club. We were entertained by a talented Gospel/Jazz trio. Again, I was moved by some of the songs and others were so up lifting. Before I knew what had happened, I was up dancing in a Conga line! The food was very good and hot. They were putting it out when we got there. It was a great day and a very nice way to wind up our trip!
This was amazing. The church service at The Greater Highway Deliverance Church was outstanding. The energy, thankfulness and talent was transformative. The brunch at the Cotton Club was made exceptional by the music of Ms. Helen Stiles and her band. We danced to her gospel music and celebrated being alive. It was fabulous. BUT the most magnificent thing about the tour was Duane. He is the most amazing tour guide in the world and should be promoted to tour guide extraordinaire. Multilingual, personable, Ivy educated- he’s exceptional and brilliant in his telling of New York history. DO THIS TOUR!!!!!!
Great experience in this one. Our tour guide Alvin provided us with many interesting information for the Harlem area. The gospel was out of this world for believers or not. The passion in the room lifts you to another level and it really is a unique spectacle. The locals are welcoming and heart warming to all the visitors. We had 10 days in New York with 4 small children and this was the activity they engage with the most. Much better time investment than any of the passive "instagrammic" experiences. We did not take photo or video but we will have this one inside of us for a very long time.
Learning about Hamilton. The Tour Guide shared extensive information about the founding father in two languages and kept us, tourists, engaged throughout the entire trip. Fascinating, well informed and great story teller Tour Guide.
This was a great way to see the real Harlem and an authentic Harlem Church Service. The tour leaves from just behind Times Square on a very comfortable coach and our guide, Anthony, was a real New Yorker who had lived most of his life in Harlem and his local knowledge as well as his knowledge of New York history and even what movies were filmed where, made this an amazing trip. If you want a little insight into the real Harlem and to experience a genuine Harlem Church service (I was sceptical and thought this might be a little fake - it really wasn’t) then this is well worth it. We didn’t do the Sunday brunch buffet so can’t comment on this. Thanks Anthony for all your top tips and advice about NYC generally as well as being a great guide for this tour. 5 stars ⭐️
Alvin is a warm, enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guide and focuses on African American luminaries and their personal connections to Harlem and the Bronx, as well as the early history of these districts. I understand there is a commercial element to the Church service and I had been prepared for something staged specifically to funnel tourist money into struggling communities. If that was the case, I didn't notice and the whole experience felt genuine and welcoming. The gospel singing (choir and congregation) was excellent. The tour bus was clean and comfortable and has an onboard rest room (important, as very few public ones in Harlem). I think you could skip the optional Cotton Club lunch element without missing the best of the experience. The entertainment was well executed but felt dated. The food was welcome but not standout. The European waitresses are there for their language skills with the mostly European customers, but they need a little more training in how to communicate with paying customers. Overall I thought the whole morning's package was good value for money.