NYC - Gospel church service in Harlem

Nov 11th, 2003, 12:39 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 113
Hi Mary:

As a native of Harlem, I'll just give you a little insight on your question and stay away from the religious aspect.

I've noticed that most churches in Harlem big and small open their doors and welcome all of the visitors who visit on Sundays. I often encounter tourists from all over the world asking directions to this or that particular church. Most churches seem to be happy for the interest and having a litttle something xtra to go in the collection plate (lol). Hey, let's keep it real. The most popular seem to be:

1)Abyssian (spelling?) on West 138th Street between 7th & 8th. Huge church.
Lots of visitors.

Places to eat include: MoBays on 125th between Lenox (aka Malcom X Blvd & Fifth Avenues.) Or Sylvia's on Lenox and 126th Street. Amy Ruth's is good too. It's located on 116th Street Between Lenox & Seventh. (aka between Malcom X & Adam Clayton Powell. The streets have duel names. Anyway just do your research and enjoy!

nigelsmom is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 12:46 PM
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Nigelsmom, I've heard Sugar Hill bistro is very good. True?
mclaurie is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 01:13 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 113

I've heard Sugar Hill bisto is cool, just as I've heard Jimmy's Uptown is good. I hear the R&B duo of Ashford & Simpson own either Sugar Hill or Sugar Bar, sorry I haven't been to either.

But...I plan to check them out and I have had a decent dinner at Spoonbread II on Lenox in the 130's and food's good there too.
nigelsmom is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 01:16 PM
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mclaurie is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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Mary, Nigelsmom mentioned the one I was trying to think of. Abyssian on West 138th between 7th and 8th.
Although I'm not interested in churches, our jazz walk tour guide did hightly recommend this church for anyone interested.
I believe he said to get there early, as it could be crowded.
Good luck.
kodi is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 03:55 PM
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Not in Harlem, but I wish I'd had a chance to visit the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Check out their website, and for a historical perspective on the church, read a couple of head pastor and founder, Jim Cymbala's, books.
beachbum is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2003, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 101
Coincidentally, a friend of mine attends Abyssinian and we were discussing this last week. He has mixed feelings about the visitors, feelings common among members of the church. On the one hand, it is a bit off-putting to be a spectacle for tourists, especially when it's the practice of your faith that is on exhibit. On the other hand, the Harlem community recognizes the contribution of the tourist dollar. So most chuch members roll with it.

I may be off the mark, but I think one of the differences b/w visiting Harlem church services and visiting churches elsewhere is that people visit the Harlem churches to see people in worship, singing, etc. Tourists to other churchs often visit outside of the actual services. This is not true across the board, of course, but I think, in general, it holds. You don't have many people visit the Harlem churches when there isn't a service. They are there to observe the church-goers more than the architecture, art, etc.

The one remark that may be helpful to you, Mary: My friend observed that most of the tourists are in the regular, comfortable sight-seeing attire. The church members are nattily dressed in Sunday best. It might be nice for the visitors to show respect and dress appropriately for service.
_cjw_ is offline  

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