February 23, 2014
On a bicycle in Harlem.
I love that Susan B. Anthony said bicycling had “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." As far as personal emancipation in any city goes, I couldn't agree more. I got back on my bike today and it was pretty magical. City bikes haven't yet hit this far north in Manhattan, so I don't have a ton of competition in Harlem - enhancing feelings of liberty.
There is one crook of Harlem that is a compete gem. It is near the new construction site for the expansion of Columbia University (up to 133rd Street) - the streets around Old Broadway and West 126th Street. I am certain this little triangle is going to explode in the next 5 years - the buildings here are chock-full of charm and potential (even if they look like total abandoned dives currently). I love the feeling of these streets - off the grid and a bit hidden.
Harlem has been getting some press lately. Co-owner of Red Rooster, Swedish gent Marcus Samuelsson, wrote a great piece in the Times, "Is Harlem 'Good Now'," praising Harlem's spirit of hospitality - featuring lots of the new spots to dine/celebrate around here. There was also just "36 Hours in Upper Manhattan" saluting a large chunk of the city above 125th Street.