In the past 2 years since being in the hospitality business,I have had thousands of white Europeans and African Americans come stay at my 2 houses here in Harlem.Nobody has ever had a problem in the neighborhood,and in fact as recently as 6 weeks ago,a guest of mine had her wallet stolen while shopping in Bloomingdale’s,a well known store in midtown!!
I know that most likely, friends are questioning your decision to stay in Harlem and between the history of Harlem and that which is depicted in the movies,it would seem to be an irresponsible act to bring yourself and your loved ones into a dangerous situation.Let me reassure you that if you were to walk in this neighborhood you would immediately see that this is not just a safe neighborhood but a fascinating place to see.The architecture is remarkable and very unusual.There are jazz clubs,theaters,museums,parks,restaurants and bars.
The subway is at 145th and St Nicholas,so it is less than a 5 minute walk,there are 4 trains that stop here, the A train and the D train,both of these are express trains and they will take you to midtown in 15 minutes.The B train and the C train are local trains and will stop at all the stations that the express trains skip.NYC is the only subway system that have express trains,so even though our trains are much dirtier than yours,they are much faster.
Midtown may have the advantage of being “convenient” because it is close to Times Sq.but if you are staying in NYC for a week then I presume you wish to see more than Times Sq. and I hope you intend to venture outside of midtown.It is really not such a great place to stay.Few people live there.After the hustle and bustle,of Times Square when you go back home, you may need a vacation!
The standards for accommodation can be both expensive and sub standard and your NYC experience may be limited in your cramped hotel room and the standard tourist agenda.
The sights of NYC are spread out all over Manhattan Brooklyn and the Bronx…..and Harlem,so you will have to take the subway every day.
My guests who come to visit are thrilled by the chance to have a real NYC experience to be part of the neighborhood,to be able to ask the opinion of someone where it is best to go and see,someone who has lived here for 30 years and had businesses,I used to be in retail,all over the city.I know this city intimately.
Of course if you still do not wish to make a reservation,I respect your choice and I certainly wish you the very best for your NYC trip.This is an incredible city and I am sure you will enjoy your visit here.Manhattan is by far the most popular destination of anywhere in the USA.Every one of my guests who come here are thrilled by their New York experience.
When I first arrived here in August 1977,I just wanted to be able to say that I saw this city and even though I only stayed for 3 days I never forgot the experience.By some random, unforeseen chance I found myself in Melbourne,Australia and for 2 years kept thinking about this place I wanted to call my home.
The great adventure of the New York experience is the diversity.The acceptance of who you are is universal.This is what I recognized immediately in those 3 days.This remains New York’s finest attribute,and it is this that attracts all the people that make this city the great place that it is.Some of you may wonder how a fascist like Mayor Giuliani,fit into this portrait and my guess is that he cheated and stole the 2 elections and just to prove my point,decided that New York needed him beyond what the term limits allow and tried to stay in office for an additional 3 months,using 911 as his excuse.
In August 1979 I returned.I have spent my years here moving from neighborhood to neighborhood in search of that zone that I found in 1977,the real New York,but it keeps changing,gentrifying,so I keep moving.Harlem is one of the places where the spirit of New York can be found.There are other places too,but I don’t think the soul of New York can be found in a midtown Manhattan hotel.