“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
Name an American cultural breakthrough and chances are good it happened in Harlem. This neighborhood survived flappers and gangsters in the 1920s, booed almost everyone offstage at the Apollo except Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix and Michael Jackson, and revolutionized America from Marcus Garvey to Malcom X. See the writing on the wall at the Graffiti Wall of Fame at 106th and Park, then head over to the Studio Museum to watch African American artists change art history. Harlem launched jazz and hip hop and taught Madonna how to vogue, so expect big nights out. Get schooled at the Jazz Museum in Harlem before jazz sets at historic art deco Lenox Lounge. Hit Shrine for slick beats and reggae, and end up at Ginny's Supper Club for soul food with a side of blues. For the morning after, Amy Ruth's serves the Reverend Al Sharpton special: chicken and waffles, gravy optional. East Harlem is largely Latino, and known as El Barrio. The pride of the neighborhood is El Museo del Barrio, a small space packed with contemporary Caribbean and Latin art and encounters with such notables as Nobel Prize winning poet Derek Walcott.