A Real Travel Story: Harlem

Picture this: a blonde haired super white girl (me, perhaps) strolling down sunny 125th in Harlem on a cold winter’s day. A dark male rapper named, ofcourse, LeBron tries to lure her into buying one of his banging singles. Am I (you got me) really his clientele? This encounter makes me giggly and quite curious towards the adventures I’m about to face today. This curiosity is disturbed quite brutally when I tell LeBron I have no money left, and I sense that LeBron doesn’t believe me, because he gets a little angry and asks rhetorically why it is that white girls never have any money left. I think he would have changed his mind about me, when he knew about my bank account and my serious thoughts on maybe stealing a bike and cycle to Newark to catch my plane tomorrow.

Harlem Street Art

I decide to leave LeBron behind and focus on why it is I am here: discovering beauty. One of the first things I see after I meet LeBron is also one of the most memorable things. The giant mural art piece at the Adam Clayton Powell Community Center really sort of stares at me. It’s breathtaking and captivating to a level I could only explain if you saw for yourself. I just can’t seem to walk away from it. Sure, the rest of Harlem hides nice pieces as well, but this one is top notch.

Bitch & Keisha

Speaking of nice pieces; in search of the next arty stuff I meet Keisha and (apparently) Bitch. Keisha fucked Bitches man and Bitch don’t know Keisha. I’m relieved to see the Harlem residents do not approve of this as normal. Some of them command Keisha and Bitch be quiet. Before all of them get to punching I sort of slide away from it in a weird walkish run (you know, like the lazy skiers do during the Winter Olympics), because even I can feel the heat.

The Studio Museum

The New York Baby - Studio Museum Boomerangs

The New York Baby - Studio Museum Magazine

Though I manage to walk past it like 5 times (the real life performance of a Bad Girls Club scene still in mind), the Studio Museum is perfect. It’s a real relief against giants like the American Museum of Natural History or MoMA. It starts at the entrance, where the host is so kind (the real kind of kind) that I decide to double the suggested fee. And no, I didn’t have any ragrats (got the tattoo), because what I saw after I opened the gallery doors was so refreshing, I will never forget it.

The exhibition area was totally empty and if it wasn’t for the security guards yelling at each other from time to time, I would have felt at the end of the world. I’m not an art connoisseur of ANY sort, but I think even I can assure you the art is very pretty and at the least authentic. My favorite part of the museum was the ‘Reading Room’, a (in line with the rest of the building) tiny room full of Harlem themed books and a (out of line with the rest of the building) giant iPad, which appeals to me very, because I am a techie. What makes it even better, is that I am ALONE in there. Which is pretty miraculous in the city of New York. I decide to enjoy the silence.

Harlem Heartbreak

The New York Baby - Harlem Metro

While I walk my way back to the metro stop, the daydreamer part in me takes over. But when I leave the Apollo Theater behind me, I suddenly get aware of the amount of old people on the streets (it’s huge). Then I realize they all got some kind of poor aura “gleaming” around them. The first old man I see walks (oh well, limps) around with some sort of home made stick, its parts connected with duct-tape. Then a cute elderly lady looks right at me with her eyes still full of fire and her clothes full of holes. The last person I see (the moment right before I decide to “close my eyes”) is an old man with a (let’s call it) pretty large head with a pretty larger tumor on it.

The New York Baby - Harlem Apollo Theatre
The legendary Apollo Theater
The New York Baby - Harlem Brownstones
50 shades of brown(stone)

I just thought I forgot him, but then LeBron pops in my mind. I hope LeBron sells a lot of his copies to spoiled white girls and manages to stay alive for a long time. I hope he doesn’t grow unnecessary tumors on his face or other body parts. And I hope he raises his pretty curly-haired daughters in all of the beauty Harlem could be. Not L.A., no, Harlem. Still with its remarkable architecture (believe me, I could do an essay on Brownstones) and creative colors on every single outside wall. Just without duct-tape sticks or ripped musty clothes.

Harlem, I wish you all the best,


Michelle Helena.

The New York Baby - Harlem Avenue


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