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NEW YORK -- Decades of black history have made Harlem one of America's most famous neighborhoods. It's also an essential destination for visitors to New York, offering art, architecture, restaurants, shopping and more.

"Harlem is an iconic, beautiful, world-renowned New York City enclave that continues to reinvent itself, drawing visitors from far and wide," said Fred Dixon, president of the city's tourism agency, NYC & Co. "New restaurants, shops, galleries, vibrant entertainment and nightlife have positioned Harlem as a must-see neighborhood on anyone's New York City itinerary."

Here are some top Harlem attractions.

• The Studio Museum has five shows up through Oct. 25, but perhaps its most famous exhibit is a display of two words: "ME WE." Boxer Muhammad Ali recited the words in response to a request for a poem after giving a speech at Harvard University; , 144 W. 125th St.

• The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library, is marking the 75th anniversary of the American Negro Theatre with an exhibition of photos, posters and clippings from the 1940s, when the theater's talents included Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier. The Schomburg is also home to murals from the 1930s Works Progress Administration program;, 515 Malcolm X Blvd. near 136th Street.

You'll find more historic murals across the street inside Harlem Hospital, 506 Malcolm X Blvd.

• The St. Nicholas Historic District, also known as Striver's Row, consists of the lovely tree-lined blocks of 138th and 139th streets between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Frederick Douglass boulevards. The landmarked, elegant stone-and-brick townhouses date to the 1890s and have been home to prominent black Americans such as musician Eubie Blake and Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

• You can attend the Apollo Theater's famous amateur night or take a tour to learn about its history hosting the likes of James Brown, B.B. King and Aretha Franklin. Stand outside the marquee at 253 W. 125th St. and look east across the street for a tall, stately building bearing the words "Hotel Theresa." It's no longer a hotel, but for decades it hosted athletes, entertainers, business executives and other blacks turned away by hotels downtown. Fidel Castro stayed there in 1960.

• Harlem's eateries include soul food institution Sylvia's, 328 Malcolm X Blvd., and Marcus Samuelsson's upscale Red Rooster, 310 Malcolm X Blvd. Samuelsson's newer, more casual Streetbird Rotisserie, 2149 Frederick Douglass Blvd., is part of Harlem's restaurant row --

• Malcolm Shabazz African Market, featuring baskets, drums and clothing made from brightly patterned fabrics and other African-theme items, 52 W. 116th St.

• Ten-foot bronze Harriet Tubman statue, St. Nicholas Avenue near 122nd Street.

• Alexander Hamilton's home, Hamilton Grange, a National Park Service site with tours, 414 W. 141st St.

Travel on 08/23/2015

Print Headline: Harlem is essential NYC stop

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