HARLEM — El Barrio, brace yourself.
The city's tourism arm is encouraging visitors to step outside some of the usual tourist destinations this holiday season and explore East Harlem's rich history and culture.
“Both New Yorkers and visitors will enjoy the noteworthy cultural organizations, superb restaurants and one-of-a-kind shops that line the streets in the lively and culturally rich East Harlem,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company.
With 5 million visitors to the city expected in the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, the area might experience a rush of visitors.
Among the things visitors to the area can do are tour the numerous public murals painted on the sides of neighborhood buildings such as the massive "Spirit of East Harlem" mural located at East 104th Street and Lexington Avenue. They can catch a play by the National Black Theater at 125th Street ad Fifth Avenue and then visit Amor Cubano which serves authentic Cuban food.
After visiting the vendors at the historic La Marqueta on Park Avenue, tourists can check out the World Series of Stickball Community Gallery and Stickball Hall of Fame, grab a quick bite at East Harlem Cafe or Lexington Social. Justo Botanical sells products related to the practice of Santeria while Casa Latina Music Shop offers up classic vinyl.
"As the cradle of the Puerto Rican community in New York City, El Barrio is a mecca of Latino arts, music and culture, making our community an exciting and unique destination," said East Harlem's representative on the City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito.