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A guide to Harlem Week's free outdoor concerts, restaurant discounts, job fairs and more

New Yorkers came out in droves to kick

New Yorkers came out in droves to kick off Harlem Week at the "A Great Day in Harlem" festival at the General Grant Memorial on Riverside Drive. Photo Credit: Todd Maisel

The annual celebration of Harlem, its history and its culture in in full swing with more than 100 events throughout the neighborhood, from outdoor concerts and film screenings to career fairs, kids activities and more.

Mayor Bill de Blasio helped mark the annual event at a reception on July 25 by saying that Harlem Week is "one of the most amazing things that happen in New York City every year.

"But I have to be a speaker of truth, it is not a week anymore," he continued. "Harlem Week has not been a week for a long long time. It is Harlem month and soon it will be Harlem year and … it will be Harlem decade."

So, what is Harlem Week?

It is a series of events, including free entertainment, festivals and educational experiences that showcase the unique and diverse character and impact of the Manhattan neighborhood.

"Harlem is one of the greatest centers of culture anywhere — one of the greatest wellsprings in human history, and a place where social justice and activism have always lived and taken heart," de Blasio said. "Harlem enriched the greatness of James Baldwin, Harlem gave Malcolm X a platform for change, Harlem nurtured Tito Puente, Harlem welcomed Duke Ellington … so many people that we honor have been touched by Harlem. Harlem has influenced every corner of America and made us greater."

How long is it? 

As the mayor says, it's not a week anymore — it's a month. It launched on July 28 and wraps up on Sept. 1. When it started 45 years ago, it was a weeklong event but by year seven it had already stretched out past the seven days.

"The adage, therefore, is ‘Only in Harlem can a week last for a month," Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce president Lloyd Williams told amNewYork.

Where is it celebrated?

All across the neighborhood at houses of worship like The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine; theaters, including the Apollo, Harlem School of the Arts and Dance Theater of Harlem; at schools like the City College of New York, Columbia University and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; parks, including Marcus Garvey and Grant National Memorial parks; and at certain restaurants and clubs — all depending on the event.

What's on the schedule?

  • Youth S.T.E.A.M. Hackathon (Aug. 1)

Young adults can head to the City College of New York: North Academic Center (1605 Amsterdam Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a free day of learning and teamwork. After a panel discussion on careers in technology, youth will be put in teams and asked to solve a problem using technology (creating an app or website, for example). Prizes will be awarded for the top three teams. Register online.

  • NYC Economic Development Day (Aug. 8)

Developers and businesses will come together from noon to 8 p.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell State Building (163 W. 125th St.) for a full day of presentations about new projects and opportunities for women-, local- and minority-owned businesses.

  • Memphis/Harlem Night (Aug. 15)

Enjoy a free concert from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell State Building (163 W. 125th St.) inspired by culture in Memphis, Tennessee, and in Harlem with performances by the Keith "The Captain" Gamble Quintet, Division X, Suzann Christine, Memphis Jookin, Keia Johnson and Cameron Bethany.

  • Summer in the City (Aug. 17)

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., West 125th Street, between Fifth and St. Nicholas, will be taken over by an outdoor concert with R&B, hip-hop, Latin, reggae and rock artists, and an outdoor film festival, a higher education fair, and expo, step shows and a sports fashion show.

  • Harlem Day (Aug. 18)

A full day of fun is planned at West 135th Street, between Fifth and St. Nicholas, with live music, the Upper Manhattan Auto Show, tennis clinics, a children's fashion show and more, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Harlem Restaurant & Retail Week (Aug. 19 - Sept. 1)

Restaurants are offering prix-fixe menus and specials as well as live events including but not limited to 67 Orange Street, Coogan's, Corner Social, Floridita's, FUMO, Harlem Shake, Harlem Tavern, Lido, Londel's, Mama Sushi, Melba's, Nocciola, Oso, Patrick's Place, Patsy's, Peque, Red Rooster, Row House, Ruby's Vintage, Rum Hall, Serengeti Teas & Spices, Settepani, Sisters Cuisine, Shake Shack, Sofrito, Solomon & Kuff, Sylvia's "Soul Food" Restaurant, Uptown Veg and Juice Bar, and Whole Foods. Check harlemrestaurantweek.com for more information.

  • Percy Sutton Harlem 5K (Aug. 24)

Run or walk in honor of Harlem and the late Percy Sutton, who was Manhattan borough president in the 1970s and helped make the NYC Marathon a five-borough event. The 1.5-mile walk circles St. Nicholas Park and runs alongside Jackie Robinson Park, ending at St. Nicholas Avenue at 138th Street. The 5K starts at 8:30 a.m. and costs $34 for nonmembers of the New York Road Runners. Register online.

  • Harlem Jazz and Music Festival (Aug. 29)

Move and groove to live performances by Legacy, Impact Repertory Theater, Troubled Mal, Young Devyn and Vy Higginsen Gospel for Teens, who will pay tribute to artists like Smokey Robinson, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin and Duke Ellington, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell State Building (163 W. 125th St.).

For more information, visit harlemweek.com.

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