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With its rich cultural history and many landmark buildings, Harlem is not just one of New York’s most distinctive neighborhoods; it’s also one of the most walkable.
This illustrated guide takes readers on five separate walking tours of Harlem, covering ninety-one different historical sites. Alongside major tourist destinations like the Apollo Theater and the Abyssinian Baptist Church, longtime Harlem resident Karen Taborn includes little-known local secrets like Jazz Age speakeasies, literati, political and arts community locales. Drawing from rare historical archives, she also provides plenty of interesting background information on each location.
This guide was designed with the needs of walkers in mind. Each tour consists of eight to twenty-nine nearby sites, and at the start of each section, readers will find detailed maps of the tour sites, as well as an estimated time for each walk. In case individuals would like to take a more leisurely tour, it provides recommendations for restaurants and cafes where they can stop along the way.
Walking Harlem gives readers all the tools they need to thoroughly explore over a century’s worth of this vital neighborhood’s cultural, political, religious, and artistic heritage. With its informative text and nearly seventy stunning photographs, this is the most comprehensive, engaging, and educational walking tour guidebook on one of New York’s historic neighborhoods.
About the Author
KAREN TABORN has been a Harlem resident for over thirty years; she has taught Harlem history at the New School and has served as a historical consultant for the 135th Street Harlem Walk of Fame. With graduate degrees in jazz and ethnomusicology, she has published articles in The Grove Dictionary of American Music and the journal Black Grooves.
"Walking Harlem is not only a fascinating approach to the community’s history—Taborn has done a fantastic job of updating several of the previous walking tour books—it also provides an impressive primer for a full-fledged book on Harlem’s history."
— Herb Boyd
“Walking Harlem is an indispensable guide to the celebrated community’s existing landmarks, famous addresses and remarkable history. Karen Taborn’s insightful commentary illuminates her journey through Harlem’s streets and provides us with an indelible impression of this storied destination.”
— Marie Dutton Brown
“Walking Harlem is a helpful resource for visiting the many sites that are integral to the narrative of not only Black America, but to the world’s narrative as well. From the vaudeville era to the Jazz Age to the struggles for civil and human rights, this guide is an indispensable travel companion.”
— Karen D. Taylor
"Special thanks to Karen and Rutgers University Press for publishing a definitive walking-tour guidebook through our beloved Harlem. Karen’s poignant and scholarly narratives provide the user with a vibrant tapestry on key Harlem known and unknown places, residences, and venues. A must-have informative guide for making your walk through Harlem pleasurable and memorable."
— Voza Rivers
"New Book, Walking Harlem: The Ultimate Guide To The Cultural Capital Of Black America" and event listing
— Harlem World Magazine
"Karen F. Taborn, an ethnomusicologist who has taught about the neighborhood’s history at the New School, offers five walking tours and an accessible grounding in the Harlem Renaissance that places the characters and locales in context."
— New York Times
"On the Magic in Knowing the Stories Behind a Place: Karen in West Harlem, NYC"
— Place Love Project