Friday, May 27, 2011

☞ REVIVE: The Business of Tourism in Harlem

Harlem is such an international destination these days and it actually is a bit odd that an outwardly present tourism center of some sort has not been established uptown in the past decade (there is a desk inside the Studio Museum).  Even a small kiosk of with maps or directions probably would help out a lot of visitors and even direct traffic to some of the businesses that are not as visible or obvious. Most tour manuals become outdated very quickly (look at all the restaurants that have opened, closed or will open in recent months) so having material on hand that is current and translated in French, Spanish and Japanese would probably help out everyone involved. This year saw the first jazz festival finally arrive uptown so progress for the obvious is starting to happen albeit at a slow pace.  


  1. Judging from the amount of tour buses here there is absolutely not a single soul left in Quebec.

  2. Ulysees -- I was typing out a reply about how I completely agree with you, how Harlem could really use something like this, etc. I was even going to suggest that any such effort should be closely integrated with NYC & Company, set up in a way that fully leverages existing web presence, etc.

    At which point I took a closer look at the NYC tourism web site, and found the following:

    The information center is apparently located "inside The Studio Museum in Harlem," and is one of 5 official NYC information centers. (There are 2 brick and mortar sites in midtown and 2 kiosks downtown.)

    So perhaps the key question should now be:
    Why didn't we know about this place already?!

    I find this "discovery" quite surprising, given how closely we watch everything local on this site. Admittedly a visitor center is "outward-facing" and by definition not targeted at locals -- but I am really a bit taken aback that this has been under our nose and nonetheless not on our radar at all.

    So it's worth investigating further, I think, to see if the information center could be given greater street presence and visibility -- to visitors and locals alike. We should, after all, be active in promoting local attractions, and the existence a neighborhood resource such as this is potentially very relevant.

    Another outstanding question is whether they have on hand the sort of multi-language resources you described above, and which I agree should be considered quite important.

  3. More tourists! Bring them on!

  4. Ulysses: Which businesses are you thinking about?

  5. Many of us know about NYC & Co inside The Studio Museum and we drop 'Save the Date' cards off to her all the time. She always seems to have a group of tourists standing in front of her and she hands out free subway maps, answers questions, gives directions and has a nice rack of free brochures in front of her desk in the lobby.

  6. The main issue is that the center at the Studio Museum is not an outward entity which the post now reflects. We have been told the new Mart 125 development will also have a tourist center in it when that comes about in the future.

  7. Isn't there a tour center on Lenox between 115 and 116? I pass it every day. Harlem Heritage Tours, I think. They have a storefront.

  8. There are a few "for pay" tour businesses uptown but a free public kiosk would probably draw the most foot traffic. Maybe something that has an old neon sign to make stand out...

  9. You know we should petition to have tourist kiosk at 125th and 116 and Lenox, these appear to be the hub of action for tourist. The open air African market is on 116th and the Apollo is on 125th and it just seems to make sense.

    With that in mind we should also petition the local businesses to get involved with some type of BID program, so that the 125th and 116th corridors can be kept clean at all time.

    They could hire some neighbourhood people who are serious about working and need the jobs; the pay would not be fantastic but it is good solid honest work and maybe they will take pride in keeping Harlem clean.