How to celebrate Fourth of July in New York?

What is this it is?

Independence Day referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation: the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.

Credits: Michael Dyers
Credits: Michael Dyers

Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies (in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States). Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.

What Can I expect from that day?

Independence Day is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Similar to other summer-themed events, Independence Day celebrations often take place outdoors. Independence Day is a federal holiday, so all non-essential federal institutions (such as the postal service and federal courts) are closed that day. Many politicians make it a point to appear at a public event as well, in order to praise the nation’s heritage, laws, history, society, and its people.

Families often celebrate Independence Day by hosting or attending a picnic or barbecue; many take advantage of the day off and, in some may take a long weekend away to gather with relatives or friends. Decorations are generally colored red, white, and blue, the colors of the American flag. Parades are often held in the morning, before family get-togethers, while fireworks displays occur in the evening after dark at such places as parks, fairgrounds, or town squares.

How to celebrate this exceptional day in New York?

As mentionned above, the majority of New Yorkers will be enjoying the day outside: Central Park is one of the destination for an impromptu picnic with family and friends to later meet again in the evening to see the fireworks. The show starts around 9:00pm on the East River. Brooklyn Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge offer the best view of Manhattan. Also, keep in mind nearly 3 million of spectators are expected so make sure you arrive around 11:00am to score the best spot. If you do not want to wait, I invite you to explore other options to admire the fireworks below.

Credits: centralpark.com
Credits: centralpark.com

A wonderful cruise to admire the fireworks !

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

The 4th of July cruises are very trendy right now in New York. Indeed more and more people embark on board of a small boat to be near the fireworks and celebrate this national event with friends and family, while remaining away from the hurly-burly of New York. The cruise lasts for 5 hours during which you will be able to witness the best perspective of Manhattan and its skyline. To top it all, this escape includes the magic of one of the best DJs of New York. It is one wonderful moment which will remain engraved forever in your memory. If you are hungry or you wish to have a drink, there is a service bar/restaurant available in the boat. To book it, CLICK HERE

An helicopter tour

Credits: lovingnewyork
Credits: lovingnewyork

If sailing is not your thing, maybe you have the heart of a bird and air is for you!? If that’s the case, you will be thrilled by this tour which will enable you to enjoy the most exceptional sights of the city. After a takeoff above the Hudson River, you will move right towards the mythical Statue of Liberty and will be able to admire the Empire State Building and other iconic buildings of New York! If you want to make a success of your trip in New York, I strongly advise you o take this tour. To book it, CLICK HERE

If you have any question, do no hesitate to write me on Facebook!

Salvatore

Neighborhood Guide: What To Visit In Harlem

harlem guide, harlem spirituals

Welcome home to Harlem! Home- evocation of an immediate sense of peace and belonging; which is exactly the feeling you have when stepping foot here. As you likely know, Harlem is a comeback tale of the ages, which has resulted in a surge in visitors in recent years. This tale, coupled with all the exciting and meaningful adventures to be had, is the inspiration for this post…the first in a series of posts dedicated to Harlem’s greatness and the best things to do in Harlem. Let’s start this week with What To Visit in Harlem!

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5 Favorite Jazz Songs About New York

jazz-mural-harlem-spirituals
As a city defined by its culture, New York City has long been a muse to inspiring artists of all kind. A city this cool really deserves several amazing songs named after it. In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, we’ve gathered our picks of the top 5 Jazz songs about NY and theses tunes will make you want to take a bite out of the Big Apple.

By the way, you can experience the golden days of Jazz in Harlem on our Soul Food and Jazz night out, a guided visit focusing on the past and present of New York’s Jazz nightlife. This outing infuses a visit of the historic neighborhood of Harlem; it also includes the opportunity to get a taste of authentic American soul food at Sylvia’s —a restaurant known by many as the “true icon of Harlem”. Highlight of the visit is the fun-filled time you’ll spend in a Harlem local jazz club to listen to live band and dance the night away. The Soul Food & Jazz Tour is also available for private groups, please contact Harlem Spirituals at tours@harlemspirituals.com for more information.

Now, here are our Top 5 Jazz songs about NYC:

1- Manhattan – Dinah Washington
This song “Manhattan” was so well received that it made it to the Great American Songbook which highlights the most important and influential American songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century. While The Supremes, Lee Wiley, Oscar Peterson, Blossom Dearie, Tony Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others have all recorded the song “Manhattan”; Dinah Washington’s version from 1959 seems to be the most popular to this day.

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Our 5 Favorite NYC Female Jazz Artists

Our 5 Favorite NYC Female Jazz Artists

We at Harlem Spirituals/New York Visions are huge fans of Jazz! Decades ago, we pioneered the development of tourism to Harlem with the creation of our famous Soul Food and Jazz tours, allowing us to share with you our passion for Jazz and for its birthplace: Harlem! Our guided tours showcase the neighborhoods’ most iconic jazz venues such as the Apollo Theater and the Cotton Club, as well as its most famous landmarks. And if you are interested in the history of Harlem, the Soul Food and Jazz tour is definitely a must-do: our guide will share with you everything there is to know about the neighborhood’s storied past and its ongoing renaissance, as well as some good tips if you ever want to come back on your own. Because there are always new things to do and see in the exciting neighborhood of Harlem!

This month, in appreciation of Women’s History Month, we are re-visiting the music of famous NYC female jazz artists whose compositions are still topping the charts as classics in this genre. These are our favorite NYC female jazz artists who not only strive for greatness, but also made and continue to produce music that inspires us in many ways. Here are our top 5:

1- Adelaide Hall
This native of Brooklyn started her career on Broadway in 1921 before working with Jazz heavy weights like Duke Ellington. Hall was also a major figure during the Harlem Renaissance before moving to Britain, where she had a well-known career. One of her biggest moment in Harlem was her performance in a 1934 show named Chocolate Soldiers, which opened at the Apollo Theater. The show received so much attention and praise that it helped brand the newly opened Apollo Theater get recognized as Harlem’s premier theater! In 1934 (again), her opening at the Cotton Club during the Cotton Club Parade was the largest grossing show there up to that moment. This was also the night when nitrogen smoke was used for the very first time to cover the floor of the stage. Needless to say that this was quite sensational at the time.

Songs to hear: “Ill Wind” – “Primitive Prima Donna” – “Creole Love Call” with Duke Ellington

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A History of Gospel

A History of Gospel

Gospel music has the power to emotionally move you regardless of whether you are spiritually inclined or not. You may be wondering why Harlem is often associated with Gospel music, so to give you some context; here is a little bit of history.

– Did you know?
Gospel music, which was born out of the African-American religious experience, can be traced to the early 17th century. An era when New York’s Harlem neighborhood was actually a Dutch community, before transforming into a major hub for African-American culture at the beginning of the 20th century. Harlem, then, experienced its golden age from the 1920s to the 1930s when it played a significant role at the heart of black music, art and literature. Gospel brought joy to the heart and soul of its audience. The powerful and uplifting rhythms of joy and gratefulness in Gospel can make one want to cheer up, bop your head, stomp your foot or simply sing along.

Harlem street

(Photo by Pieter E.)
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