How To Attend a Gospel Mass in Harlem

On your way to New York? You absolutely must visit Harlem with its dynamic churches and all-around richness that permeates through several domains: Music- with the blossoming of the jazz genre, its extraordinary musicians and legendary nightclubs; Architecture- with some 400 churches and fascinating streets with stretches of brightly coloured residences; Street art- with large and spectacular wall murals; Soul food– an African-American culinary tradition to discover its famous fried chicken and unlimited buffet brunches…. And especially, nothing says Harlem like Gospel Music, the symbol of fight against slavery, with religious songs powerfully sung by remarkable choirs. Here are our best tips for attending a Gospel service in Harlem while discovering all the richness and beauty of a historic neighborhood, full of pride, emotion, and culture.

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Harlem Gospel Choir singing

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Gospel in Harlem

In The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin described his Gospel experience in a church of Harlem:

The church was exciting. There is no music like that music, no drama like the drama of the saints rejoicing, the sinners moaning, the tambourines racing, and all those voices coming together and crying Holy unto the Lord – and their cries of “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!” and “Yes, Lord!” and “Praise his name!” and “Preach it brother!” all became equal, wringing wet, singing and dancing, in anguish and rejoicing, at the foot of the altar” (1936)

Gospel music is deeply moving, and erases all differences. We have all heard it, danced to it, sang along… Here are a few facts worth knowing about the history of Gospel in Harlem.

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Hot dog cart in New york

8 Things You Will Only See in NYC

Like most major cities, the Big Apple has its share of distinctive and quintessential places to see: the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and plenty more. But, also iconic to New York City are those who live here. Perhaps it’s the size and the diversity of the population — or maybe it’s something in the water. Regardless of what the case may be, there is nothing like what you will see in the streets of New York City.

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Jammin’ the Melting Pot: Mambonick in New York City

At Harlem Spirituals, we love when history and music collide. Latin-Yiddish Jazz is the epitome of jamming the melting pot here in New York City. One of the reasons New York City offers such a diverse cultural landscape undoubtedly stems from the role that the harbor-city played in welcoming the various waves of immigration throughout the years. We were telling you all about this in our previous article on the Lower East Side. To this day, the incredible diversity of the people of NYC is an aspect that fascinates many tourists, artists and writers. Read on to see why.
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International Woman’s Day: Zora Neale Hurston

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement marked by increased literary, musical and artistic creativity by black artists who wanted to challenge the previous stereotypical representation of their image.

Zora Neale Hurston was an important part of the Harlem Renaissance, but her struggle to make it in a patriarchal, segregated pre-WWII society was real. Even amongst her male peers, she was not taken seriously. It was extremely difficult for her to convince publishers and readers that she was up to the task. Read more