We started early for a Sunday morning as we were heading to Harlem and a gospel service. We left around 8am and got the train to Harlem, arriving much earlier than we needed for our tour...and it was freezing! Absolutely freezing! So we found an open shop to browse through before heading back to our starting point for the tour.
Andy was our tour guide from Harlem Heritage Tours (and he was 82 years old and didn't look it at all!!) and he gave us a brief history of Harlem. He was quite amusing and as everyone else arrived, turned out all of the tour group were from Australia, except a young couple from Queens, NY! We headed over the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ and had priority entrance as Neil (the guy who runs the tour company) was baptised in that church. They cater for sooooo many tourists and so many of them were quite rude, talking during prayers, complaining about the seats they were assigned, sitting when they should've been standing. It was amazing though - the singing was great, we were all welcomed (the lady in front of us held our hands while singing a welcome song).
We then wandered through Harlem, stopping to look at various buildings and finding out their significance to the Harlem history. There were soooo many churches and a look at the different architecture of the different eras of Harlem, the Apollo Theatre (where stars like James Brown and Michael Jackson), Teresa Hotel (where Fidel Castro once met with UN representatives) and the Zebra Lounge.
After a quick subway ride back to the northern end of Central Park, we stopped at a small cafe for some lunch and had some beautiful lentil balls (yes, lentils!) and spinch, feta and potato pie (all homemade!). We then proceeded to walk the entire length of Central Park, along the Great Hill, past the North Meadow and Dairy, quick look at the Reservoir, looking at the medium sized obelisk, stopping for a photo with Alice and her friends, round to the Bethesda Fountain and along the Mall to Wollmans Rink and then out of the park.
We walked down 5th Avenue, originally wanting to stop at FAO Schwarz but the queue to get in was quite long, so we passed. We then proceeded to shop our way down 5th Avenue (window shopping counts as shopping, right??) and then crossed to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and then watch the light show on the Saks Fifth Avenue building, which is great!
We took the chance to do a bit of shopping on the way back to the hotel, stopping at the NBC store, Disney store and Toys R Us. We picked up some of the best takeaway ever (really nice tasting milk shakes, burgers, hotdogs and fries) from Shake Shack and have eaten that, along with icecream, and will be off to bed soon as early day again tomorrow!