Four Stops or Less
Written by Bwog Staff
Every night you spend drunk at the Abbey causes the same existential crisis: lazy as you are, you really do need to get out of Morningside Heights. Now the Blue and White offers you a no muss, no fuss approach. A four stop, weekly walking tour. Print, follow, see a little, and come back to Carman feeling like you’ve accomplished something—then head to the West End. After all, you deserve a celebration.
In honor of how few Columbians have actually walked past Teachers College, we bring you a chance to bound through the streets of our northern neighbor’s neighborhood. Inspired by the Autobiography of Malcolm X, this tour takes you to some of the less known but more interesting sites in West Harlem. None of these sites are found on any tourist maps, and we like it that way. Stop where we tell you, take a look around. It’ll be more fun then getting brunch at Deluxe again, we swear.
125th Street, in front of the Apollo Theater: This first site is a little bit of a trick. Actually, you aren’t looking for anything except the street vendors: African men at tables packed with books in Arabic, bundles of incense, and bottles of liquids—Islamic paraphernalia that harkens back to Malcolm’s days as a preacher on the Harlem streets.
126th and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd: This is what you’re looking for: a sign reads, “Allah School in Mecca Street Academy Outreach Center for the Growth and the Development of the Youth. And Copy Shop (signs painted.)” Above it, notice the big 7 on top of a star and sickle painted on the side. Though currently a dusty copy shop, this was once the Temple Seven, Malcolm’s base of operations while he organized for the Nation of Islam.
147th between Convent and St. Nicholas: While the front basement apartments look like those on any other street, check them out—the Autobiography says Malcolm used them as a base for his drug-running operation in his hustler days.
135th and 7th: Find the IHOP (pancakes anyone?) then close your eyes, squint, and imagine a bar called Small’s Paradise, the bar that was Malcolm’s second home, sitting in that very spot. See if you can find any signs of him while pouring syrup on your Belgian waffles.