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HARLEM WEEK 2019: Uptown’s festival culminates with back-to-back events — ‘Summer in the City’ and ‘Harlem Day’


Dancers, music and more will fill the stages along W.135th St. for Harlem Week's big "Summer in the City" - "Harlem Day" weekend.

Harlem Week, which began as Harlem Day 45 years ago, has transitioned over the years into more than a month of extraordinary events for children and adults – and “Summer in the City” and “Harlem Day” are extra special.

On Aug. 17, Summer in the City – an all-day affair – will include the Harlem Spelling Bee at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. “This is a shining moment for our children in Harlem,” said Jackie Rowe Adams, co-founder of the event. “It gives them a chance to show off their spelling skills, which is incredible.”

Since the event was introduced two years ago, it has been a huge success, drawing 15 contestants from kindergarten to fifth grade. Adams explained there are no losers in the competition – all the spellers are presented with certificates for having the courage and the confidence to stand up in front of an audience and give the spelling contest their best.

The Harlem Education Fair, to be held from noon to 5 p.m. under its huge tent on 135th St. (between Lenox Ave. and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.) has become a Harlem Week staple, attracting college-bound students and their parents.

“This event allows students and parents an opportunity to get pertinent college information on grants, scholarships and other resources at their leisure,” said Harlem Week’s Michael Flanigan.

Some colleges confirmed for this year’s fair include SUNY Purchase, SUNY at Old Westbury, Columbia University, and HBCUs (Historically Black College and Universities) North Carolina Central University, Spelman College and Meharry Medical College.

Representatives from these colleges will share information about financial aid requirements, and how to apply for scholarships.

After a full day of walking on 135th St. – from Fifth Ave. to Frederick Douglass Blvd. – and taking in the full extent of what Harlem Week has to offer, it might be time to retreat to the St. Nicholas Park Great Lawn (135th St. and St. Nicholas Ave.) for the OutDoors Film Festival screening of “If Beale Street Could Talk,” adapted from author-essayist James Baldwin’s award-winning novel, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The film festival is being presented by ImagineNation Cinema Foundation, founded by Moikgantsi Kgama.

“We have developed a great relationship with Harlem Week over the last few years,” said Kgama. “I founded this organization

in 1997 with the purpose of distributing films for us and by us that need to be seen, and Harlem Week is a great outlet.”

On Aug. 18, Harlem Day, the much-anticipated Upper Manhattan Auto Show will offer vehicles to shout about and take loads photos of from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some of these classic automobiles – rarely seen except perhaps in movies – include a 1912 Ford Model T, a 1931 Chevrolet Cabriolet, a 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, a Canadian-made Brickland and a 1961 Porsche Speedster.

Auto enthusiast and major Michael Jackson fan Tammy Jones, who started attending the auto show in 2010, will return this year with her customized 2007 Saturn Sky Redline Turbo, which she dedicated to the King of Pop.

"What makes my car special is that Tarantula Sky – that is what I call her – is dedicated to Michael Jackson," she said showing off the portrait of him on its hood liner that was painted by Wolfpack Graphix of Middletown, Pa.

Also on Harlem Day, the Upper Manhattan Business Expo will take place on 135th St. (between Malcolm X Blvd. and Fifth Ave.) between noon and 6 p.m. The diversity of Harlem businesses is showcased – from financial institutions to retail stores, restaurants and more. The idea is to promote local businesses to the Harlem Day audiences, and many firms will offer coupons and other incentives.

For a full list of Harlem Week activities, visit