I decided to check out the new Harlem Target today (the exciting life I live), but as soon as I excited the subway at 116th I knew it wasn't just going to be an average trip to the store. 116th was blocked off from Lexington to 2nd avenue. Most of the street was taken up with carnival rides and games and people selling pina coladas.
At the end of the street a small stage was set up. When I walked up a rapper (hip hop artist?), Blaze, had taken the stage. Blaze wasn't half bad and had some lovely backup dancers dressed like bikers (I think?). A old Dominican man took a liking to me and made sure I had a prime viewing spot and that I got one of the free CDs they were handing out. I'm listening to it now... he's pretty good, but as it is all in spanish, I'm not sure what his "One Man Army" CD is about.
Next act? The local dance school. Their performance was divided into three age groups. The little kids salsa'd, the pre teen's hip hopped, and the old kids did a great routine to the In the Heights soundtrack. I was very impressed by their dance ability.
Now let's pause for politics. There were campaign signs for Charles Rangel, Harlem Congressman, who is currently under fire from the House Ethics Committee for 13 ethic charges, including the misuse of office stationery and undeclared income.
I continued on and within a block of the Target I saw another festival. A Giglio feast, which is an Italian festival that only takes place in six places worldwide, three in Italy and three in the greater New York City area. I'd stumbled upon the feast for Our Lady of Mt Carmel in East Harlem. Basically over a hundred men (and I think I spotted some women) carry this statue, over 6 stories tall, and brass band down the street while dancing it up and down and around in circles. It was pretty amazing to watch.
After some song and dance they marched down to the church (only a few buildings away) and engaged in more song and dance.
I went on to Target (I forgot to take a picture). It is a pretty nice store and I checked out the Harlem designer items, but thought they were a little flashy for Midtown. I left with a pair of sunglasses, work dress, and fruit bars.