Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Harlem One Stop Welcomes NYCAHC to Sugar Hill to Promote West Harlem as a Tourist Destination

The annual general membership meeting of The New York City Association of Hotel Concierges was held on April 28th in Sugar Hill, West Harlem, at the new Sugar Hill Apartments and future home of the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, designed by David Adjaye. The Association’s meeting was held in West Harlem at the invitation of Harlem One Stop as part of a West Harlem cultural tourism initiative funded by a grant from the West Harlem Development Corporation.

The Broadway Housing Communities, the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling hosted a reception following the meeting in its 9th floor Rio Gallery II and patio with a breathtaking unobstructed views of the surrounding Harlem/Washington Heights neighborhood.

“It’s not just where we can get space for us,” said Thomas Meckl, NYCAHC member of 27 years, who discussed the array of meeting locations. “It’s also is it a place we want our colleagues to know more about.”

As ambassadors of New York to visitors from around the world and across the country, travelers trust NYC hotel concierges to offer comprehensive information about the best that the five-boroughs have to offer.

“Manhattan is garnering these tourists and there’s a history to Harlem," said Gunter Kleemann, member and former president of the NYCAHC. “There’s a whole amazing world up here that’s as unique as any other neighborhood in Manhattan.

With special events and festivals occurring throughout the year, home to preserved historical landmarks embedded in New York’s past, and the center of cultural diversity with guided tours, the area is beginning to see a steady influx of travelers that’s growing.

Speakers of the evening included Ellen Baxter, founder and executive director of Broadway Housing Communities. She spoke of the projects that the BHC has erected which provided homes to nearly 300 households. After the meeting she lead a tour previewing the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling.

“What I was amazed at was the size that museum was going to be downstairs, the tremendous amount of interactive stuff, and how exposing preschoolers to art really contributed to their cognitive development,” added Meckl.

The Harlem museum was built to highlight the significance of art to children ages 3-8 in an engaging way that stimulates their appreciation for creativity. SHCMAS’s educational program is guided by Steve Seidel Director of Harvard University’s Arts in Education Program and also features the historical richness of the neighborhood itself in relation to the surrounding Washington Heights and Harlem communities.

Also exclusive to Harlem is the blend of cuisine available throughout the community. The African and soul flavors were featured from Farafina Café and Lounge, which hosted the NYCAHC reception.

After opening about two years ago, the restaurant is also featured in Forbes Magazine as one of the top ten African Restaurants in New York City.  

Owner, Steve Abreu, and Chef Lemon, of the Ivory Coast, made an appearance to discuss the menu with guests and further share the culinary information of the neighborhood with the association.

“A lot of great things are happening soon and I think Farafina has something to offer anyone from any culture, and if you look at the food we serve you see the similarities with the food in the Caribbean cultures, as well as American,” said Abreu.

Dishes featured included the chef’s special take on the traditional recipe of Chicken Yassa, served with an array of staples such as Mac & cheese, mixed vegetables and Farafina’s couscous.

“The more events you have the more you explore and can participate by taking one of the tours going to the restaurants, going to the museums, and seeing what the neighborhoods have got to offer and then you are more aware and then you become more able to make first hand recommendations to the area,” added Kleemann.

(Photo credit: NYCAHC)

(Photo credit: NYCAHC)
(Photo credit: NYCAHC)
(Photo credit: NYCAHC)

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