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Bringing “Sexy Back” to Harlem Bodegas

December 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Bringing “Sexy Back” to Harlem Bodegas

Located on the corner of West 118th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard, La Bodega 47 Social Club transforms one of Harlem’s fundamental businesses, the standard Latino grocery store, into a trendy rum lounge.

Owner Brian Washington-Palmer, originally from Berkley, Calif., believed Harlem needed a space that would complement the influx of new residents and development of new businesses and apartment complexes, so he transformed his previous Caribbean-Mediterranean restaurant, Native, into La Bodega 47 Social Club last March.

Washington-Palmer moved to New York City about 20 years ago to become a dancer, living much of that time in Harlem. After deciding to branch away from performing arts, he attended school in Paris. His travels between Paris and New York inspired him to work in the food industry. Washington-Palmer has owned a few bars and eateries prior to opening the
bodega-themed lounge. He wanted La Bodega 47 Social Club to have a completely different ambiance than his previous restaurant Native.

“Harlem very much about being seen and I wanted a spot that wasn’t about being seen, but about being intimate and having conversations,” he said.

When Washington-Palmer decided to reinvent the restaurant to keep up with Harlem’s transition, he visited bodegas around the city to help him create the new space. From the stocked grocery shelf walls to the huge portrait of an elderly woman smoking a cigar; the lounge’s interior décor is reminiscent of a bodega. The exterior of La Bodega 47 Social Club is also similar to the exterior of a bodega, and has actually been mistaken for one countless times.

 

“I overheard a woman once say, ‘What kind of bodega sells brunch?’” said Washington-Palmer with a chuckle. Although building the lounge was a collaborative effort, Washington-Palmer designed the lounge himself.

The dinner and drink menu at La Bodega 47 Social Club is influenced by Latino culture. The dinner menu is divided by “small bowls,” which includes “Brazilian Bread Cheeses,” and “big bowls,” which includes “Arroz Con Pollo.” The social club houses a variety of drinks, but the specialty rum cocktails are the “go to” items on the drink menu. Each specialty cocktail incorporates the lounge’s in-house crafted syrups, including the “Latin Old Fashioned.”

When visiting La Bodega 47 Social Club, expect to walk-into a whimsical setting where one can socialize and unwind after a long day at work. “Every night you’ll run into publicist and a lot of different actors and actresses who come here. It’s a low key spot,” said employee Michael Angelo Levy.

 

 

Tags: Dine Time · Multimedia Feed

Bringing “Sexy Back” to Harlem Bodegas

December 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Bringing “Sexy Back” to Harlem Bodegas

Located on the corner of West 118th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard, La Bodega 47 Social Club transforms one of Harlem’s fundamental businesses, the standard Latino grocery store, into a trendy rum lounge.

Owner Brian Washington-Palmer, originally from Berkley, Calif., believed Harlem needed a space that would complement the influx of new residents and development of new businesses and apartment complexes, so he transformed his previous Caribbean-Mediterranean restaurant, Native, into La Bodega 47 Social Club this past March.

Washington-Palmer moved to New York City about 20 years ago to become a dancer, living much of that time in Harlem. After deciding to branch away from performing arts, he attended school in Paris. His travels between Paris and New York inspired him to work in the food industry. Washington-Palmer has owned a few bars and eateries prior to opening the bodega-themed lounge. He wanted La Bodega 47 Social Club to have a completely different ambiance than his previous restaurant Native.

“Harlem very much about being seen and I wanted a spot that wasn’t about being seen, but about being intimate and having conversations,” he said.

When Washington-Palmer decided to reinvent the restaurant to keep up with Harlem’s transition, he visited bodegas around the city to help him create the new space. From the stocked grocery shelf walls to the huge portrait of an elderly woman smoking a cigar; the lounge’s interior décor is reminiscent of a bodega. The exterior of La Bodega 47 Social Club is also similar to the exterior of a bodega, and has actually been mistaken for one countless times.

 

“I overheard a woman once say, ‘What kind of bodega sells brunch?’” said Washington-Palmer with a chuckle. Although building the lounge was a collaborative effort, Washington-Palmer designed the lounge himself.

The dinner and drink menu at La Bodega 47 Social Club is influenced by Latino culture. The dinner menu is divided by “small bowls,” which includes “Brazilian Bread Cheeses,” and “big bowls,” which includes “Arroz Con Pollo.” The social club houses a variety of drinks, but the specialty rum cocktails are the “go to” items on the drink menu. Each specialty cocktail incorporates the lounge’s in-house crafted syrups, including the “Latin Old Fashioned.”

When visiting La Bodega 47 Social Club, expect to walk-into a whimsical setting where one can socialize and unwind after a long day at work. “Every night you’ll run into publicist and a lot of different actors and actresses who come here. It’s a low key spot,” said employee Michael Angelo Levy.

 

 

Tags: Dine Time · Multimedia Feed

Southern BBQ Say Hello to East Harlem

November 9th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Southern BBQ Say Hello to East Harlem

The South meets El Barrio at Harley’s Smokeshack & BBQ located on 116th Street and First Avenue. Harley’s brings forth a new culture of food to the neighborhood, and there are two things I believe keep East Harlem’s residents coming back for more – the El Barrio Apricot Margarita and the restaurant’s detailed décor.

The drink menu is an extensive one, ranging from craft beers to sangria, but one of the most popular cocktails on the menu is the El Barrio Apricot Margarita, as mentioned by Jessica Rosario, the manager who has been at Harley’s since the grand opening in December 2011.  “Out of all the cocktails we have, I feel like the El Barrio Margarita is on the menu to bring attention to the people of El Barrio. Anyone from here will say ‘Oh, an El Barrio Margarita? Let me try it’,” said Rosario. This cocktail manages to establish a connection between East Harlem residents and the relatively new BBQ joint. The El Barrio Apricot Margarita is not limited to apricot, but has a variety of different flavors, including mango, raspberry, passion fruit and strawberry.

One step into Harley’s Smokeshack & BBQ transports you to an old saloon down in the South. The southern theme of the restaurant was well thought out and is present throughout the entire space, including the restrooms. At the entrance, patrons are greeted with a full wall of southern state license plates, and as they walk further into the restaurant the theme continues to play out. The southern saloon props at Harley’s include, horse shoes, steer head skulls and a life size horse and carriage.

Harley’s prides itself on authentic smokehouse flavors. The meats are smoked for 18-20 hours in the in-house 1000 pound wood smoker. Louis Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Carolina Brisket Sandwich, Louisiana Jambalaya, are some of many Southern BBQ dishes on Harley’s menu. I have visited Harley’s a number of times since the doors opened to neighborhood residents, and the menu items are not traditional dishes one would usually find in East Harlem. “I think this (Harley’s Smokeshack & BBQ) is great for the neighborhood. I feel like a new attraction is good for any neighborhood, especially if it’s out of the norm and unique. If you look around here, there’s only Chinese stores, pizza shops, fast food and Cuchifritos,” said Rosario.

Tags: Dine Time · Multimedia Feed

Southern BBQ Say Hello to East Harlem

November 9th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Southern BBQ Say Hello to East Harlem

The South meets El Barrio at Harley’s Smokeshack & BBQ located on 116th Street and First Avenue. Harley’s brings forth a new culture of food to the neighborhood, and there are two things I believe keep East Harlem’s residents coming back for more – the El Barrio Apricot Margarita and the restaurant’s detailed décor.

The drink menu is an extensive one, ranging from craft beers to sangria, but one of the most popular cocktails on the menu is the El Barrio Apricot Margarita, as mentioned by Jessica Rosario, the manager who has been at Harley’s since the grand opening in December 2011.  “Out of all the cocktails we have, I feel like the El Barrio Margarita is on the menu to bring attention to the people of El Barrio. Anyone from here will say ‘Oh, an El Barrio Margarita? Let me try it’,” said Rosario. This cocktail manages to establish a connection between East Harlem residents and the relatively new BBQ joint. The El Barrio Apricot Margarita is not limited to apricot, but has a variety of different flavors, including mango, raspberry, passion fruit and strawberry.

One step into Harley’s Smokeshack & BBQ transports you to an old saloon down in the South. The southern theme of the restaurant was well thought out and is present throughout the entire space, including the restrooms. At the entrance, patrons are greeted with a full wall of southern state license plates, and as they walk further into the restaurant the theme continues to play out. The southern saloon props at Harley’s include, horse shoes, steer head skulls and a life size horse and carriage.

Harley’s prides itself on authentic smokehouse flavors. The meats are smoked for 18-20 hours in the in-house 1000 pound wood smoker. Louis Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Carolina Brisket Sandwich, Louisiana Jambalaya, are some of many Southern BBQ dishes on Harley’s menu. I have visited Harley’s a number of times since the doors opened to neighborhood residents, and the menu items are not traditional dishes one would usually find in East Harlem. “I think this (Harley’s Smokeshack & BBQ) is great for the neighborhood. I feel like a new attraction is good for any neighborhood, especially if it’s out of the norm and unique. If you look around here, there’s only Chinese stores, pizza shops, fast food and Cuchifritos,” said Rosario.


Harley’s Smokeshack & BBQVideo Maker

Tags: Dine Time · Multimedia Feed

Are We Forgetting the Old Harlem?: Briefing of Harlem’s History

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Are We Forgetting the Old Harlem?: Briefing of Harlem’s History

While my goal is to showcase gentrification of Harlem’s food scene, all aspects of gentrification in Harlem are important. The transformation has been ongoing in recent years, and is visible through the increase of middle class residents, construction of elaborate apartment complexes, and the rise of small businesses that cater to a wealthier clientele. As the “new Harlem” continues to develop, the “old Harlem” is fading away. Preserving the history of this New York City neighborhood is important – which is further explained in the following podcast featuring Arthur Lewin, a professor who specializes in Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College.

Professor Arthur Lewin at Baruch College speaks on his opinions of gentrification in Harlem:


 

“Harlem is the capital of Black America,” professor Lewin said. In the early 1900s thousands of African Americans migrated to Harlem to flee from the highly racist south of the United States. The Harlem Renaissance was an artistic cultural movement that took place in the 1920s. This movement drew in African American artists from all over country to speak up for the rights of black people. Famous authors, including Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, unleashed works of art that showcased the struggles and inequalities African Americans faced during this period. Activists, including W.E.B du Bois and Marcus Garvey, protested to achieve civil rights during this period as well. Jazz music was also a crucial part of the Harlem Renaissance, and Harlem actually became home to this genre of music during this era. Jazz music was played by a number of famous musicians, including Duke Ellington. When the Great Depression came about in the 1930s, Harlem was tremendously affected, like many other cities in America. People were laid off from their jobs, crime increased and this affected the purpose of the Harlem Renaissance. However, when the Civil Rights Movement took place, Harlem played an important role to many activists who participated in the movement.

Although gentrification is in full effect, and is changing the neighborhood, I believe it is important to know the history of Harlem because it birthed the culture of the neighborhood.

 

Tags: Multimedia Feed · Qs & As

Briefing Of Harlem’s History

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Briefing Of Harlem’s History

While my goal is to showcase gentrification of Harlem’s food scene, all aspects of gentrification in Harlem are important. The transformation has been ongoing in recent years, and is visible through the increase of middle class residents, construction of elaborate apartment complexes, and the rise of small businesses that cater to a wealthier clientele. As the “new Harlem” continues to develop, the “old Harlem” is fading away. Preserving the history of this New York City neighborhood is important – which is further explained in the following podcast featuring Arthur Lewin, a professor who specializes in Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College.

Professor Arthur Lewin at Baruch College speaks on his opinions of gentrification in Harlem:


 

“Harlem is the capital of Black America,” professor Lewin said. In the early 1900s thousands of African Americans migrated to Harlem to flee from the highly racist south of the United States. The Harlem Renaissance was an artistic cultural movement that took place in the 1920s. This movement drew in African American artists from all over country to speak up for the rights of black people. Famous authors, including Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, unleashed works of art that showcased the struggles and inequalities African Americans faced during this period. Activists, including W.E.B du Bois and Marcus Garvey, protested to achieve civil rights during this period as well. Jazz music was also a crucial part of the Harlem Renaissance, and Harlem actually became home to this genre of music during this era. Jazz music was played by a number of famous musicians, including Duke Ellington. When the Great Depression came about in the 1930s, Harlem was tremendously affected, like many other cities in America. People were laid off from their jobs, crime increased and this affected the purpose of the Harlem Renaissance. However, when the Civil Rights Movement took place, Harlem played an important role to many activists who participated in the movement.

Although gentrification is in full effect, and is changing the neighborhood, I believe it is important to know the history of Harlem because it birthed the culture of the neighborhood.

 

Tags: Multimedia Feed · Qs & As