As I learned earlier in the summer when a painting of my wife’s was part of the Motown to Def Jam exhibit in Harlem, there’s a lot of exciting cultural activity and economic development taking place in upper Manhattan. The latest venture, which I discovered during a bike ride yesterday, is the West Harlem Gastro Cruise, in which a sunset cruise up the Hudson may be combined with a later stop-off and stroll to any one of ten Harlem-area restaurants. The cruises have been taking place each Monday in August, with one more left this month, on August 26. I learned about all this from two friendly local businesswomen I met, seated under a tent in the West Harlem Piers park at 125th Street.
Branded with the logo of Amalgamated Bank, under the red canopy were Bethlehem B. Belatchew–an Amalgamated VP and manager of their 564 W. 125th Street branch–and Savona Bailey-McClain, Curator of the West Harlem Food & Beverage Association, and former chair of Community Board 9’s Economic Development Committee. She explained to me that the association is a trade group focused on food, beverage, and nightlife in West Harlem. The cruises actually begin downtown at the World Financial Center Ferry Terminal, on the ship, Marco Polo, making a stop at the West Harlem Piers and then sailing up to the George Washington Bridge, aka the Great Gray Bridge, the namesake of this blog. Prices are quite reasonable: a $45 package price for the cruise and dinner at any of the participating restaurants; $20 per person for the cruise alone. Both options have reduced prices for children. More pricing info and sailing times are in the scanned brochure below with web link here, too.
Though I wasn’t able to join the cruise last night, I’m hoping I will have the chance next Monday night. It would be a great send-off to August! Here also are links to their Facebook and Twitter pages.