Uptown: Harlem

by - 06:29

I guess not many people, especially not tourist thought about Harlem, when going to New York. The Harlem area is lying north of Central Park on Manhattan and many people looked suspiciously at me, when i said we were going to stay there.
This area might not be the fanciest around town, but there are a few small spots, that are worth a trip uptown. It's way more authentic as well.
The blocks are mainly inhabited by hispanic folks and south american imigrants. On our first night the first thing we saw was 116th East Street, when coming out of the Metro to East Harlem.
Huge trash bags on the streets, cheap chinese and mexican fast food restaurants and allover only coloured people awaited us.
We were bright white shining tourists in the middle of nowhere it seemed.
I have to say, that we were first a bit shocked and maybe even frightened, but nothing ever happened to us, even when we walked home late at night. No one approached us inappropriate and there was never a reason not to feel as save as on the Upper East Side.
As said Harlem is still lying close to Central Park, so this is maybe the main attraction to go to from here.  Nevertheless you can see a lot of streetart and more creativity as well in these areas.
Everything is easy to reach with the public transport.
One morning we took the bus west 116th Street to go to a specfic café/cookie bakery my friend wanted to see. Afterwards we wanted to make our way through central park from the north-west corner to the Met museum.
On the way to Central Park, we came across one of the nicest cafés in town.

This is a unique espresso bar located in Morningside Heights, Harlem. The coffe is just amazing. (After having some bad experience with a specific big brand in New York, where coffee just does not taste good, but if you need one, these shops are everywhere)
The staff is super friendly and chatty. One of the main important things for me is a milk alternative in a coffee bar. In Sweden it is quite common to offer oat and soy milk, but a lot of places in NY actually did not offer it. This shop nevertheless had 4 different plant-based milks in stock and the Barista really knew his job and made a perfectly scummed almond latte.

Seasoned Vegan
This is one of the best restaurants i have ever been to. The food here was almost as good as on Bali, and that is indeed hard to reach. During the week, they are only offering dinner from 5pm, at the weekend you can also have brunch/lunch here.
As the name says they serve a big menu of quite popular dishes, just veganized. I am allergic to egg and milk, so it was quite hard in NY to find a place where i can have something else than fries or salad (i am a really difficult person to eat out with)
My clever friend found this restaurant with tripadvisor when we were sitting on a bench in Central Park.
While i enjoyed a raw lasagne with spinach, tomatoes, cashew cheese and some spicy curly fries, my friend had a vegan burger that looked exactly as a regular one. I am always quite sceptic if that can even taste, but we were both really content with our food. Unfortunately there was no space left for one of the cute vegan cupcakes, icecream or cake, but next time i'll go to New York i know where to eat!

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