Girlies, ghosts and ghetto rhymes: We review five of the season's best walking tours.
Thu Apr 2 2009
Photographs: Lauren Otis
1. Walk This Way: The Harlem Hip-Hop Walking Tour
The gist: Hip-hop heads join old-school royalty (like our superfly guide, Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers) on a two-hour, 2.5-mile fantastic voyage through Harlem. Learn about the birth of graffiti, historic beefs and the contributions of each borough while you gawk at landmarks like the Apollo and the Graffiti Wall of Fame.
Who goes: B-boys and wanna-bes.
High: Caz's blaring of James Brown and hip-hop classics on a boombox really brought his anecdotes to life.
Low: We spaced out during "Timescapes," the 25-minute video presentation preceding the tour.
Before you go: Have the Al Sharpton for breakfast—the popular dish comes with your choice of fried or smothered chicken and waffles ($9.50) at Amy Ruth's (113 W 116th St between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd [Seventh Ave] and Malcolm X Blvd [Lenox Ave], 212-280-8779). Or dribble down at the legendary Rucker Park basketball courts (155th St at Frederick Douglass Blvd [Eighth Ave]), the alma mater of numerous NBA greats, including Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Check out a pickup game, or instigate one of your own. (But, y'know, prepare to get schooled.)
After the tour: Head to the AMC Magic Johnson Harlem USA theater (2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd [Eighth Ave] at 124th St, 212-665-6923), where audience feedback during the films is celebrated. Or grab some grub at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (646 W 131st St at Twelfth Ave; 212-694-1777, dinosaurbarbque.com) and cap off your Harlem excursion properly with a Pit Plate ($12.95--$27.95), which comes with Honey Hush corn bread and homemade sides like mac and cheese or gingered applesauce. Drown it all in Devil's Duel sauce—if you dare!
Book it! Tue--Thu at noon; $25, students 17 and under $17. Call 212-209-3370 or visit hushhiphoptours.com to register.
If you like that, try this: Rock out with your you-know-what out on Rock Junket's East Village Rock n Roll Walking Tour (rockjunket.com). Stops include Joey Ramone's former apartment and the site of Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable—Lauren Otis