Despite the name, Harlem Week is not limited to just one week. It’s actually a whole month of events in the northern Manhattan neighborhood, and one event in the mix that stands out is Harlem Day this weekend.
Harlem Week actually began as a single Harlem Day back in 1974, according to the event site, and it was meant to be “a day of encouragement and fellowship in Harlem for New Yorkers.”
The first Harlem Day was so huge that the event expanded over the years to celebrate the neighborhood in a myriad of ways, including panels, music, dancing, fashion shows, a Harlem-specific restaurant week and more.
But what does the singular Harlem Day entail now in 2018? Here’s what you need to know.
When is Harlem Day 2018: start time
Though Harlem Week (which is really practically Harlem month) has been going on since July 29, Harlem Day is one special event and it’s scheduled for Sunday, August 19. This year marks the 44th iteration of the events.
The festivities kick off at 10 a.m. and last pretty much all day long.
Though Harlem Day is just on this Sunday, Harlem Week events continue until Aug. 25. The whole event has grown to attract more than 2 million total attendees, according to the organizers.
Harlem Day 2018 events
Harlem Day is jam-packed with activities, with some things occurring at the same time. Here’s the 2018 Harlem Day schedule, per the Harlem Week website.
– 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Upper Manhattan Auto Show at West 135th Street between 5th Avenue & Malcolm X Blvd.
– 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Small Business Expo and Fair at 135th Street bet. Fifth Avenue & Malcolm X Blvd.
– 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Harlem Week / USTA Children’s Tennis Clinics at Howard Bennett Playground, 125th Street Fifth Ave & Malcolm X Blvd.
– 12 to 6 p.m. Our Health Village for health testing, education and information at Harlem Hospital Mural Pavilion (between 136th Street and 137th & Malcolm X Blvd.)
– 12 to 7 p.m. NY City Children’s Festival Day 2, with a back to school theme featuring games, arts and crafts, live music, free health testing and more at 135th St. between Malcolm X & Adam Clayton Powell Jr., boulevards
– 1 to 7 p.m. International Vendors Village featuring upscale arts and crafts at 135th Street between 5th Ave. and Malcolm X Blvd.
Then, from 1 to 7 p.m., three music stages will be set up:
– HMF-5th Avenue Main Stage at 135th St. and 5th Ave, with jazz, R&B, musical theatre, Hip Hop, gospel and guest artists.
– HMF/YMCA Stage at 135th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd, with dance, gospel, jazz, spoken word, hip-hop, R&B, musical theater and a “Back to School” Children’s Fashion Show.
– HMF St. Nicholas Avenue Main Stage at 135th St. and St. Nicholas Ave., with R&B, jazz, hip-hop, blues and dance.
Harlem Week 2018 Theme
This year’s overall Harlem Week theme is “Women transforming our world: past, present and future,” with a subtheme of “The community within the community,” focusing on Harlem’s LGBTQ residents.
Last year, the theme was “Harlem, home of immigrants,” and Mayor Bill de Blasio touched on that theme when he spoke at Harlem Day 2017.
“Now, remember everyone here is an immigrant. Some came willingly. Some came unwillingly. But everyone is an immigrant and we honor the fact that people made something happen right here,” he said. “And we do not turn our back on the next generation of immigrants. We are consistent.”
Regardless of the specific theme, though, Harlem Day every year is about the Manhattan community, and the New York City community overall.
“I just have a simple thing to say today – what we’re doing here is a message,” de Blasio said last Harlem Day. “People coming together in celebration of a great community and a community that is made up of every kind of people.”
For more information, visit harlemweek.com.
A scene from Harlem Week 1984. Photo: Getty Images