Accommodating a long and illustrious line of clientele
The Theresa Hotel, known later as the Waldorf of Harlem, opened in 1913 to a white-only clientele. Designed by the architectural firm George & Edward Blum, the white brick and terra-cotta facade was adorned with distinctive geometric ornamentation. It was designated a landmark in 1993. The Theresa remained segregated until 1940, when it became the favorite accommodation for Harlem sports and entertainment personalities such as boxing champions Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson, crooner heartthrob Billy Eckstein, dancer and actor Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, comedian Jackie “Moms” Mabley, and Grace Nail Johnson, widow of writer, civil rights activist, and statesman James Weldon Johnson. U.S. Congressman Charles B. Rangel at one time was a desk clerk at the hotel. Charlie “Yard Bird” Parker performed at the rooftop ballroom at campaign benefits for Harlem Communist Party leader Benjamin Davis, who served as New York City Councilman from 1943 to 1947. And every year the Communist Party USA held its national convention at the Theresa. This was the childhood home of Ron Brown, whose father, William Harmon Brown, was the second manager of the hotel when it desegregated. Ron Brown later became chairman of the Democratic National Committee and was Secretary of Commerce during the Clinton Administration. The hotel, which is now an office tower, served as the office space for Malcolm X after he left the Nation of Islam and formed the Organization of Afro American Unity. It also contained the offices of A. Phillip Randolph’s 1963 March on Washington. Cuban leader Fidel Castro, while attending the UN General Assembly, moved to the Theresa in 1960 after he was insulted at a midtown hotel.
Leave the Theresa Hotel and head across the street to the Renaissance Fine Art Gallery, one of the newest galleries in Harlem. The RFA displays works of contemporary painters, sculptors and photographers specializing in works of artists from the Diaspora. The Paris Blues Lounge Bar should be next on the itinerary. It’s a Harlem watering hole institution revered by locals as well as tourists for its friendly staff, sports bar and best juke box in Harlem.
- More than 360 entries with over 2000 photographs
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Thank you !
Posted by Ryan Morrison on 20th Jan 2012
I’ve been traveling a lot and used many Sutro guides but the this one is one of the best so far.
Download the free Sutro World @ www.sutromedia.com/world and purchase the in-app Harlem Travel Guide today for $2.99!
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