“Harlem in the City” Festival to Salute Neighborhood as Cultural And Intellectual Force

CCNY hosts weeklong celebration Oct. 1- 7

The City College of New York, in collaboration with the Harlem Arts Alliance, presents “Harlem in the City,” a weeklong festival of activities celebrating Harlem as a cultural and intellectual force for New York City, America and the world. 

The festival runs October 1 – 7, and will be preceded by the opening on Thursday, September 20, of “Harlem & the City Over 100 Years of Special Moments in Time,” a photo exhibit on the College’s Amsterdam Avenue plaza. The exhibit will serve as a soft launch for the festival.

“Strengthening ties between City College and the Harlem community is one of (CCNY) President Lisa S. Coico’s primary goals,” said Dr. Myrah Brown Green, executive director of arts and culture at City College, who is coordinating the festival. “Through this festival we are bringing Harlem to campus and, at the same time, encouraging our students to become part of this diverse, culturally rich community that is our home.”

An opening reception for the “Harlem & the City: Over 100 Years of Special Moments” photo exhibit will kick off the festivities Thursday, September 20 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on the North Academic Center plaza along Amsterdam Avenue at W. 137th Street. The exhibit will take the viewer on an historic journey that stretches from 1847, the year of CCNY’s founding, through the mid-1980s. It will remain on display until the end of December, weather permitting. 

The exhibit will feature images capturing iconic Harlem moments, by master photographers such as Gordon Parks, Sophie Bramly, Kwame Braithwaite, James VanDerZee and Jamel Shabazz, as well as photographs from the City College Archives. Among the highlights are photos of Emperor Haile Selassie with Adam Clayton Powell Jr. at Abyssinian Baptist Church; Marian Anderson rehearsing with Leonard Bernstein for a concert in Lewisohn Stadium; and early images of hip-hop pioneers, such as Afrika Bambaataa, Kano and the Sugar Hill Gang.

The festival will offer an assortment of events, to include art exhibits, lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, tours and poetry readings. 



  •  New Orleans-style parade through the City College campus to open the festivities on Monday, October 1
  •  “Harlem in the City: Past and Present,” a two-part panel discussion on Wednesday, October 3
  •  “Colors of Change” art exhibit opening and the Second Annual City College Arts & Culture Award ceremony on Thursday, October 4. 
  •  Each evening during the festival, works by community artists will be projected onto the North Academic Center art wall from 6 p.m. to 12 midnight. 

A complete schedule of events follows.

Thursday, September 20

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Opening reception for “Harlem & the City: Over 100 Special Moments in Time” North Academic Center Plaza.

Monday, October 1 

10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Danny Glover to be honored during the Harlem Arts Alliance meeting, hosted by CCNY. Marian Anderson Theatre, Aaron Davis Hall.  

1 p.m. New Orleans-style second-line parade opens the festivities with a band accompanying members of the City College and Harlem communities. The parade begins at Aaron Davis Hall and proceeds along Convent Avenue to W. 140th Street. 

5 – 7:30 p.m. City College and Harlem Arts Alliance kick off Arts Advocacy Week with a reception and panel discussion: “Harlem through its Arts Institutions.” Theatre B, Aaron Davis Hall.

6 p.m. – 12 midnight. “Harlem in the City on the Wall.” North Academic Center art wall.

Tuesday, October 2

10 – 11 a.m. Art enrichment workshop with Harlem-themed activities for City College Day Care students. Schiff House, Convent Avenue and W. 133rd Street.

10 – 11:30 a.m. Daniel Carlton presents “Pig Foot Mary says Goodbye to the Harlem Renaissance.” One of Harlem’s most successful entrepreneurs, Pig Foot Mary, says goodbye to the customers of her highly profitable meat store at 135th and Lenox Avenue in the early 1920’s. Theatre B, Aaron Davis Hall.

10 a.m. – 12 noon Bulb planting and box lunch on the City College campus with the John Finley Day School. 

12 noon – 2 p.m. Student docent-led tours of the “Harlem & the City: Over 100 Years of Special Moments in Time” photo exhibit. Amsterdam Avenue plaza.

6 p.m. – 12 midnight. “Harlem in the City on the Wall.” North Academic Center art wall.

Wednesday, October 3 

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. “Harlem in the City: Past and Present.” A two-part panel discussion takes participants on a journey through Harlem from the late 19th century to the present, describing how the sciences, arts and culture have played an important role in Harlem’s history. Dr. Venus Green, City College professor of history, moderates. First panel, 10 a.m. – 12 noon; lunch, 12 noon – 1 p.m., second panel, 1 – 4 p.m. Theatre B, Aaron Davis Hall.

4 – 6:30 p.m. Opening of “Class Action I,” a juried art exhibit and collaboration between City College students and Harlem community artists. Hamilton Landmark Gallery, 467 W. 144th Street.

6:30 – 9 p.m. Screening and discussion of “The Barber of Birmingham,” a documentary featuring interviews with barber James Armstrong and other Alabama African-Americans who participated in the struggle for civil rights in cities like Birmingham and Selma during the 1960s. Theatre B, Aaron Davis Hall.

6 p.m. – 12 midnight. “Harlem in the City on the Wall.” North Academic Center art wall.

Thursday, October 4

12 noon – 2 p.m. “Poetry @ the Gates.” City College students, faculty, staff and Harlem community members will have the opportunity to read and recite poetry at the gates along Amsterdam Avenue between the North Academic Center and Townsend Harris Hall. 

12 noon – 2 p.m.  “Harlem in the City Moves!” Line dance on the Plaza at Convent Avenue. Music by WCCR, student radio station.

5:30 – 9 p.m. Opening of “Colors of Change” art exhibit and the Second Annual Arts and Culture Award Ceremony. Exhibit features the works of Danny Simmons, Leopold Fuentes and Ghariowkhu Lemi. Invited honorees include Stephen and Ruth Hendel, Danny Simmons and Dr. Marta Vega. Aaron Davis Hall lobby and Marian Anderson Theatre. 

6 p.m. – 12 midnight “Harlem in the City on the Wall,” North Academic Center art wall.

Friday, October 5 

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Series of docent talks and tours through the CCNY campus to visit the “Harlem in the City,” “Colors of Change” and “Harlem Past and Present” exhibits.

5 – 7 p.m. “Unveiled, Unlocked.” Special exhibition by Harlem artists. Windows on Amsterdam Community Art Gallery, Aleathia Brown, guest curator.

5:30 – 8:30 p.m. CCNY hosts Strivers Art Circuit Tour reception and kickoff. Theatre B, Aaron Davis Hall. 

6 p.m. – 12 midnight. “Harlem in the City on the Wall,” North Academic Center art wall.

Saturday, October 6

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Hip Hop USA Sneaker Art Competition. CCNY students and members of the Harlem community design Converse sneakers and compete for cash prizes. North Academic Center Ballroom.

12 noon – 6 p.m. Strivers Art Circuit community stroll. Aaron Davis Hall Gallery and Windows on Amsterdam Community Art Gallery.

Sunday, October 7

12 noon – 6 p.m. Strivers Art Circuit community stroll. Aaron Davis Hall Gallery and Windows on Amsterdam Community Art Gallery.


Ellis Simon
p: 212.650.6460
e: esimon@ccny.cuny.edu