I made my way down 119th Street on a golden Sunday in October for HAWT™ 2014. It was the first time my friends and I attended the event. We started at Casa Frela. Lawrence Rodriguez was waiting on his stoop greeting visitors. His warmth and style won us over instantly. Once inside we met a diverse group of artists who were on hand to talk about their art.

We took in fashionable knitwear, photography, whimsical moving pieces and thought provoking sculpture. We bought pure, handcrafted soaps and had a taste of gourmet food. Casa Frela showcased a fine sampling of what Central Harlem offers. With guides in hand we set out on the trail. We couldn’t wait to find the brownstones and shops with the bedazzled pink foot print marking it has a HAWT spot.
Our first stop was The Walter Miller III Memorial Garden.

Its a delicate green space with funky, urban details. The hive master was so sweet as he handed out pieces of honeycomb along with answers to all our questions about the 75,000 bees.

We then turned the corner and made our way in and out of the galleries of 120th Street. The block is dotted with eclectic galleries. HAWT enables one entrance into this diverse art scene made up of long time Harlem residents and artists from around the world living and creating in Harlem.

They warmly welcomed us into their galleries and invited visitors into normally private spaces. We had a sense of great fortune upon entering these elegant, historic brownstones. We could feel the vibrancy of the Harlem Renaissance that took place within these homes.
Among the spots we visited, Heath Gallery was a standout. Seeing this collection of outsider art was one of our HAWT™ highlights. The artist was on hand to discuss his work. Mr. Heath does not post the titles of his pieces. When we would ask for a name he would ask us what for out interpretations. A wonderfully intimate art experience.

After a couple of hours of touring we landed to Il Caffe Latte for lunch and some of the very best coffee in New York. And of course, more art. The cafe has the honor of showcasing the emerging artists’ work.

After a day of strolling through this magical area of Harlem we felt we had been transported to another time and place. We came away with an entirely new perspective of this part of the city and plan on checking in on this art destination throughout the year.

By CSR