NYC Program Students Visit Harlem

Greg Thomas '85 talks with New York City program students.
Greg Thomas '85 talks with New York City program students.

When someone says "Manhattan," you might think of traders yelling out orders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, or ice skaters at Rockefeller Center, or a power-jog through Central Park in-between conference calls. On April 1, NYC Program students explored the rich cultural traditions of another part of the island, visiting a
jazz museum, a famous lounge, and the Apollo Theater in the neighborhood of Harlem.

The students first stopped off at the National Jazz Museum on 104 E. 126th Street and had a conversation with Greg Thomas '85. Although he spent time working for the finance and health-care industries, he ultimately decided to pursue his passion, jazz. "I'm not rich, but I'm rich in spirit," he explained. Thomas, who played alto saxophone in the college jazz band, talked with students about topics ranging from their favorite jazz musicians to their career aspirations.

After spending time at the museum, Greg Thomas led the group to the Lenox Lounge, a famous bar and restaurant that was founded in 1939 and has featured performances by Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and John Coltrane. The students enjoyed a dinner of "soul food" and headed off to see the famous Apollo Theater. Located in a former burlesque house, the theater has hosted the likes of Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Mariah Carey, and James Brown. A cultural hub during the Harlem Renaissance, the Apollo saw a decline over the following decades and was converted to a cinema during the seventies. However, following a multimillion dollar renovation, the Apollo is seeing a revival, much like the rest of Harlem. 

-- by David Foster '10

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