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YES takes on Harlem

Visiting the epicenter of the black literary arts movement, YES students experienced the time of their lives immersing themselves in rich history and culture. Tasked with writing narratives and triptic essays themselves, YES Writers had the opportunity to see upfront the contributions of the Harlem Renaissance. While in New York, youth explored various museums such as the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, ate at popular historic restaurants, biked through central park and visited the famous Met Museum. Our Youth Workers Selena Williams, Glen Almon, Jordan McNeal, Jaquan Brockman, Willie Knight, Kyarrah Finch, and Brianna Kline-Costa were accompanied by YES program director, Denise Jones. Together they spent a whole day exploring the lively culture of Harlem New York.

Arriving at 6am, the group stayed in Harlem on the famous Malcolm X Blvd, and enjoyed a savory, New York-styled breakfast at Harlem Shake. They followed this experience with a visit to the National Jazz Museum where Selena Willaims and Jordan McNeal performed at their Annual Jam Session. The group also visited Lenox Saphire Harlem for Coffee and the Apollo Theater for a tour. The group took a sight filled bike ride around Central Park that eventually lead to the Met Museum, known for the yearly Met Gala and cultural art pieces.The last stop on the trip was Ellen’s Stardust Diner, a 50s-themed, Multi-level restaurant known for its singing servers and extensive menu of American classics.

The group departed on Sunday morning and eventually returned to Pittsburgh, many noting that the Central Park bike ride was their favorite part of the experience. Eager to continue their summer and motivated by this adventure, the YES writers look forward to the day they return to New York and to incorporating their Harlem experiences into their personal narratives.

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