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Harlem Beat of the Streets

As the winter of 2020 sets in, Big Apple Jazz is offering private tours during the day with a “Harlem Beat of the Streets” theme.  After owning a Harlem jazz cafe, and decades of experience as a tour guide locally and internationally I am doing what feels best in the moment: a relaxed, comfortable walking tour that shows off an historic neighborhood as it is in the exact moment of the visit.

I should coin a phrase to explain how being in the moment is an unusual theme for a tour because typically there are schedules to keep and an agenda to strictly follow so the guest gets all that is promised as efficiently as possible.  A typical tour is scored on how well that is achieved, so this disruption has to deliver all the usual content and excitement with an openness to accept what happens serendipitously and turn that into the memorable peak of the tour.

What happens between seeing the sites as we pause effectively to navigate the cool coincidences of walking around the neighborhood before all the tourists return en masse is what’s going to impact the guests just as much as the history and cultural touchstones that we cover while touring around.  Our insights and expertise with the subject matter, the art of touring conscientiously in this day and age, and the confidence and desire to find the magic in the mundane sets this company and this Experience apart.

The photos are of Arav, who’s visiting NYC while studying abroad remotely.  I think he would agree that the essence of our day in Harlem is not captured by these photos, because you shouldn’t pull out your camera to try to capture the essence of something lest you miss the opportunity to fully experience it.

Join either me or Amanda for a day that will have impact the way all touring should – see the Private Tour link below.  We book only one or two private tours daily, so if you are certain of the date you want, buy the ticket for that date while it is available and we can discuss the details and timing to customize the day to your liking.  Refunds available within the first 24-hours of booking, or due to COVID related issues, or due to harsh weather.


Gordon Polatnick

  • Customizable

We’ll design your private jazz tour based on your tastes and our extensive knowledge of musicians, clubs and speakeasies throughout the city.  We know what is happening nightly on and off-the-beaten-path.