It is one of New York´s quintessential neighborhoods and draws a crowd looking for a typically local experience: Gospel. There are plenty of tours available (perhaps too many nowadays), but going around by yourself is much more interesting to get closer to locals and their own experience. Well-known Baptist churches are Canaan and Abyssinian, but due to the current popularity, they can get quite crowded. For a more authentic experience, try Mount Calvary Baptist church on 142nd Street, a quainter, smaller, modest and less fancy church, where you will likely feel welcome. Remember: although Gospel can be highly entertaining it is not a musical performance but rather a religious service that draws a faithful and devoted congregation of locals worshipers, so please turn off your cell phone, wear appropriate attire and be respectful at all times. The whole service can take up to 2 hours, including sermons and choir singing, but you can choose to leave half way through during one of the short intervals. Tip: call ahead to enquire which services allow non-Harlem residents. Our last visit was on a Sunday around noon, but services vary.

231 W 142nd St, New York. Phone: 212-234.1447