Harlem’s Open-Air African Market

Photo by HarlemCondoLife
Photo by HarlemCondoLife

By NativeNewYorker

You’ve probably noticed it when you go across 116th Street – the colorful  entrance is hard to miss.  But if you’ve never gone inside, you are missing one of Harlem’s more unique experiences.  Stepping through the whimsical entrance is like making a quick visit to west Africa.  In addition to a wide selection of

Photo by HarlemCondoLife
Photo by HarlemCondoLife

traditional African garb and the inevitable T-shirts,  the merchants offer beautiful handmade jewelry, original craft items like dolls and small sculptures, and an array of natural skincare products.  For the music lover with ecclectic tastes, you can also find CDs of contemporary African music.  The prices are pretty reasonable but if you don’t like the price, feel free to bargain – the merchants seem to enjoy it.

Photo by HarlemCondoLife
Photo by HarlemCondoLife

“Malcom Shabazz ~ Harlem’s Market” is located on the southern side of West 116th  Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues. The market is open year round,  9am to 5 pm,  7 days a week.

19 thoughts on “Harlem’s Open-Air African Market”

  1. If an African market is supposed to be there, then it should be on a retail level of a building that is home to condos or luxury rentals… not temporary looking kiosks similar to the christmas markets that pop up around the city but then close down after an appropriate time.. Once again, having this type of market sit permanently on a major street like 116th is extremely short-sighted..

    As for moving the projects and replacing them – if you look at a map of manhattan overhead you will see that these projects stretch from Lenox all the way over to 1st Ave like the great wall of China – slowing up gentrification and the blending of the Upper East Side into East Harlem… The projects are a failed system that has been proven that it does not work.. Other cities across the country are blowing them up but sadly I don’t think the same thing will happen here in NYC.. there is some foolish plan to give over some of the project land to build rental buildings on it so that people paying $3000 for an apartment have the luxury of staring right into a pot & piss smelling, crime ridden , trash strewn building.. Not a good look at all..

  2. The African Market is a destination for many tourist tours from downtown. Where else should an African Market be. We should want to retain some African American touches in Harlem, and be proud. Would you suggest moving the Projects and replace them with more upscale housing? I don’t think so. The African Market is exactly where it should be, Thanks

  3. Helen, What is that saying that a temporary looking market is a vital part of Harlem’s economy.? As Harlem continues to do better, we should expect better business to follow suit.. Once again, this market was put there when there was absolutely nothing else around but the projects behind it… Let’s move forward and bring in more upscale business that follows upscale construction and people with money to spend. We don’t need a Duane Reade but the area is SERIOUSLY lacking basic businesses and restaurants that make a neighborhood a truly great one.

  4. Why should it be moved? It is vital part of the economy. Tour Buses make this market a destination stop. Would you rather have a obnoxious Duane Reade?

  5. So funny that this was posted because I was about to ask on the various blogs when this market would be moved elsewhere like to the Bronx or something… I don’t know of any major thoroughfare in Manhattan that has such a thing.. This market was there before there was anything on 116th.. just a lot of empty lots sitting next to the nasty projects that the photographer of the pics above has cleverly not included in the photo by shooting the market at an angle featuring the Kalahari in the background.. Now that the Renaissance, The Kalahari, 1400 on 5th, plus the grey rental and the new condos being built next to it are on 116th, this street needs to be filled in like every other neighborhood… The market needs to be moved to another place that is still undeveloped and in it’s place should be another luxury rental or condo building with more retail options on the ground level…
    You would never go to China Town and see a huge temporary looking Chinese market on a major street like Canal Street so why should a major street in Harlem like 116th have a temporary looking African Market on it? To think that this temporary looking market should be permanent is such short sighted thinking!

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