This week, we visit the home of the Apollo Theater, the Studio Museum and the shopping strip, 125th Street. We saw Ariel Weekes strolling up Lenox Avenue, at 121st Street, in Harlem wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and red sneakers.
With a red, sharpened No. 2 pencil tucked behind his ear, Mr. Weekes spoke of his love for James Baldwin, a Harlem native, and for the style and functionality of white T-shirts, a staple for many of Harlem’s native sons.
For generations, Harlem has been a trove of art, music and fashion inspiration because of its self-sufficient and insulated residents who produce movements like the Harlem Renaissance and the Harlem shake, and creatives like James Van Der Zee, Zora Neale and Cam’ron. New Yorkers and tourists alike often refer to Harlem as a sixth borough.
Style is in its residents’ DNA, making Harlem the first pin on New York’s style map. Trends eventually trickle downtown and to the outer boroughs. The idea of being “dressed” has been passed down to the younger generations from the old guard. And although modern style ranges from eclectic to a uniform of polo shirts and white Ts, you can bet each look is its own. Mr. Weekes explains.