Hidden in Plain Sight - Harlem’s Africa Center
What started off as a pilgrimage to see a statue of an afro pick (yes, you read that right), turned into a wonderful surprise. An African themed respite in the middle of the city, hidden in plain sight. It’s the Africa Center in east Harlem on 5th Ave and 110th Street.
Power to the people! Me posing in front of the afro pick statue
Front entrance of the Africa Center in East Harlem
My husband and I walked the 20+ blocks from our apartment to check out the afro pick art installation and by the time we arrived we were starving. Luckily we didn’t have to go too far to eat. The afro pick stands in front of a colorfully painted glass building and as we wandered around it, we saw a chalkboard sign that listed a variety of drinks and foods. It was standing right outside of a door we weren’t sure was even open. But we decided to give it a try and when we did we walked into Teranga.
Teranga is an African café. It’s beautifully decorated, with walls painted with intricate designs, the grouped seating areas match the theme perfectly and all around you see artwork from the Motherland. The African music playing in the background helps to set off the great vibe and energy radiating throughout this place.
When you walk up to the counter to order, it’s set up cafeteria-style. You pick a base, a meat, 2 sides, plus a sauce from the array of authentic African dishes. And you better believe they have joloff rice. The portions are very generous and the price is not bad at $12 for the chicken plate. There are also a variety of desserts and juices for an additional cost to round out your meal.
Front counter of Teranga
Tasty African dishes to add to your meal
My plate of collard greens, joloff rice with tomato sauce, chicken with grilled onions and sweet potato and black eye peas. Ginger juice to wash it all down. Delicious!
The food at Teranga is as flavorful and as the decor. It’s a great place for groups to get together located right across from Central Park. It’s not wholly black owned but they are co-founders within this diverse ownership team. And the Executive Chef was born and raised in West Africa – Chef Pierre Thiam. “He is committed to serving authentic dishes from across Africa while promoting sustainably-grown African ingredients.”
If you’re in NYC or planning to be, I recommend you stop by.
Question: Have you ever found a hidden gem in your neighborhood that surprised you?