Uptown Manhattan Kicks off the Holidays with an All Star Performance

Uptown Manhattan Kicks off the Holidays with an All Star Performance
Friday, November 18, 2011

Contact: Barbara Askins

Uptown Manhattan Kicks off the Holidays with an All Star Performance
The Legendary Vy Higginsen, Tony Award Winner George Faison, and Nationally Recognized NY1 News Anchor Cheryl Wills Help Light Up Harlem

New York, NY – The 125th Street Business Improvement District, Community Boards 9, 10, 11 and the New York City Housing Authority have partnered this year to kick off the holiday season Uptown on 125th Street to illuminate one of New York City’s most legendary thoroughfares from river to river.   

This year’s “Joyous Sounds and Lights ceremony promises to be an engaging, spectacular, and historical event not to be missed!  On November 21st at 5:30pm the celebration will begin with joyous sounds and lights on the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building. Attendees will enjoy live performances provided by legendary pioneer, producer, and publisher, Vy Higginsen, and her Mama I Want to Sing Foundation as well as the Harlem Arts Alliance. Harlem Park to Park will also launch their Annual Coat and Toy Drive to benefit a charitable children’s organization. Hot Beverages and sweets will be provided by participating businesses including Red Rooster Restaurant, Tonnie’s Minis, Starbucks and more.

Ralph McDaniels (Uncle Ralph), the founder and host of the influential and groundbreaking music TV show, Video Music Box, will also be attending the lighting ceremony. He and his camera crew will be filming the event and audience. The footage will be used on Video Music Box (which airs Wednesdays at 11:30pm), as well as in the 2011 “Harlem, Light It Up!” promotional video directed by Curtis Sherrod of H2C2.

NY1 News’s nationally recognized and award winning journalist Cheryl Wills will ring in the holidays uptown by leading the community in the countdown to the lighting of 125th Street. Carolers from more than twenty churches will be staged along 125th Street, under the direction of Tony award winner and Harlem’s own George Faison.  Following the countdown, the carolers will welcome the lights with songs as 125th Street is lit up, block by block, from river to river. Two double decker buses from CitySights NY Bus Company will drive the route and follow the lights as they are switched on with sounds from musicians and singers. NY1’s Cheryl Wills will ride on top of one of the buses with a videographer, covering the festivities from above.

After the ceremony, restaurants and other businesses will offer discounts to help start the new “Beyond the Lights” program that incorporates special pole decorations with the names of supporting sponsors in lights.  There will be tree lightings in East, West, and Central Harlem; storefront and residential decorating contests, toy drives, shopping bargains and more throughout the holiday season.

In 2009, Harlem remained dark due to poor economic conditions, but the event is back for the second year in a row and is stronger than ever.  Barbara Askins, 125th Street BID President and CEO adds, “Even though times are challenging, the Harlem community continues to come together and pool their resources to ensure that we keep the holiday spirit Uptown.”

For more information regarding Harlem Holiday Lights and scheduled events, visit www.125thstreetbid.com, or contact 125th Street BID, President and CEO, Barbara Askins at 212.662.8999 or bid125thst@aol.com.

Visit the following web sites for continuous updates on Beyond the Lights activities:



Click to view pdf of press release