Harlem Waterfront Development Unveiled, with Tourist Destination and Cultural Center

Photo Courtesy: Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative
You might have heard about the Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative — an economic development project designed to transform Harlem’s award-winning West Harlem Piers at 125th Street into a one-of-a-kind tourist destination and cultural center employing hundreds of local residents.
Led by Paradise Express Ferry, one of America’s few Black-owned commercial maritime operators, the Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative stands to create a dynamic economic development engine as it addresses higher unemployment rates and negative health outcomes experienced in a historic African-American community. (Details are found at https://harlemwaterfront.com and through C.C. Sullivan.)
An expert in real estate, member of the U.S. Naval Institute, and economic development chair of New York’s NAACP state conference, Garry Anthony Johnson is a key source on the Harlem waterfront story. Johnson is also founder, president and CEO of Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative.
Photo Courtesy: Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative
About the Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative
The program comes to life through a series of scalable waterfront developments and attractions designed to draw thousands of local visitors from communities across the Hudson River, such as Edgewater, Fort Lee, Hoboken, and other parts of metro New York and the Tri-state area including New Jersey and Connecticut.
West Harlem’s waterfront will serve as an entry point into Harlem and its famed 125th Street, which includes Columbia University’s new $6 billion Manhattanville campus, the world-famous Apollo Theater, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and connects with famous local restaurants such as Sylvia’s, Melba’s and Red Rooster, as well as popular national franchises. "The Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative will stimulate local spending, create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in the maritime, entertainment, and related sectors in the community, and encourage business growth along the waterfront,” says Johnson. "This will generate much needed tax revenue for New York City, and revitalize a community hard-hit by systemic inequities laid bare by the pandemic.”
The plan includes three phases, says Johnson, including the launch of the high-speed, 90-passenger sightseeing boat the Harlem Rocket next year. This will be followed by the 180-foot-tall Harlem Wheel, and a nonprofit cultural attraction, the Harlem Maritime Center & Museum, now in planning, which is conceived to "recognize the significant contributions of people of color to U.S. and international maritime history and achievement.”
Adding new business and industry opportunities around the site, the waterfront promises a center of maritime-based economic growth, say observers.
Partners and supporters of Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative are listed on the website, and Johnson’s colleague and co-founder, Michael A. Preston, vice president of Customer Experience and a board member of HARLEM WEEK, is also available to speak to the new and visionary development.

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