Join Us for an Epic Block Party Celebrating Harlem’s Local Businesses

An all-day celebration of Harlem featuring food, music, dancing, and more in partnership with local legend, Tren’ness Woods-Black.

Thrillist Block Party Harlem
Photo by Chris Fox-Kelly for Harlem Parade
Photo by Chris Fox-Kelly for Harlem Parade

When those from outside the city think of NYC, visions of the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and restaurants that have gained national recognition may come to mind. But New Yorkers know that’s not what makes our city so special. It’s the local spots that you frequent every day, the shop owners who know your name, and the music that fills the streets that make this place come alive.

In an effort to celebrate all those little things that make NYC (and other cities across the country) feel like home, allow us to introduce Thrillist Block Party. This new franchise will celebrate local neighborhoods and highlight the businesses that make these spaces so unique, while giving back to the communities that made them vibrant, through content on our site and IRL events with food, music, dancing, local shopping, and so much more.

We’re kicking things off with an epic block party in partnership with Harlem’s Queen of Hospitality, Tren’ness Woods-Black—granddaughter of Sylvia Woods, founder of the iconic Harlem soul food restaurant, Sylvia’s. Thrillist’s Harlem Block Party will be held on Sunday, September 12 from 11 am to 5 pm at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building plaza on 126th Street. The daylong event will feature a Black Greek Fraternity & Sorority unity stroll, a parade, a voguing and ballroom competition, music like a gospel open mic and DJ set by Sundae Sermon, roller skating, food trucks from Thrillist’s favorite Harlem restaurants, an open-air marketplace powered by DoorDash and Harlem Park to Park featuring local Black businesses, and more.

"As we emerge from isolation due to the pandemic, we believe it’s more important than ever to reignite and support incredible local neighborhoods while bringing people together for a joyful celebration that we've all been missing out on for so long,” said Meghan Kirsch, Thrillist’s Chief Content Officer. “There is no neighborhood more vibrant, full of culture and built on community than Harlem, and no individual more emblematic of Harlem than Tren'ness. We are so excited to collaborate with her to bring the beauty of Harlem and celebrate its finest through her authentic point of view."

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all guests to enter the Block Party. If necessary, Thrillist will implement further COVID-19 safety measures in compliance with state and county requirements to protect its guests and staff.

After the NYC event, Thrillist Block Party will travel to cities like New Orleans, Atlanta, and Los Angeles to spotlight our favorite neighborhoods in those areas and celebrate all that makes them unique.

Thrillist will also launch a variety of programs to help local businesses in Thrillist Block Party cities recover from the pandemic’s economic impacts. In Harlem, four local Black-owned businesses will be hand-picked by Woods-Black, Harlem Park to Park, and the Harlem Business Alliance, to receive Thrillist resources including pro-bono creative marketing services and millions of donated ad impressions on Thrillist’s website.

In addition to the IRL events, look out for written and video content including a collection of written profiles, features, and local guides to the neighborhoods that bring our cities to life. Additionally, Woods-Black is partnering with Thrillist as the host, curator, and mistress of ceremonies in a new, unscripted TV series, called Cornbread & Conversations. The series is inspired by the epic dinner parties she has thrown throughout the years at Sylvia’s and features an eclectic assortment of celebrities, politicians, and influencers from the worlds of art, literature, entertainment, fashion, and activism.

“Our communities are the unbreakable thread that stitches neighborhoods together,” said Tren’ness Woods-Black, President and Chief Strategist of TWB LLC. “Block parties were created to celebrate that unique cultural essence, while giving a platform for local businesses and residents alike to thrive. As we kick off Sylvia’s road to 60 years, ‘Thrillist Block Party’ in Harlem will do just that, as the inaugural stop for this ultimate community party with a purpose.”

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