New York: Harlem

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SEE Strivers Row
W. 138th and 139th Sts., between Powell and Douglass Blvds.
Blending Georgian and neo-Italian styles, these two rows of 1890s brownstones became the enclave for Harlem's movers and shakers in the 1920s and '30s. Famed architectural firm McKim, Mead & White built the turn-of-the-century houses from no. 203 to no. 267 on W. 139th St.

SEE Studio Museum in Harlem
144 W. 125th St., near Seventh Ave., 212/864-4500,
Shows works, including cutting-edge multimedia installations, by contemporary African and African-American artists. There's a great gift shop. Closed Mon. and Tues.

EAT Dinosaur BAR-B-QUE
646 W. 131st St., 212/694-1777,
At this friendly biker bar-meets-BBQ joint, order the fried green tomatoes, ribs, and "big ass" pork plates; add your own graffiti to the bathroom; and ask to see the impressive smoker in the back.

EAT Miss Maude's Spoonbread Too
547 Lenox Ave., between 137th and 138th Sts., 212/690-3100,
Former fashion model Norma Jean Darden relives her childhood in the South here, churning out family recipes like Uncle CL's Fall-Off-the-Bone Short Ribs, fried chicken, and of course, spoonbread.

EAT Panino Sportivo Roma
1231 Amsterdam Ave., at W. 120th St., 212/662-2066,
Expertly grilled Italian sandwiches. There are some 58 on the menu, some are served with peppery arugula, ripe tomatoes, and hot peppers. The "Ronaldo," made with buffalo mozzarella and Parma prosciutto, is a big seller. Soccer fans also love the stylish burgundy and gold eatery for its TVs tuned to European "football" games.

DRINK Ding Dong Lounge
929 Columbus Ave., 212/663-2600,
Relive the rebellious years of the 1970s and '80s at this cool, classed-up punk bar. There's a nightly DJ who spins the Dead Kennedys and other bands from the angry days of yore.

DRINK Showman's Cafe
375 W. 125th St., near Morningside Ave., 212/864-8941
A well-maintained jazz/blues and R&B bar that's been a Harlem fave since 1942. Live music starts at 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9:30 p.m. on weekends. There's no cover, but from 8 p.m. on there's a two-drink minimum per person per show.

SHOP The Brownstone
2032 Fifth Ave., near 125th St., 212/996-7980
Women love this beauty salon/café/jewelry store/clothing boutique featuring pieces by dozens of independent clothing designers. It's a terrific example of Harlem's revitalization and second renaissance.

SHOP Nubian Heritage/Madawa/Nicholas
2037-2033 Fifth Ave., at 125th St., 212/427-8999,
A friendly spot with all manner of African tchotchkes.

SHOP Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market
52 W. 116th St., near Malcolm X Blvd., 212/987-8131
You'll feel like a globe-trotter in sub-Saharan Africa as you browse the many traditional crafts, textiles, clothing, and carved woodwork at this covered market. Open seven days a week, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturday is "giveaway day."

PLAY Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater
253 W. 125th St., near Frederick Douglass Blvd. 212/531-5300,
Every Wednesday at 7.30 p.m., the recently renovated Apollo erupts in jeers and cheers as undiscovered singers belt it out. Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown got their starts here. Who knows who you might hear? Tickets from $18. Call 212/531-5337 for info on its one-hour backstage tours.

PLAY Professional African Hair Braiding Center
315 W. 125th St., near St. Nicholas Ave., 212/280-7521
A popular salon that's always buzzing. Transform yourself into a goddess (or god) with a braid spiral that lasts for weeks; $10 per plait. Cornrows from $30. Cash only.

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