125th Street Business Improvement District
Harlem, New York – The 125th Street Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with Manhattan Community Boards 9 and 10 is pleased to announce ------ Harlem Holiday Lights 2020! The event will take place on Wednesday, November 18 from 6-9pm along the 125th Street strip. The 27th Annual Community Harlem Light It Up event will launch the 2020 holiday season and BRING CHEERS to a community that is ready for a celebration, even if it is mostly virtual. This year’s traditional Caravan of Lights procession will feature three floats carrying community representatives and sponsors. The event will be live streamed by UBC TV on the Harlem Light It Up website (www.harlemlightitup.vamonde.com), as will a number of planned virtual activities. Barbara Askins, President and CEO, of the 125th Street Business Improvement District, acknowledges, “This has been a hard year for our nation and especially for the Harlem community due to COVID-19. Although we’ve been forced to make adjustments to the Harlem Holiday Lights event to protect the health and safety of community members, we are not canceling the 27-year tradition!” She continued, “Instead Harlem Holiday Lights will be BRINGING CHEERS!”
This year’s Grand Marshals are Harlem’s own Bevy Smith, television personality and the host of Sirius XM’s “Bevelations” and Dr. Joseph L. Tait, a respected veterinarian and a groundbreaking leader in Harlem. Smith is a quintessential Harlem girl and author who has made a name for herself in front of the camera and for the past 5-years, as host of “Fashion for Action,” an annual fundraiser for Housing Works. Dr. Tait has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Harlem Commonwealth Council, Inc., its subsidiaries, and affiliates from September 2004 until September 2020 and led the organization in programming that invested strongly in the Harlem community.
Property and business owners and residents along the 125th Caravan Route will add to the festive atmosphere by decorating their properties in appropriate holiday decor. Harlem will be buzzing with both community people engaged in virtual interactive activities with festive floats with music abiding with social distance requirements to ensure that the celebratory mood is safe for all.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT Wednesday, November 18th, beginning 6:00pm • A Caravan of Lights (replacing the Parade of Lights) travels along an expanded route. The live stream caravan activity features three floats and a DJ. • The caravan starts at 125th Street, turn on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, swings past Central Park North and heads back up towards 125th Street. Harlemites can enjoy the Caravan of Lights from the comfort of their home, as it will be live streamed. Look out your windows, make some noise, yell, beat some pots and pans, turn on your lights and spread your own cheer as the caravan drives by. • A SnapChat filter allows those along the caravan route to share and send cheers to their friends, family, and love ones as they experience the caravan moment. • Virtual Karaoke, hosted by DJ Nightstar, will be offered virtually from 6 to 9pm. Sign up early and submit your songs here so you can sing and we can watch and enjoy your performance. Viewers do not have to sign up.
Virtual activities will continue through December 31st. View online art exhibitions and entertainment. Play interactive games, learn about Black Health and self Covid-19 monitoring, and listen to 125th Street businesses playlists. Our beloved Children’s Village hosted by Community Board 9 returns and the BID will be releasing a Holiday Passport in December. After receiving 10 stamps, the passport holder can enter a giveaway that will take place over Zoom in January 2021 Over the years, the event has become a prominent part of the city’s key holiday celebrations, attracting both public and media attention. Ms. Askins, who has been responsible for organizing and helping to make this event an annual tradition says, “We are Harlem Strong and the show will go on. There is reason to celebrate and we are spreading the cheer across our community. Each year we make this a show-stopping event, this year is no different. Come on New York – celebrate with us.”
Since the founding of the 125th Street Business Improvement District, members of the press have been covering the accomplishments and ambitious goals of the organization. Our annual event, Harlem Holiday Lights, has also been featured in the press over the years. The 125th Street Business Improvement District encourages members of the press and interested community organizations to reach out with questions. Find our contact information below.
To get a full list of activities and how to sign up: harlemlightitup.vamonde.com. Broadcast crews, reporters and photojournalists seeking additional information about this event may email or call Sam Mattingly at, firstname.lastname@example.org/(917)331-9375 or contact the 125th Street Business Improvement District at email@example.com, or by calling (212) 662-8999.
About the 125th Street Business Improvement District The 125th Street Business Improvement District, created in 1993, is managed by the 125th Street District Management Association. Property and business owners, community and government leaders, residents and staff, all work closely together to improve the experiences of those who live, work, visit and invest in the Harlem Community. The 125th Street BID seeks to: catalyze economic development; encourage the going revitalization and promotion of 125th street as a premier art, culture and entertainment destination; facilitate active tourism; increase pedestrian mobility and give the streetscape a cohesive modern appearance, while reducing clutter; develop additional public space; include public art throughout the district; and create a high quality urban environment that contributes to an identity for the Harlem community.
All questions about the 125th Street Business Improvement District and Harlem Holiday Lights should be directed to Sam Mattingly.
Sam Mattingly firstname.lastname@example.org 917-331-9375