4. Turning Heads Beauty Salon and Day Spa
218 Lenox Ave., at 121st St.; 212-828-4600
Weaves, braids, coils—this salon has hair add-ons galore, as well as manicures, pedicures, and massages. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, students who bring in their “A” report cards get 10 percent off services.
5. Harry Houdini’s home
278 W. 113th St., nr. Frederick Douglass Blvd.
Between wriggling out of straitjackets and padlocked trunks, the master escape artist came home here, where he lived from 1904 until he died in 1926.
6. Organic Forever
2053 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 111th St.; 212-666-3012
It’s not Whole Foods, but Organic Forever brings a much-needed selection of quality produce, environmentally conscious cleaning products, and other health-food-store accoutrements to a neighborhood still lacking decent groceries.
2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd., at 113th St.; 212-662-0620
Good, cheap Ethiopian food is widely available in this neighborhood; newly opened Zoma imbues the experience with more sophistication, but keeps the generous portions and low prices. Have a plate of assa tibs (tilapia fillet seasoned with herbs and spices, grilled or pan-fried) for $15. The house special, zoma tibs, is cubed filet mignon steeped in tej (Ethiopian honey wine).
7. Make My Cake
121 W. 116th St., nr. Lenox Ave.; 212-932-0833
The newest cake here is half red velvet, half buttercream. One moist, rich slice, at $4, will put you in sugar heaven for half a day.
9. Harlem Vintage
2235 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 121st St; 212-866-9463
This brick-walled store, which opened in late 2004, is so inviting, locals make it a hangout. Saturday-afternoon tastings help, as do the $100 cases, an assembly of owners Eric Woods and Jai Jai Greenfield’s twelve favorite inexpensive whites and reds.
10. Settepani Bakery & Café
196 Lenox Ave., nr. 120th St.; 917-492-4806
Put your order in now for the fruit-encrusted panettone; they’re made only once a year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day ($12 for a kilo; $16 for two kilos). Pick up some house-baked grissini and a seeded semolina loaf while you’re there.
11. Emperor’s Roe
200 Lenox Ave., at 120th St.; 212-866-3700
Order a “caviartini” (layers of salmon, caviar, crème fraîche, and capers with a blini) at this fish-egg and Champagne emporium before buying some smooth-textured American sturgeon caviar ($27 for an ounce) to go.
114 W. 116th St., nr. Lenox Ave.; 212-961-1036
The most upscale store to open north of 96th Street, N carries Jonathan Adler home accessories, plus clothing from Calvin Klein, Marimekko, Bebenoir, and Juicy Couture.
13. Minton’s Uptown Playhouse
208 W. 118th St., at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.; 212-864-8346
The birthplace of bebop made a comeback last May after lying fallow since the seventies. Stop by on a Sunday night when the cover’s comped, the buffet’s free, and alto saxophonist Eli Fountain—he of the opening riff on Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”—takes the stage.
14. Patisserie des Ambassades
2200 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 118th St.; 212-666-0078
The café au lait is perfection, particularly when accompanied by a chocolate croissant. The lunch prix fixe has limited choices (including lamb shank and chicken kebab), but portions are huge, and it’s $10 a plate; weekend brunch is a madhouse.
300 W. 114th St., at Frederick Douglass Blvd.; 212-864-7777
An ordinary martini doesn’t seem right here; the fruitier cocktails (have a Malibu Melba, made from Malibu rum, banana liqueur, and peach schnapps) are surprisingly delicious. The soul food is decent (the wine-braised beef short ribs, $15.95, are worth a try), and everyone looks glamorous against the deep reds and blacks of designer Harry Schnaper’s interiors.
16. Purple Reign
171 Lenox Ave., nr. 119th St.; 212-222-7221
Harlem kids get their pricey kicks by Primigi, Naturino, and Umi at this whimsically ornamented shoe store.