Tourists pack the pews of Harlem's churches

“The service was beautiful and uplifting,” writes a British tourist rating the experience at five stars. Her 16-year-old son commented if all churches were like that, "more people would go." Maybe that explains the long lines around the block.

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“Out of respect for congregants, we ask you not to wear shorts, tank tops and flip flops,” cautions one website, which offers tour packages in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. “Cameras and camcorders are not allowed inside the church.”

And the on-line reviews are glowing: The service was beautiful, very uplifting and “everything that you would expect a Gospel service to be,” wrote a British tourist who rated the experience the full five

stars, noting that her 16-year-old son even commented that if all churches were like that “more people would go.” Thinking her family would be bored, she said she was more than a little surprised when they joined the congregation in singing and clapping.

  From the Harlem Spirituals website

“WOW!!” writes Lina N. about the All New York Tours experience: ”from the second we walked into the church I was moved to tears! The choir was simply magnificent and engaging.”

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“This was, without a doubt, one of the BEST things, if not THE best thing, I have ever experienced in my life,” wrote Jasmine B. on the Viator visitors’ feedback site: “Whether you are religious or not, or even slightly interested in Gospel, this will just blow your mind. I was mesmerized!!! Can’t wait to go back to the States; I will be spending more time in Harlem. It was just awesome. Everyone must experience this; it’s a great moment.”

Tourists come to hear real Gospel music (Photo by HS NYV Tours)

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