Hallelujah! Tips for hearing Gospel music in New York City

You aren't the first person to visit New York who wants to hear Gospel music. Hundreds of tourists flock to the big churches of Harlem every weekend. Not to mention the actual churchgoers -- you could wait hours to get in to a service. 

The Choir Header

Thank god I've got some tips for you to make your experience heavenly!

• Find out service schedules ahead of time. Churches have services at different times, and not all services include a choir. Look at a church’s website or call ahead to decide when to visit.

• Know your etiquette.  Many church websites have a “Visitors” page. Read this information to spare yourself being scolded, like tourists last November were at a Sunday service at a historic church.  Showing up in jeans and flip flops is inappropriate.
 Be sure to turn off your cell phone ringer and unless you are permitted to do so, do not take photos or videos.
• Give yourself enough time: services with a choir singing will also include a sermon and not only are the sermons quite moving, it can be considered rude to leave in the middle – so give yourself enough time to enjoy the whole service.
• Consider making a small donation to the church Congregations are happy to have visitors and share their celebrations, but no church and choir can get by without the support of its members and guests. Even a dollar or two is appreciated.
• Avoid the tourist crowds Consider visiting a smaller congregation– the experience will be just as special and that less crowded.
Where to go
Our pick:  The Brooklyn Tabernacle’s choir is 40 years old but better than ever. This year they were invited to sing to the Nation at the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. The Tabernacle is located in easily-reachable Downtown Brooklyn at 17 Smith Street between Livingston and Fulton Streets (718) 290-2000. Sunday services are at 9am, 12 pm and 3 pm.
If you prefer to stay in Manhattan, try to steer clear of the larger congregations, some of which are so popular with tourists, visitors are sometimes turned away for lack of space in the pews.  Still, they are popular for a reason—the sermons and choir and services are magnificent. Some of the larger churches are located in Harlem and they are:
Abyssinian Baptist Church 420 W 145th Street between Convent and St. Nicholas Avenues (212) 234-6767.  Sunday services at 9 am and 11 am.
Greater Refuge Temple 2081 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. at 124th Street (212) 866-1700.  Sunday services are at 11 am, 4 pm, and 7:30 pm.
Mount Neboh Baptist Church 1883 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. between West 114th West 115 Streets.  Streets.  (212) 866-7880.  Sunday services are at 8 am and 11 am.
Canaan Baptist Church 132 W. 116th Street between Lenox & 7th Aves. (212) 866-0301.  Sunday services are at 8 am and 11 am.  Sunday service at 10am (starting July 1).
First Corinthian Baptist Church 1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. between West 115th and West 116th Streets (212) 864-5976. Sunday services are at 8 am and 11 am.
Bethel Gospel Assembly 2-26 East 120th Street, between 5th and Madison Avenues, (212) 860-1510.  Sunday Services: 8:00 am and 11:30 am.