There are lots of cheap beauty, fashion, and art finds to be discovered at the African Market on 116th St. between Malcolm X Blvd. and 5th Ave. A holdover from a Harlem of yore,the market is open seven days a week, but I would suggest avoiding Sundays when the market offerings are comparatively sparse. Head into Shabazz with $10 and you’ll come out with a couple of great finds, maybe more if your haggling skills are up to snuff. My personal staple from the market is black soap, which you can pick up in natural boutiques around the city, but why pay store prices when you can get a tub of the stuff for $5? Forget $20 astringents, this stuff WORKS. Made from cocoa powder, plantains, and kernel oil, it’s high in vitamins A & E and can be used for face and body. If you’re on a beauty kick, you can also pick up some shea butter and/or get your hair braided in one of the stands.
Vendors at the market also sell African textiles and clothes. Some will even make custom items for you – my friend once got the most baller pair of skinny, drop crotch pants for under $20 – but, if you go this route, make sure to be specific about what you want. You can also find handmade jewelry and decorative statues to spruce up your apartment (even if you’re broke, it’s good to look like you care). The Shabazz market holds other surprises and the only way to really know what they’ve got on a given day is to go peruse the stands. It’s worth the trip and there are plenty of cheap food places around for you relax and refuel in after shopping.
Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market
52 W. 116th St.
Between Malcolm X. Blvd. & 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10026
Photo Credit: tripadvisor.com