Yes, New York City is vibrant in the summer. Honestly, there is nothing like it. Everyone walks the streets eager to absorb the sun and any ice cream they could find. Thus, when Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, and Brooklyn Bodega announced Bridge Grooves, a new free summer concert series at Pier 1 in the Brooklyn Bridge Park, I was excited. Another reason to walk by the Brooklyn Pier and proudly further my ice cream addiction. All in all, the atmosphere felt like the epitome of summer, and I got the opportunity to see the living legend: Larry Harlow.
Mr. Harlow is a classic salsa legend, whose career can be summed up in one word: FANIA. The Brooklyn born, Afro-Cuban music King produced over 250 albums for the record label, which dominated the 1970’s through its wondrous selection of artists like, Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon, La Lupe, etc. It was a golden era for salsa that is unforgettable and is constantly resurrected at every Caribbean Latinos party. It does not matter if you are Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, etc, you know FANIA and you know Larry Harlow. Therefore, I was very pleased to see the legend live and with an old-school “swag”.
Larry Harlow oozes that 1960’s gentleman vibe. He reminds us of the elders you see sitting by the bodega playing dominos and reliving memories of virtue. There is a natural humbling when Harlow walks the stage. First, he in an all white suit, which makes him appear like a Latin Music Angel. Hence, you mentally transcend into a glory era that your grandparents discuss all the time. One where women were known as ladies, and men were called gents. Fedoras and cigars for men, and red lipstick for women was a must for fashion. Thus, Harlow gives lessons to new generations of what “swag” should and has always meant: a forward walk of confidence. By now, Harlow, 77, has no insecurities and carries himself with a sophistication solely earned through worldly experience. He has been performing all his life, and has solidified what the people want from him: Latin soul. Yet. Larry Harlow, despite his magnifying power as a Spanish singer, was not what stole the show. It was actually its setting.
Being held in Pier 1 at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, you get one of the most stunning views of New York. By day the skyscrapers and Brooklyn Bridge glisten like tall glasses of champagne; it is awe-inspiring. By night Manhattan becomes a light show that makes you believe you are living in and across from Wonderland. The gorgeous views combined with infectious music had everyone feeling at ease and dancing like there was no tomorrow. When I say “dancing”, I mean full-on couples’ choreography. Although, it is inevitable to dance when you hear the pulsing rhythms of salsa, particularly of Larry Harlow, I do believe the lovely park setting and summer heat encouraged people to move to the beat. Between those looking at the scenery with a cold beer, or those looking into their lovers’ eyes as they moved without fear, the night was riveting in its simple happiness.
Overall, it was a wonderful time. Just before, Larry Harlow, DJ Ray Suave gave the crowd classic Latin Music hits, which blazed the setting with sparkling joy. Personally, free, good music concerts are a treasure of NYC summers, but in a location like Brooklyn Bridge Park, they are extra glorious. Be on the lookout for more concert HERE. For more information on Larry Harlow Click Here.