People using a cell phone to capture an image of a graffiti wall

New York City: Celebrating with a Beat

By: Mark Chesnut, Contributing Writer

Hip hop may be a global musical phenomenon, but its roots are firmly in New York City and the city is celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip hop.

New York City Tourism + ConventionsHip hop may be a global musical phenomenon, but its roots are firmly in New York City. And now, as this much-loved genre celebrates its 50th anniversary, New York City Tourism + Conventions is providing lots of ideas for visitors to immerse themselves in the Big Apple’s hip hop culture.

Fotografiska New York, the photography museum, wrapped up an exhibit called Hip-Hop: Conscious, Unconscious on May 20, but there are still lots of opportunities to explore the fascinating history of one of the 20th century’s most influential musical forms.

According to a report on, the hip hop genre likely was born on August 11, 1973 at a birthday party in the Bronx, thanks to Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc, founding father of hip hop.

One of the best places to explore the history of hip hop is in the Bronx, where it was born. A company called Hush Tours offers a variety of tours focusing on the musical genre, including a Birthplace of Hip Hop tour that includes visits to locations in the Bronx that served as backdrops for a variety of hip hop pioneers. The tour also includes stops at multiple sites in Harlem, including the legendary Apollo Theater, where countless artists have performed, and guests are also treated to a live performance by b-boys and b-girls.

The soon-to-open Universal Hip Hop Museum is processing more than 30,000 items for its extensive collection.

In addition, the Queens Public Library is hosting an array of special events as part of a year-long program titled Collections of Culture: 50 Years of Hip Hop Inside Libraries, Museums and Archives. The program includes movie screenings, author talks, open mic nights and other events around the city.

Also worth a visit is the [R]Evolution of Hip Hop, an exhibit that runs through this summer at the Bronx Terminal Market, with artifacts and media that take visitors on an interactive exploration of the genre’s history, with a special focus on the years 1986-1990. The exhibit is curated by the Universal Hip Hop Museum, which is to open in 2024 and aims to showcase and preserve the traditions of local and global hip hop music and culture. 

Hush Tours offers a variety of tours and experiences that celebrate hip hop culture. 

Credit: Hush Tours

By most accounts, hip hop was born at a party on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx — and this street sign commemorates that historic night. 

Credit: Maridelis-Rosado