The first day of February is not just the start of Black History Month, but also poet Langston Hughes' birthday (1901-1967).
Often called the "Poet Laureate of Harlem," Hughes was a major figure of the Harlem Renaissance, writing poetry, plays and more about the Black experience.
Naturally, Harlem is filled with places that celebrate this literary giant.
Here's where to find them, from north to south.
1. Langston Hughes Lobby at the Schomburg Center
515 Malcolm X Blvd and W 135th St
Langston Hughes' ashes are buried under Houston Conwill's "Rivers," a profoundly moving public art installation on the lobby floor of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center. The bronze cosmogram includes lines from Hughes' poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," which you can also read on a sign near the entrance.
2. Langston Hughes Plaque on the Harlem Walk of Fame
135th St between Adam Clayton Powell Jr and Frederick Douglass Blvds
This bronze plaque honoring Hughes—it's one of 20 embedded along the north and south sides of the street, created by artists Ogundipe Fayomi and Otto Neals—is found on the northeast corner of Frederick Douglass Blvd and 135th St. It's inscribed with this short poem: "The night is beautiful / So the faces of my people. / The stars are beautiful, / So the eyes of my people. / Beautiful, also, is the sun. /Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people."
3. Langston Hughes Playground
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd and 130th St
Part of a citywide initiative to honor the Black experience, this playground was renamed after the literary giant in 2020.
4. The Langston Hughes House
20 E 127th St between Madison and Fifth Aves
Hughes lived on the top floor of this Harlem brownstone for the last 20 years of his life, and the house was designated a New York City Landmark in 1981. Until recently it was run by an arts collective and open to the public, but it is now closed.
1047 Amsterdam and 112th St
Langton Hughes is one of 55 American poets honored at this historic new-Gothic church in Morningside Heights. Inscribed with his name and dates, the simple stone tablet features one of his most famous lines: "My soul has grown deep like the rivers."