A Handbook, Not a Handout: Bill Clinton’s Zagat Guide to Harlem


Evidently, Bill Clinton isn’t done trying to improve things for business owners of Harlem without handing them any (often badly needed) cash. The Clinton Foundation and Zagat Survey have rolled out a new guide to Harlem as part of the Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative (CEO). According to the foundation’s web site, the guide points to more than 300 Harlem restaurants, nightspots, and stores.

“We are pleased to partner with Zagat to showcase all there is to see and do, and hope visitors and residents alike will come explore the great restaurants, quaint shops, cultural landmarks and exciting events the neighborhood has to offer,” Clinton is quoted as saying via the foundation site.

Clinton got keen on lending assistance to Harlem back when the former president decided to locate his offices in the neighborhood and — a foundation spokesperson told us some time ago — went out shopping there. On his way out of one store, a shop owner confronted him. He asked the millionaire ex-President if he was going to do something about the struggling community, now that he was part of it. The story goes when Clinton returned from his shopping spree, he began making phone calls — pulling together the beginnings of his Harlem initiative.

The shop owner might have thought a spurred-to-action Clinton would start financially backing some teetering businesses in his hood. He would have been wrong.

In an earlier article on the CEO’s “Harlem Restaurant Program”, we pointed out Clinton was doling out funds for consulting services for Harlem eateries, but no direct financial aid to the eateries themselves. We offered that not all restaurant program participants were pleased with that arrangement.

Despite their displeasure, funding has not yet emerged. It’s been the same for other Clinton Foundation program partakers: If you want money, the foundation says, go elsewhere.

“If you are interested in seeking a donation, we strongly encourage you to research and contact one of the many international philanthropic organizations that provide grants for private and public use,” the foundation states.