New York bids farewell to 'Queen of Soul Food'
July 26, 2012, 12:13 am TWN
NEW YORK--New Yorkers gave a big sendoff to “Queen of Soul Food” Sylvia Woods, whose famed Harlem restaurant served everybody from Muhammad Ali to Bill Clinton, ahead of her burial Wednesday.
Mourners flocked to a historic African American church in Harlem where Woods, who died last week at 86, lay in an open coffin Tuesday, surrounded by white roses.
Although the Sylvia Woods restaurant will be kept open by family, Woods' death marked the end of an era. Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered a eulogy at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, while veteran civil rights leader Al Sharpton was to speak at Wednesday's funeral.
Far more than just a successful business in a rough neighborhood, the Sylvia Woods restaurant was a cultural touchstone for multi-ethnic New York.
Politicians including President Barack Obama, actors and sports stars rubbed shoulders with busloads of foreign tourists and fervently enthusiastic local fans.