As the city mourns the passing of iconic Harlem restaurateur Sylvia Woods, the Reverend Al Sharpton reflected on the importance of her restaurant, Sylvia's, in today's Daily News. "Sylvia Woods was the definition of a pillar of the community. Not only did she build an institution that survived decades — it became a world famous meeting place," he wrote. "Whether you went to take your family to dinner, or to summit meetings of black leadership, Sylvia’s was the first place that people thought of in Black America. Other places served soul food, but it was the sweet matron persona of Sylvia Woods that made us all feel like we were home with mama — that kind of sweet personality that had more sugar than her sweet iced tea."
He recounted, "I remember when Sen. Barack Obama was coming to New York in 2007 to campaign in the backyard of Sen. Hillary Clinton and have a fund-raiser at the Apollo Theater. He called me and said, 'Let’s have dinner before we go to the Apollo to talk about how I see my race for President.' I said, 'Okay, where do you want to go?' He said, 'Sylvia’s, of course!'" (Back then, Sharpton had said after the meeting, "A man who likes fried chicken and corn bread can't be all that bad," but he didn't say whether he'd endorse Obama or Clinton.)
Sharpton will be joining members of Woods's family to reveal funeral plans for the 86-year-old matriach.